Interview: Kimberly Dawn Neumann

I’ve talked to Kimberly Dawn Neumann a couple times over the last couple of years when she’s interviewed me for dating and relationship articles she’s written. (The latest one was on LemonDrop – did you see it?) Kimberly is one of those incredibly talented people that is not only a successful freelance writer but a Broadway actress as well. This combination of talents amazes me!

Kimberly’s work has appeared in publications such as Cosmopolitan, Maxim, Fitness, Marie Claire, and several online publications including Match.com’s Happen and MSN’s Dating and Personals. Her onstage work has ranged from roles in several Broadway shows including Ragtime, Kiss Me Kate and Urban Cowboy, to countless appearances on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien.”

Enjoy this interview.

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Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from and how long have you been writing?

Originally born in California and raised there and Colorado, I found my way back East when my family moved to Maryland my first semester of college. I transferred to the University of Maryland after my first semester and it ended up being a rather serendipitous occurrence because I not only landed at one of the top ten schools for journalism, but I was also able to pursue my other love, dance, by performing at the Kennedy Center all through college (which was a MUCH better collegiate job than say flipping burgers or waitressing!).

As for writing, it all started with my obsessive journal keeping at an early age. I think my earliest journal dates from age 6. I remember the entry clearly…it said “Today Shannon [childhood best friend] gave me 13-cents for no reason!” And from that point on…I guess I thought I could make a living writing?

What types of writing do you do?

I think good writing skills can parlay themselves into any area but my main focus when I got out of school was the magazine journalism world. I went after the Women’s magazine niche and found early success in the health/fitness arena thanks to my fitness background. In fact, I got some of my first clips after fitness modeling for a few magazines and mentioning to the editors “You know, I could be writing your articles as well as modeling for them.” I sort of worked my way in the back door and got some assignments. This was probably an unorthodox route but it worked. Then about 7 years ago, I met an editor at a party who gave me an article on a dating/relationship topic and WHAM…a whole new adventure began. Since then I’ve been writing dating/relationship articles and now have two books out on the subject (The Real Reasons Men Commit: Why He Will – or Won’t – Love, Honor and Marry You and Sex Comes First: 15 Ways to Help Your Relationship – Without Leaving Your Bedroom). My friends now call me the “Carrie Bradshaw of Broadway” owing to my two careers as a writer and Broadway performer.

What’s the best thing about writing?

I find writing to be very creative but also it works my brain in a different way than my pursuits as a performing artist. The two feed each other and yet are separate enough to keep me challenged. Also, I like seeing something on the page that I have created and I get a little twisted thrill when I come up with say a perfect alliteration or some quirky word play.

Is there a specific time of day you like to write?

I am undoubtedly a Vampire writer! My best work happens late at night…usually somewhere between 11 p.m.-3 a.m. I think that frequently my brain spends all day kicking around ideas – even subconsciously – and then when the world slows down and things get quiet, I’m able to rapidly spew my thoughts onto my computer.

What’s the most interesting book you’ve ever read?

I must admit to having been completely entranced and absorbed by Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. I don’t agree with all her theories but as a writer, she was incredibly gifted and could tell a mean story.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I don’t know that there was a clear moment…I just always WAS a writer inherently. I have my whole life recorded in journals and I always used writing as a cathartic way of working things out so I think the decision to pursue it as a career was sort of made for me because it was intrinsic to who I am. That said, I somehow walked into college knowing that I would be a writer and a dancer someday…and knock on wood, I made that happen.

Favorite authors?

Can I say “Me”? LOL! Kidding. But I have realized that I do so much writing that it becomes a luxury for me to read things that I haven’t written!

Book you’re currently reading.

I got completely sucked into the Twilight series this year and found it to be fantastic escapism. Now I’m starting on the Sookie Stackhouse books from which the HBO show True Blood emanated. Hmmmm…maybe it’s not just my writing hours that make me a vampire (which is funny for someone like me since I tend to have a very sunny personality naturally)?

Any type of writing ritual you have?

I don’t know if it’s a ritual, but I can’t write in uncomfortable clothes or without lip gloss (seriously, then all I can think about is how I can’t move and how chapped my lips are instead of writing;).

Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, how did you get past it? If not, why not?

I don’t really call it “writer’s block” per se, but I KNOW that I can’t force myself to write until I’m ready. If I find myself sitting at the computer and unsuccessfully moving forward with a project, I will usually go work out. Interestingly, if I can get endorphins flowing, my brain will usually follow (and there have been studies that affirm physical activity can enhance creativity so…I totally buy it!).

What’s the measure of a successful writer?

Hmmm…that’s tough because people define “success” differently. Obviously getting published is awesome, but I also know a lot of amazing writers who have never put anything out there for the masses to read but I’d still consider them writers because they are so eloquent. I think that perhaps the measure of success is someone who has a grasp of the written word and is able to communicate and perhaps entertain through that medium.

Advice for other writers?

I always tell people trying to get published for the first time to write about what they know! It’ll help you establish a niche and if you’re passionate about something, that comes through on the page!

Where can we learn more about you?

You can check out many of my clips on www.KDNeumann.com. My books also have sites: www.realreasonsmencommit.com and www.sexcomesfirst.com.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I love words. I fully admit to being a word geek. I keep a notebook of new words I learn on my desk (even though they’re all in the dictionary, I somehow like writing them down myself). And, beating me in Scrabble is not easy! LOL!

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