Countdown to the Muse: Micro-Interview 1 (Katrin Schumann)

The Muse and the Marketplace quickly approaches--just eighteen days until our annual conference. This is the first in a series of micro-interviews by an author, agent or editor who will be attending the event.  

Micro-Interview with Katrin Schumann


  1. What is the toughest criticism to give or receive on writing?
    In critiquing other people's work, I find it hard to tell fiction writers when their character(s) are not richly drawn. (It's almost as if you're telling someone that they, themselves, are boring. They look at you with wounded eyes and then ask the impossible question: "How do I fix it?") In nonfiction, the killer is when the core idea is too personal--not interesting enough for a mass audience. And in receiving feedback, by far the worst is indifference in the reader. If you can't move someone with your work, you're toast.

  2. What is the strangest interaction you've ever had with a reader?
    Crazy emails! I've received tomes from people telling me secrets about their childhoods, often in enormous and moving detail. It's very strange to be invited into a stranger's deepest pain, and then not know how to address it.

  3. What is the strangest place you've ever been?
    Prison.

  4. What’s the one piece of advice you’d like to give to writers?
    Value the joy of actually writing as much as the end goal of finding a readership.


Look out for an upcoming live Tweetchat with Katrin and other authors, agents, and editors.

Katrin Schumann is the co-author of The Secret Power of Middle Children and Mothers Need Time-Outs, Too. She has been featured on the TODAY show, Talk of the Nation and in The Times, as well as other newspapers, magazines and radio, nationally and internationally. Schumann’s latest projects include a historical novel set in the Baltic, various non-fiction books in development, and on-going editorial work for editors, agents and writers. For the past ten years she has been teaching fiction and non-fiction, most recently at a local women’s prison, and running parenting focus groups and surveys. Before going freelance, she helped produce talk shows at NPR, where she won the Kogan Media Award. Schumann has been granted writing residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Norman Mailer Writer's Colony. Awarded scholarships to Oxford and Stanford Universities, she studied literature, language and journalism. Schumann was born in Freiburg, Germany, grew up in New York City and London, and now lives in Massachusetts.

About the Author

GrubWrites is a space for the writing and reading community to share ideas and seek advice, a place where writers at the very beginning of their careers publish alongside established authors. Book lovers, we bring you reviews, recommendations, and conversations with exciting new authors to keep you up to speed on all things lit. Writers, this is your one stop shop for expert craft talk, opinions on how we learn and teach writing, and essential advice about the publishing industry.

Plus, we want to hear from you! Our ongoing call for submissions is open to literary community members of all types and persuasions. We want to hear from students, teachers, authors, readers, editors, agents, publicists, and any devotee of the written word. If you have something to say about writing, reading, the publishing industry, or anything related to the literary world, this is the place to voice it. We’re particularly committed to advocating for a diverse range of voices in the literary marketplace and raising the visibility of writers from under-represented communities.

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