The Fast Five with … Kate Jarvik Birch
By Christine Duval
My name is Christine Duval, author of Positively Mine, a novel about a pregnancy hidden at college and a freshman year gone awry. I am a hoarder of women’s fiction, whether in the form of Chick Lit, Memoir, Young Adult, New Adult – you name the genre, it’s probably on my Kindle. In my publishing journey, I’ve had the pleasure and honor to work with and become friends with a number of talented people who’ve inspired me along the way. The Fast Five is my opportunity to spotlight these wonderful authors and find out what motivates them and keeps them going. Most write women’s fiction, some are accomplished authors in other genres. All of them have paid their dues and have pearls of wisdom to share that we all can benefit from.♥
Today I begin with author and artist Kate Jarvik Birch. Kate released not one, but two novels this year: Perfected and Deliver Me.
1. What is the most difficult thing you’ve ever written?
I’ve written a number of personal essays over the years that have stripped me pretty bare, but the most difficult one was probably, One More Artificial Organ, (published in the Indiana Review this past winter). I’ve been estranged from my father (who also happens to be the inventor of the artificial heart — thus the title of the piece), and this essay was an examination of the unanswered questions I had about the way he removed himself from my life when I was twelve.
2. If you could collaborate with another author on a project, who would it be and why?
I’m a huge fan of John Green so there’s no way I’d ever pass up an opportunity to work with him — for the mere fact that I think a conversation with him would probably be as full of witty banter as the ones in his book, with the added bonus that I’m pretty sure he could teach me a thing or two about building truly dynamic characters.
3. What do you like most about being an author?
Besides getting to work in pajamas? Definitely getting to be a dreamer. My creativity is the thing I love most about myself, so getting to use that part of me every day and getting to share it with other people is the most gratifying feeling in the world.
4. How do you motivate yourself to write?
I have obscenely low willpower, so it’s a testament to how much I actually love writing that I EVER finish writing a book. But even though I LOVE it, it is often difficult. The sweet, sweet siren’s call of the internet is difficult to ignore. So the key for me is quick bursts of writing. I love setting the timer for fifteen minutes or a half an hour and seeing how much I can crank out in that time frame. A few of these bursts a day, and I usually meet my word goal. And speaking of word goals, I’ve found having a daily count that I strive to meet to be the only way I can ever really finish a draft.
5. What do you feel are the top three qualities one must possess to make it as an author today?
Persistence: this is definitely at the top of my list. Writing is difficult, even when you love it, so you have to be able to push through and keep a bigger goal in mind.
Love for the Craft: if you don’t love writing and you don’t love reading it’s going to be difficult to find a reason to keep going when things get tough.
Persistence: oh did I already say that. Well, I meant it!
Kate Jarvik Birch studied painting and drawing at the University of Utah and graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in 2005. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband and their three children and is the author of young adult titles, Deliver Me and Perfected. You can find more information about Kate and her books at: katejarvikbirch.com.