Author Interview with RJ Keller

What is your writing process?
I generally crank up some music and hide away in my office, which is actually a very Harry Potteresque closet under the stairs. It’s easier to create fictional worlds when I don’t feel like I’m in the real one.

Who or what influences your writing?
Everyone and everything. It’s the worst thing for the people around me, knowing that everything they say or do is novel fodder.

What do you consider your best accomplishment?
After I finished the third draft of my first novel, I sent the first five chapters to a friend to read. She emailed me back within the hour begging for the rest. That was the moment I really felt like I’d become a writer.

How have personal experiences influenced your writing?
I actively try not to write autobiographically, at least in a literal sense. Most of what happens to my characters hasn’t happened to me personally. I use the emotions of my experiences instead, which I think is fairer to the people in my life who are living those experiences with me. (See answer to question 2.)

What’s the best thing about being an author?
I have an instant excuse for my weird behavior. Everyone knows writers are insane. I mean, eccentric.

Which authors inspire you?
Australian poet/novelist Luke Davies, because his writing is beautifully brutal. Whenever I notice myself being cowardly about opening up, I read his stuff and it kicks me back to where I need to be. Also, P.G. Wodehouse, because he was pretty much the cleverest wordsmith ever.

What is your favorite genre to read? Write?
I don’t know that I have a favorite genre. If you give me a group of fascinating, flawed characters, you can drop them into pretty much any world or time period and I’ll follow them. However, I generally write gritty, modern stuff, which is pretty lazy of me, really.

What is the hardest thing about writing?
Getting rid of that naggy, negative, internal editor who tells me that everything I write sucks two seconds after I’ve written it.

What is your favorite quote?
“Every author really wants to have letters printed in the papers. Unable to make the grade, he drops down a rung of the ladder and writes novels.” – P.G. Wodehouse

What advice would you give to your younger self?
Believe in yourself. You’re smarter than you think.

What would you like to say to your readers?
Thanks for taking refuge in my fictional world and for loving my characters. And for supporting my work so I can keep doing the thing I love.


R.J. Keller is the author of WAITING FOR SPRING and the co-host of Book Chatter with Stacey Cochran, an internet talk show that features interviews with authors and publishing professionals. An avid independent movie enthusiast, she was Managing Editor of The Movie Fanatic website and currently writes, shoots, and edits episodes of the writer-centric YouTube show, Inside The Writers’ Studio, with author Kristen Tsetsi. She enjoys rooting for the Boston Red Sox and watching other people cook.

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