dried flowers with printed text

Interview with Cupán Fae Author Kat Dodd

Kat Dodd is an American transplant that escaped from a small town in Arkansas right between Toad Suck, Pickles Gap, and Wooster. The first story they ever wrote was in a purple crayon in their journal, and Kat hasn’t stopped writing since. Kat is a co-organiser of Cupán Fae and has been a member for almost 4 years and has contributed to anthologies: Dublin’s Fierce City, Fierce Mighty, Fierce New World, and Fierce & Proud.

When did you write your first short story? How old were you? What was it about?

That depends on how you define “write”. I made my mom write down a story about me going to Disneyworld and meeting Minnie Mouse when I was three. The earliest one that I’ve found that I myself wrote was Star Trek fanfiction written in purple crayon when I was roundabouts five,  about running around The Enterprise with Wesley Crusher

Do you like audiobooks, physical books, or ebooks better? Why?

Audiobooks are a struggle for me, because I have auditory processing issues, though I have tried. I love to read physical books when I can, because I have a great love of the feel of paper and the smell of a book. I use ebooks more often than not because accessibility: I can change the font size, I can set it to be a dark background with light font, which makes it a lot easier for me, and I can hold it a lot easier than a physical book.

How would you rank character, plot, and setting in order of importance in a story?

Pretty much in that order, actually! Though setting has wiggle room for where it goes, because I do love it when the setting is a character of its own. But I subscribe to the belief that for the most part, you can have a great plot and if people don’t care about the characters, they won’t care about the plot. If you don’t care about the characters, you won’t care about what happens to them. There are always exceptions to the rule, of course, but I know that I’m a lot more forgiving of wibbly wobbly in plot if I like the characters.

Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?

I do both longhand and type on a computer. I write predominantly longhand, and then type it in and keep going from where I was, so you can’t just read my notebooks and expect it to make sense because I do a lot of jumping back and forth. Typing it in is part of the editing process for me, so even though writing itself takes longer when I handwrite, the process as a whole goes a lot faster and easier if I do it that way. I also grew up around computers but not with a personal computer, so writing by hand and typing it in later when I had my hour on the computer was how I did it as a kid and then a teenager, and even once I was an adult, I didn’t get a computer until I was at least 21, so I kept my writing on a floppy disk, then later a cd, and then later a flashdrive. And now we have Google Docs and Cloud and all of that, so I’m able to even write from my phone sometimes! Technology sure is amazing.

Where do you get your ideas?

I really don’t suffer from a lack of ideas. I get my ideas from literally everywhere. Sometimes it’s fragments of ideas, so I jot them down and see what things can be combined later. Sometimes the idea comes from someone I saw in town and something about it just struck me right. Sometimes it comes from reading or watching something and thinking about how I would have done it had I been in charge (I do a lot of this) and that springboards me into a different direction entirely than what happened and now I have characters and sonovabeeeeeech now I have to do this. I also literally have to take something into the bathroom with me (usually my phone because it’s usually in my pocket anyway) to jot down whatever idea I have in there because they happen in there a lot, too. The worst is shower ideas because of course the ideas hit when my hair is full of shampoo and I can’t write them down. Depending on the idea, I’ll either A) let it go and be mad about it, B) shout it at the Spouse Creature to write it down for me, or C) duck out of the shower in all my shampoo glory, curse as I get soap in my eyes, try desperately to not forget the idea while I try to find a damn pen, and repeat the idea to myself over and over and over until I manage to find the damn pen until what I’m repeating has gotten twisted and tangled like a tongue twister, and finally manage to write it down. I have also been known to go to a movie and come out of it with ideas and snippets written on my arms and legs in sharpie. You can’t take me anywhere.

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