Katie Stephens began her love of Creative Writing when she was at school when she developed her skills for both Poetry and Short Stories. Her new and upcoming book Catching Lightning is set to be published on the 23rd of January. I sat down with the kind hearted author to discuss her writing career.
Catching Lightning: You never know where or when lightning will strike but when it happens on a trip back to Kenya to bury your parents you know the timing isn’t great. Mel has spent the past 14 years resenting her parents for abandoning her at a boarding school in England while they went back to Kenya, a country she hates, to run an orphanage and school for their charity. A tragic accident forces her to return to Kenya for her parents’ funeral but meeting the gorgeous, English educated Sam was not part of the plan. Finding her mother’s diaries reveals a lot of unanswered questions and the discovery of a detailed itinerary of a trip round Kenya that her parents dreamed of making with her makes Mel realise that maybe she had things wrong. Will taking the trip make her fall in love with the man, the country, neither or both?
Q. Catching Lightning is your new chick-lit book. Can you explain the meaning behind the title?
A. Finding the right person, your sole mate, is as hard as catching lightning – almost impossible. I wanted to blend this with the uncontrollable nature of that lightning strike moment when you meet ‘the one’ and you can’t plan where or when it happens. It is also a phrase that is quite key in the story.
Q. Your main character Mel takes a trip to Kenya to give her parent’s a sending off. What was it about Kenya in particular that allowed you to use it as the main place within your narrative?
A. I went to Kenya in 2001 and fell in love with the place. There are elements of the country that are incredibly poor and dirty and yet it is one of the most beautiful places I have visited. When I was there I visited an orphanage just outside Nairobi and that is what the centre at Kamuti is based on. That visit was incredibly moving and I have used that in the book. Kenya will also always be incredibly special to me as it was where my husband proposed to me!
Q. What themes can readers expect from Catching Lightning?
A. I am the sort of person who finds the good in most things and one of the main themes in Catching Lightning is that even in the darkest of times, something wonderful can be found. It also deals with the issues of having to reassess something you have always believed to be true and deal with the consequences.
Q. Chick Lit is a very well loved genre yet critics have slated it in the past year. Which Chick Lit authors do you enjoy reading and how do they inspire you?
A. Oh wow, there are just so many! I adore Carole Matthews and she has been not only been a great inspiration but a great mentor, my Yoda! I also love JoJo Moyes, Lisa Jewell, Kate Morton, Giovanna Fletcher – I could go on forever. I get inspiration from the fact that they produce great books, that might not be highbrow works of literature, but they are what the majority of us want to read; a book that is going to transport us to another world and give us an easy break from our day to day lives.
Q. If you could write a book with another author (dead or alive), who would it be and why?
A. This is easy, it would have to be Jane Austen. She was the first chick lit author really. I would love to travel back to experience living life in her times but I would also love for her to see how things have changed and how women have become equal. I think she would love today’s society where the rules are so different and we would be able to write some cracking stories.