The Girl in the Red Coat.
Kate grew up in Pembrokeshire and after studying Art worked in television for over ten years, mainly on documentaries. She completed an MA in creative writing in Aberystwyth university and joined the Curtis Brown Creative programme. Her debut novel THE GIRL IN THE RED COAT was published by Faber & Faber in February 2015 and has sold in over ten other territories. Kate also won the Rhys Davies short story prize in 2011 and the story One Summer was broadcast on Radio 4. She has also had work published in short story anthologies such as ‘A Fiction Map of Wales’ and Seren’s ‘New Welsh Short Stories.’ She lives in Cardiff with her husband. THE GIRL IN THE RED COAT has been shortlisted for the John Creasy (new Blood) Dagger award and the Costa First Novel Prize. ‘The Girl in the Red Coat’ is being published in the US in February 2016 by Melville House.
I was quite excited to find out more about Kate and her writing, as always I looked into some of the practicalities of day to day writing, important topics like food and drink, and which genetic mutants are desirable...
When did you start writing? And why?
I started writing as a child – poems, little stories. Sometimes I’d make my own books and staple them together with illustrations. I guess that urge has never stopped. Why is a harder question. Maybe it’s an attempt to make sense of the world by turning it into a story, I’m not sure.
What 3 things (not including paper, computer, pens) would you like to facilitate a good days writing?
Strong coffee. A head that’s not full of worries. An inspirational novel. The latter I find the most important. I often will start the day reading a bit of something I think is brilliant. Even if you feel you’ll never come near it, it gives you something to aim for.
Are any people in your book based on people you know? And if so have you (would you) tell them?
They tend to be an amalgam of people I know, films I’ve seen and myself. There’s always an extra ingredient though and once they form properly they become completely themselves. It’s this ‘added extra’ that’s the magic piece of the puzzle which turns them into individuals. Where that comes from I haven’t a clue!
Do you write to a schedule, eg every day or three times a week, set times, etc or do you write as and when the mood strikes.
I write every day except Sundays and I aim for around 9 am until mid-afternoon to capture that golden morning energy. If it’s really not working I don’t keep on banging my head against a manuscript. I’ll go and cook something or go for a walk. Chances are I’ll be running back to the computer because the ideas have freed up again.
What’s the worst question anyone has ever asked you ever? And did you answer?
Actually I feel nearly all the questions I’ve been asked at events are interesting and come from a real curiosity about writing, this particular novel and books in general. Sometimes questions and comments really surprise me and I like that. I can’t think of anything terrible I’ve been asked except stuff that gives the plot away too much.
Arghhh, I’ve got a gluten allergy so my favourites have had to fall by the wayside. It would’ve been a Jaffa cake though (I know, I know, but I always thought of it as a biscuit – it’s the shape). I adored them and could easily get through half a packet in a sitting. (only half a packet? and what if I told you there were gluten free ones...)
Tea or coffee?
Coffee. Coffee. Coffee. And strong at that. Otherwise it’s not worth bothering with.(excellent choice, though when thirsty I like tea, I agree coffee is superior)
Where do you do most of your writing?
At my desk at home which was kindly given to me. If I’m having a ‘stuck’ day I might take it somewhere else – a café or the library. Quite a few of the scenes of ‘The Girl in the Red Coat’ were written in Cardiff Central Library.
What book are you reading at the moment?
I’m just about to start ‘The Forgetting Time’ by Sharon Guskin which looks great and I’m just on the last few pages of ‘The Power of Now’ by Eckhart Toile.
Do you use social media (facebook, twitter, instagram etc) to engage with your audience, do you think it helps sales and do you find it fun or a chore?
I started using Twitter just before I was published and amazed myself by taking to it like a duck to water. It’s funny, passionate, and the brevity of it is perfect. I use the #amwriting hashtag a lot and find Twitter is full of readers and writers. Often when I meet people at events it’ll be ‘hello, I know you from Twitter!’ I have a Facebook author page too because I know a lot of people prefer to use Facebook but that’s more infrequent. I’ve no idea if it helps sales or not but it’s great to engage with readers because that’s ultimately who I’m writing for!
If you could genetically cross an animal with a fruit or vegetable what would you choose and why?
What about a snamato? No idea what a snake and tomato would look like but I’ve just fallen in love with the word! (cute, red and shiny I assume, with a green forked tongue, it would leave that tomato smell on your hands...)
Do you celebrate Easter with chocolate? Plain, white or dark?
Always a Lindt Easter bunny. Always bite the ears off first. (slightly cruel, but lovely smooth chocolate, I hope you'll be enjoying some this weekend)
|Kate's cat, the observant among you may spot he's not 'real'|
Thank you so much for taking part Kate, it's been great to have a little look behind the scenes.
And thank you for popping by dear blog reader, if you've enjoyed reading but need to comment, come over to chat on twitter or facebook.
You can grab a copy of The Girl in The Red Coat from all good book shops or online at Amazon etc.