I remember reading my first Kate book way back in the late 90’s and finding her completely different to the more pedestrian fantasy around at that time. So I devoured the Witches series.
When I saw Kate’s name pop up on Twitter after a hashtag frenzy on #ThingsNotToSayToAWriter, I thought I would ask her if I could interview her. She agreed and I gushed for a couple of days then set down to the task of writing some questions.
Honestly, I expected the whole process to take many days, falling into weeks. But within 24 hours, I had words from Kate herself.
Now let me introduce Kate for you. Kate Forsyth is an Australian fantasy author of over twenty (20) books for both adults and children. She is best known for the Witches of Eileanan series, the Rhiannon’s Ride series, which is also set in Eileanan, and the Chain of Charms series but has also published a book of poetry called Radiance, as well as a contemporary novel under Kate Humphrey.
On top of all that, Kate has won the Aurealis Award five times now and is published in many languages.
So, on to my questions for her:
What genre would you like to write a book in (that you haven’t yet)?
I always thought I’d like to try my hand at writing a mystery novel. Quite possibly set some time in the past – I love historical mysteries and read a lot of them.
Where do your ideas come from?
Always a difficult question to answer, as I think: but don’t you get ideas for novels all the time too? Anything can spark an idea – a dream, a newspaper article, a conversation with a stranger, a curious conversation overhead on a bus, an unknown snippet of history … I have more ideas than I will ever be able to write, and I get new ones all the time. The trick is to write the idea down, put it away in a bottom drawer, and not lie awake thinking about it and getting all excited. I try and focus on the book I’m working on now, and then, when it’s time to start writing a new novel, look through all my ideas later and see which excites me the most.
Do you have a standard formula for plots or do stories come to you as a whole construct?
Stories grow from a seed of an idea – they grow organically and attract new ideas to it. I will think about the idea for a long time, and began to turn it into a story in my imagination by thinking about whose story it is, and what other characters belong in it, and where and when it might be set. I call this daydreaming the story to life. I only begin to write once I have a very strong idea of the novel in my mind, when I can ‘see’ it and ‘hear’ it.
When you start a new story, do you have a title for it? Does that trigger the story?
The title never triggers the story, but I cannot begin writing until I have a title for it. Sometimes I waste long weeks pondering what the right title should be.
Do you see the future of fantasy as bright? If so, which authors are driving it?
I do see the future for fantasy as bright – its a classic genre of fiction which will never go out of style. I think we’re going to see old-fashioned heroic fantasy become popular again, driven by George R.R. Martin’s success and the soon-to-be-released Hobbit movie. This makes me happy, as I love heroic fantasy.
What themes are being overused?
Vampires. Werewolves. Zombies. But I think we all recognise that.
Are movies of books ruining the book?
I don’t think so. I love watching movies based on books. It is a different creative medium and has its own conventions and restrictions. I love seeing how a film-maker interprets a book and changes it for its medium. It’s quite fascinating. I’d love someone to make a film of one of my own books.
Do you see ebooks threatening traditional publishing?
E-books are just a different way of publishing a novel. The main problem of e-books is that anyone can publish their book, without being a good writer or having proper editorial help, and so we have a tidal wave of horrible books out there at ridiculously low prices. I think many people are already disenchanted by this – a dollar spent on a horrible book is still a dollar wasted. I know I’d rather spend $20 and read a good book, than buy 20 horrible books for $1 that I can’t bear to read.
Do you prefer to read established authors or debut authors? How do you choose which ones to read?
I generally prefer to read books by writers whose books I adore. I follow them online and rush out to buy their books as soon as they are published. I do also read books by debut authors, or authors I haven’t yet read, usually on recommendations of people I trust, like booksellers, other writers, newspaper or magazine reviews, online book sites like Good Reads, and so on. I have also been known to buy a book off a shelf simply because of its beautiful cover and enticing blurb. I love discovering new authors to read!
What is it about fantasy that appeals to you?
I read many genres of fiction, and love them all for the same reasons – what I want is a great story, with lots of twists and turns, appealing characters, a great sense of a world unlike my own, suspense, surprise, and an ending that makes me go ‘aaah’.
Can I get an autographed book? (lol)
I actually got an answer of yes for this, but I will leave out the address Kate supplied to me.
Do you have a group of people that you show a new story to? How much impact can thay have on the whole story?
I show my manuscript to no-one until it is as good as I can get it. Then I send it to my agent and my publisher. I’ll be sent an editorial report, and I’ll work with my editor on the manuscript to get it to the very best standard I can. Then its published. No-one else gets to read a word till then!
So, there it is. My interview with Kate Forsyth. Please go and have a look at her website. She is also on Twitter and Pinterest. Links to those can be found from the website.
I would like to thank Kate for agreeing to be a part of this. It was brilliant!!!