Episode 197: A Real Picture of the Working Author — Interview with Kate Greathead

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Podcast

Hey there word nerds!

Today I have the pleasure of hosting debut novelist Kate Greathead on the show!

Kate is a graduate of Wesleyan University and the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. Her work has appeared in some pretty impressive places such as The New York Times and Vanity Fair, and she is a 9-time Moth Story Slam champion.

Her debut novel Laura & Emma takes place on the Upper East Side in New York City where Kate spent her formative years, though she currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband, the writer Teddy Wayne (who has appeared on DIY MFA Radio previously).

Listen in as we chat about this amazing book, and get an honest look at what being a working author really looks like.

In this episode Kate and I discuss:

  • The art of “stealing” your story’s structure.
  • Showing the bizarre of a normal setting with micro details.
  • Why you should craft a protagonist that makes readers cringe
  • Knowing when to use the bulldozer in your revision process.
  • Tips to deal with the pain of slashing out scenes.

Plus, Kate’s #1 tip for writers.

About Kate Greathead

Kate Greathead is a graduate of Wesleyan University and the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. She is a 9-time Moth Story Slam champion and her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, and on NPR’s Moth Radio Hour. She was a subject in the American version of the British Up documentary series. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, the writer Teddy Wayne. Her debut novel Laura & Emma is available now.

To connect with Kate check out her website at kategreathead.com.

And listen to Teddy Wayne’s DIY MFA Radio interview and dig into the anti-hero, at DIYMFA.com/117.


Laura & Emma

Laura hails from the Upper East Side of Manhattan, born into old money, drifting aimlessly into her early thirties. One weekend in 1981 she meets Jefferson. The two sleep together. He vanishes. And Laura realizes she’s pregnant. Enter: Emma.

Despite her progressive values, Laura raises Emma by herself in the same blue-blood world of private schools and summer homes she grew up in. She is buoyed by a host of indelible characters, including her eccentric mother, who informs her society friends and Emma herself that she was fathered by a Swedish sperm donor; her brother, whose childhood stutter reappears in the presence of their forbidding father; an exceptionally kind male pediatrician; and her overbearing best friend, whose life has followed the Park Avenue script in every way except for one. Meanwhile, as Emma grows up and aware, she begins to question her environment in a way her mother never could.


If you decide to check out the book, we hope you’ll do so via this Amazon affiliate link, where if you choose to purchase via the link DIY MFA gets a referral fee at no cost to you. As always, thank you for supporting DIY MFA!


Link to Episode 197

(Right-click to download.)

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Until next week, keep writing and keep being awesome!

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