Today I’m pleased to hand over to Kate Murray, author and artist.
- Who am I?
Well, I’m Kate and I work in a shed workshop just outside Tregaron. My day normally consists of writing and drawing. Yes, I’m a full-time writer, or at least I’m trying to be. I write for adults and children.
- What first inspired you to start writing?
I was never meant to write. What I mean, is that I have bad dyslexia and I was never encouraged to write. I would hate to count the amount of times I’ve heard – ‘at least you can draw’. That phrase meant that I steered clear of any writing. Instead, I told stories. Anyone I saw and stood still long enough to listen, I would suddenly start telling them a tale.The stories would happen on the spot. I would instantly make them up and then forget them. It went on for years. And then my Aunt bought me a notepad. Mum bought me a pen and suddenly I had everything I needed to write down a story. It was so scary at first. I felt as if someone had just handed me some tools, but no instructions. How did you go about writing a story?
I enrolled onto a free course near Aberystwyth and with guidance I wrote my first story. The teacher suggested I submit it. I did. It was accepted. Suddenly I felt like I knew what I wanted to be, that I had found my place.
So I wrote, and have been writing ever since.
- What are you working on?
There are two projects on the go at the moment. The first is a novel called ‘The Gone’. It’s about an apocalyptic world and a heroine who feels very normal, and not the least like a hero. The novel is being serialised for free on a blog, go to https://thegone.wordpress.com/ for a read.
The second project is a picture book about the moon, the sun and the stars. ‘How the Moon lost the Stars’ is going to be available soon as an ebook and a paperback.
- What facets of your life, both personal and professional, are woven into your book, if any?
At the moment I’m weaving in my own experiences and thoughts into ‘The Gone’. It’s odd really, but I find myself using everyday stuff to make the characters ‘pop’ into reality; the smell of coffee, or the smooth satin touch of cold tiles in a bathroom. Those experiences run through my writing and allow my character to feel more real. It helps that ‘The Gone’ is written in first person present.
- How did you get published?
I self-published my first collection, ‘The Phantom Horse’, and from that I got a call from the editor of ‘Raging Aardvark, a small Australian Press. I was told that the editor wanted to meet me. I started to splutter that it was a bit far when she interrupted and said the editor was holidaying in Lampeter. A day later I had a two book contract! The next two short story collections were published by ‘Raging Aardvark Press’. Now I have been thinking about opening my own small press for my picture books and the novels. It’s early days but the plan is slowly coming together.
- Do you write in one specific genre or are you multi-talented?
I mostly write in the horror/thriller genre. It is where I find my stories take me and I feel comfortable. Even some of my kid’s stuff is horror based, but when it comes to picture books it can be about anything.
I have started to broaden into the romance genre, although my stories tend to have a bit of a twist to them.
- What one thing did you wish you’d known before you started this project?
I wish I had known how long it would take. With my dyslexia I feel that I can plug away at a story for a long time before I get a decent word count. And the sheer determination that is needed. You have to really want to be a writer in order for it to work.
- What is the ultimate goal you hope to achieve with your writing?
My ultimate goal is to write something that people want to read. I want people to laugh, cry and gasp at my stories. It is really all I’ve ever wanted – to tell a decent story and have people enjoy it.
- Give us a random fact about yourself.
I have a pup who stays with me as I write. I can end up throwing her ball whist I type one-handed. It’s a skill that I developed and one that comes in handy when she is in a playful mood.