Q&A With Katherine Center

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Q&A With Katherine Center 

Today’s fourth Q&A in The New Year is with USA Today & New York Times Bestselling author Katherine Center. Katherine is the author of “Happiness for Beginners,” “What You Wish For,” “How To Walk Away,” “Things You Save In A Fire,” “The Bodyguard,” and “Hello Stranger.” “The Lost Husband” was recently adapted into a movie on Netflix. 


Q: What was it like having your novel, “The Lost Husband,” being adapted as a movie on Netflix? Did you have any involvement in writing the script and the casting choices?


A: It was such a thrill to see it come to life! I didn’t have any input in the casting or script writing, but I did get to go to the set while they were filming and meet some of the actors—including Josh Duhamel. That whole experience was pretty epic—seeing my characters come to life. Seeing a farmer’s market that had existed only in my head come to life suddenly bustling with shoppers and vendors and flower stands. Meeting Josh Duhamel was also quite memorable! It’s fair to say he’s the most movie-star-ish person I’ve ever talked to. It was thrilling and intimidating and exhausting all at once—and it gave me lots of material for comedy. 


Q: What advice do you give to anyone who is a new writer and they’re dealing with negative reviews, family and friends who don’t support them and online trolls?


A: Well, I would definitely say avoid those things as much as you can! You can sort reviews on goodreads by stars, so give yourself permission to sort by 5 star reviews! And if your family and friends don’t get what you’re doing or support you, then don’t talk about your writing with them. Find other friends—online, or in person—who can be encouraging and excited with you. As for trolls—block, delete, and move on as fast as you can. None of that stuff is easy, but your guiding idea is to stay in the light as much as you can. Look for encouragement and use it for fuel.


Q: When in your life did you realize your calling was to become a writer?


A: It was a slow process. I knew I wanted it, but I wasn’t sure it would work out. I decided I want to be a writer in third grade, and then again in sixth grade, and then again in high school, and in college. But I also got discouraged and quit over and over. I investigated other options. I thought about becoming lots of other things. But I just kept coming back to writing. Sometimes I think a thing becomes a calling because you make it a calling. You choose to do it, despite all your doubts and struggles, and that commitment makes it matter. 

Q: What advice do you give to anyone wanting to become a writer? What advice do you give to anyone struggling with writers block?


A: This is true for writing and for life: Pay attention to what you love. Read what you love, and write what you love. Notice and study the kinds of stories that light you up. If you love mysteries, then you should read, study, and write mysteries. You have to learn to follow your own compass. That’s the only way to write stories that matter. And it’s also the only way to get better—because the love you feel for the stories you’re reading and writing is the thing that will pull you through discouragement and struggle. And there’s a ton of that in the writing life.


Q: If you were to collaborate with another author who would it be and why?


A: Oh, wow. That’s a great question. I haven’t ever collaborated with another author, and I sometimes wonder if I even could. Writing has always been such a deeply personal, quiet thing for me. But I meet lots of writers who collaborate, and I always think of their situation so wistfully: how amazing it would be to join forces, write together, go on book tour with a friend, have someone in the world who loved every tiny detail of the story exactly as much as you. I did an event with the writing duo Christina Lauren not long ago, and they clearly have a ton of fun writing and traveling with each other. 


Q: Are any of your other novels going to become movies and shows on Netflix or any other network or streaming advice?


A: My book Happiness for Beginners is being adapted as a Netflix movie right now and should come out sometime this year, I think! It stars Ellie Kemper and Luke Grimes. It’s one of my favorite books that I’ve done, and so I hope the movie will bring people back to read the book! My novel things You Save in a Fire was also optioned by Missy Peregrym, star of the TV show FBI, and I’m excited to see where that’s going!


Q: If you were to write in a different genre, which one would it be and why?


A: It would have to be a genre that allowed for a love story. I could never write anything too dark or hopeless because stories are my own personal way of finding the light. I sometimes have ideas for historical or fantasy stories, but I don’t think I’ll ever really write them. I’m mostly just trying to get better and better at what I do.


Q: Are you writing a new novel now? If so can you reveal any details?


A: I have a new novel coming out this summer (2023) called Hello Stranger. It’s about a portrait artist who gets a condition called “face blindness,” where she can see everything but faces. It’s got an epic love story, and I’m so excited about it. And I’m writing a new book right now for 2024 that’s about writers! I’ve never tried to write about writers before. Usually I do a ton of research about my characters’ jobs, but, obviously, that hasn’t been necessary for this one. It’s fun because it lets me just jump right in and get right to the good stuff.