Debut author Kate Campbell started writing her novel, The Whisper of Calaresp, in 2012, the same year I began my own. So, I felt a kinship with her right from the beginning. Come to find out she’s an animal lover, blogger, and book reviewer, and I’m convinced that if we met someday in person, we’d have a lot to chat about: her proclamation to “be confident of who you are”; her opinion that “the most important element involved in being a writer has to be passion”; and that for her, “being a writer isn’t a choice.” Chatting isn’t in the cards right now, as Kate’s hard at work getting ready for her book launch (which occurs on June 8) and writing a sequel to this first novel. A huge thank you to Kate for taking some time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions.
Christina: The Whisper of Calaresp is your first novel, a fantasy. What inspired you to write the book? What draws you to the fantasy genre?
Kate: I’ve always been a huge fan of fantasy. I love the idea of alternative worlds filled with magic and endless possibilities. Writing fantasy allows me the opportunity to travel to and experience these worlds. The inspiration for The Whisper of Calaresp came to me when I was walking through my local woods, the idea of a portal appearing that could transport you to a world full of fantasy popped into my head and it was that which sparked the general outline for my book.
Christina: You also write short stories, though you state: they “have always been more of a side project for me.” Why is that? Do you prefer novel writing? Did you ever consider writing The Whisper of Calaresp as a short story?
Kate: I really enjoy writing short stories, but I definitely prefer writing novels as I think it allows you to get to know your character, to put real life into them and then truly absorb yourself in the world you’ve created. The Whisper of Calaresp was always meant to be a novel, in fact, it was at one point significantly longer, it required a fairly substantial edit to reduce it down. Also, right from the start I always felt that there could and should be a sequel.
Christina: In the “About Me” section of your website, you state that the novel was written longhand. Do you write all your works by hand? What does the practice do for you?
Kate: I still write all of my story’s longhand. For me, writing with pen and paper feels like a far more natural process, it makes me feel more connected to the story. It also means that when I write it up on my laptop I’m going through it thoroughly word by word.
Christina: Every author has a different journey to publication. Will you share a little bit about yours?
Kate: Once I finished writing The Whisper of Calaresp I actually didn’t do anything with it for a while, I was far too nervous. When I eventually did send it off, I emailed about ten publishers, intending on sending it to more a few months later. I heard back pretty quickly from a few vanity publishers but looking into them more thoroughly I found they weren’t my cup of tea. It must have been about a month later that I heard from Wallace Publishing, and the rest as they say is history. I will admit I had a really good feeling about Wallace Publishing right from the start, so it was obviously meant to be. They’ve been fantastic, really supportive and I’m really delighted with the final book.
Christina: At some point, you and your husband purchased a smallholding that you shared with goats, pigs, ducks, sheep, and chickens. What has farming taught you? What have these animals taught you? Have these animals informed your writing at all?
Kate: Life on the smallholding has made me a far more confident person. I don’t feel like you can give a slightly angry, bucking goat an injection on your own without learning a bit about your own capabilities. They haven’t necessarily inspired my writing, but this lifestyle has definitely allowed me to concentrate on my writing.
Christina: What is your writing kryptonite?
Kate: I adore writing, the only bit I’m not a huge fan of is editing my work. I would definitely say that is my kryptonite. I love allowing my imagination to run wild, whilst editing requires a lot more discipline and focus. I’m not the sort of writer who plans what they’re going to write. I have a general idea as to where I want the story to go, but as a general rule, I wait and see where the story wants to go whilst I’m writing. Whilst that’s my preferred method, it does normally mean it requires more editing once I’m finished.
Thanks to Kate for agreeing to this interview! If you know of an author who’d like to be featured in an interview (or you are an author who would like to be featured), feel free to leave a comment or email me via my contact page.