The Booktopia Book Guru Asks
Love Letters, Wedding Season, Going Dutch
and many more,
Ten Terrifying Questions
1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?
I left school when I was 15 with the minimum of qualifications. I do have an ‘O level’ in Ballet. I’ve never met anyone else with this I wasn’t at school with.
I think I wanted to be an actress with I was 12 and 18 mostly because my mother thought it was a good idea. I didn’t actually start writing until I was 32 but I suppose I had thought I’d like to be a writer when I was about 27. I had a baby practically on my 30th birthday, so didn’t get to it for a couple of years.
3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?
When I was eighteen I thought if a child was brought up in a loving family it would turn out to be a good and successful adult. Now I know that nature has more to do with it than nurture and that nagging doesn’t make a lot of difference.
4. What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?
I’m ashamed to say that only books have influenced my writing. First and strongest, the works of Georgette Heyer, who I still think is the best. Secondly, all those hundreds and hundreds of Mills and Boon novels I read when I was either too busy or too tired to cope with anything else. I learnt a lot from both.
5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?
Actually, I think this question is like being asked, ‘why didn’t you choose to be a brain surgeon instead of a writer?’ I really can’t paint and although I like singing, I couldn’t be an opera singer, or indeed a flamenco dancer. Fortunately I can just about write novels!
My latest and newest novel is called ‘A Perfect Proposal’ (Available 10th June 2010 – Pre-order now)and is about a girl who goes to New York to research a family mystery. There she meets an old lady who wants her to find a house the only thing she knows about is that it’s in Cornwall. The old lady has a grandson. Need I say more? It’s the first book in which I’ve crossed the Atlantic.
7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?
A feeling of happiness and content. I want to give them an escape from real life for a while.
It’s very hard to say but I tend to admire the writers who go on producing book after book, sometimes several books a year and never seem to run out of puff. And of course I admire all those writers who write very much better than I do. There are a lot of them!
9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?
10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?
Persevere, read a lot, take advice, and write and write until you get it right. Easier to say than do!
Katie, thank you for playing.
Follow Katie on Twitter – here.
Katie Fforde is the author of sixteen novels: Living Dangerously (1995) The Rose Revived (1995) Wild Designs (1996) Stately Pursuits (1997) Life Skills (1999) Thyme Out (2000) Artistic Licence (2001) Highland Fling (2002) Paradise Fields (2003) Restoring Grace (2004) Flora’s Lot (2005) Practically Perfect (2006) Going Dutch (2007) Wedding Season (2008) Love Letters (2009) A Perfect Proposal (2010)
Find them all here.
About the Contributor
While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. Now, as the Director of Books at booktopia.com.au, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.