Katherine Speller is an editor, writer, researcher and journalist based in Brewster, New York. She is also the Editorial Director of Evergreen and Growth at Parents. Her work covering health, wellness, reproductive rights, social issues, politics, technology, sex and relationships, astrology and pop culture have appeared in MTV News, Women’s Health, Bitch, The Daily Dot, WNYC, Public Radio International (PRI), Bustle, and more.
What was your favorite book when you were a child?
It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
Forever by Judy Blume
What’s your favorite line from a book?
“I’ll never again speak to many of the people who loved me into this moment, just as you will never speak to many of the people who loved you into your now. So we raise a glass to them–and hope that perhaps somewhere, they are raising a glass to us.”—John Green, Anthropocene Reviewed
Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?
Joan Didion, Kurt Vonnegut, Peggy Orenstein
Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?
I realized sometime in my teens that one of the most accessible ways to understand others and be understood came to me through writing and reading. Everything isolating, limiting and utterly lonely about being a human person with a human brain could feel just a little less when I could put my thoughts to words or read someone else’s words.
Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?
Hold on to the work you’re proud of and the work that isn’t quite where you want it to be in equal measure. Even the work you think is terrible and embarrassing is just a part of the larger story of you getting better at saying whatever it is you’re trying to say. Have extra love and compassion for the you that you used to be.
There’s a lie that pain and suffering helps make great art or great artists — never let yourself believe that you need to go unhealed to keep making what you want to make. The version of you that will create the best art is the version of you that knows you deserve to be nourished emotionally, mentally and physically.
Also, find people who will cheer you on ferociously and celebrate your wins as hard as they would their own — and be that for others whenever you can.