Kaye P. McKee Interview
The Indie Book Butler Interview.
IBB: You’ve got twenty words to entice us to read your book(s). What would you say?
I’d say: “Want some hopeful company through the hard stuff of your life? Here’s one of my books.”
IBB: Where do you like to write?
First draft: a place with good people energy like a coffee shop, fast food restaurant, or airport. Following drafts: a quiet setting, free from distractions where I can go deep. Usually a space in my home.
IBB: Is there anything you must have in order to write?
First choice: paper and a pen with a good flow of ink. Second choice: a computer.
IBB: What books have influenced you most, both as a person and as an author?
My Top Five
- The Bible: (That’s actually cheating, since it’s an anthology of 66 books, but it is all in one cover!) I’ve been intrigued and nourished by the Bible since childhood and it’s still a daily read. Its texts perplex, astonish, and inform my faith.
- Jane Eyre: Gothic mystery, phenomenal writing, and a powerful female protagonist. Each time I read it, I am entranced and transported by the story.
- The Chronicles of Narnia: (yep, cheating again) Lewis made profound spiritual truths accessible through the magic of story. And he never talked down to children, which cements my appreciation for him and his work.
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings: Maya Angelou shared the harsh experiences of her early life with such economy and beauty of language it makes my heart ache.
- The Time Quartet: (still cheating—but it’s the last time) Madeleine L’Engle’s works, especially the Time Quartet, have challenged and graced my life and my writing. Hers was a thinking and a grounded faith and that’s what I want mine to be.
IBB: What is the one thing that has helped you develop most as an author?
Reading. Just that. Reading often and reading widely. Reading great writers.
IBB: What do you want to achieve most from your writing?
I write always with the reader in mind. I want to give readers something of beauty, something to give them hope, something that lets them know their worth. I want to offer readers the best I have to give.
IBB: Have you received a favorite review of your work?
For those who love God and are in darkness
Reviewed in the United States on March 11, 2013
The book is written by a pastor who is deeply in love with God, yet experienced years of the darkest of nights. It seemed to her that God walked away. She has well researched the ancients (Theresa and John of the Cross) and makes a clear and careful (responsible) distinction between The Dark Night (a gift from God) and depression (which should be medically and therapeutically treated.
The book is written for those who are in darkness of the soul and need to know there is hope for dawn and resurrection. She testifies to that as well.
The book is designed to be lived with deeply for weeks and months and maybe years. It has many recommendations for meditation, movies and music and books to utilize, and prayers to pray. If your faith has turned from light into dark and your hunger for God continues, this book will be an excellent companion to show how to trust that God is using even this toward love.
Pastor and Psychotherapist
IBB: Were there any particular parts of the writing/publishing process that you struggled with?
Publishing, definitely. I am still seeking an agent and/or publisher who believes in my writing and in what I write about. I send out queries to keep the hope alive, and then, when needed, I self-publish in hopes that readers who need what I have written will find my books.
IBB: Is there something specific you do to improve your writing?
I write every day. I read good books on the writing life (The Artist’s Way and Writing Down the Bones are favorites). I attend writing conferences and seminars. My daughters gave me a year’s subscription to Master Class, so I have loved learning from Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, and Aaron Sorkin!
IBB: What is the ideal relationship between editor and author?
Mutual regard and respect. A great editor sees a work’s potential and provides constructive criticism and support. A great writer recognizes her need for the services of an informed editor, has humility enough to take criticism, and expresses appreciation for strengthening her work.
IBB: If you had a direct line to someone who loves or hates your writing, what would you say?
To both, I would ask, “Tell me more, please.” To the one who hates the work, “please give me specifics about what bothered you, and let’s have a dialogue. Also, what books have you enjoyed?” To the one who loves the work, “please give me specifics about what you valued, and let’s have a dialogue. Also, what other books have you enjoyed?”
IBB: If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?
On a first draft, give yourself permission to write it badly. Just get the idea onto a page. Now you have something to work with; and something is far better than nothing.
IBB: What does your writing future hold for you?
I have two finished manuscripts I hope to publish. One, eScapegoat, is a work of narrative theology which offers hope to those who love God but find themselves carrying the blame of the church system. The other, Burning Sands: A Semantic Comedy, is a tongue-in-cheek relating of my unexpected (and lifetime) romance in the midst of ministry life. I’m also editing the next book in my Clown series: a series I hope will find a readership because Jesus’ parables, on which the series is based, are deep and timeless.
IBB: How have you set about the task of creating enticing cover art?
I attended a seminar that encouraged simplicity in cover art. But I love beautiful cover art that also provides clues to the story within, so that is what I do. Because I delight in the messy wonder of collage, my cover art is done in collage.
IBB: How often do you read? What genre?
I read every day. My favorite fun reads are mysteries: I must have read thousands. I read books on spirituality, fantasy, graphic novels, children’s novels, young adult novels, and some sci‑fi.
IBB: Before we let you escape, it’s your chance to name-drop. Anyone who you feel is deserving of more recognition at present or someone whose writing you have recently enjoyed? Now is your chance to spread the word…
Dr. Corinne Ware, author of St. Benedict on the Freeway and Discover your Spiritual Type, was my professor, my mentor, and my friend. She called her writing “the popular mechanics of spirituality,” which meant she translated spiritual truths into accessible language. I know she would want her work to continue to nourish souls.
Elizabeth Goudge’s A Scent of Water was given to me as a graduation present. I did not know the writer, but the book has deeply informed my faith. Goudge writes beautifully about hard and ugly things. I would like more people to know of her work.
Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Best of luck in the future.
For more on Kaye and her writing, please visit:
www.aspaciousplace.com (The non-profit Kaye founded and serves as Executive Director; Kaye writes most of the copy on the site.)