Today we offer a warm welcome to popular novelist Catherine King as we chat to her about her writing life
Catherine, how would you describe your novels and their settings? And are they based on ‘what you know’?
I write gritty romantic novels set in Victorian and Edwardian South Yorkshire where the coal and steel industries flourished. My most recent books have focused on the upstairs-downstairs lives of the wealthy and their servants. I grew up in the area I write about and my mother was in service to the owner of a Rotherham steelworks. Much of the domestic culture in my books is based on her memories and those of her mother.
How many have you written now, and how often do your publishers expect you to produce a new one?
I have written nine books in this series. My publishers expect and receive a new book every year. This keeps me busy!
Who is the one character from your own books that you have most enjoyed writing about, and why?
Before my most recently published book I would have selected one of my heroes as my favourite character. But I really like Meg, the heroine in A SISTER’S COURAGE which came out last year. I like her because, although she does what she thinks is right, she has a tough time of it. Nevertheless, she picks up the pieces of her life and carries on, showing great courage in the end.
Do any of your characters re-appear in later books, or is every book completely stand-alone?
Each book I write is stand-alone although a major character in one story may have a bit part in another book if the area and times overlap. When I changed from the Victorian to the Edwardian era I used a main character from THE LOST AND FOUND GIRL to kick-start the story for THE SECRET DAUGHTER.
Tell us a little about your latest published book
My latest title, A SISTER’S COURAGE, was published in paperback last November. It is about three women from very different backgrounds whose lives throw them together and they become suffragettes. I really enjoyed researching and writing this book although parts of it were harrowing as some suffragettes suffered greatly for their cause.
How did you first get started, and how long did it take to ‘break through’?
I was definitely not an overnight success! I began by writing short stories, and progressed to romance novels, under a different name. I wrote six and sold five of them. Therefore, when I tackled my first Catherine King book I had some experience to draw on. Also, I had made some good industry contacts in The Romantic Novelists’ Association. My first book was turned down by two publishers. I was ‘called in to talk’ by a third publisher who, eventually, offered me a two-book contract. I had to do a lot of work on that first book . . . and the second . . . and the third. But this was a learning process and I got better at it!
What are you working on now, and when will we get to read it?
Currently I am waiting for the edits to come back on the manuscript for my next novel. It is called HER MOTHER’S SECRET and will be out in August (the hardback library edition), with paperback publication in November 2014.
If you could give new authors just ONE tip, what would it be?
Whatever you write, write it from your heart.
Thank you so much, Catherine, for taking the time to talk to us.
Catherine was in conversation with Vivien Hampshire
All Catherine’s novels are available from bookshops and Amazon in print and e-versions. More details can be found on her website http://www.catherineking.info where there are links to her Facebook page and Twitterfeed.