Guest Author Katherine Webb
I’m very pleased to have Katherine Webb as my guest author today. Until recently Katherine was a member of Wordwatchers, my lovely writing group in Newbury and we had the opportunity of discussing her work-in-progress at that time, which subsequently became her bestseller, The Legacy.
Katherine, you’ve recently moved. What is your favourite place to work now?
I have a little study corner in my house, and I’ve got a Victorian, leather-topped desk to work at – I always wanted one, and ‘m hoping that literary impulses will flow from it! The desk faces a wall – I can’t have a nice view distracting me. I write straight into a laptop, but I always have to have my work book full of notes and scribbles open next to me – even if I don’t refer to it at all. I feel rudderless without it!
What is your next book about?
My next book is called ‘A Half-Forgotten Song’, and it’s set in Dorset and Morocco in the 1930s and in the present day. It’s about a louche, bohemian artist with a love of women, and about the young, inexperienced local girl he takes as his muse. His attention shapes her, and affects her life so profoundly that she develops a dangerous obsession for him, and events escalate until they, and the innocent victims of their relationship, suffer devastating consequences. The book is due for release next July.
What is the best advice you can give to a budding author?
Keep writing, and get your work read. A great many authors I know didn’t ‘make it’ with their first novels – it’s a learning curve. Don’t lose heart if you’ve finished a book and can’t get it picked up – get as much feedback from friends, family, peers and professionals as you can, and take on board their criticisms. I had six finished manuscripts stacked up in the cupboard before I finally got ‘The Legacy’ published.
If you could go back in time which century would you choose to live in?
This is a tough one! I love history, it’s one of the things that really inspires my writing, and I would love nothing more than to have a time machine to visit every past century, to see what it really looked and smelled like, what life was like, how much and how little people have changed… I think if I had to choose one to visit I’d go for the early medieval period, say around 1000AD; purely because the further you go back, the fewer documentary sources there are, the fewer personal accounts we have to tell us what life was like then. I’d like to find out just how bad a knight in shining armour would have smelled…but I wouldn’t want to live there! However much we complain, we have it pretty nice and easy in the 21st century.
What has been the most interesting thing about your success as an author and what has been the most difficult?
I really had very little idea, before I got published, how the publishing industry actually worked. I kind of thought you handed in a book, it got checked for typos, and then came out in all good bookstores a few months later… Learning about the massive, complex workings of the industry has been a huge eye-opener, and hugely interesting. I suppose the most difficult thing for me is the publicity – I hate public speaking, so I find readings and interviews really stressful. I haven’t had to do too many yet, but it’s part of the job so I’m working on ways to take it more into my stride.
Katherine, thank you for joining me today as my guest author and I wish you continuing success with your writing.
Katherine’s novel The Unseen is out now in paperback.
Katherine Webb was born in 1977, graduated with a degree in History from Durham University in 1998, and then started her first novel. She lived and worked in Venice, London and Berkshire before moving to Wiltshire; pursuing a long string of unrelated and unusual jobs before becoming a full-time writer in 2010.
The Legacy was published by Orion in 2010; was voted Best Summer Read by the Channel 4 TV Book Club and shortlisted for the Galaxy British Books Awards ‘Best New Writer’ Award. The book has been translated in twenty-two languages around the world. The Unseen is her second novel.
She lives in a village near Bath; reads voraciously and enjoys cooking, horse riding and the great outdoors.