Erika Krouse’s collection of short stories Come Up and See Me Sometime is the winner of the Paterson Fiction Award and was chosen as a New York Times Notable Book of the year. Krouse will conduct a fiction workshop for young writers at the upcoming Writers at Work conference at Westminster College June 18-22 (WritersAtWork.org). The public is invited to a free reading of her work on Tuesday, June 19 @ 7 p.m.
What surprises does your workshop hold?
tMaybe it’s the topic. It’s a fiction workshop, but I’m going to be talking about how to bring your own real life into your fiction. Most people think of fiction as made-up.
What is most challenging trying to survive as a modern-day writer?
tIt’s very difficult financially to support yourself with writing. It’s a dirty little secret they don’t tell you that even when you achieve an amount of success, you’re still going to have a lot of trouble and you’ll have to take other jobs. I’m the queen of part-time jobs and one of them is that I’m a private investigator.
Any insights from working as a PI?
tThat people really are just dying to tell their stories. Even the ones they think are so private, they can’t tell anyone. There’s something that eats at them, and as soon as they’re given an opportunity, they’ll tell perfect strangers everything about themselves.
Could working as a PI potentially sour you on love?
tIt has made me realize the extent to which corruption can go from the very bottom to the very top. It’s made me disappointed in a lot of major institutions. Love I still believe in.
Is it possible to find love through writing? Or does writing serve mostly to exorcise demons?
tI don’t think it is about exorcising demons, and I don’t think it is about finding love. If you write for those reasons, you’re not going to get what you want. I think you have to write because you believe in writing.