Katherine Bentley: Author Interview for The Ram Boutique
Katherine Bentley is one of The Ram Boutique Literary Journal’s authors for its upcoming publication. Katherine was kind enough to sit down and share some insight into her work, and herself! Her work, “The Raincoat,” takes the reader into the lives of two men surviving in an apocalyptic world and through subtle imagery makes an intriguing commentary into the personalities of her characters.
1. First off: tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from, what do you do?
I grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, though when I say “suburbs,” I actually mean: “it takes fifteen minutes to get to a grocery store and that grocery store is a Walmart that has a stable for the Amish to park their horses.” So… not quite suburbs. Childhood activities involved wandering through the woods while sharpening sticks, swimming in streams, and riding a golf cart around hayfields, occasionally shoving people off while doing donuts. Still, in all the ways that count, I consider myself from Philadelphia, which is to say I am a rabid Eagles fan and every year I somehow convince myself that this is the year we will win the Superbowl. I would make a quip about being a fiction writer here, except, really, I think this could be our year.
Anyway, after college in Williamsburg, Virginia, two years as an English teacher in Miami, and a year earning my M.S. in London, I have found myself outside of Washington D.C. I live with three roommates. We enjoy watching bad reality television, cooking very elaborate meals every night of the week, and yelling at each other as we attempt to complete puzzles. (It turns out doing puzzles can be a very competitive sport. Or maybe that’s just us.)
In terms of writing, I am editing my first novel. Or trying to! I often get distracted by a thousand other short stories that I want to write so it’s a struggle to stay focused. Here’s to hoping it will get done eventually!
2. Best of luck! We hope that your inclusion in The Ram Boutique will help you to spread your name. Could you tell us more about your background as a writer?
I wrote my first “book” when I was about seven years old. It featured Freddie, Teddie and Eddie, three dogs who saved the world multiple times from Mr. Mean. It was a thriller, let me tell you. Also, it was objectively terrible. And it was followed up by many other stories that are objectively terrible. In 5th grade, I wrote a story (masterfully incorporating spelling words, I might add) whose main conflict was that the bad guy was going to time travel and convince Mary to “say no” to God when asked if she would give birth to Jesus (for a girl in single-sex Catholic Education, this was pretty much the Worst Thing that could happen). In 8th grade, I wrote a fictional journal of someone going slowly insane during standardized testing… during our standardized testing.
Luckily, no one ever told me I was bad at writing. And, as is the case with something if you do it long enough, I eventually got better. (At least, I like to think so!) By the time college rolled around, I specialized in convincing my professors to let me forego traditional essays and submit bizarre stories instead. I wrote an “essay” on the Civil War from the point of view of a Southern General. For my Educational Psychology class, I described my ideal teacher methods as an alien student who suspects his teacher is also an alien (because she is just that good). In addition to a one-page policy paper, my International Security final included a “short story,” which was close to 50 pages long.
Put simply, I have always loved writing. While other (sometimes quite random) hobbies have come and gone, writing has always been my constant.
3. What brought about the selected piece; where did the idea come from?
The idea for this particular piece came after a long discussion with my friends about colorblindness. More specifically, we were discussing the age-old questions of “is my green the same as your green? And, if it were different, how would we ever know?” (At least, they are age-old questions for my particular friend group.) Somehow, that very strange debate wound up with me imaging a society where everyone was colorblind due to a vaccine and… well, the rest is history!
4. What is your ideal time and place to write?
While some authors love to go explore and curl up in a coffee shop to write, the one time I tried that approach, I ended up creating elaborate backstories for all the staff and doing absolutely no writing. I work best at my desk in my room where I can’t be too distracted because I’ve seen the Star Wars and Marvel posters a thousand times already. As for ideal time, I am definitely a morning person (though that may be mostly because my cat does not let me sleep in past 7 am. If I don’t feed him by then, he panics. He’s a bit of a fatty. Though, don’t tell him I said so.)
5. Lastly, the big one: Why do you write?
I don’t think writing was ever an option for me. Writing is something I have always done. I love thinking up stories in my head and writing them out just seems like the next logical step. For me, it’s fun and exciting and I love when I can share them with other people!
Thank you so much to River Ram Press for choosing to publish my story! I loved the first edition of The Ram Boutique and am honored to now have a spot among these very talented authors!
Katherine Bentley lives and works near Washington D.C. with her beloved cat and three roommates who don’t seem to mind that she tends to mutter to aforementioned cat constantly. She is currently editing her first novel and can be found posting an assortment of random things here.
River Ram Press is proud to showcase Katherine Bentley as our second author for The Ram Boutique Literary Journal Volume 2, to be published in April 2017. If you would like to join Katherine as one of our selected authors, check out our Submission Guidelines on the RRP Website.