Faith and the Writing Life with 10 Minute Writer Katharine Grubb

truthaboutthesky-coverOne of the best parts of being an avid reader and a writer is the people I get to connect with. Katharine Grubb and I first “met” via Twitter, where she’s @10MinuteWriter. Her blog, appropriately named “10 Minute Writer,” is full of longer-form insights and wisdom.

I’ve actually hugged Katharine in person: she’s stayed at my house and shared food and books and laughter with her whole family. Her kids are great and knowing her in person doesn’t make me admire her less. I think, in fact, it makes me appreciate even more the challenges she faces and conquers.

She juggles as much as anyone I know and still manages to laugh and turn to God. Regularly. What’s not to love?

The news of Katharine’s latest novel, The Truth about the Sky, gave me a reason to ask her some questions about living an integrated life and stuff I always wonder about how other people manage their chaos.

The Truth about the Sky is funny and poignant and clinching. It tells a tale that may strike a little close in ways you don’t expect.

Grubb has a way of weaving a story that keeps me reading until waaaaay past my bedtime. She hooks me in and has me plotting how to read when I should be doing anything else.

Here’s a bit about The Truth about the Sky:

As a Pastor’s kid, Kim has been told her whole life that God can see every mistake she makes. Now that she’s a college dropout, unemployed and in a questionable relationship with a party guy, her mistakes are all the more obvious. (Especially to her demanding mother, who, apparently, thinks wearing jeans on a commercial flight is a sin.)

If only she could move away! Then she could hide from gossip and no one would see her mess up! Kim can’t move to Dallas unless she saves her money, so she swallows her pride and heads back to her childhood church to reluctantly serve as her father’s congregation’s secretary.

Her mother makes it clear, Kim better get her act together. Not only is the church watching her, but Kim is also bothered by her theme obsessed mother; a creepy mortician who wants to court her; a sad, but good-looking music minister (whom she may or may not have been kissing) and her childhood friend, Eddie, who, as a lawyer, has an inexplicable interest in lawn care.

Even if God was in her childhood church, Kim would be too busy and discouraged to find him. Then her father is caught in a scandal — one that challenges her already shaky faith and her dysfunctional family. She has to choose: will she run away from critical eyes to Dallas as quickly as her car can take her? Will she be as critical and condemning as her own family has been to her? Or will she take her brother’s advice and believe, for the first time in her life, that God’s grace is as big as the Oklahoma sky?

Q: Katharine, you’re known as the “10 Minute Writer.” Tell us what that means and how it works for you.

To me, being a ten minute writer means that I am squeezing in tiny chunks of time to fulfill my dreams. I used to have my computer in my kitchen and I’d set the timer on my microwave and I would type like a madwoman for ten minutes then go back to being Mom for ten minutes. But my kids are older now and more independent and I can actually write for 15 minute increments! And sometimes an hour! And last week I went to Starbucks! This only means that I’m doing what I can, when I can. Life is too short to wait for perfect conditions.

Q: Part of what interests me as I consider your journey to “awesome well-known writer” is that you live a very integrated life. Your faith has never not been central, your kids have never not been right beside you, your husband has never not been supportive. What’s your secret? What wisdom can you share with us?

Katharine Grubb

Katharine Grubb

I’m well known? 🙂

Faith HAS played a big role in who I am. I think that God didn’t give me this desire to write without providing a way in which to do it. I found in the writing of this book, I had to wrestle with everything about it and God was faithful. The message is of grace and I know firsthand how God pours out his mercy and grace and faithfulness to those who don’t deserve it. The writing of the book was a journey in articulating that grace and I was changed in the writing of it. Our God is a creative God and he uses the arts to call people into himself. I can’t separate who I am from that. I wouldn’t want to try.

Q: What’s been your biggest challenge as you’ve published your second book?

The release of The Truth About The Sky coincided with a difficult season in my family’s life. The stress and responsibilities of my private life took me away from the marketing and promotional work that it deserves. I had to let my marketing aspirations go and not beat myself up about it. I wanted the reception of my books to be mind-boggling and awesome and when it wasn’t what I hoped, I blamed myself and called myself a failure. This is completely ironic because the theme of the book is grace and accepting your sin, mistakes and failures and still rest in the love of God. I should probably read my book again.

Q: What’s been the biggest surprise or blessing in your journey as a writer?

Without question, the biggest surprise came last spring, a week before my birthday. I was contacted by Hodder & Stoughton, a UK publisher and they wanted me to write a book about how to write a novel in 10 minute increments! In the course of the last ten months, I signed with Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary to negotiate the deal, signed the contract, got my first ever advance check and now I’m writing the manuscript. This was the biggest break I’ve ever had. I feel like a real writer now and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Q: Go ahead, fess up: what’s your guilty pleasure reward for meeting your writing goal?

Hmmm, we can do that?

I don’t reward myself daily, although I have been known to sneak a bit of chocolate. But I did do this: with my advance check I bought a MacBook Air. I also have a new desk and a corner in my bedroom that is all mine. It’s becoming easier and easier to get away from the demands of motherhood and to have this space that is just for me is a great reward and huge motivator.

Be sure to check out Katharine’s work at her website, 10 Minute Writer.


Sarah Reinhard is a Catholic wife, mom and author whose nose is probably in a book if she’s not scraping something off of her shoes. Her latest book is A Catholic Mother’s Companion to Pregnancy: Walking with Mary from Conception to Baptism. Check out all of her books at http://sarahreinhard.com/writing/my-books/.

Visit Sarah’s website: http://sarahreinhard.com/


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