To celebrate Women’s History Month, we’d like to introduce the amazing Kim Rich.
A truly inspiring woman, she was the daughter of a gangster and a dancer in Alaska. Tragically her dad was murdered and mom was institutionalized and died young, of cancer.
Orphaned, she couch-surfed and hitch hiked her way across the country, then worked her way up in a successful career in journalism.
After publishing her first book, Johnny’s Girl: A Daughter’s Memoir of Growing Up In Alaska’s Underworld, she spent time on set in Hollywood while the TV movie was made.
She met the love of her life, couldn’t conceive, and took four rounds of fertility treatments. They decided to adopt and ended up finding out she was pregnant with twin girls on the same day she found they would adopt a baby girl.
She got breast cancer and had a double mastectomy.
Seeking family ties, Kim finally reconnected with her grandfather. He suffered from dementia and then married an unscrupulous woman who kidnapped him. And yet, there’s more.
When she’s not writing and spending time with family, Kim does writing workshops that explore how memoirs reveal a search for justice and a journey into pain and loss, adventure and joy — and how they can help readers confront and overcome fears. See a list of books and authors that inspired her in overcoming life’s obstacles below.
What books and authors inspired me?
My love of writing began in middle school when I discovered poets and essayists Walt Whitman and Henry David Thoreau.
The first book I can recall that blew me away was The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck. This was quickly followed by To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
But I knew I found a career when I discovered the ‘New Journalism’ created by my biggest writing hero, Tom Wolfe. The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test and The Right Stuff and his later fiction and his life showed me the work I wanted to do. As a teen I read all of Hunter Thompson’s (the other ‘new’ journalist and creator of ‘Gonzo Journalism’) books: Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, Fear and Loathing with the Hell’s Angels and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Despite Thompson’s reputation for crazed, drug and alcohol-fueled antics, he was always a solid journalist and writer.
Joan Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem really changed my view of what writing could be — telling history through personal narrative. My other favorite writer was Nora Ephron. I so wished I could write like her in Heartburn.
I also discovered P.J. O’Rourke — his magazine and various books are some of the funniest works I’d ever read. Other favorites include: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote; Light in August by William Faulkner; The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald; Madame Bovary by Gustav Flaubert; The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera; One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez; and Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella.
— Kim Rich