Catapult Instructors

The seed that started IF YOU LEAVE ME

Classes instructors Naima Coster and Crystal Hana Kim discuss Crystal’s debut novel, IF YOU LEAVE ME

Naima and Crystal both have upcoming workshops with Catapult. Naima will teach an online bootcamp this fall, and Crystal is teaching both in-person and online fiction workshops. If you’d like to get a sense for their stories, check out this great interview on Electric Literature!

Naima Coster: What was the seed that started If You Leave Me?

Crystal Hana Kim: I had always loved writing about women, particularly women pushing against social and cultural constraints. I loved writing about mothers and daughters, and one of my earliest short stories was actually from the perspective of Solee, who is a character in If You Leave Me that readers will encounter much later in the narrative. And of course, I grew up hearing my grandmother’s stories about the Korean War — her stories were part of me for a very long time, and so when I decided that the pieces of fiction I had written could become a novel, I started with the Korean War.

I did a ton of research because I wanted to make sure I was getting these details right. I read texts about the war and about Korean history, of course, but I also wanted to get the feel for everyday life, so I pored over photographs and watched movies and documentaries. I wanted to transport the unfamiliar reader and immerse them in sensory details so that they could imagine themselves right alongside my characters.

To read the rest of the interview, head over to our friends at Electric Literature!