1. How did you get started writing?
I’ve always written. I don’t know how not to. Unless I’m really exhausted, after a while the urge to write just builds up like an itch and I’m good for nothing if I try to ignore it. When I was six I wrote a “book” based on a story my dad told me, called Gandolph and the Goblins. It was handwritten on pages from my school jotter, pasted onto black sugar paper and stapled together but my sister did make me a most excellent King Goblin.
At 10 I got in trouble because we were supposed to be writing 3 interlinked short stories. Everyone else did a half page. Mine were twenty handwritten sides long – each – and I had to ask for a new jotter. I’m still better at long than short!!
2. Out of all your books, which one is your favourite and why?
At the moment I’m working on a fantasy series, Wolf, and I really like that one. It’s one of the better things I’ve written.
Having said which, the characters in the short I wrote for this have already got their own series forming in my hindbrain and it’s going to be awfully difficult to concentrate on the gnarly edits for book 5 of the previous series with those two vying for attention all the time!
But I’m experimenting with writing the whole Wolf series for rapid release, so it may be that I can sprinkle in a few more shorts for Kat and her crew along the way, if they clamour too loudly in my head!
3. What is your favorite thing to do outside of writing?
I love to light a fire and sit by it and read with a good cup of tea. There’s something very cosy and companionable about the room being quiet apart from the slow hiss of the fire, my husband turning pages occasionally, and the dog sprawled with his head on my lap, snoring like a good’un. We don’t often have time for that sort of downtime, and sometimes I just sit and chill instead of reading, but I love it.
4. What do you love most about the genre you write?
I read lots of genres, and write in several, though mostly fantasy under this name. I love fantasy that seems really real, only with extra possibilities; the sort that seems like it could almost be true, not necessarily here but somewhere really like it. Like Robin Hobb or Mary Stewart’s Merlin series, perhaps.
I’ve been toying with moving across to sci-fi for a while now, but it’s been a case of finding the right story. For me, Sci-Fi is really similar to Fantasy only instead of magic you have tech, and instead of mythical creatures you have aliens.
I loved Julian May’s Milieu series for that, as it seemed to make the transition almost seamlessly, but I used to read a lot of Andre Norton’s sci fi as a kid, and I loved her gift for making things “other” that weren’t basically humans with a mask on, and of making the new, strange, futuristic stuff seem everyday and homely.
5. What do you want readers to take from your books?
Hope. I write very different stories but mostly when you come down to it, they are about hope, and kindness, and compassion, and togetherness. Bad things do happen, sometimes to good people, but hope is what we fight for, what keeps us going.
Even if we never win (because in real life, there is rarely an unadulterated happy ending), we keep fighting because we refuse to live in a world where there is no hope. But by doing that, sometimes we can create it from nothing, and that is a little bit of magic that can exist in this world, very occasionally.
6. What made you decide to write in your current genre?
Ah. You think I get some say in this, do you? Uh-uh. I just hold the pen.*
My characters screech to a stop in my brain, trailing plot strands right, left and centre, and shout “Get in, loser! We’re going on a quest!” And then argue amongst themselves because I’m trying to finish one story and the other lot are shouting louder. (I know how Bilbo Baggins feels, some days…)
But in my to-write folder I have crime, historical fiction, comedy, sci-fi, kids stories, mythology…I just write the ones that shout loudest; but within fantasy, usually, if I can.
*okay keyboard, if we’re being pedantic here.
7. Tell us about your current release/or new release?
I have a release date for the end of the year for the last book in my Holly series. If I can get that done before then,, I’m two and half books into Wolf and just approaching the bit where research becomes a thing, so if I can make good progress on them I might release Book 1, as I’m quite excited about that.
But I am starting to think there may be a cheeky Kat short that might sneak into life along the way sometime before the end of the year! Viz is very purrsistent!
8. What’s the one piece of technology you can’t live without?
I do most of my writing on the hoof, so the tablet with its bluetooth keyboard allows me to type nearly as fast as on a pc, but on the train or the bus, or in my lunch hour, or whatever. I can do quite a lot just on my phone, but the keyboard is a bit of a game changer, and even with it, it’s still lighter than a little laptop.
9. Do you find it hard to kill off your characters?
Again, don’t usually get much choice in the matter. There was one character I really liked, and I set him up for a happy eanding and just at the last minute the bad guys stabbed him in the gut. Tad unexpected and I was quite cross so I was going to delete it but then I realised it made the story much stronger and made sense of about three character arcs, so not only did I have to leave it in, but I had to write the damn thing. Not impressed.
Did make the story much better though, so… can’t really complain I suppose.
10. What do you do when a flash of inspiration hits you at an inopportune moment?
Mail it to myself. Usualy have the phone on me at least.
11. Where can we find you on the internet?