Delighted to be hosting Day 2 of this blog tour
27 August 2021
My thanks to Katherine for answering my questions
and Grace Pilkington Publicity for the invitation to the blog tour
When Emma, 32, loses her boyfriend Mark to cancer, she’s struck by grief. But their relationship was far from straightforward and her grief is compounded by a need to analyse their past, to understand what happened between them and to get to the bottom of the niggling question - did he really love her? The story begins at Mark’s funeral and moves through time. We follow the characters through their lives in Oxford, Bristol, and Belfast, their travels round Jordan, and accompany Emma on another journey; to untangle a complex relationship overshadowed by terminal illness. Largely based on Katherine Markland’s own story, If Only He’d Told Her is a refreshingly honest and beautiful depiction of how difficult it can be to love someone intent on pushing you away. As in all relationships, there are moments of cruelty, hostility and communication breakdown, followed by soul-stirring moments of pure love and intimacy. In this devastating account of a knotty relationship and the pain of loving and losing someone who is terminally ill, Emma looks inside her time with Mark and finds the kindness and love she needs to let him go. This is an unusual love story of strength and tenderness in the face of adversity.
**I'm delighted to have Katherine as my guest on the blog today**
📖 Katherine, tell us a little about yourself and how you got started as an author.
I have always loved writing. I can be creative, but I also get very easily bored. I couldn’t write all day or write full time, and I can’t be creative under pressure, but relaxed and at my own pace, I really enjoy it. I’d done a few creative writing courses, I was enjoying writing short pieces, and then life presented a story to me and I made the most of the opportunity.
My background is in Psychology – I have always been interested in people. I took Psychology at University, and have continued in that field ever since, but for me, Psychology is more about understanding, than helping, or rather that understanding helps. The one thing I really gained from my degree was the knowledge that everything anyone does, can be understood – there is always a reason, you just have to look deep or wide enough. I work full time as a Psychologist. I live in Dorset, I have for a while, and when I’m not working, I love nature, walking and hiking, and being outdoors.
📖What can you tell us about If Only He’d Told Her without giving too much away?
If only he’d told her is essentially my story. It’s the story of a girl who falls in love with a man who is dying and while they both try and deny it to start with, they have to face it, it tears them apart, but in the end, they come back together. It’s a romance, but not a standard boy-girl romance – it’s clear from the start that they get together, it’s more about relationships, the good and the bad, and what these tell us about ourselves.
📖 If Only He’d Told Her is your first novel, what is it like to be a new author?
It’s very exciting to have my first novel published - I’m really pleased with the book and how everything has turned out, I have enjoyed the process and I’ve met some very nice people, but at the same time, it is quite worrying. I have no idea what to expect, I really hope the book is received well. I really hope other people like it.
📖 Whilst you are writing you must live with your characters. How do you feel about them now the book is finished? Are they the people you expected them to be?
This wasn’t an experience for me. My novel is based on my own story, so I knew the characters all along. The story has developed as I’ve gone on, what’s become important and what’s less so, but this has been what’s made it interesting. I’ve learnt a lot along the way, mostly a lot about myself!
📖What were the challenges you faced whilst writing this novel?
There was one section that was hard to write. There’s a part of the story where the relationship simply falls apart, it was painful at the time, and to go back over it was hard work too. I really struggled to get started on that section, and then was never happy with what I’d written. For most of the book, I wrote a little almost every day, but after struggling for a while I decided this section needed something different. I booked a hotel room in Nice for four days, for just myself with no distractions, and blasted through it for four days almost solid. The section wasn’t finished in the four days, but it wasn’t far off.
📖 Tell us about your writing day - are you disciplined, strictly 9 til 5, or are you more of a have a cup of coffee and think about it sort of writer?
I work full time doing something else, and write very much in my spare time. While writing this book, I wrote mostly in the evenings, or in cafes and coffee shops during visits to parks and gardens. I need to be relaxed - as I said earlier, I can’t be creative under pressure, but I also can’t do a lot at a time, it’s mostly just little snatches of time, here and there.
📖What do you hope that readers will take away from reading If Only He’d Told Her?
I suppose on the surface, that death and illness are horrible, that everyone experiences them differently, that no-one can tell you how to feel, but you can come through. That relationships are never straightforward, but communication is so important. And then also, on a deeper level, that whatever you’re looking for, you will find it, you just need to keep looking until you do. I hope the book is seen as positive.
Katherine, where can we follow you on social media?
There’s a website for the book: www.ifonlyhedtoldher.com, with details also of events and news, and a means for getting in touch.
About the Author
Katherine Markland lives in Dorset with her two cats. At the age of 32, she lost her boyfriend to cancer. Based largely on her own true story, If Only He’d Told Her recounts her journey through grief, to find that love does exist after all. Her journey was aided by the writing process, and she hopes the finished product may aid others too.