Wednesday, November 4, 2015


By Kay Kendall

Never before have I imagined I shared anything with Stephen King.
He is very famous. I am not. His mind spins out inventive books in record time. I am a slow writer. King has published 54 novels and nearly 200 short stories. Kendall has published two novels and one short story.
And yet, and yet. Yesterday I read Stephen King’s interview in The New York Times and learned how we are alike. Needless to say, I am thrilled.
What we have in common is not an ordinary habit. It’s nothing like a preference for one kind of peanut butter over another—crunchy versus smooth. Nope. Our shared pattern is pretty significant. Our minds are involved—and so are our writing tendencies.
Here is the relevant passage from the interview:
Q. You’ve said that when you’re not writing, if you have a break between books, you have especially vivid dreams. Why do you think that is?
A. You get habituated to the process, which is very mysterious, but it’s very much like dreaming…Once the book is done, the stories are done, you don’t have anything in particular that you want to do. The process goes on, but it goes on at night, your brain does that, and you have the dreams. When I write again, it stops.
And this same thing happens to me too. Yes, it does!
You may be thinking that this happens to other writers too, but I have yet to come across another author with this pattern. When I explain how and why my most vivid dreams start and stop, people tend to stare at me strangely.
I hope it doesn’t seem like I’m clutching at straws, putting myself in the same camp as this super-gifted writer, Mr. King. But what it does is give me impetus to keep on writing. This is surely a sign that means I am doing what I was meant to do. I write. I make up stories. I mix fact and fantasy and call it fiction.
Just as I did when my mother insisted that I take a daily nap every afternoon when I was much too old to nap. I would lie there for the requisite hour and spin endless stories to entertain myself. I am doing the same thing still, now that I am all grown up.


Kay Kendall’s historical mysteries capture the spirit and turbulence of the 1960s. DESOLATION ROW (2013) and RAINY DAY WOMEN (2015) are in her Austin Starr Mystery series. Austin is a 22-year-old Texas bride who ends up on the frontlines of societal change, learns to cope, and turns amateur sleuth. Kay’s degrees in Russian history and language help ground her tales in the Cold War, and her titles show she's a Bob Dylan buff too. Kay lives in Texas with her Canadian husband, three house rabbits, and spaniel Wills. In her former life as a PR executive, Kay’s projects won international awards.


  1. Fascinating! I have vivid dreams no matter what. Great post!

  2. Hi, Marilyn. It took me a while to realize what my pattern is. I dream pretty wild sometimes, but when I need to return to writing, my mind cooks up such fantastic stuff that I wake up amazed.
    Actually this is a useful signal. I like it. Now that I see King does the same thing, I am even happier.

  3. Great blog, Kay. I admire your ability to take an idea and craft it into an interesting, entertain piece of writing. I guess I shouldn't be so impressed, should I? You do it so well with your Austin Starr novels.

    1. You are a sweetheart, Marjorie. Thank you. As you know, I post lots on FB. I'm kind of giving away nuggets "for free" as it were. This week I realized I could turn this one into a blog post. I need to do more of that because when faced with looking for a blog post idea, then I freeze. Anyway, thank you so much for your sweet support! Hugs. xoxox