Kodie Van Dusen Interview
The Indie Book Butler Interview.
Indie Book Butler: Let’s start things off with an introduction. Tell us a little about yourself for those not already aware of you and your work.
Writer. Counselor. Lover of books and strong coffee. I’m an emerging writer born, raised, and settled in Southwestern Ontario. Writing has been my long-time passion. I’ve published poetry in anthologies and started winning writing awards as early as fourth grade. My narratives have been shortlisted in numerous competitions, including the 2018 Word Alive Press Free Publishing Contest and the 2020 Scintillating Starts contest via writeradvice.com.
IBB: You’ve got twenty words to tempt us to read your book(s). What would you say?
Nuance and emotion. That’s it. Writing is my favourite form of therapy and my favourite place to explore life’s questions.
IBB: Where do you like to write?
Wherever it’s quiet and I can look out the window while I’m working.
IBB: Is there anything you must have in order to write?
My candles. I try to maintain good writing hygiene by setting the mood every time I sit down to write—I have a special Kurt Vonnegut candle I like to have out on my desk as I work. And coffee. Abundant and strong coffee.
IBB: What books have influenced you most, both as a person and as an author?
John Green’s writing has been a huge inspiration for me. His first novel, Looking for Alaska, broke a reading slump that started during college and lasted into early adulthood. I also adore Kurt Vonnegut. His writing reminds me to not take existence so seriously and enjoy the ride.
IBB: What is the one thing that has helped you develop most as an author?
My husband’s support. I used to have some very bad writing hygiene and some very magical thinking about how novels get written. He helped me to understand that thinking and developing a good story are as much a part of writing as putting the words on paper.
IBB: What do you want to achieve most from your writing?
Peace. Without writing, life’s questions would be unbearable for me.
IBB: Have you received a favorite review of your work?
Sheila Heti was the writer-in-residence while I was in university and reviewed a sample of my work. She was one of the first published authors to read my writing and praised my ability to write dialogue. Her feedback was probably the most meaningful because I was just starting out. It propelled me through a lot of rough patches and doubts along the way.
IBB: Were there any particular parts of the writing/publishing process that you struggled with?
Fixed mindset. I’m constantly having to remind myself that Rome wasn’t built in a day and that my favourite books have layers of rough drafts buried below the surface.
IBB: Is there something specific you do to improve your writing?
I love to watch videos and read books on story structure or about the lives of established writers. Tyler Mowery has some wonderful videos about conflict and exposition in screenwriting that I have found equally applicable to writing novels.
IBB: What is the ideal relationship between editor and author?
One where both are on the same page about what the philosophical, emotional, and external stakes in the narrative are. Good conflict drives good storytelling, and it’s important to me that my editor understands the most effective methods of layering the stakes to create an engaging narrative.
IBB: If you had a direct line to someone who loves or hates your writing, what would you say?
I’m happy to have conversations about my writing; however, I try to avoid seeking out conversations about it unless I’m looking for focused feedback on early drafts. At some point, the writing becomes something separate from the writer, and it can become toxic to focus on the opinions of people who feel strongly about it in one direction or the other. Too much love, you run the risk of getting cocky and doing it for the praise; too much hate, you run the risk of being crippled with self-doubt.
IBB: If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?
Work hard until you make it, then work harder. Writing is a craft like any other and you should always be looking for ways to improve.
IBB: What does your writing future hold for you?
Novels, novels, more novels. And maybe a short story collection. I find I’m writing a lot of those these days.
IBB: How have you set about the task of creating enticing cover art?
I like to browse shelves for trends in cover art and decipher what elements make it work. I notice a lot of book covers are nearly identical to other books on the shelves; I like to avoid that where possible while still hitting on popular trends.
IBB: How often do you read? What genre?
Daily. Whatever I feel like in the moment.
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…
John Green. Forever and always. I dream of the day we might get to enjoy a cup of coffee and talk about the interplay between life and storytelling.
Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Best of luck in the future.
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