Friday, 28 August 2020

My big news!

2021 is shaping up to be a busy year! I've just signed a contract with Bloodhound Books and although I can't share details just yet rest assured the books coming your way will have all the romance, friendship and community spirit that my previous novels are known for. 

Bloodhound are making waves in the industry and have sold over 6 million books worldwide since 2014 - it's exciting to be a part of it.

I can't wait to tell you more!

Saturday, 8 August 2020

I'm going back to the start...

It's been a weird time. Dreams have been vivid, ideas have been brewing, but actually having the time and inclination to write... Well, let's just say that hasn't happened much during lockdown. 

Me and my agent recently parted ways, all very amicably, but it has given me cause to reassess. It reminds me of being a newbie author subbing directly to publishers and pitching to agents (and having the absolute soul-crushing misery of opening a rejection email without a side-helping of an ego-massaging comment from her). 

I'm not going to lie, it's a bit scary putting myself out there again, especially as someone with anxiety. It's a competitive industry; the chances of getting a 'no' are far higher than that elusive 'yes'. 

My book being on a supermarket shelf didn't mean I'd made it as an author, it meant I had one book that was bought by a supermarket. Ditto having books picked for promotions. Four novels in, I still have work to do. 

So I'm going back to the beginning. Rediscovering the art of creativity, the joy of writing from the heart. And quietly crossing my fingers that, sooner or later, the words I write will, land in the lap of someone who believes in the stories I have to tell.

Tuesday, 31 December 2019

End of decade round-up

My family didn't grow in the way I thought it might, turns out it was only ever meant to be me, David and Zachary. Instead, the pitter patter of tiny feet came from our guinea pigs, Wally and Percy, and our feline friend, Clarence. I gained a niece, a nephew, a god daughter and a promise daughter and a host of special little people who I hope will always call me Auntie Kate.

Zach started and finished primary school and adjusted well to life at secondary, making new friends to add to those he already had. He has gone from being an exuberant livewire tot to an exuberant livewire preteen, which only goes to show that some things don't ever change.

We started the decade in a house I loved with great neighbours, ending it in one that's served us well but has never really felt like home, surrounded by boxes ready for a move in January. Bring on the bay window!

In 2010 I'd been poorly for a number of years but given no diagnosis, by 2019 I'd officially been a Crohnie for five years and ended the decade in remission. My weight has gone up and down, partly due to diet and partly medical issues, but I'm determined to not be held hostage by a number, either on a weighing scale or on a clothes tags. The decade ends with me reunited with Sertraline to fight my old enemy anxiety.

Teaching assistant. Lunchtime supervisor. Pre-school deputy manager. Author. Work that, in the main, I've loved (even when it stressed me out). Nine short stories, two novellas, three novels! And another coming in January, my first published by Quercus and my first working with my superb agent.

This was the decade of holidays to Madrid, Florence, Lisbon, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Valencia, as well as countless gigs and theatre shows and time spent with wonderful people. The decade of Irish dancing and jigsaws and getting an allotment. The decade I converted to Catholicism. Of walking a marathon. Of becoming vegan. Of seeing my book on a shelf.

When the past ten years are laid bare, joyful memories sit alongside some of the worst moments I've ever faced, which makes sense - this is a quarter of my life! I'm sure the '20s will be much of the same.

Thank you to everyone who's supported me so far - publishers, bloggers, author friends and readers.

To those who've been the wind in my sails helping push me forward, I only hope that, in return, I can be your lifeboat if ever you need one. 

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Make Do and Mend a Broken Heart

January 9th, 2020 - save the date! My new novel, Make Do and Mend a Broken Heart, is being published in the new year, which is perfect for a book with an overarching theme of new beginnings.

What's that? You want to know more? Well then, I'd better share the blurb with you ...

When you know how, you can make anything from scratch, including a new life after love...

When Leanne and Richard bought a dilapidated old seaside cottage to renovate together as their forever home, their future was full of hope and promise.

But heartbreak was just around the corner: fast forward a few months and Richard is gone. With his death, Leanne finds herself stony broke, faced with an uninhabitable home and lacking even the basic skills to do it up herself.

With the help of the friendly woman who runs the library and the reluctant assistance of the man who works in the local hardware shop, the cottage is lovingly restored. But broken hearts aren't so easy to fix... are they?

It's been so difficult keeping quiet about this book. I started writing it in July 2018, which feels like forever ago, and was sworn to secrecy. Now it's time to shout about it from the rooftops!

Early readers have really taken to Leanne's story and are saying the loveliest things.

Make Do and Mend a Broken Heart is published in ebook by Quercus on January 9th 2020 and is available to preorder now.

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Good Writing Days, Bad Writing Days

There's nothing better than a good writing day, one where the words flow without stutters or false starts.

On a good writing day being a novelist is the best job in the world. Pride flutters in my chest when I've not only met my wordcount but nailed a chunk of text that drives the story forward, or includes a sentence or image that I'm particularly proud of. Those highs are addictive, they're what I'm striving for on a daily basis.

Of course, words don't always come easily. There are times where I'm frozen in fear as I look at a blank page, terrified that the ideas in my head won't translate to the page, or when all creativity eludes me. Sometimes I'm tired after a day at work and staring at a screen is the last thing I feel like doing. Writing can be painful, exhausting and sometimes near impossible.

However, now I've been writing 'seriously' for a good few years I've come to accept that both good days and bad days are part of the process. Novels don't magically appear overnight. Writing is a verb, which by its very definition requires an element of doing, of proactivity. All you can do is keep turning up and turning up until it's done.

So if you're writing a novel and today hasn't gone as well as you hoped just remember (as a very successful writer once said), 'Tomorrow is another day.'

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

2019 Goals

My favourite books of 2018

Better late than never, as they say! I didn't read as many books as usual in 2018 - one side effect of my anxiety is an inability to focus on reading, and I hardly read any rom-com/women's fiction. It's funny that my six stand-out books of 2018 all share themes of resilience, perseverance and overcoming. They're all out now, except Daisy Jones and the Six which is released on March 7th.

Call Me by Your Name - Andre Aciman

Andre Aciman's Call Me by Your Name is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents' cliffside mansion on the Italian Riviera.

 Each is unprepared for the consequences of their attraction, when, during the restless summer weeks, unrelenting currents of obsession, fascination, and desire intensify their passion and test the charged ground between them. Recklessly, the two verge toward the one thing both fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy. It is an instant classic and one of the great love stories of our time.


 Daisy Jones and the Six - Taylor Jenkins Reid
For a while, Daisy Jones & The Six were everywhere. Their albums were on every turntable, they sold out arenas from coast to coast, their sound defined an era. And then, on 12 July 1979, they split.
Nobody ever knew why. Until now.

They were lovers and friends and brothers and rivals. They couldn't believe their luck, until it ran out. This is their story of the early days and the wild nights, but everyone remembers the truth differently.

The only thing they all know for sure is that from the moment Daisy Jones walked barefoot, on to the stage at the Whisky, the band were irrevocably changed.

Making music is never just about the music. And sometimes it can be hard to tell where the sound stops and the feelings begin.

Christmas at Liberty's - Fiona Ford
September, 1941: Mary arrives in war-torn London nursing a broken heart and a painful secret.

When she is offered her dream post as an assistant in the fabric department at Liberty store, she knows this is the fresh start she needs. Amid the store’s vibrant prints and sumptuous interiors, Mary finds a new family who can help her to heal.

But not everyone will give Mary such a warm welcome, and the trauma of her past will soon catch up with her.

As Mary and the Liberty Girls endure the heartache and uncertainty of war, it will take a steady heart to keep the magic of Christmas alive.

Notes on a Nervous Planet - Matt Haig
The world is messing with our minds.

Rates of stress and anxiety are rising. A fast, nervous planet is creating fast and nervous lives. We are more connected, yet feel more alone. And we are encouraged to worry about everything from world politics to our body mass index.

- How can we stay sane on a planet that makes us mad?
- How do we stay human in a technological world?
- How do we feel happy when we are encouraged to be anxious?

After experiencing years of anxiety and panic attacks, these questions became urgent matters of life and death for Matt Haig. And he began to look for the link between what he felt and the world around him. Notes on a Nervous Planet is a personal and vital look at how to feel happy, human and whole in the twenty-first century.

Everything I Know about Love - Dolly Alderton
When it comes to the trials and triumphs of becoming a grown up, journalist Dolly Alderton has seen and tried it all. She vividly recounts falling in love, wrestling with self-sabotage, finding a job, throwing a socially disastrous Rod-Stewart themed house party, getting drunk, getting dumped, realising that Ivan from the corner shop is the only man you've ever been able to rely on, and finding that that your mates are always there at the end of every messy night out. It's a book about bad dates, good friends and - above all else - about recognising that you and you alone are enough.

I Was Born for This - Alice Oseman
For Angel Rahimi life is about one thing: The Ark – a pop-rock trio of teenage boys who are taking the world by storm. Being part of The Ark’s fandom has given her everything she loves – her friend Juliet, her dreams, her place in the world.
Jimmy Kaga-Ricci owes everything to The Ark. He’s their frontman – and playing in a band with his mates is all he ever dreamed of doing.
But dreams don’t always turn out the way you think and when Jimmy and Angel are unexpectedly thrust together, they find out how strange and surprising facing up to reality can be.
A funny, wise, and heartbreakingly true coming of age novel. I Was Born for This is a stunning reflection of modern teenage life, and the power of believing in something – especially yourself.
Have you read any of these? If so, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

My big news!

2021 is shaping up to be a busy year! I've just signed a contract with Bloodhound Books and although I can't share details just yet ...