Interview: Katherine Kuzma-Beck

As I’ve mentioned many times, writing at Suite has been beneficial in so many ways, one of them being the wonderful writers I’ve encountered. Katherine Kuzma-Beck is the Art Books Feature Writer at Suite101, which is where I “met” her. She has a wonderful background and plethora of interests, which make her articles fascinating and fun to read. She is the Newark Fine Arts Examiner and a blogger for Earth from Above, an international art exhibition showcasing the photography of Yann Arthus-Bertrand. Katherine can also be found at ehow.

Enjoy this interview.

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You’ve had a very interesting background, and I must say, have the perfect degree for someone in the creative field. Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became interested in art history and journalism?

My love of journalism came first. I have dreamt of being a writer since middle school and by the time I was graduating high school, I had a teacher who really pushed me and fostered that dream. He taught a journalism elective which I signed up for and that was it. My passion for art history followed after taking a year of the into class in college and finally getting a chance to go abroad for the first time. Though my dad is German, we never visited my family there and once I was in Europe, actually seeing the remains of the Renaissance, I was completely smitten with art history. I had to double major!

You’re fluent in German and French. Do you feel this influences the way you write?

To be honest, not really. I am not fluent in German as I am in French, though I am hoping to get there soon! My love of the French culture and my time in Paris I think influences my writing more so than the language itself.

Tell us about your time living in Paris. (Please tell me you wrote while sitting at a cafe!)

Oh, Paris, I don’t even know where to start! I was 20 and wide eyed and completely in awe of the city. My apartment was located across the street from a busy, busy café. My room mate and I used to sit at our window and people watch for hours. That was where I did a lot of my writing, I journaled everyday about it and wrote countless letters home. My favorite Paris memory though, was getting to meet the widow of Jean Helion in his study with Calder mobiles and Helion’s large canvases hanging everywhere. What impressed me the most was how if you had seen this woman on the street you would never know that she was a former daughter-in-law to Peggy Guggenheim or the widow of Jean Helion! She was so sweet and unassuming – it made me want to create characters with that kind of depth.

When did you start writing and what influenced your early work?

I was 13 when I started writing and I contribute it to my parent’s divorce the year before and my love of wanting to become Jo March from my favorite novel, Little Women. Like a lot of children who are going through divorce, I needed my own world and escape…for me that was my writing and fancying myself as the headstrong heroin in Alcott’s most loved novel. I spent hours locked up in my room writing full on novels and loving every second of it.

Share some of your writing goals. What’s next for you?

I just wrote a new novel and it’s different from what I am used to doing. It is what I am focusing on outside of my Earth from Above blog and my Suite101 section. I hope to find an agent and really make it shine like I think it has the ability to.

I am also trying to get back into paper journalism and am hoping the economy will be kinder to us writers and open up some new staff writing jobs.

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

Falling Angels and The Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier. I read them both within days of one another and I just became immersed in the world she created.

Favorite authors?

Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott and Tracy Chevalier. Lately, I have been becoming more of an Anne Rice fan too.

Book you’re currently reading?

Blood and Gold (Vampire Chronicles) by Anne Rice.

Any type of writing ritual you have?

I usually write late at night. Stories and ideas tend to come to me the moment my head hits the pillow which then makes me argue with myself if I should get up or if I should trust myself to remember it in the morning. I usually get up and begrudgingly turn on my Macbook and sit with my cat, flushing it out before I can get back to sleep.

Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, how did you get past it?

Oh yes! It usually hits me when I’m fighting a deadline. Depending on how stressed I am at the moment, I might just back away from the keyboard, have a glass of wine and mellow out before I go back. If that fails, I knit.

In your opinion, what’s the measure of a successful writer?

I think a successful writer is one that is happy with the kinds of work that they are turning out and the audience that they are reaching.

Advice for other writers?

If you want to do it, do it.


Where can we learn more about you?

You can visit my website – http://www.katherinekb.com ­– and get updates on what’s going on in my life, with my writing and my latest adventures.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Thanks for taking the time to interview me!

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