This week’s guest on Inheritance Books is Kate Frost. Welcome to the sofa, Kate. I’m sorry, we haven’t had a guest in a while. Let me dust it down for you. There you go. I’ll go put the kettle on, why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself.
I live in Bristol, a city I was born in and have always lived in, apart from three fabulous years spent at university in Aberystwyth. I grew up in the 1980s in a Victorian terraced house with a park at the end of the road. I have fond memories of my childhood with Sunday afternoon tea in front of the telly watching nature programmes; camping holidays with my Mum, Dad and younger brother getting bitten by mosquitos, discovering beautiful places and having barbeques in the rain; and Christmas spent with my Grandparents on their farm in Norfolk. I also have vivid memories of being in hospital when I was seven and undergoing open heart surgery to fix a hole in my heart. I was at that blissful age where it was an adventure rather than a traumatic experience. It also put me on the path to becoming a writer, as I had an amazing home tutor during the months following the operation, who taught me all about dinosaurs and how to write stories.
I studied drama while at Aberystwyth, but after graduating got disillusioned with the whole audition process of having to look a certain way or know the right person to get a role. I started writing again and over the next few years had articles and short stories published in magazines such as New Welsh Review and The London Magazine. I had various jobs along the way including being a bookseller at Waterstones, a Virgin Vie consultant hosting make-up parties, and putting my drama background to good use working as a Supporting Artist appearing in the films Vanity Fair, King Arthur and The Duchess. I did a MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University in 2004-05 and then wound up working out of hours for NHS Direct for a few years while I finished writing my debut novel, The Butterfly Storm and built up my freelance writing business writing blogs and features for easyJet.
The past few years have been busy. I got married in 2008, and later that year we bought a house in need of complete renovation so spent the next couple of years doing it up. We then got our dog, Frodo, a gorgeous Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, struggled through four rounds of fertility treatment, during which I published The Butterfly Storm, finished writing my first children’s book and was made redundant from NHS Direct. In February 2014 our miracle son was born and now my life is happy and hectic and revolves around a very energetic toddler while trying to write novels.
Which book have you inherited from the generation above? Why is it special?
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – well in fact C.S. Lewis’ whole series of Narnia books. They weren’t passed on to me but bought for me by my parents. Despite my mum being a prolific reader now, she was never interested in reading when she was a child, as she was too busy playing outside (she lived on a farm near the north Norfolk coast) to be interested in books. As an adult she realised what she’d been missing out on all that time and encouraged me to read. I remember being about eight or nine years old and getting swept up in Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy’s adventures and devouring the whole series of seven books. I also remember being bitterly disappointed when the back of my wardrobe didn’t lead into a snowy Narnia. But my love for books was cemented and I quickly realised the power of imagination, and so started writing my own stories.
Yay! An excellent choice!
Which book would you like to leave to future generations? Why?
I’m fascinated by the Restoration period with the plague and the Great Fire of London and so I loved Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks, a novel about the plague set in 1665-66. I first read it when I was in my mid-twenties, just as I was really focused on writing for a living and not long before I did my Creative Writing MA, and so it was a book that influenced me greatly. It’s also one of a handful of books that I wish I’d written.
Apart from being based on a true story, which in itself is fascinating, it’s beautifully written, descriptive, emotional and poignant. It’s one of those novels that stays with you long after you’ve read the last line and I’d encourage anyone to read it.
I’ve not read that. It sounds really interesting. Thank you for sharing your favourite books with us Kate. Good luck with the book.