QUICK QUESTIONS Kristina Riggle


WHAT SKILLS DID YOU LEARN AS A REPORTER THAT HELPED IN WRITING NOVELS?

Kristina Riggle has written three novels, including her latest Things We Didn’t Say, which is released next month.

Being a newspaper reporter gave me a thick skin. Between indignant readers, angry sources and no-time-for-crap editors, a journalist must adapt to the slings and arrows of newspaper life. This was all good practice for rejection, tough feedback and the inevitable nasty review. I also learned how to write on deadline, whether or not I feel inspired. Whatever discipline I have now grew out of the terror-motivated frenzy of writing a difficult news story working against the clock. The news business gave me a workmanlike approach to writing which has served me well. In the newsroom, there’s no, “Hmmm, I’m just not feeling it today, I guess I’ll go clean my closet”. This means that when both my kids are out of the house, I don’t watch reality TV or catch a nap or do housework so I don’t have to vacuum with a kid hanging off my leg… I write. Deadline used to mean that certain time of day my editor would start bellowing for my story. Now it means that my kid is getting home and my quiet time is almost over. Writing for newspapers also leant my novel writing some urgency and immediacy, which my readers seem to like. “Page-turner” is a comment I often hear. I’ve never learned how to write a slow, languorous story! I enjoyed quite a lot about journalism, and some aspects of it suited me well. However, on balance I’m happier now. For one thing, librarians gave me cake the other day when I came to speak. No one does that for a reporter. Plus, I get to use words like “languorous” once in a while…

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