Monday, July 10, 2017

Meet Pikes Peak Writers Member Darby Karchut

By: Kathie Scrimgeour

Darby Karchut’s writing career began in 2010 and, today, her debut novel, Griffin Rising (Copper Square Studios, 2014 re-release), has been optioned for film. She has been a member of PPW since 2010 and frequently contributes to Writing from the Peak. Darby has also been spotted around her home riding her bike in blizzards and braving lightning storms while jogging.

A little about your books:

Kathie: You have published 2 books with a new one on the way (Del Toro Moon, Owl Hollow Press). What is one of the biggest lessons you have learned that would be important for a new writer?

Darby: When you are finished with your first book, write another one and another and another. Repeat until you die.

Kathie: Your YA debut novel, Griffin Rising (Copper Square Studios, 2014 re-release) has been optioned for film. How did this exciting step come about?

Darby: A local teen residency had used my series as part of their reading program. They invited me to come spend a morning with the students. In the audience was Geoff Stults, a TV/movie actor from California. His mom was one of the administrators of the residency, and he was in town visiting. He and producer, Carmella Casinelli (Bonne Aire Productions) called me a few weeks later and offered to option the series. Carmella is currently pitching the books to various studios. This is a long process and it may take years or nothing at all may come of it. That’s okay – it’s just fun to be in the game.
Kathie: Do you have a favorite among your publications? Why?

Darby: Del Toro Moon. And, no, not because it’s my latest book, but because it’s the book of my heart.

All about Writing:

Kathie: Do you set daily, weekly, or monthly writing goals? If yes, what are they? What do you do to insure you meet these goals?

Darby: I try to write every day, even if it’s only a few thousand words, a couple of pages, or even just scene, plodding along like a mule. I treat my writing career as a business, and in business, you have to produce. Better to write badly than to write nothing at all. You can fix bad writing; you cannot fix a blank page.

Kathie: With all your successful publications, I am sure you also wade through the rejections. Do you have any fun ways you deal with rejection (i.e. wallpaper closets with the rejects)? Do rejections help you be a better writer? If so, how?

Darby: Honestly, rejections don’t bother me all that much because I know it is part of the journey. If I have a strong manuscript, then it’s simply a number’s game. This industry is incredibly subjective, so keep querying.  

Kathie: Rejection letters are one end of the spectrum in writing, the other end could be called success. What does success mean to you? Does success scare you or motivate you?

Darby: Success means I am always improving. I owe that to the children and teens who pick up my books, and hopefully, enjoy them enough to read other books, not just mine. Because children and teens who read become adults who think and feel. Also, over the past three years, I’ve focused on creating stories with diverse characters. Like so many middle grade and YA authors, this is something I’m passionate about—that books are both “mirrors and windows.” That’s why I’m so excited about Del Toro Moon.

Writing Conferences and Reading:

Kathie: Writing conferences, workshops, and critique groups are an important part of all writer’s growth. What have been a few of your favorite experiences?

Darby: Critique groups are not my thing. When I first started, I had a beta reader whom I trusted, and she was amazing, but I outgrew her. I believe art is not created by committee, and writers need to move to a place where they can self-critique. That said, I enjoy workshops and writer conferences, and try to attend them when possible. I always pick up useful tools, but more importantly, it’s a lovely chance to spend time with my tribe.

Kathie: Do you have any "self-help for writers" books that you use regularly? Please share your list of your top 2 or 3.

Darby: Well, Stephen King’s On Writing is my favorite. Actually, it’s the only one I’ve read.

Kathie: Does your reading influence your writing? How?

Darby: I call it Karchut University. I like to learn a new skill by examining how others do it. Centuries ago, painters and sculptors would learn their craft by copying the masters in museums. I do the same thing by reading favorite authors and figuring out how they solve various problems. I read all the time; sometimes I read to learn and sometimes I read for pleasure. When I visit schools, I tell the students that when I was growing up, I devoured books, gorging myself on the written word, until one day, I threw up my own book. There’s a famous quote from Pam Allyn: “Reading is like breathing in; writing is like breathing out.”

Kathie: If you met someone who was thinking about starting to write, what advice would you give them?

Darby: Read a billion books in the genre you wish to write. Then, write. Nothing will teach you about writing a book more than writing a book.

Thank you, Kathie, for talking with me about books and writing, and for asking such great questions. Writery folks are the best folks. People, if you have questions, fire away.

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Are you a member of Pikes Peak Writers and interested in being interviewed? Contact Kathie Scrimgeour at 


  1. I love the gorging on the written word until you vomit out a book of your own. It's true!

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