I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to interview Katie Stephens, who releases her second novel, Catching Lightning today (click here to get your copy). I had lots of questions for Katie about her new novel, as well as finding out a bit more about her debut, Candles on the Sand…
Hello Katie, a huge, warm welcome to Bookaholic Confessions! Thank you so much for participating in this interview. Would you like to start by introducing yourself…?
Well I am Katie Stephens, I’m a mother to two girls Abi, 11 and Georgie, 9 and wife to Will. I work in PR and I love books. I have always loved writing and reading, oh and chocolate! My first book, Candles on the Sand, started as a piece of homework on my Creative Writing course and I wanted to see if I could actual write a book. I did! I fit in writing around work and the school run. I just love that feeling when you are in the middle of writing, or reading, a book when you are completely in the story and feel part of all that is happening.
Can you tell us a bit about your latest novel, Catching Lightning (released 23rd January 2015)?
Catching Lightning follows the story of Mel who has spent the past 14 years resenting her parents for abandoning her at a boarding school in England while they went back to Kenya, a country she hates, to run an orphanage and school for their charity. A tragic accident forces her to return to Kenya for her parents’ funeral but meeting the gorgeous, English educated Sam was not part of the plan. Finding her mother’s diaries reveals a lot of unanswered questions and the discovery of a detailed itinerary of a trip round Kenya that her parents dreamed of making with her makes Mel realise that maybe she had things wrong. But will taking the trip make her fall in love with the man, the country, neither or both?
Catching Lightning sounds like a brilliant story and I’m really looking forward to reading! What inspired you to come up with the idea for the storyline?
I wanted to look at whether the love for a man could over-ride the hatred someone had for the country they were from; how circumstances sometimes prove such a barrier to love and how people overcome them. You can never plan where or when you are going to fall in love and sometimes the love gods seem to be against even the most perfect relationship.
What made you decide to set part of the story in Kenya? Is it a country you have ever visited or would like to visit yourself?
I was very lucky to go to Kenya in 2001 and just fell in love with the place. It is so sad that things over there now are not good but it will always hold a special place in my heart not only because we had such an amazing trip but also as it is where my husband proposed to me.
Candles on the Sand is about Anna who finds out her fiancé is cheating on her 8 weeks before her wedding. She runs away from the wedding and her domineering mother and heads to Italy. By chance she finds a small fishing town and is welcomed in. She finds true friendship, love and, ultimately herself.
Candles on the Sand reached number 1 on the Amazon Romance Chart and number 2 on the Kindle Bestsellers Chart. That must have been amazing! How did it feel as a debut author to achieve those positions?
It was the most amazing feeling. I self-published Candles on the Sand on Kindle so that a few of my friends could read it. I told people about it on Facebook and a couple of review sites covered it. I was stunned when it started racing up the charts and am incredibly proud of what happened. The strangest things were firstly being listed with some major authors, and also, as I work in PR, seeing the media talking about me and what I had achieved. I feel blessed as the success of my first book had meant that I now have an agent and things are very different this time.
What’s the best thing about writing romance?
My favourite thing about writing romance is that you get to escape your life for a while. It also gives me the opportunity to show people that whatever life throws at you there is always hope and the chance to find love.
Can you tell us a bit about your journey to publication?
My first book was self-published, so this time has been different. It was strange sending my book off to my wonderful agent Lorella Belli, and I was so relieved that she liked it. It is worse than waiting for exam results. I felt there were so much pressure after the success of Candles on the Sand. It has been good not having to get so involved in the technical side of things this time as I found that hard.
Who are your favourite authors and what kind of books do you enjoy reading?
I love so many authors – Carole Matthews, Katie Fforde, Erica James, Belinda Jones, Lillian Harry, Giovanna Fletcher, and, of course, Jane Austen! When I am in the middle of writing a book I like to read a lot of autobiographies for something different, I have just read Bear Grylls’ book and so want to go off on an adventure!
And finally – can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on at the moment?
My WIP is a bit different to my first two books as it is set in England so I am finding it interesting not having the scenery featuring as strongly in the story. The main character has some great dilemmas and I am really enjoying dealing with these.
A huge thank you to Katie for taking part in this interview. ♥