I met Kate Kelly at the recent Bridport Story Slam where we acted at judges along with Julie Musk. It is always great to meet a local person who has found success with writing. Kate’s debut novel for young people, a Cli-Fi (Climate Fiction) thriller, is published by Curious Fox. Thank you Kate, for agreeing to be interviewed for my blog.
- Tell us about your writing journey
I have written all my life. My father was an author and so it felt natural that I should want to follow in his footsteps. But about ten years ago I decided I wanted to take it a bit more seriously. I decided I wanted to be published, and I set about achieving this goal.
I started out with short stories. Short stories are a great way to hone your skills and learn the craft. Before long I was starting to place them in magazines and anthologies. I was writing Science Fiction and for this, and some other genres, the short story market remains healthy.
I then turned my attention to longer fiction. My first attempt at a children’s novel was soundly rejected by everyone I sent it to, but, with my second effort things were very different. I booked myself onto a 1-2-1 with a literary agent at the Frome Festival and could barely believe it when she asked to see the rest of the manuscript. The result was that she signed me and, after some reworking, sent Red Rock out to publishers. And, as you can see, it was picked up by Curious Fox.
- Where inspired you to write Red Rock?
The inspiration for Red Rock came when I was working on oceanographic survey ships in the Arctic. I stared out at the ice; at the seals and puffins and the occasional polar bear, and I started to think about the last ice age, about the advance and retreat of the ice sheets. I looked towards the coast of Greenland and I started to wonder what might be underneath the Greenland Ice Sheet. What secrets might it be hiding?
In Red Rock I answer those questions.
- What is your next writing project?
It will be another adventure story for the same age group. Possibly also with a Cli-Fi element to it, but I’m not making any promises.
- Which authors do you admire and why?
This is a hard one because there are some amazing authors out there. But the ones I admire the most aren’t afraid to be bold and to do something different. Authors such as Sarah Crossan for instance, or Colin Mulhern, or Rachel Ward.
But I’m going to name an author who doesn’t debut until next year, and that is Sara Crowe. Every time I read something she has written I find myself thinking ‘Wow, I wish I could write like that!’, so keep an eye out for Bone Jack, coming in April from Andersen Press.
- Can you offer some tips for yet to be published writers?
Write the book you want to read. Don’t follow trends, write something fresh and new, and above all, listen to criticism and never stop trying to improve.
For further information, see Kate’s blog at: http://scribblingseaserpent.blogspot.co.uk