Welcome … Kate Field

I’m delighted to welcome romance author and fellow Romantic Novelists’ Association member Kate Field to the blog this week. I’ve met Kate a couple of times over lunch with local writers, and she is as delightful as her books. The last time we met, I told her off because I was reading her first book, The Magic of Ramblings, and it was so magical that I couldn’t put it down when I had other things to do!

With her second novel, The Truth About You, Me and Us, recently released, I had plenty of questions to ask her here on the blog, but first, here’s the lovely cover and blurb …

Sometimes the hardest person to be honest with is yourself…

Five years ago Helen Walters walked out on her ‘perfect’ life with the ‘perfect’ man. Wealthy, glamorous and bored, she longed for something more.

Now a talented artist with a small business, Helen creates crazy patchwork crafts to support her young daughter, Megan. Penniless, content and single, she is almost unrecognisable.

But when her past unexpectedly collides with her new life, Helen finds herself torn. She knows what the easiest choice is, but is it what she wants?

And now, onto the interview to find out more about Kate and her writing …

Kate, what drew you to write romantic fiction? Are you a die-hard romantic in ‘real’ life?

I’ve loved reading romantic fiction ever since studying Pride and Prejudice for my GCSE exams. That book renewed my enthusiasm for reading after it had waned through a succession of dull but worthy set texts, and I then went on to discover the Brontës, Victoria Holt, Georgette Heyer… I haven’t stopped reading since!

I’d found the style of book I loved best, so it never crossed my mind to write anything else. Some people criticise romance books for being predictable, but that’s one of the things I love about them. I like to pick up a book and know that although there may be twists and turns, I’ll be guaranteed a happy ending.

I don’t lead a very romantic life – perhaps that’s another reason why I like to read and write about it!

Your previous novel, The Magic of Ramblings, led you to win the Joan Hessayon Award for New Writers 2017. How did that feel? Can you tell us something about how you were shortlisted and ultimately won?

It was an amazing experience, and I’m still pinching myself that it actually happened!

The Romantic Novelists’ Association run a New Writers’ Scheme, where unpublished authors can join and submit a manuscript each year for critique. Books that go through the NWS and are subsequently published are eligible for the Joan Hessayon Award.

The award was given out at the RNA’s summer party in London, so it was a lovely opportunity to head ‘down south’ and get dressed up! I didn’t think for a second that I would win, as there were some great books on the shortlist, several written by good writing friends, so it was a genuine shock when my name was called out as the winner. My favourite photograph of the night captured that moment, and shows how surprised I was!

I love that photo! It really does capture that moment so well!

You’re a northern girl – Lancashire to be precise. Do you feel that some elements of that come through in your writing?

I’m Lancashire born and bred, and both the books that have been published are set in fictional Lancashire villages. I think it’s inevitable that my northern roots show through my writing, particularly in the characters and the dialogue. I’m told there’s some northern grit in there too!

Lancashire doesn’t have the best climate, so inevitably the weather plays a part in the novels. The Magic of Ramblings features a bad storm which is a turning point in the story. It was an easy scene to write, as living on a remote hill, it’s the type of weather I experience quite often!

I loved the setting for The Magic of Ramblings – lovely, but subject to the elements.

What did you enjoy most when writing your latest book, The Truth About You, Me and Us? (And was there anything that drove you mad?!)

The Truth About You, Me and Us has had a troubled history!

I first started writing it about 14 years ago, and knew the basic scenario, the main characters, and how it was going to end. I reached Chapter 3 and realised that the characters I had created didn’t fit with the ending I had in mind. I abandoned the book at that point, and it was many years later that I looked at it again and with more writing experience behind me, it was obvious what I needed to do to fix it.

Once I’d finished the book, I started submitting it. Although it was shortlisted and a runner-up in various competitions, it was repeatedly rejected by agents and publishers. It’s great to see it published at last!

My favourite parts of the book are the scenes between Helen and her young daughter, Megan. I borrowed heavily from my own daughter – and as she’s now a teenager, it was lovely to remember the peaceful early years!

I think it’s great when you can go back to something you wrote a while ago that just wasn’t working, and this time make it all come together.