While at Mom 2.0, I had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Katherine Center. She was a panelist, talking about her experience writing her novels, The Bright Side of Disaster and Everyone is Beautiful. I was so intrigued by her latest book’s premise, Everyone is Beautiful, that I bought a copy and started reading right away!
Well, can I just tell you she was writing excerpts from my life? I mean she had me at “3 kids but only 2 arms”! Just last week, I cleaned throw-up from all over my son’s bathroom and I know how it feels to walk up 3 flights of stairs with a baby on one hip and a basket of laundry on the other! But there’s so much more to this book than the every day craziness of raising kids, so much more.
Here’s a quick video so you’ll see what I’m talking about, it’s all in the title:
Aside from being an amazing writer and author, Katherine is super crafty! Here’s a picture of a beautiful quilt she made for her daughter. Yep, this gal’s got lots-o-talent!
Katherine Center Interview: I’ve been able to ask Katherine a few questions about her 2 fabulous books and being a crafty Mama.
- Marie: How much of your real life comes out in your books?
Katherine: A lot—in bits and pieces. Writing fiction is kind of like making a collage. You take things people in your life say and do and wear and think about, and you mix them all around into a totally new story. And then you make the other half up. But I like narrators who can talk about the things they struggle with and think about, so I give a lot of my own struggles and thoughts to them.
- Marie: How are your two novels similar and/or different?
Katherine: They have the same sense of humor. And the same bittersweet quality. The voice is very similar. And they’re both about family life and love and the hilarity and heartbreak of getting through the day.
But they’re about two different women in different parts of the country with different lives. Both are moms—one with a newborn and one with a gaggle of three boys under four—and both, more importantly, are women: trying to figure out what matters to them and what makes a good life.
- Marie: What’s been the craziest thing or experience to happen to you as a mom, in private or in public?
Katherine: How to choose? Every day there’s some crazy kid thing going on in my life. Whether its my just-potty-trained son gearing up to pee on the shoes of the ladies at carpool pick-up or my daughter watching the food arrive at a hamburger joint and shouting, “Mom! We’re living like kings!”
Every single day is busy and exhausting and delightful. And we just say yes to all of it—to this kid life we’re living, with our two little ones building a mud fort in the backyard in their underwear with chocolate all over their faces. It’s nothing like we thought it would be. And it’s the best thing there is.
- Marie: How long have you been a crafter?
Katherine: I’ve always loved to do arts and crafts. In college, I used to make artist’s books—stamping and painting words onto crazy things like sheet metal and bedsheets. I’ve also done quite a bit of photography. I taught myself how to crochet one time. I love to make things out of paper, and I Iove to quilt and sew.
- Marie: What’s your favorite type of craft?
Katherine: Quilting is probably what I’ve done the most of. I love old quilts from the 1930s and ‘40s. I love vintage fabrics and feed sacks. I love the feeling it gives me of being connected to the past.
- Marie: Do you craft with your kids? Where do you find inspiration?
Katherine: I do kids crafts with my kids! They love my sewing machine and my fabrics. Though it is kind of tough for me, because once we get started, I just want to keep going. They lose interest long before I do. It’s almost harder to do it with kids when it’s something you really love! But I am definitely the go-to parent for art projects of all kinds.
Usually, I’ll see something beautiful and get inspired. I’ll think, “I could do that!” That’s how I started quilting. I saw a quilt in a magazine, and it was so breathtaking, and I thought, “That doesn’t look so hard!” Two years later, I had a finished, hand-sewn quilt. Boom!
- Marie: What do you enjoy more, writing or crafting?
Katherine: I like them in different ways. I like to have things to do with my hands, and I’m very visual and I love to make beautiful things. So that works well for crafting. Short crafting projects can also offer instant gratification! But quilting is a little bit like novel-writing, too—in that it’s a very slow progression. You have to be very patient and wait for everything to come together, and it’s a thrill how each new step changes everything else. And of course both of those things are a lot like life.
Thanks, Katherine! And I think I see a new story developing… something about a quilting mother of 2 set in the 1930’s!
Now you are all in for a treat as Katherine is giving away 3 signed copies of her latest book, Everyone is Beautiful. That’s 3 winners. This is the giveaway to go for with 3 chances to win this book that will have you laughing and nodding your head as you’ve had experiences all too familiar!
Giveaway Entries: For your chance to win one of 3 signed copies of Everyone Is Beautiful, leave a comment on this post by Monday March 16th @ midnight. I’ll announce the winner chosen from random on Tuesday morning March 17th. Good luck and happy reading!