Back in April, I posted on Twitter offering to mentor a second novel writer on their journey to publication. My first mentee, Nikki Smith, had completed her submission package and was sending out her synopsis, chapters and covering letter. She would in fact go on to secure representation within weeks.
As before, the response and quality of both pitches and entries was phenomenal, but one stood out to me from the moment I read the opening line...'Whenever I allow myself to think about my mother, she comes to me in a series of monochrome vignettes'.
Here Kate introduces herself and her book, including the two best decisions she's made so far for her writing career. I'm very excited to be working with her! Over to Kate...
I’ve had my head in a book for my entire life. As a child I would often sit on a book during dinner, so it was quick to pick up when I’d finished. I would make up tales with my sister and daydream storylines when I was out walking our family dog. When I had children I would turn them into characters for bedtime stories, something different every night, and yet it never occurred to me that writing was something I could or should do.
Three years ago that changed. Something (and I have no idea what) made me open the small laptop I had at the time and start to write. Quite a gruesome tale about a mother, her daughter and the ghost of her dead father, but it got me writing. I didn’t tell anyone what I was doing, it felt like something I should keep to myself, but of course that couldn’t last. When I told my family I was writing I received such a positive response that it boosted my confidence immeasurably and I decide to enrol on a writing course. That was in March 2017. A six-week, online course with Curtis Brown that helped me to make the most of my writing and also make many friends. It was the first, best decision, with regards to writing, that I had made.
When people hear that I’m writing they ask me where I get my ideas from and the answer is easy; I’m a mobile hairdresser. My wonderful clients are a constant source of inspiration. Tales of farming days in Somerset from a lady who is in her one-hundredth year, stories of being a Wren in the second world war, and personal stories of love and loss. I encounter many people daily who enjoy telling me about their very varied lives.
My other passion is glass. I started by making stained glass windows nearly twenty years ago and moved on to kiln-formed glass sometime later. I’m involved with a great group of glass artists here in Buckinghamshire where I live.
I mentioned that enrolling on the writing course was the first best decision I made. The second was entering the competition that Amanda was running. I couldn’t believe that someone would be so generous to offer their precious time, I also didn’t think I would stand a chance of winning. I was blown away when she phoned me to say that she had picked me for the mentorship.
Working with Amanda has completely changed how I look at my writing and allowed me to have much more confidence in myself. I’ve sharpened up what was, at first, a very messy plot and even made the bold decision to cut an entire family from the original manuscript! Having an established author read your work and like it is a powerful thing and I will admit to getting a thrill if she highlights a passage with a note to say, ‘love this!’
My book is a story about obsessive love, damaged relationships and the repercussions when someone takes secrets to the grave. For the first time I can see me finishing and being proud of it. What comes next is yet to be known.