Hi, I’m Katrina and, like many writers, the idea of talking about myself fills me with horror but I know the importance of putting myself out there so here goes …
I grew up in Leeds and, as a shy child, often retreated into fiction. The worlds I created in my head were kinder than the school playground. Then came secondary school, and a dry, dull English teacher who thought that neat handwriting was more important than creativity. At the same time, chemistry was taught by a mad nun who liked showing off the most explosive chemicals in her collection; safety standards were less stringent in the seventies! Explosions or handwriting … it was no competition.
And so I was lost to science, but the writing dream never went away. I’d tell myself of all the bestselling authors who didn’t get published until they were seventy, and thought I’d maybe write in retirement. Then, when I was forty, one of my closest friends died. It was the wake-up call I needed – you can’t sit on your dreams forever. I had a story idea, of a dystopian future where the standard of beauty was so tall, thin and androgynous that attraction between the sexes had not only died out, it was forbidden. And so Future Perfect was born. I wrote 12,000 words, read it back, and cried. It was so wooden, more school essay than page-turner. Ah well, at least I could say I’d given it a go.
I didn’t think of it again until five years later, when a friend encouraged me to have another go. This time I was determined and went through the pain of online critique groups, in particular the Writers’ Workshop, Word Cloud. I’d highly recommend these to any aspiring writers as I learned so much. I then had a professional manuscript review, expensive but a great investment. By the time I hit fifty, Future Perfect had been published by Elsewhen Press, a small, independent publisher of speculative fiction. By now, the world I’d created had gained so much momentum it evolved into a trilogy; Forbidden Alliance was published in 2015 and Freedom’s Prisoners in 2016.
Funnily enough, I don’t consider myself first and foremost a writer of speculative fiction/sci-fi/whatever you want to call it. At heart, I write stories about women and their journeys through life. My latest novel, The Lost Corner, is a twisty thriller about a 47 year-old woman who leaves her cheating husband and finds herself in a Norfolk coastal village full of dark secrets.
I’m running a Kindle Scout campaign until 2nd July 2017 so would be grateful to anyone who checks it out.
The best advice I would give aspiring writers is re-read your work as much as possible. Read it aloud, change the font, print it out, anything that will give you a different perspective on the words. And be realistic in your aims. When I first started, I pitched to agents and dreamed of fame and fortune. But I’ve gradually come to realise that I don’t want that at all! I love the family atmosphere of my small publisher.
I’ve found the online writing community to be so supportive and have made many new friends.
But the biggest reward of all is the joy I find in the writing process, when the words flow so quickly I can hardly type them on the screen.
So my final piece of advice is: ENJOY IT.