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Being Outside Your Comfort Zone: An Interview with Katherine Nichols

Updated: May 19, 2023

I would tell people who are feeling vulnerable about living outside their comfort group to take a deep breath and go for it. And if people laugh at you, say, “Good. I write humor.”

This month I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Katherine Nichols about being an author and living outside our comfort zones.

Check out her wonderful insights. Also, enter to win a copy of her new release Trust Issues!

TCA: Why do you write?

KN: I write for the same reason I breathe. I need to. I know that sounds dramatic, but I can’t remember a time I didn’t want to write. It’s the way I process both the happy and tragic events in my past and present. It allows me to blend character traits of people in my life. Occasionally, it gives me the chance to settle scores or achieve closure. It helps me cope with a world I can’t control by creating one I can.

And, although it often drives me crazy, I love it.

TCA: How have you been outside your comfort zone as a writer/author?

KN: I think being an author means you’re outside your comfort zone more often than you’re in it. My characters take on a life of their own, which means they might decide to mimic people I love and people I don’t. Some of them come from cultures or orientations different from mine, and I try hard to honor their customs and attitudes without turning them into stereotypes.

Even my settings can get tricky. I want to celebrate communities while being honest about their shortcomings.

I’ve never worried much about making people angry. But I never want to hurt anyone’s feelings unnecessarily.

TCA: What character growth have you experienced in your own life because of your choice to be a writer/author?

KN: As a high school English teacher, I spent years helping students become better writers. I encouraged them to believe in themselves. And I was good at it. Believing in myself was harder.

When I had to read aloud at my first critique group meeting, my hands shook so badly I had trouble focusing on the page. My breath shortened, so words either rushed out terrified at being put on display or shuddered out between deep inhales. The second meeting wasn’t much better, but eventually I began to enjoy sharing my work. The group was supportive, and hearing my story helped me understand it on a different level.

Now, I can’t wait to share my work, whether it’s my small group of trusted writers or an auditorium of people.

It takes courage to be a writer, and I wasn’t certain I had it. Turns out I do. And I’ve learned how to encourage others to find that strength within themselves.

TCA: What insight/wisdom/advice can you share with others who also face a time to be vulnerable and live outside their comfort zones?

KN: I retired from over thirty years in education and worried that people would laugh at someone trying to start a career at my age, especially in such a competitive field as writing. Then I decided I didn’t care.

I started a group of Wild Women Who Write, women writers who have chosen to think big.

When I was asked to do a podcast for a lovely group of women out of New York, I had never listened to a podcast. The experience was so positive, I decided to propose that Wild Women Who Write start one.

The reaction was different versions of “we don’t know how.” To which I replied, “Nobody really does. But the worst that can happen is we’re so bad we delete it before anyone hears it.”

We took a collective deep breath and started Wild Women Who Write Take Flight a year and a half ago and have published over thirty-five episodes.

We met generous female authors who joined us for wine and cheese until CoVid challenged us, and we started Zooming. Now, we interview women from all over the country, so much of our work is online. When we have the opportunity to interview local people, we jump at it because it is so much fun.

I would tell people who are feeling vulnerable about living outside their comfort group to take a deep breath and go for it. And if people laugh at you, say, “Good. I write humor.”



Win a copy of Katherine's new release Trust Issues.

"Kathy Nichols has spun another fine mystery filled with southern charm and a fascinating cast of characters."—G. A. Anderson, author of South of Happily


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