My Reading & Writing Confessions
By Katherine Webb
- I’d written seven books over ten years before I got published, and when I look back at the first two or three now, my toes curl in embarrassment! They’re full of over-written prose, two dimensional characters and a distinct lack of narrative drive. But they represent my apprenticeship, I suppose – they were a process I needed to go through in order to improve to the point where I could have a book published, and I like to think I am constantly growing and evolving as an author.
- I used to be bit of a book snob when it came to reading, and if it wasn’t a classic or on a prize shortlist, or I didn’t like the cover, I didn’t bother to read it. But being a published author means you meet all sorts of other authors, and get sent all sorts of books to read. I don’t like every book I read – I’m sure nobody does; but I’m far more open to pick up and enjoy a book from any genre these days – and with any cover.
- I read The Lord of The Rings five times during my teens, and a huge amount of other fantasy fiction as well. I used to get completely obsessed with the stories, and write myself into them. They fired my imagination, and gave me an escape into an entirely different world. I still like to read good fantasy fiction now and then, and I was pleased when so many dyed-in-the-wool fantasy-snubbers – my sister included – got so hopelessly addicted to George R R Martin’s Game of Thrones books recently!
- I am a terrible procrastinator when it comes to actually starting to write a book. Having the idea for the story, then expanding that story and doing all the research – those are the really fun stages that I can’t wait to get stuck in to. Actually starting to put words of the story onto the page is far, far harder; and, of course, until you come to write it, the imagined book is perfect… Once I’m under way I am very disciplined and single minded about getting it done, but until then… I’ll find anything else I can do first!
- I have quite a British stiff upper lip and very few books make me cry. However, I blubbed unashamedly at several points during Louis de Berniere’s Capain Corelli’s Mandolin; and at the ends of David Nicoll’s One Day, Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You and Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance.
- The book character I have fallen most deeply in love with (since Aragorn, of course) is Mr Parker from Stef Penney’s The Tenderness of Wolves. It’s one of my favourite books and he is a big reason why – a Native American man wrongly accused of a crime, he’s so decent, so tough, so self-contained and unexpectedly tender. I desperately wanted the heroine to ditch her husband and run off with him – I would have.
Katherine Webb was born in 1977 and grew up in Hampshire before reading History at Durham University. She has since spent time living in London and Venice, and now lives near Bath, UK. Having worked as a waitress, au pair, personal assistant, bookbinder, housemaid, library assistant and seller of fairy costumes, she is now a full-time writer. Her debut novel, The Legacy, won the popular vote for the TV Book Club Summer Read 2010 and was shortlisted for Best New Writer at the 2010 Galaxy National Book Awards. Her subsequent novels The Unseen, A Half Forgotten Song and The Misbegotten were all Sunday Times Top Ten Bestsellers, and her books have been translated into 26 languages around the world.
A huge thank you to Katherine Webb and to Lucy at Orion.♥