““Yes, Molly, the truth is true but few know how to get at it - you do. It's hard to write like Molly.
It looks so easy and fluid and accessible but, trust me, it's very hard.’” Consuelo Saah Baehr, author of DAUGHTERS and 100 OPEN HOUSES.”

Consuelo Saah Baehr, author of DAUGHTERS and 100 OPEN HOUSES. 

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An Interview with Katie Rose Guest Pryal

I have so many author friends! All of us work hard to get the word out about our books, but in this world of cutthroat competition, that is easier said than done. So I decided to feature some of my dear friends in this blog, in hopes that my readers will enjoy hearing about my friends. But instead of the usual interview, I decided to let each of my friends choose ONE QUESTION that they wish somebody would ask them—and then go about answering it. I like to know what makes authors tick, don’t you?
Katie Rose Guest Pryal is very tall. She is also very blonde, beautiful, and intimidatingly smart. Her novel, Entanglement is a study in friendship—but not the insipid, BFF kind. This is a story about two girls who are very damaged, and the friendship that is overshadowed by doom. Set in Hollywood in the present time, it will make you want to examine your own friendships, and maybe worry just a little bit about the people you choose as friends! 



Katie, you write about relationships in your novels, including difficult relationships between men and women. Did you have difficult relationships in your own life?

Absolutely yes. I’ve lived most of my life with a broken man-meter. Indeed, I dated a lot of dogs before I married my husband. Among the many dogs, there was the Man-Child, for example, and the Alcoholic, and the Liar. I’m not sure how I was able to figure out that my now-husband of eight years, Michael, was such a good person, so good that I should hang on to him forever.

I never did grow a working man-meter. What I did have was a simple rule that my mother gave to me. She said, “Katie, look for the three Rs: Responsible, Reliable, and Respectable.” That rule got some serious eye-rolls from me throughout my teens and twenties. When I hit thirty, though, I began to see its merit. When I met my husband, he hit all three Rs, at least to me (and that was good enough—I mean, isn’t “respectable kind of subjective”?).

Michael and I met at a wedding reception at a grand old country club. There was a big brass band, and it struck up a tune. Suddenly, he was standing before me: very tall, wearing a well-cut suit—slim to fit his slim build—with dark, squarish glasses and a short, neatly trimmed beard. He held out his hand to me.

“Would you like to dance?” he said.

I nearly rolled my eyes. Yes, of course I would like to dance. I loved dancing. I used to dance mambo and salsa and all sorts of things every weekend when I was in graduate school.

He introduced himself. “I’m Michael Pryal, like Trial.”

I laughed. “And I’m a lawyer.”

I had doubts that this Michael person would be able to put two steps together properly. I doubted any of the guys at the wedding would be able to put two steps together properly. I’d been to far to many weddings in my thirty years to have high hopes.

But he was cute—were his eyes really that green?—and he was tall and lanky, with broad shoulders, and I thought, Yes. Let’s see what happens. So I put my hand in his.

He tiled his head, listening to the music. “I believe this is a foxtrot.”

We swept onto the dance floor, his lead confident, and I nearly burst out laughing. I had been so, so wrong. The next song was an upbeat swing, and a-twirling I went. We were married less than a year later.

If readers are wondering the hero Timmy in ENTANGLEMENT has some features of my husband, they would be correct. But I never worry what Michael will think about me using him in my writing, though, because Michael never reads my books.  It’s a blessing, actually. I can poach from his life all I want and he never knows.


Katie enjoys her three professions—novelist, freelance journalist, and lawyer—for one reason: her love of the written word. Fiction or nonfiction, Katie thrives on putting thoughts to paper and sharing them with the world. She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where the energy of the campus and cafes inspires her writing. She is the author of ENTANGLEMENT: A Novel (Velvet Morning Press 2015) and LOVE AND ENTROPY: A Novella (Velvet Morning Press 2015), and a contributor to the anthology CHRISTMAS, ACTUALLY (Velvet Morning Press 2015). You can grab a free copy of Katie’s writing guide, WRITING ISN’T SEXY, by subscribing to her email list.

Katie contributes regularly to THE HUFFINGTON POST, THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION, THE TOAST, DAME MAGAZINE and other national venues. She earned her master’s degree in creative writing from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins, where she attended on a fellowship. Katie has published five books on writing, the most recent with Oxford University Press, and although she has impeccable grammar, she would never correct yours.

Katie is a member of the Tall Poppy Writers (http://tallpoppies.org/), a community of writing professionals committed to connecting authors with each other and with readers. You can find her on Twitter at @krgpryal, on Facebook at facebook.com/katieroseguestpryal, and via her writing newsletter, WRITING ISN’T SEXY (no really, it isn’t), at bit.ly/pryalnews.



ENTANGLEMENT: A Novel – http://amzn.to/20JFUcy



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At a time when the world is hurting, we need to stop, reflect, hope, act, and join together.IMG_0864

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Deepest and darkest, and I need toast!

Deepest and darkest, and I need toast!

I swirl in the bed, hoping to find a position that will allow me to relax. I need to let go of all of the thoughts roiling around in my head. Book revisions. My editor says none of the characters in my next opus are remotely likeable. This is the truth, but ironic, since the main character is an eight-year-old-girl. What was I thinking when I put down 70,000 plus words? Who ARE these people in this book, and why are they all sort of despicable?

I make some mental notes for changes. But damn, mental notes for me are like shredding up perfectly good ideas and setting them on fire, because I never remember them the next morning. So I sit up, grope in the blackness for my phone, where I can quickly jot down these revision ideas.

Of course, I use my iPhone, which I now have learned has something like LASER LIGHTS in it, so that if you look at the screen after nine pm, it sears your brain awake, and you are rendered sleepless for hours.

Screw the notes. I throw some eyedrops in and stumble downstairs to my computer, where I cut out an entire chapter of said book, and instead insert an endearing scene about making grilled cheese sandwiches with Velveeta. All American. Who wouldn’t love characters who make Velveeta grilled cheese sandwiches? I actually know a person who hates Velveeta, but she must be in a very small American minority, so I feel good about that scene.

I contemplate putting a vampire in the book. You know, another opportunity for a subplot. Then I tell myself that vampires are totally yesterday, and I wonder what is hot at the literary moment. After Googling around, I realize that another hour has passed, and I have most certainly outlasted all the effects of my Lunesta. I am doomed until morning.

But my Google search unearths all sorts of stuff. I Google something like “what topics are currently popular in American Fiction” and I go from dystopia via Stephen King to Star Wars characters made from Legos and I end up in Pinterest with apple crumble recipes and Instagram where dogs dress up as robots and then to people who want to rub it in our faces that they no longer smoke cigarettes. They VAPE. Actually,  sounds kind of fun because the vapor fluids are fruit flavored. So here I am approaching two in the morning, and now I want to make some toast because the fruity vaping blogs are making me hungry. And then, suddenly, I am on Flipboard, reading about adult coloring books.

But damn! This just gives me more to think about. I need a strong story arc, which I am currently lacking. Perhaps one of my characters will get a dog and dress him up as Darth Vader? Maybe there is room for more discussion of desserts? Could I somehow get some of my unlikeable characters to get crayons and mellow out? Maybe they could go to a Mandala workshop?

I need toast, STAT. Hell, another half hour, and  I will need breakfast…

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My God. The pavements are filthy. I wonder how much dog poop residue is on the soles of my shoes. If I lived here, I would make all my visitors remove their shoes. Speaking of dogs, all the ones I see look so stressed. They have to rush around between so many pairs of legs, and some of them look worried about some sort of undefined disaster.

I would give my eye teeth to live in the Carrie Bradshaw Mansion. Or any brownstone along one of these leafy streets. It would have a back garden.

Why I lust after back gardens is a mystery, because I hardly ever even sit out on my own deck, for God’s sake.

Speaking of decks and gardens, why does EVERY SINGLE couple on Househunters inevitably declare when looking at a deck or balcony that “they can see themselves having coffee out here?” We all know that nobody goes out on their deck every day to drink coffee! They slug it down while checking emails and putting on makeup!

OH, no. That guy over there is ranting around in the middle of the square in his underpants. Never see THAT in Dayton.

I love the Highline. This is the ticket. If I had an apartment overlooking the Highline, I could have coffee at my kitchen table but look out at all that lovely decking and nature. I wonder what these apartments go for.

I met a woman who lived for thirty years in a NY studio apartment the size of my kitchen. New Yorkers must really want to BE here.

There is a restaurant for absolutely everything. My God. A watermelon bistro?

I like to take cabs. The Uber thing is a mystery to me. Knowing that the guy coming to get me is named Alfredo isn’t enough to get me to install that entire app thing.

New York children seem very confident. I guess it’s necessary. They have to know subway lines, they order their own food in restaurants, and they read the New York Times while having bagels and lox on Sundays. Apparently everybody does brunch in NY on Sundays. But midwestern kids get to ride their scooters up and down the sidewalk in front of their houses. I am not sure the confidence is worth the trade-off. And how New York kids trick or treat is a mystery. A sad mystery.

My legs hurt from the walking. Also, I have fallen down every single time I am here. I am obviously a rube from Ohio, where pavements are even.

There is nothing like a trip to New York to make me appreciate my own car right out there in the garage, just waiting for me to take it to the grocery, park directly in front of the store, and then ferry me back home, where I can stroll with my bag ten steps into my kitchen to unpack. No toting and walking. No taxi. No Subway. No elevator. No problems.

The people here look either harried, stressed, or in an extreme hurry. Oh, my God. They are just like their dogs.

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I am going to New York this week. It is very exciting. I am going to a writing retreat with a bunch of extremely talented women. www.tallpoppies.org

Many of these women are bestselling authors. They have law degrees, medical degrees, National Book Award nominations, and all sorts of other impressive credentials. How I got into the group is a mystery, but I don’t ask too many questions.

Here is the thing: what do you pack when you are going to be with a group like this? Especially when all of the participants are women you have never met? So you have no “benefit of the doubt on those sweatpants” going for you? I know. Awful.

Here was my thought process:

  1. Get all new clothes.
  2. Don’t necessarily get ALL new clothes, but for sure, get new tops. Those black jeggings are fine. And the stretchy slacks.
  3. Don’t take any top that stops before your thighs do.
  4. New pajamas are a must. God knows your husband doesn’t care what you look like at night, but there will be judging if you wear that Stone Temple Pilots tee and the M & Ms pants you love so much.
  5. That $50 investment in anti-eye bag cream? The one they enthused about on QVC? Wise. Very wise.
  6. Some pundit said “always travel with an umbrella.” Follow that. Despite the fact that in your entire traveling career, you have never needed one.
  7. The giant purse.
  8. Should you take your paleo nuts and seeds? Or will the women think you are weird?
  9. Why did you make the reservation for that 7:00 a.m. flight? By the time you land, you will have bed head, for God’s sake.
  10. Computer to a writing retreat? Naw. You know you won’t do any writing. You can pretend that you use Evernote for all your travel writing and just peer studiously while you peck at your cellphone. And it is so much more important to squeeze in your new Tempur Pedic neck pillow, anyway.

So I am off. Well prepared. I have my cell charger. Walking shoes. That lipstick that lasts 24 hours. Ambien. This will be so much fun. Unless I am so cowed by the collective brain power that I am rendered speechless.

My husband says that will be when Hell freezes over. Alrighty, then. READY!tallpoppies_2-5

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