Kate became an internet friend when we were both planning to attend the same book event in London, February 2017. We both agreed that it’s a hard transition being someone who spends 95% of their working life in isolation behind a desk to meeting hundreds of readers—awesome, but a little nerve-wracking, too. Then we bonded for good when she learned of my chocolate love and promised to bring me some Caramello Koalas—koala-shaped chocs filled with soft, gooey caramel. Yum!
Kate left her native Australia to come to the UK during one of the coldest winters we’ve had, with snow on the ground. Poor love!
Unfortunately, we were too busy hugging to get a photograph of meeting for the first time, but I hope we’ll meet again one day soon.
When did you start to feel like a writer? I know that for me it wasn’t when I wrote my first book, or even my second or third, it was several years before I didn’t feel like a fraud when people asked me what I did for a living. When was the moment for you when you thought, Yes! I’m a writer!
I love this question because, for me, it was a life changing moment before I’d even published my first book. I’d become friends with G J Walker-Smith, an author I absolutely loved thanks to Facebook. It was in early 2014 when I’d just started dabbling with writing a romance novel. After many messages, she asked me to send her what I’d written. Feeling completely nauseated, I sent her a few thousand words. She messaged me a short while later with the crying emoji and the words that felt life altering – “Kate, you are a writer.” I will never forget that message or that moment. She and I are still great friends and she continues to mentor me, even though she hates the word mentor!
What is the most rewarding part of being a writer?
When I write a line or a scene that flows easily is such a joy. But the most rewarding part is receiving messages or emails from readers telling me how much they enjoyed my stories.
Love My Way was an incredible experience to write and publish. I took a big risk with the plot twist, and I believe it paid off. It’s been referred to as unique many times which I think is a big achievement in storytelling.
What do you want to achieve next?
I want to finish my next novel because I’ve struggled through the process far more than I have before this time around.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received: about life / about writing?
Decide on what success means to you and never compare yourself to others. That’s two things!
What is your favourite reader experience, either in messages or at an event?
Gosh, I have so many! Every time a reader makes contact with me in any way to tell me they enjoyed my books is special. As far as event experiences, at my very first author signing, Sign n Sip, in North Virginia in 2016, I was incredibly nervous and didn’t expect anyone to come to my table. To my shock, I had a ticketed line and readers had made things for me inspired by my books. Glass pebble magnets made me very teary. It was humbling and overwhelming in the best way. At RARE London 17, a blogger gave me a charm bracelet. Each charm represented something from Love My Way. I was completely blown away!!
Do you think writers are different to other people? Are we observers? Creators?
I think every writer is unique because we’re all human. I know I’m now far more observant of interesting names than I’ve ever been before!
How do you think being from Australia affects how you write or the subject? In Love My Way, one of the key characters had an Aboriginal background – was that important to you?
Honestly, I try not to let the location be necessary to the story. For some novels, the location is like another character. I don’t think that’s the case for me. I like to think my stories are universal rather than being Australian specifically. I’m proud to be Australian and think I live in the greatest country in the world, but I’m focused more on the characters than the location.
Thanks for mentioning Mereki from Love My Way. Oh, how I love him! He’s indigenous Australian, but I don’t make that an issue. He’s a hero like any of my heroes who just so happens to be Aboriginal.
Have you ever written with a friend? What was the experience like? How did it differ from writing by yourself? What were the pros and cons?
An author friend of mine, Emily Hemmer, and I started writing a book together in 2016. It’s a cosy mystery and I think it’s very funny. We recently decided to dive back in and we’re currently trying to finish it. Who knows?! You might see it later this year. I love having someone equally invested in the story to bounce ideas around with.
Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
Hmmm… I’ll have two adult children and one seventeen years old. Wow!!! I’d love to be enjoying a continued, and blossoming, writing career.
What is your philosophy in life? Family first, and try not to sweat the small stuff.
Describe yourself in three words. Emotional, caring, brave.
How would your best friend describe you? Emotional, caring, funny (I hope!)
If you were an animal, what would you be? A dog – loyal and caring.
Most likely to say… “No worries!”
Least likely to say… “G’day mate”
What is your favourite colour and why?
Red. I have always been attracted to the colour red for some reason. I have no idea why to be honest. There’s just something bold yet feminine about it? Not sure. My branding is red.
When you’re having a bad day, what cheers you up?
A bushwalk with my dog.
What would be your ideal day? Where would you be? Who would you be with?
On Mother’s Day recently, I asked for a family breakfast at a local dog friendly café followed by us all taking the dog on a long bushwalk. We did that and it was a perfect morning. As a bonus, I had a few hours writing time in the afternoon. It was a perfect day!
Mountains and snow, or beaches and sunshine?
Mountains and snow for sure! I know that’s probably weird for an Australian, but I’ve always loved cold weather and mountain landscapes. I used to ski competitively when I was younger.
What message would you like to give to the people who read your books?
Enjoy! That’s all I hope for when a reader picks up my books. Ideally, they can tell I pour everything into my stories, and appreciate them taking a chance on me with so many options out there.