As a book reviewer I have made contact with authors from all across the globe and feel immensely privileged to be able to share some amazing work. However, there is always something rather special when a book comes to my attention which has been written by an author in my part of the North of England. So with this in mind I have great pleasure in featuring some of those authors who are literally close to my home. Over the next few Saturdays, and hopefully beyond, I will be sharing the work of a very talented bunch of Northern authors and discovering just what being a Northerner means to them both in terms of inspiration and also in their writing.
Today I feature Lancashire author, Kate Field
Coming next week : Lyn G. Farrell
Hi and welcome to Jaffareadstoo, Kate..
Tell us a little about yourself and what got you started as an author?
I’m Lancashire born and bred, and still live only ten minutes away from the street in which I grew up. I did venture down south for three years when I attended university, but was always glad to head back north. When I saw the hills rising and the clouds lowering, I knew I was almost home! I met my husband at university and luckily he is a Lancastrian too, so there was never any question about where we would settle.
I started writing many years ago. I’ve always loved reading – it’s amazing the way that books can manipulate your emotions, change your opinions, educate, entertain or simply take you away from life for a while. Trying to write a book was the irresistible next step.
As a writer based in the North West, does this present any problems in terms of marketing and promoting your books and if so, how do you overcome them?
I attended a talk over the summer about how to write a commercial bestseller. We were told that it’s easier to market a book set in, say, Paris or Cornwall, as the reader already has a mental picture of the location and how romantic it can be – as opposed to a book set in Lancaster. It was an excellent point, but not what I wanted to hear a few weeks before publication of my Lancashire romance!
I’ve received some lovely early reviews of The Magic of Ramblings, and I don’t think the northern setting has put anyone off so far! I write about small communities, and how the people in them rub along together, so I hope that readers can identify with that wherever they come from.
If you were pitching the North West as an ideal place to live, work and write – how would you sell it and what makes it so special?
The North West already has a great track record for nurturing talented people – there are some brilliant comedians, actors, musicians and writers who have come from this region. It inspired Tolkien to write The Lord of the Rings so it must have something special!
I love everything about this region. We have flat vowels and high hills; brilliant museums and theatres; great places to shop and eat. But it’s the landscape that makes me most happy to live here: from the Lake District hills, to the beautiful Forest of Bowland, and even the bleak West Pennine moors.
How did you break into the publishing world?
I always knew that self-publishing wasn’t an option for me, because I don’t have the confidence to look at my own work and think it’s good enough to share. My family still haven’t read any of it as far as I know!
Entering competitions was probably the turning point for me. I was a runner up in the lovely author Miranda Dickinson’s Future Stars competition, and a runner up in the Accent Press / Woman magazine competition. Boosted by that, I met an editor from Accent at the RNA conference in 2015, having sent her the first chapter of The Magic of Ramblings. Luckily she loved it!
What are the up and downs to being an author?
It’s a strange life: what seems a major disaster one day – a main character’s name that has to change halfway through the book, or a scene that doesn’t work on paper as it did in your head – can look totally different the next day.
Rejections are probably one of the lowest moments, and they have a horrible tendency to come together – I once received two in the space of twenty minutes! It makes no difference if it’s a ‘near miss’ or a standard rejection signed by the PA of the person you submitted to, it still stings when one arrives.
On the up side, it’s wonderful when the writing flows and you become immersed in your characters’ lives, to the point that they pop in and out of your head all day. And as a newly published writer, I’ve only recently discovered one of the best moments: to see from a review that someone has enjoyed your book more than makes up for every down day.
Can you describe your books in three words?
Emotional, character-driven romance.
Writing is a solitary business - how do you interact with other authors?
I’d never met another writer until I attended the Festival of Romance in 2013, and it was only then that I realised how much I’d been missing! It’s great to be able to share the ups and downs with people who know exactly what you’re going through.
I’ve met some incredibly supportive and generous writers through the RNA. I was a late developer on Twitter and Facebook, but try to keep in touch with other writers on there. I’m also part of a lovely group of Critique Buddies on Facebook, who can always be relied on for support and encouragement. I don’t think writing needs to be a solitary business any more, and it’s definitely more fun when it’s not!
Thanks for inviting me on your blog, Jo..
You can find more about the Kate on the following sites:
Huge thanks to Kate for taking the time to answer my questions about her impression of living and writing in Lancashire
I hope that you have enjoyed this week's Close to Home feature
Coming next week : Lyn G. Farrell