Good morning Kate and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?
I am a writer and ceramic artist living in West Wales with my three children. I have had three novels published in the last four years, A Perfect Home, Heartstones and Stargazing and am currently trying to write a fourth. Writing time has been scarce this year, as I’ve moved from the house I lived in for twenty years in a little village called Bethlehem not far from Llandeilo. Moving was a mammoth process as my ex-husband and I were both potters and seemed to collect an enormous amount of ‘stuff’! But after weeks and weeks of sorting, packing, trips to charity shops, trips to the dump, numerous bonfires and general down-sizing the children and I have finally moved.
Our new home is Dairy Cottage, a gorgeous little house in Dinefwr Park – a National Trust property on the edge of Llandeilo. Our garden backs onto the deer park and we have a resident peacock who spends his days trying to impress our three cats with his magnificent tail feathers! We are surrounded by beautiful parkland, woods, a castle and even have a very nice National Trust café and gift shop on our door step! What more could a writer want!
I also have a business decorating ceramic tiles and pottery – a business I’ve had for nearly twenty-five years. I’ve sold my work all over the world supplying Liberty, The Conran Shop, Fired Earth and many other shops and galleries. These days I mainly get bespoke orders via my website designing tile murals to go behind Aga’s and for bathrooms and plates and mugs to celebrate weddings and other celebrations.
I’m very lucky to be able to write and paint for a living – the two things I enjoy most!
How did your writing journey begin?
I’ve always loved writing and have had many stories ‘living’ in my head! When I was eight I decided to fill up a whole notebook with stories about cats I had known and loved – I didn’t get very far as it was a rather big notebook and I had only really known one cat! After that I was constantly trying to start novels and loved writing stories and essays for English lessons. Unfortunately my spelling is absolutely terrible – (as an adult I was diagnosed with dyslexia) so my essays would come back with many more red lines than positive comments. Though I did have a very inspiring teacher in my final year of primary school, Miss Pellow. She loved my stories and told me I should become a writer despite my spelling. It was lovely that thirty-three years later I was able to send Miss Pellow a copy of my first novel and thank her for her early words of encouragement.
After school I went to St Martins in London to study fashion design but would always have some sort of idea for a novel in my head. When I left college I started the pottery business and didn’t really have time to write though every now and then I’d sit down and try to start a novel. When my children were very little I wrote and illustrated stories for them and about them and did I try, unsuccessfully, to get some of them published.
I was forty when I really decided to try to finish a novel. I was inspired by a close friend who had been diagnosed with cancer telling me that if there was ever anything I’d wanted to do in my life I should do it as soon as possible as you never know what’s around the corner. I told her I’d always wanted to write a novel and she encouraged me to just get on with it. Unfortunately my friend didn’t recover and I dedicated A Perfect Home to her memory.
I spent nearly three years on the first book, writing long hand in note books and getting a lovely lady in the village to type everything up for me. I remember she told me it was better than her library book at the time and I was overjoyed! I never actually asked her what book she was reading from the library!
After I had finished the first draught the author Charlotte Bingham, who was a pottery customer of mine, suggested I should send it to Cornerstones Literary Consultancy to get their opinion. This was the best advice I could have had as Cornerstones were wonderful, very encouraging and helpful and after suggesting a few changes to the initial manuscript they found me an agent.
My first contract was with Penguin in the U.S. which was very exiting, and then I signed with Accent Press in the UK. By that time – the process of actually finding a publisher did take some time!- I’d written Heartstones. Accent took that on too and I got publishing contracts in Germany and Norway. Stargazing came out this January with Accent and will be published in Germany by Baste Lubbe this month.
I still find it hard to think of myself as a professional writer, and often forget to mention it if people ask me what I do. I think for so long it had been a secret ambition I still feel shy about talking about it. I still remember those red marks all over my school exercise books and feel I can’t possibly be any good at it!
How would you describe your writing style?
I think my style is hard to put it into a specific category. The books are aimed at the woman’s fiction market, all three novels are written about women and from the perspective of women but men seem to enjoy reading them too. They are about relationships and love but also have a darker side to the stories and a mystery to be solved. I think of them as domestic thrillers! Though they all contain some serious subjects like domestic abuse, adultery and addiction I try to write with humour and want the reader to feel good about life by the time they finish the book.
Is there any other type of fiction you would consider writing?
As I said previously I have written and illustrated books for very small children so I think that’s something I might like to start doing again – maybe when my children leave home and I have more time – maybe if I have grandchildren! I can’t really see myself branching out into anything like sci-fi or erotic horror – those stories just aren’t in my head!
What are you currently working on?
My fourth novel is set in a large house in the Dordogne where a group of friends are having a week’s holiday. Things happen!!! It’s inspired by several holidays we spent at a beautiful house near Riberac with a large group of friends and their children– I would like to just say that the things that happen in the novel are not the things that ever happened on those holidays!!
Unfortunately I have yet to get back into my writing swing as we are in the midst of exam revision at Dairy Cottage – my 11 year old son has his year 7 exams and my 16 year old son has his GCSE’s – instead of getting on with my next novel my evenings are spent helping to work out the components of a plant cell and learning more that I ever thought I’d need to know about Germany between the wars!
But soon the exams will all be over and I hope to be back to work on my novel, ideally out in the garden on warm evenings, sipping gin and tonic and watching the deer go by as I contemplate my next sentence!!
What locations are on your bucket list?
My parents are from Ireland and my childhood holidays were spent in Dublin and on the south west coast. I have often taken my own children to Ireland and Heartstones was set in County Kerry. There are many places in Ireland I have yet to visit and I hope to spend more time there if I can.
I also hate being cold so I dream of hot beaches and warm evenings and that lovely freedom when you don’t have to wear too many clothes. So anywhere hot really (I know Ireland isn’t very hot!! I’m just always happy when I’m there!)
If you were to spend a year on a desert island, what four ‘must haves’ would you take with you and why?
A photograph album filled with pictures of my children so that I can look at them and dream of when I can see them all again.
Hand cream – my hands are always horribly dry from working in the pottery so it would be a good opportunity to try to get them into good condition! Maybe my nails would grow and I could paint them – can I have a bottle of nail varnish too?! Maybe a whole manicure set!!
A large bottle of gin and some bottles of tonic! Would some lemons be too much to ask for? I don’t mind about the ice.
A pen and a very ,very large notebook – of course!
KATE’S BOOK AND SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS
Accent press link https://www.accentpress.co.uk/kate-glanville
My web page www.kateglanville.com
Face Book Kate Glanville Author https://www.facebook.com/kateglanvilleauthor/