"Q&A With Kate Fagan"
What Made Maddy Run: The Secret Struggles and Tragic Death of an All-American Teen
"Kate Fagan is a columnist and feature writer for ESPNW, ESPN.com, and ESPN The Magazine. She is also a regular panelist on ESPN's Around the Horn and can also be seen on Outside the Lines. Previously, Fagan spent three seasons covering the 76ers for the Philadelphia Inquirer. She lives in Brooklyn, New York." (Source: bykatefagan.com)
- Fan Question #1, Maggie Lynn, what made telling Madison’s story so appealing to you?
I had lived in Philadelphia for three years, had struggled to play college sports, and had an older sister who ran track & field at an Ivy League school. All of those things, combined, made me feel like I could do an insightful, and hopefully compassionate, job telling Maddy's story.
- What was the most painful part of the story to tell?
The most painful part was talking to Madison's parents. Just sitting with people who have been through something so crushing, you can't help but acutely feel a small piece of their pain.
- What makes sports stories so captivating to you?
Well, I find sports stories captivating because I don't think they're actually about sports. I think sports is just the vehicle through which to tell a human story.
- Fan Question #2, Reaghan, would you feel comfortable possibly going around to different universities and talking about her books and possibly assembling a mental health team to accompany her so that the much-needed topics are in fact being addressed?
Actually, I have been welcomed in by a number of colleges and universities, often through the athletic department, to talk about the issue of anxiety and depression, and some of the reasons it's rising among young people.
When I speak at schools, I'm always accompanied by members of the college counseling center, so they can handle any questions I'm not equipped (or shouldn't be!) answering.
- When did your love of writing begin to flourish?
I had wanted to be a writer since I was about 13 years old, after reading a story about UConn women's basketball in Sports Illustrated.
I put that dream on pause while I played college and professional basketball, but I knew I would come back to it when I stopped playing. And I did!
- If you could write an autobiography about anyone, who would it be?
Well, I can't write an autobiography on someone because an autobiography, by definition, is a book someone writes about herself. But if I could write a BIOGRAPHY of anyone, it would be Zidane, the famous French soccer player.
- Fan Question #3, from Joesph Watson, As an openly queer journalist in a field primarily dominated by men, how do you keep level-headed on a day to day basis? How do you stay grounded? Your platform is far bigger than mine, your voice reaches farther. I work in a service industry, and I know I possess a voice/work ethic that can change my job/community for the better, but I often find myself frustrated because individuals don't share my thought process and ideas. How do you deal with the critiques?
This is a luxury I have, and I'm not suggesting it's right for everyone, but ... I ignore them. Obviously, if someone I work with has a critique, I assess whether I think it has merit (it usually does), but as for feedback that's directed solely at me because I'm gay, I ignore it.
- What was your writing process like for ‘What Made Maddy Run’?
I made a poster with empty boxes and I taped it to the back of my door. Every time I finished a chapter, I colored in a box. So each time I left my apartment, I could see how far I had come, and how far I still had to go. I usually write best between 10 am to 12 pm. I would often go to the coffee shop down the street from my apartment, and do focused work for two hours. I find that if I focus for two hours of writing, I can usually produce between 800 to 1200 words.
- What’s the best advice you have received on happiness?
That it's not a choice.
- If you could see any athlete (dead or alive) compete, who would it be?
- What’s your best advice for getting through writer’s block?
I don't believe in writer's block. Having worked at newspapers for many years, I just never had the luxury of not being able to write. Something was due, and you had to deliver. So whenever I find myself "blocked" in some way, I pretend like I have a deadline.
- What’s the best book you have read in 2018?
I recently read The Passage, which is the first book in a trilogy. It came out about 10 years ago, so I'm not breaking new ground here, but I found the book to be captivating and brilliantly written.
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