On the outskirts of a little town named St. Clair, K. L. Nappier was brought into this world. She grew up surrounded by 40 acres of woodland, which she and her sister explored daily. When her mother called them home, she’d honk the car horn.
In the same year, a new design of Ouija Board goes on the market—it’s just a game, isn’t it? Johnson & Johnson invents the first baby shampoo—no more tears! And Disneyland opens to over one million visitors in seven weeks.
Ann Landers’s column debuts in the Chicago Sun-Times. The Village Voice is founded by Dan Wolf, Ed Fancher, and Norman Mailer. The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit by Sloan Wilson, Andersonville by MacKinlay Kantor, and Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh reach the top of the best seller lists. James Dean is killed when his Porsche 550 Spyder crashes near Paso Robles, California, and Albert Einstein dies at the age of 76.
Ms. Nappier has many favorite things in her life: her hubby and sons, her family in Missouri and California, her daughter-in-law and her family, her friends, her critique group, philosophical/spiritual ruminations and conversations, her dog, her lifestyle, where she lives, great food, a great read, a great movie, Cosmopolitans and so much more.
On Writing, in K. L. Nappier’s Own Words:
What or who inspires you to write?
Corny as it sounds, the inspiration seems to come from within. I’m not very good at making stuff up. It feels much more like the stuff comes looking for me. But, apart from that, during the late ‘80s, I was inspired to continue writing by Elizabeth Arthur—a tremendous writer. And, of course, the critique group I belong to via cyberspace—the Indiana Writers Workshop—has kept me going for almost twenty years. First and foremost, though, my husband has been behind me all the way, 24/7. There are any number of times I thought of quitting. He always brought me back to my senses.
Why did you begin writing?
I suppose when I had enough muscle coordination to pick up a pencil or a crayon. When I was very small, before I learned to write, I drew a lot, and everyone thought I wanted to be a cartoonist. I did, too, for a time. But, years later, I was looking at some of those childhood drawings and realized they were laid out in succession. They had a plot.
Which author inspires you?
Well, back to Elizabeth Arthur. I studied under her a couple of years back, in Indianapolis. No one writes more beautifully. Toni Morrison also blows me away, as does Sterling Watson. Chuck Palahniuk is a very edgy, subversive writer—the polar opposite of an Arthur, a Morrison, or a Watson—but man oh man, does he have the gift. And I’d be rude beyond rude not to give propers to Dennis Lehane. I was fortunate to be selected by him to participate in his workshop intensive last year at the Writers in Paradise conference. My writing has really tightened up because of his instruction.
And there are several published authors in IWW that definitely inspire me: Pete Cava, Joyce K. Jensen, T.A. Moore, and Tony Perona. Like the better-known powerhouses above, these four are all very different writers: nonfiction, sci-fi, romance, mystery. But it’s the excellence they exhibit within their genre or category that moves me.
What do you find most rewarding about writing?
I could make like the philosopher here and drone on about thematic writing and the rewards of finding something to “say.” In fact, I’m afraid I do too much of that already. I have a bad habit of indulging in “writer’s pretentiousness.” But...seriously, honestly...who’s going to think that what I have to say is important tomorrow, let alone in some far-flung future? Only a handful of writers ever make it onto the immortals’ list, and the rest of us take ourselves too seriously.
In the end, the best reward is the writing itself. The pure, sheer act. You’re in some spot that can’t be described, someplace both inside and outside yourself. Time bends. Nothing else about writing matters, regardless of what you tell yourself when you’ve come back to earth.
Have you experienced writer’s block? And if so, how did you cure it?
Oh, boy, have I. It’s happened with almost every manuscript—usually during those middle chapters—and sometimes very intense, lasting weeks or months. Months and months and months. Other times, it’s not so intense. The important thing is not to beat yourself up about it; that just makes it worse.
When I’m blocking, I tweak and rewrite earlier chapters in the manuscript. Or I’ll just leap ahead to a place that already wants to come out. Sooner or later, these two techniques break up the logjam.
It’s also not unusual for me to block more than once while working on a manuscript. From experience, I can assure any writer that it’s not a permanent affliction...maddening, maybe, but not permanent. And if the ways I work through it don’t hack it for someone, there are many writers’ sites that have lots of great advice on how to break the block.
Coming to an E-book Store Near You:
Ms. Nappier has a short story in Twisted Tails II: Time on Our Hands, the sequel to Twisted Tails: An Anthology to Surprise and Delight (read my review), which shot up the best seller list at several online bookstores. The second in the series—released this spring—is sure to be another crowd pleaser.
Bitten—the sequel to Full Wolf Moon (read my review) will also be released this summer.
She highly recommends e-readers to any avid bookworm and says it’s just as enjoyable to read as a traditional book. I think Ms. Nappier is a pleasure to read. Her stories are unique, edgy, and thrilling. You’ll find yourself holding your breath as each scene unfolds, and just when you’re about to scream from the suspense, it comes to a dramatic conclusion. You don’t want to miss this author.
To learn more about K. L. Nappier and her upcoming releases, visit KLNappier.com.