I’m so excited to have Katie Fforde blogging with me today.
I fell in love with Katie’s writing, when I first read The Rose Revived back in 1995. That year, she published two books; The Rose Revived and Living Dangerously. Since then, I’ve read every single on of her books. She’s an inspiration – if you don’t believe me, well let me tell you, she’s in the middle of writing her eighteenth book. Eighteenth! She has nearly put out a book per year – I could only imagine doing that and if you believe Wikipedia, most of her experiences, not matter how minor, end up in her books.
Her books are witty, insightful and punctuated with warm romance. The little I have had to do with her, I’ve found her to be most generous and warm – much like her heroines.
You can follow Katie on Twitter @KatieFforde or visit her website here: http://www.katiefforde.com/
Katie: I can never decide if I like writing or not. Some days it takes me ages to get down to it and I’ll make all sorts of excuses not to do it. Eventually, when I stop Twittering, emailing, listening to the radio while I play Spider patience or checking out bargains on the Internet, I do start and then I do like it and wonder why I wasted so much time before starting.
I do like being able to have the jobs they’d never let me have in real life. I have learned to accept that they’re not going to give me a job as a stable girl at my age, even if I did know anything about horses. And some jobs would be just too terrifying. But as a writer, I can explore all sorts of things.
Mind you, I do have to research these job and that can be scary too. When I was researching Flora’s Lot (when I also got to be blonde and beautiful) I worked for an auction house for a week. One of the directors (who became a friend) made me sit on the stand next to her and deal with the jewelry. This was after I’d been a porter, showing off the items, which included the head of a Soay sheep which had wonderful curly horns. Sadly the horns had come off the sheep and I showed this head to the audience terrified in case the head fell out of the box and bounced off the stage into the audience.
I’m currently writing my eighteenth book and although I know its crazy, I seem to be less confident about the process with each book that comes out. I think it’s because it’s harder and harder to write something that I haven’t dealt with before, let alone all the other writers out there. There are only a very few plots and nothing is new under the sun (they tell me!) and yet as a writer one does want to produce something a little bit different each time.
My way of doing this seems to be giving myself bigger and bigger challenges. For the book that’s coming out in March 2011, I went on a bush craft course. It didn’t involve eating anything vile (it was only a weekend) but it was quite challenging to a middle aged Diva like me. By the end of the weekend the men – they were mostly men – did all of the hard stuff for me. We were all foods and shared recipes while we gathered sticks or fetched water. My skill was taking half-burnt sticks from the night before – bone dry and ready to burst into flame.
The book I’ve just started involves TV and cooking. I’ve bought chili pepper lights, to make my kitchen look more like Nigella’s kitchen on telly. I’m just hoping it’ll have the same effect on my cooking.
Sometimes I wish I had a proper job, with proper holidays and weekends off, but mostly I really appreciate not having to get into more than my dressing gown to go to work.
What a wonderful post! Thank you Fleur and Katie.
Katie, you are an inspiration to all writers, me included. Eighteen books? Wow!
I love that you talk about there being ‘no new plots’ and then talk about wanting to produce something different and pushing yourself to experience life outside your comfort zone.
I agonise over finding ‘new’ storylines…yet somehow they do present themselves…eventually! I also love that you play spider patience (I had it surgically removed from my computer) and write in your dressing gown! My distraction is brick. I love working in my pjs though kids hate me dropping them at the station in the morning in that attire…they should be thankful I’m wearing proper clothes when I pick them up!
Can’t wait to read your next book in March 2011! Congratulations.
Hi Katie and Fleur, a lovely post and I agree with Lisa. Eighteen books, wow!!
Doing the research is definitely a fun part of writing and spending a week with an auction house would have been fascinating. Living in the tropics I tend to write in a sarong – and it kills me having to squeeze into a uniform to head off for my day job…
Look forward to reading your story about TV and cooking 🙂
As a newbie writer about to embark on a career of being JUST a writer (i.e. and not also working in retail/cafes/cinemas/libraries), the idea that I may end up on the couch all day in my trackie dacks, eating Corn Flakes out of the box does terrify me slightly. As does the idea that I may, one day, wake up and not have a clue what to write! It is so heartening to hear that even super-famous authors have these troubles, too! Katie, thanks for sharing and be assured I always think each of your books is unique and gorgeous!!! Can’t wait for the next one.