Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Author Interview: Kaethe Schwehn

I was recently able to ask Kaethe Schwehn, author of the just-released dystopian novel "The Rending and the Nest" a few questions about her career and new book. She is an award-winning writer and poet and currently lives in Northfield, Minnesota where she teaches at St. Olaf College. The interview in full is below.

I know you have a collection of poetry and a memoir out, is this your first novel?
It's my first published novel. I have another one languishing in a drawer somewhere.

When did you first start writing “The Rending and the Nest?”
Almost five years ago. It took three years to write and then the submission and publication process took almost another two years.

Could you talk a little bit about what your writing process was like for this book?
I write longhand first. I filled up a number of journals trying to figure out the characters and the setting. Once I knew where the story began I started typing. When I finally submitted it to the amazing woman who is now my agent she suggested that I needed to expand the ending. I thought she meant I needed to add a page or two.  "No," she said, "I think you need about another 20,000 words." She was absolutely right.

Are you currently working on any other projects?
I'm in the beginning stages of an historical novel set in 4BCE.  

What is one piece of advice would you give aspiring writers?
Write a lot. Read a lot. Join communities of other writers and readers. I guess that was three pieces of advice. :)

About The Rending and the Nest:

A chilling yet redemptive post-apocalyptic debut that examines community, motherhood, faith, and the importance of telling one's own story.
When 95 percent of the earth's population disappears for no apparent reason, Mira does what she can to create some semblance of a life: She cobbles together a haphazard community named Zion, scavenges the Piles for supplies they might need, and avoids loving anyone she can't afford to lose. She has everything under control. Almost. 
Four years after the Rending, Mira's best friend, Lana, announces her pregnancy, the first since everything changed and a new source of hope for Mira. But when Lana gives birth to an inanimate object--and other women of Zion follow suit--the thin veil of normalcy Mira has thrown over her new life begins to fray. As the Zionites wrestle with the presence of these Babies, a confident outsider named Michael appears, proselytizing about the world beyond Zion. He lures Lana away and when she doesn't return, Mira must decide how much she's willing to let go in order to save her friend, her home, and her own fraught pregnancy.
Like California by Edan Lepucki and Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, The Rending and the Nest uses a fantastical, post-apocalyptic landscape to ask decidedly human questions: How well do we know the people we love? What sustains us in the midst of suffering? How do we forgive the brokenness we find within others--and within ourselves?

Find it on Amazon!

Disclosure: this post contains links to an affiliate program (Amazon), for which I receive a few cents if you make purchases.

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