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Kim Magowan, “The Light Source”

“The bride marched up to the altar in blue jeans and said the night before she found her groom in bed with her maid of honor, so the wedding was off.” That is the birth of “The Light Source” by Kim Magowan. Heather, the bride, and Julie, the maid of honor, are best friends turned lovers who explore a world of experiences which are narrated through the voices of five different characters.

(Amazon Image)
(Amazon Image)

In a recent interview, Magowan told us she began writing “The Light Source” while she was in graduate school at UC Berkeley. It started off as a bulk of short stories before she came to realize it was too long and intertwined, so it became novel. In laying out this book, she was highly intrigued by the maid of honor’s intention in sleeping with her best friend’s fiancé, which she concludes in the book was because she is in love with her best friend–from there unfolds Heather and Julie’s journey.

Book writing alone can seem monstrous, but the editing process can prove to be an even bigger monster altogether. Magowan disclosed that it was “Like sticking pins in my eyes, not fun at all. I remember days where I would literally spend five to six hours cutting 300 words… so, torture. But I do really think that the novel is better because of that, it’s tighter.”

Magowan persisted on, sometimes still feeling anxiety around having her art so public and accessible. She didn’t get to the stage of sending stories out until she was 43, saying, “It’s not like I’m ever 100% satisfied with what I make, I just get it to be as good as I can.” But as a whole, she is very proud of the book and writing characters she doesn’t morally align with.

In the past, Magowan didn’t seek publication because living up to her literary heroes seemed daunting, but she just said “so what” and strapped in for the ride that is publication. She found the courage to begin publishing through revelations that time simply will continue on with or without her. She had the feeling of a midlife crisis, and she chose to listen to it.

There were still days where she second-guessed herself, felt insecure, especially when facing rejection on top of rejection. Magowan believes rejection is something every writer must build a stamina for because one will receive more rejections than acceptances.

Funny enough, Magowan is a part of a rejection club where the member with the most at the end of year wins the trophy. For 2019, Magowan holds 77 rejections and 25 acceptances, but because of this, she has made it to where rejections don’t sadden her. She understands that it’s a part of the life of a published writer.

She always remembers not everyone will like your work but says “it’s yours–stand by it and fight for it.” Accepting edits also does not contradict that fact. When the advice feels right for a writer, Magowan feels that they should constructively take it, but it is also okay to fight for what does not.

When struggling to find one’s voice or a subject matter, Magowan reminds writers, “We go through events in our lives that are formative events and that helps produce a lot of the raw material your drawing on as a writer.” One’s life experience can be the best subject to pull from. You’ve lived it, so you already know how the story ends. 

You can catch Kim Magowan doing readings around the Bay Area of “The Light Source” and on a book tour across the nation. Stop by for a reading to get a feel for her voice, and always remember her number one tip for aspiring writers is to READ!