Ask the Author: Kerry Kletter
What would you like readers to know about you?
Really just how much I appreciate them. All books are a communion between author and reader and it’s such a gift to be able to connect with people through the stories I write. In general, readers are just my kind of people—thoughtful, empathetic, kind—we need more of them!
What is your book about for those who haven’t read it?
My adult debut, East Coast Girls is the story of four childhood friends—Maya, Hannah, Blue, and Renee—who once found rescue from their difficult home lives in each other and the summers they spent together at the beach in Montauk. Then one terrifying night changed everything.
We meet them at thirty, their group bond shattered, each haunted in their own way by that traumatic night. When they learn the house in Montauk is up for sale, they realize they have one last chance. One last chance to return to the place they were most happy. One last chance to repair the friendship and reconnect with the joy they once shared. But just as that promise seems within reach, buried secrets surface, tragedy strikes again and their friendship is tested like never before.
What has been your inspiration for writing it?
I have been very lucky to have lifelong friends who are like family to me, who are the little slice of the world where I fit perfectly, who make every good day more fun and every bad day a little easier. I wanted to honor those kinds of relationships in the only way I know how which is to write about them. At the same time, some of my close people were going through difficult things in their lives while I was writing this book and it raised some questions for me about love and grief and fear of loss that found their way into the story. I’m always interested in exploring the various ways humans cope—how our difficult life experiences can both connect us to each other and interfere with our connections to each other, so that’s in there as well.
What was your favorite scene or part of your book to write?
Probably when the four women go on a whale watching adventure after a rough night with too much drinking. I could have stayed on that boat with them for a long time— though certainly some of them wanted desperately to get off.
What books or authors inspired you to become a writer?
Pat Conroy was my original inspiration. He was the first lyrical writer I ever read and the first who gave words to experiences I’d lived. I read THE PRINCE OF TIDES when I was young and knew by the way those words changed me that I wanted to do that too. But I find that so much of being a writer requires being repeatedly inspired by other authors. It never really ends. I love writers who push me to be better—especially beautiful sentence-level writers, who are incredibly smart and wise. Current inspirations are Leslie Jamison, Jenny Offill, Stephanie Danler, Ann Napolitano, and Elizabeth Strout.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors who want to write a book?
Mostly I would say if I can do it, you can too. Just sit down and try. Every book on the shelf started with someone just sitting down and trying. All the other stuff, you’ll figure out along the way.
Thank you for the wonderful interview, Maddie!