INTERVIEW WITH RANDALL KLEIN
When did you first feel like a writer?
I still don’t. I’m an editor who writes. I love editing above all other tasks. To get to work with authors and their manuscripts is always challenging and joyful for me. I started writing in part because once I write something I get to edit it, with an author who will intermittently listen. But however many books I’m lucky enough to have published, I’ll always think of myself as an editor first.
What's your philosophy about teaching a writing class?
Work with the student in front of you; work with the text in front of you. People are going to bring different levels of experience and different approaches into the class, so the best thing I think I can be is flexible and versatile, to draw the best work from each student in a way that accommodates their approach. I’m also big on opinions being the start, not the end, so I always try to challenge my students to analyze why they liked something, or didn’t, or even just responded to it. To be more articulate about everyone else’s writing I’ve found can help students get better at studying their own writing.
If you could meet any fictional character, who would it be and why?
Milo, from The Phantom Tollbooth, because he’s my hero. If I need to give an adult answer, then Iris Chase, from The Blind Assassin, because I’d happily listen to her narrate lunch. She’s a masterful storyteller.
Randall Klein worked in publishing for a decade, starting at the literary agency Trident Media Group, then as an editor, first within the Random House Publishing Group, then for Diversion Books, where he acquired and edited over one hundred books across all genres. He is also the author of the novel Little Disasters, published in May of 2018 by Viking Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
WHAT WRITERHOUSE STUDENTS ARE SAYING ABOUT RANDALL
“Randall is incisive about how fiction is structured and what makes it tick. He is incredibly generous with his time and insight. When you take a class with Randall, expect to be encouraged and challenged in equal, excellent measure.”
“Randall brings his background as an editor into the classroom alongside his experience as a novelist. He makes you think and makes you work, and as a result, the class was especially fulfilling. His intelligence and humor made it a real pleasure to spend time with him every week.”