Author Interview: Questions for Joann Keder

This week I am very happy to bring you a Q&A with Joann Keder who has written “The Story of Keilah” a coming-of-age novel about loss, renewal and confronting our demons. (With a touch of humor).

Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I spent most of my life in the Midwest, where my stories took root. I raised my kids and taught piano lessons while my husband worked on the road as an railroad engineer. As a later-in-life bloomer, I went back to school in my forties and got a bachelor’s degree and then continued on to receive an MFA in Creative Writing. (But still felt more like an imposter than a real writer.) We moved to the Pacific Northwest about ten years ago and it was a real culture shock. Nothing was familiar anymore. It took years to find my place.

Brief description of your book?
It is a coming-of-age story about a young woman who is struggling after the death of her best friend. She never had an identity outside of her relationship with her friend, and now she’s trying to find her way in a new town. She uncovers things about her past and her new surroundings that make her question everything she thought was real.  It’s like the vegetable soup of books with a touch of everything: humor, mystery, romance and family conflict.

What inspired you to start writing?
I started writing stories at age eight, but have spent most of my life convincing myself that I’m not a writer. When my husband had a life-threatening illness three years ago, it gave me perspective on the brevity of life. I asked myself the question, “if my life ended tomorrow, is this the way I would want my obituary to read?” I want it to be known that I am a writer. A novelist. That’s who I am and the way I want to leave my mark on the world.

How did you come up with the locations for the book?
The two towns are a combination of all of my Midwest memories -rich, rolling hills of farm ground and dry, dusty plains. It’s fun to create your own towns with reality and fantasy all mixed together.


Do you have a favourite section of the book and why?
I love the interplay between Dee and Keilah. They do not comprise the stereotypical friendship. When Keilah goes to the dance with Dee and sees Dee as this vibrant, social woman in her 70’s, so unlike her own parents, I want to be there watching them talk.

Do you have any writing rituals?
I have to write an email to my mother before I begin every day. Its like a palate-cleansing ritual.

What does literary success look like to you?
I want to sell lots of books. I would like to be in a coffee shop and see someone reading my book. My fantasy includes a Netflix series. A girl can dream.

Thank you for reading if you would like to know more about Joann Keder or if you would like to purchase her book you can do so at the links below:


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