The world of writing is a wonderful place these days. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve made friends with writers from all over the world – but sometimes, I’m lucky enough to meet a really great writer who lives just down the road. So it was with Kate Blackadder, my guest today. In fact, we did meet online first, through an online group of Scottish writers in all genres, but I’ve met her in person many times since. It’s my pleasure to welcome Kate to my blog.
You’ve written numerous short stories, as well as a couple of serials for The People’s Friend. The latest has recently been released as a large-print library edition. Tell us what inspired it?
I worked in a hotel on the west coast of Scotland one summer and many years later thought it would be a great setting for a story.
Have you any other published books?
The Family at Farrshore, also in a large-print edition and originally a serial.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m writing another People’s Friend serial. This one’s set in the 1960s, in a Highland farming community. And I’m planning to bring out an anthology of twelve of my magazine stories, in digital and in print. That should be available in March 2016 under the title Three’s a Crowd.
That’s a great project, Kate – I’ll look forward to reading those. Tell me how you write – are you a plotter, or do you make it up as you go along?
I’m a ‘panster’ with short stories, but when I was commissioned by The People’s Friend to write The Family at Farrshore (after I won a competition for the first instalment of a serial) they asked for a full synopsis. And I mean full … it was many weeks and seven A4 pages before it was finished. Agony, but worth it.
I know what you mean about writing synopses – it’s like writing the book before you write the book, isn’t it? Do you have any tips for other writers?
Read your work aloud to yourself – you hear repetitions and clunky dialogue. Join a writers’ club or a class – for inspiration and to engage with others who love to write.
If you could be any author, past or present, who would it be, and why?
To be the writer of a character who stands the test of time would be wonderful – Anne of Green Gables, Miss Marple, Scarlett O’Hara, Just William, Elizabeth Bennett, Becky Sharpe, Richard Hannay …
Yes – I wonder who the memorable authors of today will be in a century or more to come? Thank you for being my guest today Kate, and good luck with your ongoing projects.
Kate Blackadder was born in the Highlands of Scotland, worked for a London publisher for seven years, and has lived in Edinburgh more than thirty years. As a child she wanted to write ‘books for girls’ and got as far as filling a school jotter with twenty-seven titles, and a blurb and a character list for each. (She still has the jotter.)
Adolescent poetry followed and then there was a bit of a gap on the writing front. However, after joining a creative writing class, she took it up seriously – not with books about plucky schoolgirls though, but short stories, most aimed at women’s magazines. She has had over forty stories published in Woman’s Weekly, The People’s Friend and elsewhere and two serials in the PF, The Family at Farrshore and The Ferryboat (both now available as large-print books in libraries). She won the Muriel Spark Short Story Award (judged by Maggie O’Farrell) and was long-listed for the Jane Austen Short Story Award.
She has been guest author at People’s Friend story-writing workshops and has adjudicated short story competitions.
When Judy and Tom Jeffreys are asked by their daughter Holly and her Scottish chef husband Corin if they will join them in buying The Ferryboat hotel in the West Highlands, they take the plunge and move north.
The rundown hotel needs much expensive upgrading – and what with local opposition to some of their plans, and worrying about their younger daughter, left down south with her flighty grandma, Judy begins to wonder if they’ve made a terrible mistake.