Elias: Welcome, Katherine.
Katherine: You're my hero!
Elias: As you're only around 5ft tall, are you afraid that one of my slugs might trample you?
Katherine: D’you know, that’s a real risk…my little legs don’t walk so fast, so I bet I wouldn’t be able to outrun your slugs!
I don’t mind being short – I’m used to it! Mind you, it can be a bit embarrassing trying to find a tall person to reach something off the top shelf. I reckon all supermarkets should have Ikea stools in their aisles so shorties like me can get their own groceries.
Elias: Tell us about Granny Rainbow. Wouldn't Slug Rainbow be better?
Katherine: Rainbow slugs…you’ve just given me an idea for a new story.
I love rainbows and rainbow colours, so the story of Granny Rainbow began when I had the idea of someone who wanted to steal colour; Granny, a lady with a house full of coloured powders, was the one who’d get the colour back.
The original story was written for a charity anthology ‘Reading is Magic’ in aid of the NSPCC. When he read the finished story, my son said I ought to write a story for every colour of the rainbow, so I did. The Granny Rainbow book has seven short stories in it, each one just long enough for a bedtime read regardless of whether a child’s reading it for themselves or having it read to them.
That’s something I wanted very much for Granny – that she could be listened to as well as read - because so many children enjoy stories but aren’t necessarily good enough readers to manage reading them alone. And sharing stories is brilliant fun! I’d even read them to your slugs!
Elias: Does this particular granny like to throw cabbages?
Katherine: I’ve not asked her! I think she’d be up for it though, as she’s got a twinkle in her eye in most of the stories.
Elias: Why is Granny Rainbow not available on Amazon? Afraid of the competition from the great Elias Zapple?
Katherine: Hehe! Nothing to do with competition, Elias! Granny is the only publication I’m involved with that isn’t on Amazon – my other work is all listed there. The reason it’s not listed just yet is that Amazon needs an ISBN number, and we’re waiting at the moment for that registration to go through. Hopefully, it will be listed in the future, but you still won’t be able to buy it from Amazon direct; it’ll probably point you to my website or the bookshops (assuming they want to carry on stocking it).
The other reason why it’s not been automatically listed is because *whispers* I didn’t use CreateSpace! It was important to me, personally, to be able to support local businesses in creating this book, so every aspect of this book has been done locally – illustration, cover design, publishing, printing and the launch all involved local people and local businesses. Yay for the little man, rather than the mega-business!
Elias: Tell us about the process you went through in getting your books into local bookshops. Do you have you own PR slugs?
Katherine: An army of PR slugs! Oh, I wish! It would mean I didn’t have to do all the legwork – or slimework in their case!
The first thing to stress is that I knew I had to make Granny Rainbow the best I could – quality look, quality writing, and be professional in my approach to the business owners. I made enquiries in advance of publication to drum up interest and plugged the ‘local author’ bit pretty hard. I kept an eye on certain shop facebook pages to maintain contact, and finally went to see them with a copy of Granny Rainbow in my hand. I’m lucky that my publisher has contacts with the local branch of Waterstones, but Granny’s not stocked there…yet. Fingers crossed.
Elias: You're also a short story author. What's the appeal of writing short stories? Lack of willpower to write longer ones?
Katherine: I have to say I love writing both novels and short stories. To date I have written two complete novels for children, have a third half-written, and outlines for four more to continue a series if one of the two completed novels ever sees the light of day. I enjoy creating longer stories, getting to know my characters and watching them do unexpected things to add to the storyline.
Short stories appeal because of the variety and challenge. Variety-wise, I’ve written horror, comedy, romance, sci-fi and fan-fic, to name but a few genres I’ve played with. I love how a simple thing can spark a train of thought and develop into something original. Like the time I saw a clear plastic guitar in the music shop and thought ‘The Crystal Guitar’…or a picture of a beautiful peacock-like fantasy bird and came up with ‘The Feather of Flemantoll’. Both these stories are still locked inside my head, but they will get written. The challenge for me is to make the story complete; I get really cross with stories that leave me hanging, so I tend to write a definite ending rather than leaving my reader guessing. To date, all my published work has been short stories…
Elias: I read about you hitting innocent concrete blocks with a spade and now having tendonitis. Why hit concrete blocks? Perhaps you should try throwing cabbages instead?
Katherine: Throwing cabbages might have done less damage! The problem with this particular concrete block is that it was hiding near the bramble I was trying to dig out…
Fortunately the rest, painkiller and splint route seems to be working, and I’m still able to type – hooray!
Elias: How does living in the East Midlands inspire your writing? I've found the beautiful East Midlands Airport particularly inspiring over the years.
Katherine: I, too, have spent much time at EMA over the years. When I’m a superceleb author, no doubt I will use it even more when I fly out to film premieres in my private jet.
I love where I live. I’m a five minute walk from a busy market town centre if I want to people-watch. I’m ten minutes away from a lovely brookpath walk that will take me into the woods or a twenty-minute drive from some of the most wonderful countryside and a deerpark, if I want to get in touch with nature. And only about twenty minutes on the train from three major cities with fabulous shopping centres. What more could I ask for? If I can’t find a story or two in that mix, I’m done for!
Elias: Your first novel is called StarMark. Is it similar to Star Wars?
Katherine: My son (big Star Wars fan) read this over my shoulder and said ‘Not at all!’
The StarMark is like a birthmark on the skin; Lord Terenz, the overlord of Koltarn, has one but it’s black, not gold like it should be for a man in his position. (Yep – gold stars on your skin, how cool is that?!) The story is about Irvana, an orphan girl who goes to work in his palace…and what she finds out. But I can’t tell you any more or I’ll spoil the story!
I’m hoping this one will be published next – I’m working on polishing it up (again) at the moment.
Elias: Finish this sentence: Mr Snazzy is the greatest moustache because...
Katherine: Mr Snazzy is the greatest moustache because he always looks like a great big smile.
Thank you, Katherine.
Katherine's website & blog.
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My moustache is great, my slugs are great, my cabbages are great and Elias Zapple is meh.