Mondays + Writers = finally something to look forward to.
Week eight of The Writer’s Handful welcomes David (DA) Kentner, the pen behind the wonderful interview and book series The Readers’ Writers. The series is published in newspapers all over the United States, and longer versions of these interviews are published on his site, DA Kentner: The Readers’ Writers. Clearly David is interested in all sorts of writers, readers, and books; these things keep him quite busy. So I am really pleased that he has a little bit of time to hang with us today and chat a bit.
Did you write today? If yes, what? If no, why not?
I write, something, every day. Today it’s blog posts and then back to work content editing and doing rewrites for a nonfiction author extremely knowledgeable in his/her field, which doesn’t include writing. I was hired to help produce a more marketable book; a new venture for me, but one I’m really enjoying at the moment.
What’s the first thing (story, poem, song, etc.) you remember writing, and how old were you when you wrote it?
I was a toddler with a piece of paper and a box of crayons. I wrote a picture story on the floor while my mom typed an episode for a soap opera. Her dream was to become a script writer. Unfortunately, that never happened. She stopped writing to raise her family. I learned the alphabet and discovered a whole new avenue for storytelling. My first published pieces were a short story and a poem I wrote in high school. Nothing spectacular, and because I chose to pursue a different career path, it would be thirty-eight years before I tried being published again. That said, I never stopped writing. I have boxes of poems, song lyrics, and stories no one has ever seen, and that’s probably for the best.
What are you reading right now?
Right at this moment, I’m not reading anything. I just finished Scott Blagden’s Dear Life, You Suck. It’s brilliant, though won’t be everybody’s cup of tea. I read constantly in order to select authors I’d like to interview for my column The Readers’ Writers. I’m a few weeks ahead, so I’m taking a short break from reading.
What’s the most important advice you ever received? (Writerly or otherwise.)
Harlan Carbaugh, my friend and life mentor, once said, “Familiarity breeds contempt.” He was talking about chainsaws at the time, but those words ring true in everything we do. When we take people, especially those we love, for granted, it shouldn’t be a shock when we wake up alone. The same holds true for whatever endeavors we attempt. In the case of writers, the moment an author assumes that whatever they publish will be accepted, and the author gets lazy, not pushing their limits and striving to produce a better story, the author is cheating their readers. It won’t be long before the readers go find a new ‘favorite’ author.
If your writing were an animal, what animal would it be? Because…
A platypus, maybe? On the surface, the poor platypus appears disjointed, a hodgepodge of evolution unsure of what it’s supposed to be. However, if we take the time to fully understand the story the animal has to tell, the reasons it has adopted its shape and methods of survival, we find a whole new way of looking at the world around us and accept that nothing needs to fit into the predetermined parameters of expectation. I think that’s how I view all writing, not just mine. I want to experience something new with every story I read or write. I want to be entertained, and I hope my stories entertain readers.
David Kentner, also known as DA Kentner and KevaD, is a prize and award-winning author currently wondering why his lawnmower has become his most determined nemesis. His greatest writing reward to date was when a reader who asked him to write a certain style of book, which became the suspense novel Whistle Pass, came up and hugged him, exclaiming how the reader “loved” the story. David lives with his wife Virginia outside Freeport, IL, and hopes to live long enough to run out of stories to tell. Which isn’t possible.
→David, thanks so much for this fine little conversation! As always, it is a delight sharing ideas with you. And to everyone, thanks for reading! -PMc←