Before the release of her latest, Community Klepto, novelist Kelly I. Hitchcock reveals her path to discovering the elements of good writing.
By Brianna Salinas, Photo by Danielle Selby
Kelly I. Hitchcock is a writer in every sense of the word. She writes essays, poems, short stories and has an upcoming novel, Community Klepto, releasing in June.
Growing up in Buffalo, Missouri, Hitchcock went to school at Missouri State where she was on the university paper and earned her B.A. in creative writing. “I have always wanted to be a writer, even from the time I was old enough to hold a pencil,” she says. “The first book I wrote, I was 6 years old. I wrote my own adaptation of Lady and the Tramp on notebook paper and [bound it]together with twist-ties.”
After living in the Kansas City area her whole life, Hitchcock and her husband decided they were in a place to try “something new and something different.”
Eleven years later, and the couple has turned into a family of four, raising identical twins in Austin. “[Austin] is a great place to be a writer and a great place to raise a family.”
Incorporating writing into her lifestyle is difficult between her full-time job as a software tester and motherhood, but Hitchcock manages it all. “I write when I can, set aside two or three days a week. As soon as my kids are in bed, the noise-canceling headphones go on…and I [write]until I run out of steam.” Hitchcock contributes essays to Austin Moms and the aptly named Moms Don’t Have Time to Write.
Authors are given so much logistical writing advice throughout the course of their career. Hitchcock believes “there is [not]one piece of writing advice that works for everybody, because everybody is different. Even what worked for me six years ago, before my kids were born, doesn’t work anymore. You just have to do what works for you as a writer.”
Kelly Hitchcock & the Elements of Great Writing
To Hitchcock, three elements that showcase good writing are authenticity, good editing and engaging content. Hitchcock reveals that in order to write something that appeals to the masses one must first “be authentic, be yourself [and]be honest.” Secondly, it is never money wasted with to invest in a good editor. “[It] is worth every penny to make sure your book is as strong as it can be. There is nothing that will draw me out of a story faster than a typo.”
Hitchcock recognizes good writing when, “I don’t find my mind wandering while I read it. If a story is so engaging that I’m not thinking about, ‘Did I put a snack in my kid’s backpack? Is there laundry that needs to come out?’”
Hitchcock realizes that writing something that is equally compelling and captivating is challenging. “[But if I] can keep my mind from wandering because I’m so into the story and so into knowing where it’s going to go next, or the language is so beautiful that I want to read the same sentence three times over, that’s what makes good writing.”
Throughout her lifetime as a writer, there were moments of doubt and uncertainty. Particularly while writing her most recent novel, which took eight years to complete. “I wanted to give up a lot,” she reveals. “Imposter syndrome is something that every author feels, and everybody feels that way. But especially as women, we doubt ourselves a lot.” Overcoming this feeling of inadequacy is difficult, but Hitchcock reminded herself, “If two other publishers thought [my book]was good enough, then the third [publisher]probably will too.”
Community Klepto follows the story of Ann Josephson, a lovable sociopathic kleptomaniac. The novel is full of wit, sarcasm and a love story as surprising to the reader as it is to the protagonist. Community Klepto is set to release June 21, 2022 and will be sold everywhere books are bought. Hitchcock is hosting a public book launch at Book Women on July 11. Visit Hitchcock’s official website to preorder Community Klepto.