Interview with Katherine Gleason, part 3

Welcome back for the conclusion of our chat with Katherine Gleason, author of Anatomy of Steampunk.

Read part 1 here.

Read part 2 here.

Anatomy Steampunk Cover

AA: What do you do to keep a balance between creating a book and the rest of your life?

KG: Balance? What is that? 😉 My life can be pretty much a roller-coaster. But I do try to even things out. I practice a lot of yoga. Even so, I do end up neglecting many personal tasks when I’m working on a book and facing a deadline. I eat a lot of take out, don’t return messages from friends, leave unopened snail mail around the apartment, and I often end up filing an extension on my personal income tax. Sigh.


AA: Do you get to talk much with other writers and artists to compare notes, have constructive critique reviews, and brainstorm new ideas?

KG: I had a small writing group in my neighborhood for a few years. Sadly one of our members moved away. So, now there are just two of us. Typically, I don’t workshop the nonfiction. There is rarely enough time, and I usually get enough feedback from my editors.


AA: How have you and your work grown and changed over time?

KG: I don’t know how to answer this. I’ve been writing nonfiction books for about twenty years. Early on I wrote lots of directions for making crafts—origami kits and pamphlets. I’ve also written little books for kids about science—one on recent research in animal social behavior, which is one of my favorites, one on archeology, another one on genetics. I guess if I look at the origami and the science books and then look at my two most recent books—Anatomy of Steampunk and Alexander McQueen: Evolution, which are both coffee-table books—I could say that my books have gotten longer and prettier. So, I guess that is progress!


AA: How is your city for writing? Does location matter for resources, access, publicity, etc

KG: I’m in New York City. So, there is a lot here. I’m not really sure that location does matter any more, though. It is nice that so much of publishing is here, but I can’t remember when I last met with an editor or publisher face to face. We do so much of the work via email.


AA: Most of the authors I’ve talked with have some type of day job and that writing is their other job. What has that situation been for you and how has it helped/hindered begin a published writer?

KG: Pretty much writing nonfiction books is my day job. Sometimes I edit and project manage a book or a series of books as they move through the editorial and production process.


AA: Do people outside the regular reading, steampunk, and convention communities recognize you for Anatomy? What kind of reactions have you received?

KG: The book did get a brief write up in the New York Post, which was so cool. A little feature about shopping. I hope that it piqued the curiosity of folks who were not previously aware of steampunk!


AA: Looking beyond steampunk, writing and working, what other interests fill your time?

KG: Writing, writing, and more writing. My cats, of course. I’m kind of obsessed with them. I have two, and they are young and very energetic. (Although they are both sleeping right now.) And I love to garden. I grow mostly foliage plants as my community garden is quite shady. I also go to the theater and to museums quite a bit, and I love to walk around New York City and window shop and see all the other people who are walking around, too.


AA: How do those interests influence your work?

KG: I think the energy of New York creeps into my work. We have a certain speed here. We walk fast and talk fast. The visual stimulation is also important to me. There’s always a lot to look at. When I’m looking at art or looking at people’s outfits on the street, I get ideas. I also find that I need breaks from words and looking at a great painting can really help my brain settle.


AA: Who or what do you count as your influences, motivators, or role models?

KG: Curiosity. I guess that’s really it for me and a love of learning. I love to immerse myself in a new topic, learn everything I can, and then share all the cool stuff I’ve found with others.


AA: Three quick fire, random questions related to fashion  –  what is your favorite fabric, accessory, and historical dressing style?

KG: Wow, it’s a toss up between denim and velvet. In terms of accessories, I love canvas messenger bags. There’s a shop around the corner from me called Love Shine, and they make the totally most fun canvas bags with various colors and prints. I love walking by there just to peer in the window. To look at, I’d say late Victorian/ early Edwardian. To actually wear, probably now. Because now just about anything goes.


AA: Any final thoughts to share with our readers

KG: If you want to write stuff, write. If you want to create, create. If you want to learn a new skill, take a class or ask a friend, or check out Youtube for an instructional video. Do a little bit of your own thing every day and don’t beat yourself up for what you have not done. Have fun. Relax. Also, say “please” and “thank you.” That’s what my mother always taught me, and I think it works. Thank you, Kevin, for having me. This was fun!! And thank you, gentle readers!!


Thank you, Katherine, for joining us! I’m sure we are all looking forward to a sequel.

Until then, keep up with Katherine Gleason on her website, and get your copy of Anatomy of Steampunk today!

Published in: on March 20, 2014 at 9:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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