Kim Cooper Findling’s third book, A Chance of Sun, was recently published by Matt Love at Nestucca Spit Press here in Oregon. Matt (who is the man behind some of our favorite projects we’ve printed here at OLI, like this and this) referred Kim to us through our referral program. We are so happy to be her book’s printer!
Here Kim answers some questions about being a writer, inspiration, relaxation, and the creative process.
OLI: What inspires you when you’re about to spend time writing?
KCF: Rest, solitude and time outdoors inspire me. But for the most part I don’t really believe in inspiration. Good writing comes not from some external phenomenon but from focus and time. Make yourself stay put in front of the keyboard for long enough and it will come.
OLI: What’s your routine like getting into the creative spirit?
KCF: I write best in the morning. Coffee, exercise and quiet are crucial. If I get sucked into the pages and don’t change out of my pajamas until noon, I know it’s been a productive morning!
OLI: What’s your ideal Saturday afternoon look like?
KCF: A book, a beer, a deck chair, a few uninterrupted hours. Or a lazy walk by the river or the ocean with my family.
OLI: What got you into writing?
KCF: I always wanted to write. I loved writing in school and took a stab at a few essays in my 20s. The impetus to actually start writing seriously, with intention for income and publication, came by way of two things: unhappiness with the constraints of a 9-5 job and a supportive husband with a paycheck and health insurance. And I guess a third thing–knowing it was time to take my biggest dream seriously! That was 11 years ago and I’ve never looked back.
OLI: What keeps you going? You’ve written many books, which is such a huge, creative feat. Can you explain what that evolution is like, from one book to the next?
KCF: I’ve written three books, the first of which was never published. Each process was different. The first I had to write, on a personal level—it came like a freight train and poured out of me in a few months. The second, “Day Trips From Portland: Getaway Ideas for the Local Traveler,” was by way of an invitation from the publisher and a book contract. I had a ridiculously tight deadline that I had signed a legal document to meet; that was motivator enough to pound out 70,000 words. The third, “Chance of Sun: An Oregon Memoir,” also came by way of invitation, when Nestucca Spit Press publisher Matt Love asked me to write a book about growing up in Oregon. Still, the creative process was mine to control, or to manage. It took a couple of years.
Creativity and inspiration came in fits and starts, but overall it was an incredible experience to unearth, assess and write about my own past, as well as the beautiful state of Oregon. Now, I feel another book brewing inside of me. It’s arriving as images in my mind, snippets of text, loose concepts of structure. I haven’t written a word yet but I know very soon I’ll be compelled to, and so the scary, thrilling, exalting process of creating something on the blank page will begin. If I’m lucky, this will happen to me again and again in this lifetime.
OLI: Who’s your favorite author? Favorite book?
KCF: I write only non-fiction, yet my favorite books are fiction. “Life of Pi” by Yann Martel and “Montana 1948” by Larry Watson are my top two all time faves, with “The Last Town on Earth” by Thomas Mullen coming in a tight third. I love mysteries and read everything by Kate Atkinson and Tana French the minute it appears. I do have favorite non-fiction writers—Atul Gawande, David Sedaris, Malcolm Gladwell and Susan Orlean come to mind.