Interview with Kat Howard, Author of Roses and Rot
20 May 2016
Roses and Rot is a riff on the ballad of “Tam Lin.” It takes place at an artists’ colony in modern day New Hampshire and is the story of two sisters, Imogen and Marin, who are trying to use their art to change their lives. It’s also the story of sacrifice and friendship and falling in love and making dangerous bargains with the Fae.
What or who inspired you to be an author?
I wasn’t one of those people who knew from a young age that I wanted to write. In fact, for most of my life, it wasn’t something I thought that I had the ability to do. But then about nine years ago, a variety of things happened that reminded me that life doesn’t last forever, and that I’d rather try and fail than not try. (Sounds cliché, I know, but it is true.) So I applied to the Clarion Writers’ Workshop, and while I was there, realized that I wanted to write more than anything else.
Name a book that you feel has impacted your life significantly. Why was it so impactful?
Not a book, but a series – Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising series. I loved them when I read them as a child and love them still. One of the things they did was introduce me to the story of King Arthur, and that’s a story that I became obsessed with – reading everything I could, not just stories and retellings, but also scholarly work. They’re one of the reasons I write what I do, but also one of the reasons I studied what I did (medieval literature) in school.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I really wanted to be a marine biologist and study dolphins.
What’s your favorite thing about writing?
It’s really hard to pick a favorite thing. I mean, I get to make up stories for my job. That’s pretty great.
Do you listen to anything while you write? If so, what’s your audio of choice?
I do listen to music when I write, especially in the early stages of a book while I’m figuring things out. Having a playlist helps me hear the mood of the book, and it also signals to my brain that now is writing time. Some of the songs that were on my Roses and Rot playlist are: The National – “Sea of Love,” Bloc Party – “Signs,” and Tegan and Sara – “Superstar.”
What’s your favorite quote or scene from Roses and Rot?
My favorite scene is a spoiler, so here’s a quote: “You go into the woods to find your story. If you are brave, if you are fortunate, you walk out of them to find your life.”
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
I don’t. While words are very important to me, I feel like my life is my story, and I’d rather choose my own words, than be bound by someone else’s.
Kat Howard is the author of the new book Roses and Rot.Buy The Book
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