Today it's my pleasure to welcome Kate Field to the blog to talk about her new book The Truth about You, Me and Us that was published last week.
I’m middle-aged, married and a mother, and very happy to be all three! I live in a small village in Lancashire with my family and our cat, surrounded by bleak moors on one side and rolling fields on the other.
I wrote for many years as a hobby, but I did it in secret and when I finished a book I simply saved it to a floppy disc (that dates me!) and started another, without making any effort to be published. Turning forty made me reassess what I was doing. I had a strong sense of ‘now or never’, and I realised that while I was telling my daughter that she could achieve anything she wanted if she tried, I wasn’t setting a good example.
I began by submitting my writing to competitions, and encouraged by some success, joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme. It was at an RNA conference that I met an editor from Accent Press, who subsequently offered me a publishing contract.
If you had to give an elevator pitch for The Truth about You, Me and Us, what would it be?
It’s the story of Helen, who walks away from a perfect life and reinvents herself. When the past collides with her new life, will she choose the easy option again – and was it really as perfect as it seemed?
What inspired you to write about someone walking away and starting life over again?
The original book wasn’t about that at all!
I started writing this story about thirteen years ago, with a clear plot and ending in mind. However, after three or four chapters I knew it wasn’t going to work. The characters I was writing about wouldn’t fit into the neat scenario I’d devised for them, however much I tried to manipulate them.
I abandoned the book for several years and wrote other things, but I hate giving up so eventually looked at this one again. With more experience of writing by this point, the solution was obvious. My characters had to come first, and so the plot changed to suit them.
I can’t say much more without spoilers!
Describe Helen in three words.
Talented, selfish, reformed.
What message would you like readers to take from reading The Truth about You, Me and Us?
I can’t claim there’s any great moral behind the story, but I hope readers will enjoy the book and believe that it’s possible to turn your life around if the motivation is strong enough.
If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?
Make contact with other writers, either through organisations like the RNA, through local writing groups or even online ones. It took me years to realise how important this is, and what a difference it makes. On a practical level, other writers can read your work and give feedback, and provide invaluable advice about agents and publishers and the submissions process. Beyond that, no one can help you through the ups and downs of the writing life like other writers. They can become brilliant friends, and tireless cheerleaders and counsellors.
What would you say is the hardest thing about writing?
I find self-doubt the hardest thing, and it can be tough to carry on when you think the book you’re writing is utter drivel. That’s when cheerleading writer friends prove useful!
If you get a block during the initial writing phase, how do you work your way through it?
I don’t do a great deal of planning before starting to write, so I quite often have a block when I don’t know what should happen next. Taking a break usually works for me: sometimes just going for a walk, or at other times taking a couple of days off to do some research, or to read or to enjoy family life.
What essentials do you need to have close to hand when you are in writing mode?
None at all. I write by hand, so as long as I have a notebook and pen I’m good to go.
What writers inspire you?
In women’s fiction, I would say JoJo Moyes, Lucy Dillon and Harriet Evans for engaging stories that completely draw you in, coupled with beautiful writing. Although I don’t write crime stories, Elly Griffiths inspires me, particularly her Ruth Galloway series, as the characterisation is flawless.
Where would be your idyllic location be for a writing retreat?
As I live in the countryside, I think for a writing retreat I would choose to be by the sea, so I could spend part of the day writing and part of it walking along the beach or the cliffs. I haven’t been on a writing retreat yet but it’s a definite ambition for the future.
Do you treat yourself to something special to celebrate the publication of your books?
I treated myself to a day off work to celebrate publication of The Magic of Ramblings!
The Truth About You, Me and Us, will be published on a Friday, my day off, so I’ll have to think of a better treat. All suggestions welcome!
Finally what can we expect from you next?
I’ve just started writing a book which is loosely based around a theme of being kind to yourself, but as I don’t plot in detail I can’t say much more about it. I’ll see where the characters take me!
Thanks for inviting me on your blog, Sharon.
Sometimes the hardest person to be honest with is yourself…
Five years ago Helen Walters walked out on her ‘perfect’ life with the ‘perfect’ man. Wealthy, glamorous and bored, she longed for something more.
Now a talented artist with a small business, Helen creates crazy patchwork crafts to support her young daughter, Megan. Penniless, content and single, she is almost unrecognisable.
But when her past unexpectedly collides with her new life, Helen finds herself torn. She knows what the easiest choice is, but is it what she wants?