Writer’s Toolbox

Author Q&A

Here we present our exclusive collection of Q&As with a long list of illustrious authors.

Kaui Hemmings

Kaui HemmingsKaui Hemmings is the author of the books House of Thieves and The Descendants.

What is your method for overcoming writer’s block?

Giving in. Reading a lot, and watching old movies, and long walks.

What are your favorite or most helpful writing prompts?

I never really use writing prompts, but I used to look at stories I liked and use their plots, substituting my own characters. It would get me started and then I would usually veer away from the original plot. This is helpful for writer's block, too.

What is the most valuable advice you received as a young writer?

When I was twenty-five and working on House of Thieves Jane Smiley told me that no one under thirty-five wrote anything good or important. This bothered me, to put it mildly. I finished the story collection then The Descendants. I am now thirty-five. I'm not saying I wrote anything good or important, but sometimes unwanted advice can be valuable. It makes you want to prove yourself.