Writer’s Toolbox

Author Q&A

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

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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.