Author Kate Field Answers all our Questions
- Latest Book: The Man I Fell in Love With
- Can you give us the ‘elevator pitch’ version of your latest book.
It’s the story of Mary Black, and what happens when, after twenty years of contented marriage, her husband falls in love with another man. After living a life of sliding doors and missed opportunities, can Mary finally put herself first and take a chance that could change everything?
- Tell us something about yourself that we likely don’t know! The more obscure the better!
I was supposed to be a boy. My parents were told they were expecting a boy – in the days before proper baby scans – because apparently, I had a strong backbone. They had even chosen my name – Andrew Richard – so my arrival was a surprise!
- Do you write in silence, or with music? If you write to music, give us the top three songs on your writers’ playlist this week.
I write in silence, because music distracts me, although I find ‘white noise’ helps – the hum of the fridge in the kitchen is particularly good. I sometimes listen to music when I edit, and anything by Tom Odell is usually top of the playlist. I love the emotion in his voice and lyrics. His song ‘If You Wanna Love Somebody’ would definitely be the theme song for The Man I Fell in Love With.
- Are you a plotter or pantser?
A pantser. I don’t plot out a book chapter by chapter, but I do a lot of thinking and research before I start writing, and fill out character questionnaires. I know how the book will end, and have a few scenes in my mind, but otherwise, I start writing and see how it goes.
- Have your characters ever ‘gone off script’ – hijacked your story and taken it in a direction you didn’t expect?
Yes, and I love it when that happens. In my first novel, The Magic of Ramblings, Cassie goes to work as companion to an old lady, Frances Smallwood. Frances was only supposed to be a background character, but she completely took over. Some people have said she’s their favourite character!
- If you could spend time with any character from any of your books, who would it be and what would you do?
I’d spend time with Ethan from The Man I Fell in Love With. He’s a charming, funny, laid-back man and I think he’d be great company. He’s also spent almost twenty years living in New York, so I’d love him to show me the sights that only locals know.
- Which of your characters can you say you would least get along with in real life?
He’s not a bad man, but I don’t think I’d get on well with Daniel Blake from The Truth About You, Me and Us. He’s an attractive, successful man, but he’s also one of those overbearing people who think they are always right, and that their opinion is the only valid one, and that would drive me mad!
- Do you read your reviews?
Yes, although I wish I could stop myself! It’s very hard not to be affected by them, and it’s always the bad reviews that make the most impact, rather than the good ones.
- What has been the toughest criticism you have been given since becoming a published author?
I take every criticism personally, so they are all tough! But one really stands out. The original cover of my first book had a sticker on saying that it was perfect for fans of another author. I objected as soon as I saw it, as I thought our books were very different, but it was too late to change it. Inevitably, I received a review saying our books weren’t alike, and that the reader had been deceived into buying my book. That still mortifies me now.
- What is the best compliment you have received?
Probably the best compliment was from an unpublished writer, who said that she hoped to write books like mine one day. I still think I’m learning – I always will be – so that was lovely to read.
- Do you have a day job when you are not writing? If so, what do you do?
Yes, I work in an office three days a week. Of course, those are the days I feel most inspired to write!
- Can you name three authors who have inspired your writing?
Trisha Ashley, Harriet Evans and Lucy Dillon. They inspire me to keep trying to be a better writer!
- What was your favourite book as a child?
Anything by Enid Blyton, but particularly The Magic Faraway Tree books. I loved the sense of community in the tree, the friendship between the characters, and the adventures they all had as different lands arrived at the top of the tree.
- What scene in your latest book was the hardest scene to write (without giving away too many spoilers!)
The first scene was the hardest, and it’s not a spoiler to say that it’s the one where Mary catches her husband with another man. I experimented with different settings, and with different people being present, and took feedback from beta readers before settling on the current version. It was hard because Mary’s reaction is unusual – many readers won’t agree with what she does – but I wanted it to be believable and in character for her.
- Do you have any other author friends? If so, can you name a few and have any of them given you a piece of advice you would consider invaluable on your publishing journey?
Yes, and having author friends is essential to get through the ups and downs of the writing life! I regularly meet a group of northern writers called Authors on the Edge (Mary Jayne Baker, Helena Fairfax, Marie Laval, Sophie Claire, Angela Wren, Helen Pollard, Melinda Hammond and Jacqui Cooper) and we collaborated last year on an anthology of short stories called Miss Moonshine’s Emporium of Happy Endings, which was great fun.
I’m also part of a fantastic online group of author friends, and two of them will be publishing debut novels soon: Jo Allen, who writes crime novels set in Cumbria, and Emily Royal, who writes passionate historical romances. Watch out for them – they are brilliant writers!
Jo once told me ‘don’t get it right, get it wrote’, which was excellent advice as I take far too long over a first draft!
For Bonus Points – Answer four fabulous frivolous questions!
- What is your biggest fear?
Fire. I saw The Towering Inferno at a young and impressionable age, and it terrified me.
- If you could have any superhero power, what would it be?
Invisibility – mainly because I’m a nosey parker!
- If you could write one line to be etched into your tombstone, what would it read?
She tried her best.
- If you could give your younger self ONE piece of advice, what would it be?
Don’t be shy. You don’t get anywhere by hiding in the corner.
You can purchase Kate’s latest book: The Man I Fell In Love With here on Amazon.