Kate’s novel, The Yearning has earned rave reviews since its release this year. Congratulations and hello Kate, welcome to Author’s Limelight!
Kate: Thanks for having me Sarah. Do you think we should explain that we are NOT related?
Sarah: Yes, very good point! Despite having the same surname, blonde hair and hailing from the same state, we are not related. Kate also has a chemistry degree which makes her much brainier than me with a business degree!
What was the first story you ever wrote?
The Only Survivor. It won the Benalla Ensign Bookweek short story award for under 15’s in 1978. It was a dramatic account of a person who survived an airplane crash – something I knew a lot about at 13 years old – given I’d never been in an airplane.
I still remember how proud I was to see my story in print.
Of all the individuals you have created, do you have a particular favourite? What appeals to you the most about this character?
I have strange, confusing relationships with my male characters. I kind of fall in love with them. I even get a bit obsessive. They occupy my mind in the same way a real lover might. I think about them while I hang out the washing, fantasise about them when sitting in traffic, wonder what they might be doing now. When I’m writing them I often imagine them standing behind me, their hands on my shoulders, whispering the action into my ear.
It’s kinda creepy. Lucky for me they’re fictional, otherwise I might get done for stalking.
Has being published changed you at all? If so, how?
Interesting question! I hope not, I wouldn’t want it to. If anything it’s given me more confidence. If a publisher is willing to publish my work it can’t be complete rubbish. And it’s made me more anxious. In making a job out of being an author I’ve found so many new things to worry about, especially money. I worry about it in a way I’ve never done before.
What would we find on your bookshelf / e-reader?
We have 7 (count them) bookshelves in our home and they are overflowing with eclectic collections of predominantly second hand books. I have shelves of fairytales, erotica, Aboriginal literature, self help books (refugees from my 20’s), cookbooks, poetry, classics, psychology, astrology, and loads of Australian fiction. I’ve probably only read about 20% of it. I will die buried under my books, I’m sure.
What’s the most unappealing thing you’ve ever eaten?
Oh God, I gag at the thought of it. Smoked tofu. I went to Yum Cha with a Filipino friend one day and was thinking of smoked salmon when I ordered it. I couldn’t even swallow it. It tasted like it had been soaked in old cigarette butts for a week. I spat it out into my napkin. It ruined the rest of the meal.
Sarah: Did you see the episode of ‘Hamish and Andy’s Gap Year’ where Hamish ate 10 year old tofu? He gagged, cried and nearly brought it back up numerous times. One of the funniest things I’ve ever seen!
If you could be any of the following characters for one day, who would you be and why? How would you re-write the ending?
a) Scarlett O’Hara from Gone with the Wind.
b) Thelma or Louise from Thelma and Louise.
c) Princess Leia from Starwars.
d) Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffanys.
Definitely Thelma or Louise – I loved that movie. Of course, there’d be no driving off cliffs but a slow meandering down through Mexico where we would adventure with hot blooded male amigos. Sigh.
Of all the books in history, which do you wish you wrote and why?
I hate choosing just one but if I must – Pride and Prejudice. Because it’s just about as perfect as a novel gets. Gorgeous, insightful writing; compelling love story; convincing characters. Otherwise one of Sonya Hartnett’s books. That woman is a freak, her writing – double sigh.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?
If I was 12 I’d say flying, but at this stage of my life I have to say cleaning my home to sparkling without having to lift a solitary finger. That or writing perfect first drafts. If you’re going to grant me one, either will do.
Sarah: Oooooh yeah! Good ones, Kate. Love them both.
If you could go back in time, where would you go and when? What is one thing you would want to take with you?
I’d go back to the Summer of Love – San Francisco 1968. I’d take a notebook and pen and write it all down. The passion, the discovery, the fight for freedom and human rights. I’d like to try the dope that was around then, live on a commune, march the streets with placards, talk to Gloria Steinhem, visit Woodstock, immerse in the zeitgeist. Actually I’d probably take condoms too – I wouldn’t want any nasty consequences from participating in the sexual revolution.
Can you tell us about your works in progress?
My second novel will be published mid-2014. Its working title is Saint but it’s unlikely to be published as that.
Fourteen year old Banjo falls in love with Jade the moment he sees her step through the school gate. Their close friendship evolves into marriage but Banjo is vastly unprepared for life with his self-determined, temperamental, damaged wife. After half a lifetime of struggling with Jade’s repeated infidelities he makes a stand and musters the courage to leave. Tragically Banjo is killed, but his spirit is still tied to the woman he loves and he returns to watch his family grieve. When their adult daughters discover Jade’s Book of Lovers Banjo embarks on a journey of discovery. Did Jade love him above all others? And who was the strange man he found Jade with the night he died?
Finally, can you give us a sneaky excerpt from ‘Saint’ please?
People argue about death. Some say it’s the end of everything. They believe life closes off, and who we are, everything we’ve ever been, disintegrates, sinking into the earth with our bodies. Others think life disappears from sight, like a mollusc retracting into its shell. It wasn’t like that for me. For me, death was a beginning, an unexpected roaring rebirth into a different kind of life.
Death dawned on me, cold and shrouded in fog. It was a shock, reaching out to feel nothing. I have no body, no physical presence. I know I exist because I can still think, see, feel, but it’s nothing like the reality of being three dimensional. I remember the feeling of a body, the gravity it gave me. I remember what it was to take up space, move among people, influence the world.
The only place I can’t go is the future. I’ve tried and it’s like slamming hard up against a locked door. If I’m honest, I’m not sure I want to go there. I might lose Jade altogether then. At least now I can still be close to her, hear her voice, let my eyes feast on the sight of her, send my love to her. On the other side of that locked door she might be lost to me forever. And I’m not ready for that. Even now, when I know I’m gone and I can’t have her anymore, I’m not ready to say goodbye to Jade.
The Reading Room
THANKS FOR HOSTING ME SARAH!! Xxx