Author: G. Elizabeth Kretchmer

Who is G. Elizabeth Kretchmer?

G. Elizabeth Kretchmer earned her MFA in Fiction from Pacific University. The author of two full-length worksThe Damnable Legacy, a novel, and Women on the Brink, a short story collectionwrites about many of the losses and other unwelcome realities women face in today’s society. Her short fiction, essays, and creative nonfiction have appeared in the New York Times and other publications. Ms. Kretchmer also regularly facilitates creative writing workshops at writing conferences and wellness writing workshops for survivors of cancer, domestic violence, and brain injuries, stressed out corporate employees, yoga practitioners, and others. For more information, visit her website at

What motivated you to write your first novel?

The first novel I wrote was inspired largely by personal events. But that one wasn’t published. The first novel published, The Damnable Legacy, was inspired by my experience with adoption, my first son’s love of climbing, my love of all-things-Alaska, and my fascination with humankind.

What strange things do you do when you write? Do you listen to music? Watch television? Eat Cheetos?

I’m not sure if listening to music, watching TV, or eating Cheetos is strange. I shut myself away from my family and tell them not to bother me except in cases of vomit, blood, or fire. I also take breaks from writing and nap on a futon in my office. It may look like I’m being lazy, but I’m actually processing issues while I nap.

What was your greatest challenge writing this story and how did you overcome it?

There were so many challenges it’s hard to know where to begin, but one of the biggest ones was that I didn’t like my protagonist. The way I worked around it was to change the point of view and narrator. The story is now narrated from the afterlife by the person who is responsible for the entire premise of the novel. She may not admire the protagonist either—in fact she sometimes feels jealous of her—but she has a good perspective from her vantage point.

If you could spend the day with one of the characters in this book, who would you choose and what would you do?

Frankie, the precocious 13-year-old going on 21! She is desperate for love and stability. I’d like to offer that to her.

What’s next for you and your writing career?

I’m working on a novel set in the Yellowstone area that alternates between present day and a historical time period. The protagonist of The Damnable Legacy and Frankie make a cameo appearance in this new novel, which is currently titled Bear Medicine.

What inspires you? Where do you get your ideas?

I’m inspired by nature and relationships. My ideas come a bit from personal experience, and also from experiences of other people I know or read about, but they also come from my imagination as I process my observations, thoughts, and feelings about this messy thing we call life.

What is something you are not good at doing?

In life, I’m not nearly as athletic as I’d like to be. In writing, I sometimes struggle with getting my butt in the chair. I definitely have a love-hate relationship with writing. I do love it, but it’s hard work.

What message do you want readers to get from reading the book?

The narrator and the protagonist both struggle with consequences of decisions they’ve made. While we can’t predict every impact of every choice in our lives, we need to be sensitive especially to how our decisions impact others. We also need to understand that we cannot control the world, no matter how much we want to, and sometimes attempting to control too much backfires.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Read, hike, drink wine, hang out with friends and family (including Lani, my labradoodle.) I also love to sleep! I love to travel, but just like writing, it’s hard work.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?

You’re not done until you understand what the reader’s takeaway will be.

What are your favorite characters that you have created?

In my novel, my favorite characters are Frankie, the 13-year-old; Ryan, the pastor who lost his faith; and Beth, the narrator. In my short story collection (Women on the Brink) I tend to be most enamored with the protagonists under 25 and over 75.

What is one piece of advice you would give to your teenage self?

Figure out what you believe in, then be true to yourself no matter what.

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