Interview with Laura Koerber, Author of Coyote Summer

14 Apr 2020

What can you tell us about your new release, Coyote Summer?

Coyote Summer is wishful thinking. The jumping off point for the story was the Me Too movement. The book is entirely fictional, of course, and none of the characters represent any real person. However, the basis of the story is a pattern in our culture: the devaluing of women and girls to protect men and boys. This can be seen in places as varied as small town football teams to Washington DC. The basic scenario is a man or boy does something he should not do to a woman or girl, but no action is taken on the assumption that his future success should not be damaged over mere misconduct toward a female. I imagined a scenario where a witness broke that pattern.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I was inspired by an event. I was involved in the rescue of dogs from an abusive situation. The rescue was not conventional—the Animal Control officer did not help. That story became one of a series of stories which I published under the name Jill Kearney. The Dog Thief and Other Stories made the Kirkus Review list of one hundred best indy publications of 2015. That listing gave me the confidence to write more.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

I’m not very highbrow. I read Ben Aaronovitch’s books over and over. I love the Midnight Mayor series. I’ve been reading and rereading Georgette Heyer’s Regency romances since I was in high school. I like Richard Kadry’s books, too, even thought they are quite different from Heyer! I also read history, especially Bernard De Voto and Robert Massie. I guess I like books that take me to a different place and let me live there for a while. Escapist literature, the opposite of what I write.

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

Ben Aaronovitch. I want to know what the future has in store for Leslie.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

The polishing stage. I’m such a lousy typist that just getting the manuscript into shape for revising is a real chore. I am capable of five or six typos per sentence! But once I get the story into shape where it appears to be written in English—as opposed to some imaginary language—then I really enjoy the shaping and revising. It’s like painting. (My degree is in art, and I am a painter).

What is a typical day like for you?

I spend my day taking care of animals. First thing is having coffee with my cat. He’s purring on my lap right now. Next is kennel cleaning at a sanctuary for unadoptable cats. Then attending to my one-eyed Peke mix. He needs medications and time to go potty. I try to get a long walk in every day. I am involved in community affairs so I have committee work. I also am working on some block prints. Since I live on an island somewhat isolated from the rest of the world, I keep up with friends and family through email and Facebook. I write in spurts of a few minutes to hours.

What scene in Coyote Summer was your favorite to write?

I’m not sure I had a favorite scene to write. Maybe the sneaking around scene. Ben and his new friends steal chickens. This involves sneaking around in the dark. That scene brought back memories of the dog rescue.

Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?

I’m a Buddhist, so kindness. Not that I am good at kindness toward people. But I am good at being kind to animals.

Laura Koerber is the author of the new book Coyote Summer.

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