Katie Crouch: On Blending Research and Experience

New York Times bestselling author Katie Crouch discusses how she combined both personal experience and research when it came to the setting of her newest release, Embassy Wife.
Author:
Publish date:

Katie Crouch is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel Girls in Trucks. She is also the author of Men and Dogs, Abroad, and the YA series The Magnolia League. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, McSweeney’s, Tin House, Slate, and Salon. A MacDowell Fellow, she teaches at Dartmouth College and lives in Vermont.

Katie Crouch

Katie Crouch

In this post, Crouch discusses how she combined both personal experience and research when it came to the setting of her newest release, Embassy Wife, and much more!

****

Historical Fiction

Join Donna Russo Morin to learn the definition of historical markers and how and where to unearth them. And uncover the tools to integrate history, research, and the fiction plot arc. Most of all, find out how to honor verisimilitude—the goal of any historical writing—and avoid the dreaded anachronism.

Click to continue.
****

Name: Katie Crouch
Literary agent: Rob McQuilkin
Book title: Embassy Wife
Publisher: FSG
Release date: July 13, 2021
Genre: Fiction
Elevator pitch for the book: A woman moves with her family to Namibia for her husband’s new job, only to realize he had ulterior motives for bringing them there having to do with a secret from his past.
Previous titles by the author: Girls in Trucks, Abroad, Men and Dogs

Embassy Wife by Katie Crouch

Embassy Wife by Katie Crouch

IndieBound | Bookshop | Amazon
[WD uses affiliate links.]

What prompted you to write this book?

My own husband Peter won a Fulbright to Namibia in 2016, so our family moved to Windhoek on Trump’s inauguration day. We had a 7- year-old and a 6-week-old baby, and everything was just nuts. Baboons broke into our house and stole baby formula … I careened into a warthog because I was driving on the wrong side of the road … that sort of thing. (The warthog was fine. The car wasn’t.) I was desperately lonely, and quickly became “adopted” by the local State Department families, who were true characters. All of these experiences I had been amassing snowballed quickly into a novel about female friendships during times of personal crisis.

(5 Tips for Writing About an Established Relationship)

How long did it take to go from idea to publication? And did the idea change during the process?

I find writing books like building a house. First, I need material. Because of where I was in life, my bricks were made of satire. Then, I need a shape. In this case, I decided to give everyone a secret that would be revealed at the end. At first, the main secret was much darker, involving both a murder and a terminal illness. But I was having such a sad time writing it, I almost threw it away. So I took a breath and lightened it up, then started having a great time. I’m told the reader now does, too.

Were there any surprises or learning moments in the publishing process for this title?

Because I’m writing about people from a different country, I was very, very careful to research the hell out of this material. I lived in Namibia, I traveled all over, I interviewed people, I recorded oral histories. Then I had two Namibian writer/journalists read the book for any mistakes. We live in a time where one can get information on pretty much anything existing. For me, that means writing a book of authentic fiction means getting all the details and voices right, as well as making sure every character has a full range of emotional depths and human desires.

Katie Crouch: On Blending Research and Experience

Were there any surprises in the writing process for this book?

I didn’t see the big plot twist at the end until my subconscious appeared and hit me with it in the face. I adore it when that happens.

What do you hope readers will get out of your book?

A good time! And some new thoughts on long relationships.

If you could share one piece of advice with other authors, what would it be?

Unplug the Wifi and write a thousand words before lunch.

Crystal Wilkinson: On The Vulnerability of Memoir Writing

Crystal Wilkinson: On The Vulnerability of Memoir Writing

Kentucky’s Poet Laureate Crystal Wilkinson discusses how each project has its own process and the difference between writing fiction and her new memoir, Perfect Black.

From Script

Approaching Comedy from a Personal Perspective and Tapping into Your Unique Writer’s Voice (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by ScriptMag.com, interviews with masters of comedy, screenwriter Tim Long ('The Simpsons') and writer-director Dan Mazer (Borat Subsequent Movie) about their collaboration on their film 'The Exchange', and filmmaker Trent O’Donnell on his new film 'Ride the Eagle' co-written with actor Jake Johnson ('New Girl'). Plus, tips on how to tap into your unique voice and more!

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Accepting Feedback on Your Writing

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Accepting Feedback on Your Writing

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is not accepting feedback on your writing.

Writer's Digest Best Creativity Websites 2021

Writer's Digest Best Creativity Websites 2021

Here are the top creativity websites as identified in the 23rd Annual 101 Best Websites from the May/June 2021 issue of Writer's Digest.

Poetic Forms

Englyn Proest Dalgron: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the englyn proest dalgron, a Welsh quatrain form.

What Is a Palindrome in Writing?

What Is a Palindrome in Writing?

In this post, we look at what a palindrome is when it comes to writing, including several examples of palindromes.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Set a Trap

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Set a Trap

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, it's time to set a trap.

5 Ways to Add a Refrain to Your Picture Books (and Why You Should)

5 Ways to Add a Refrain to Your Picture Books (and Why You Should)

Children's author Christine Evans shares how repetition is good for growing readers and gives you the tools to write your story's perfect refrain.

From Our Readers

Describe the First Time a Book Transported You to Another/Magical World: From Our Readers (Comment for a Chance at Publication)

This post announces our latest From Our Readers ask: Describe the First Time a Book Transported You to Another/Magical World. Comment for a chance at publication in a future issue of Writer's Digest.