Interview with Short Story Guru Kate Thornton

With stories in three of SINC/LA’s anthologies and numerous books and magazines, retired US Army officer and federal agent Kate Thornton has been writing for publication for over ten years. She teaches workshops on writing short stories and enjoys writing both mysteries and science fiction. She lives in a marvelous mid-century modern house with her husband of 30 years and their pets.

Welcome Kate!

With more than a hundred short stories in print, you are the queen. Why do you think you are so successful?

I just keep on writing – then submitting – then writing more. There are many more writers with many more stories in print than I, but there is only one way to get your stuff out there. It’s persistence that makes your writing better and allows you to get your work published.

You teach a fabulous short story class. Which question are you most often asked and what is your answer?

Everyone always wants to know how to turn their idea into a story. If you break it down to a beginning, middle and some sort of satisfying ending, then you’ve got a story.

The first thing a writer should do is check the guidelines, but when you market your mysteries and science fiction, do you find that mainstream sites, if they don’t specifically state a preference, are receptive to genre fiction?

Yes – all good stories, regardless of genre, are about some aspect of the human condition. If your story appeals to that common thread, is well-written, and provides a satisfying experience, then genre fiction transcends its label.

How long should a writer wait for a response before she submits to another market?

If response times are not specified, I usually find out what the average is for that particular market, give them an extra couple of weeks, and then query. Sometimes, they never received the submission or lost it.

You’re going on your second mystery cruise next year. Can you tell us what that‘s like and what the cruise expects from you as an author?

Well, the first one wasn’t specifically a mystery cruise, but mystery author Sue Ann Jaffarian was aboard and gave a bang up presentation in which I participated. This year’s cruise, Mystery on the High Seas, is going to be quite a production. I believe I am going to speak on one of several formal panels, and the cruise is chock full of authors, agents, producers, editors and fans. Here’s the site:

Tell us about the book you have coming out in November!

I am working hard, although I’m not sure I’m going to make my self-imposed deadline on this one. It’s The Inhuman Condition: Tales of Mystery and Imagination and is a collection of twenty of my favorite stories.
Thank you!

Visit Kate’s blog It Doesn’t Take a Genius for great articles and short fiction that will entertain and move you.

4 thoughts on “Interview with Short Story Guru Kate Thornton”

  1. I'll be on the Mystery Cruise also, Kate. Looking forward to meeting you. I like the philosophy, keep on writing, submit, then write some more! See you on the High Seas.



  2. Those lucky enough to go on the cruise with both Kate and Madeline are in for a treat. Both ladies are so talented and their works so very entertaining. As for the class Kate teaches on the short story, boy is she good and inspiring. And she is right about writing, submitting and writing. We all get better the more we practice and polish.


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