Featured Author posts are the Write On SC community of writers telling you, in their words, about themselves. To become a featured author, become a patron.
Tell us about yourself...
Dr. Kasie Whitener’s first novel, After December, has been called “a breakthrough debut” and “outstanding fiction.” She is host of the weekly radio show Write On SC, a member of the South Carolina Writers Association, and member of the South Carolina Humanities Speakers’ Bureau. Dr. Whitener is a business owner and lecturer at the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina. At her core is GenX nostalgia, libertarian politics, and not-quite-getting-over-the-90s. Dr. Whitener has presented workshops for Bowling Green State University’s Winter Wheat Literary Festival, the Pat Conroy Literary Center, and the Fairfax County Public Library.
What do you write?
GenX fiction which is literary fiction with a healthy does of nostalgia for the 90s
Tell us about your featured book...
After December is about a guy named Brian Listo and his friends, The Crew, who return to their hometown for a long weekend to bury a friend. Tony’s suicide is a pivotal moment for Brian, who has taken for granted the security provided by the love and acceptance we give to those we’ve known the longest. It’s a tragic coming-of-age but also a nostalgic look at what we thought adulting was when we were in our 20s. Brian’s first-person narrative delivers the self-centeredness we (hopefully) outgrew and the frustration we felt for life being on pause while we waited to be trusted to live it. Buy it here.
What is your favorite book that you read but didn't write? Why?
I loved The Hottest State by Ethan Hawke because of how confused and sad and melodramatic his protagonist was. It felt real to me at 20 and again at 24 when I wrote my thesis on it. I wanted After December to feel that way: frustratingly familiar.
How did you get started as a writer? Who would you credit for influencing you?
I started writing in 7th grade when my family moved to California and I was so sad to have left my friends. I had a great English teacher named Mrs. Sutherland who encouraged my penchant for fiction. I gave her last name to Kacie in the book. Since then, professors like Brock Clarke at Clemson and John Byrd at Winthrop who taught me how to peal a book apart and writers like Richard Ford, Stephen King, Anne Lamott, and Therese Anne Fowler who were so intentional about the craft.
Who is the ideal reader for your work? Describe your target audience.
GenX: probably a woman in her 40s or 50s with a kind of high-school-reunion-fueled nostalgia for the boyfriend she misses but is glad she walked away from.
What advice do you have for other writers?
Revise. Read aloud to a workshop. Take the feedback. Revise again. Writing is a craft and a process and it should be work. The really good stuff takes work.