There are many Kate Winter’s in the world but the one YOU need to know about is the debut Little Brown author. Kate, from the North West of Ireland isn’t just a pretty face; she’s a storyteller, a journalist and former Media University student. So, after I read her first book The Happy Ever Afterlife of Rosie Potter (RIP), I snatched up the chance to sit down with her – laptop to laptop – to have a natter about everything BUT Geography…
Q. First of all – welcome! For those who are clueless to your debut book, please tell them what it is about.
A. The Happy Ever Afterlife Of Rosie Potter (RIP) is a supernatural, romantic, slightly twisty comedy whodunnit, set in rural Ireland and featuring sexy men and a frustrated ghost stuck in ugly pyjamas.
Q. Rosie Potter is dead. That’s made very clear from the first chapter. What made you decide to kick start your author career with a deceased main character?
A. I was reading a series of books at the time, the Undead and Unwed series, I think it was called, by Mary Janice Dickenson. They were perfect ‘beside the pool’ reading, and the protagonist was was a vampire. And initially, she wasn’t very happy about it, which is where the seed was planted in my head, I think. I wanted to work more with that premise, of how annoying it would actually be to find yourself dead and how much opportunity for mischief there would be within it.
Q. You studied Media at University and you became a journalist, but what made you turn a corner into the author world?
A. Honestly, I’ve always been an author. I’ve been writing fiction since I was tiny. In fact, before I could write I used to steal my father’s dictaphone and hide in a dark room, whispering tales of intrigue and princesses and things that lived in the chilly recesses of the fridge into it. I think my gift of easy, flowing wordage (and boldly making words up that suit my needs when necessary) is actually what got me through school and certainly what got me my honours in Uni. And journalism is just my hack job, something to bring in the pennies while I wait for some Hollywood genius to pick up one of my novels and make me a star. And maybe he’ll be all handsome and George-Clooney-esque too and he can double up as my eternal flame while we’re at it.
A gal can but dream…
Q. When you received the phone call/email from your agent to say Little Brown want your book – what was your reaction and what did you do to celebrate?
A. I went “YEAHHHHHH!” And told everyone and then I popped a bottle of champagne. Then another one. Then we went to the pub and everyone else cracked bottles of champagne and we made a far bigger fuss than was necessary. But it was a long journey to that moment with Rosie, seeing as I had finished the book in 2010 and I got my deal in 2013… I wouldn’t call it a struggle, there was just a bit of a pause between me writing it and the market being ready for such a bizarre little romp!
Q. Book Bloggers play a huge part in an author’s career; they can make or break a book, how important do you think they are?
A. I’ll be honest, Emma Louise, I’m only just learning about all this… I had no idea of the blogging community and their wonderful powers! It’s starting to become clear, though. And thank goodness, you’re all so lovely and you all like my book so I’m not broken. I’m SO enjoying interacting on Twitter. I love chatting to people who’ve enjoyed the story and want to discuss little bit s of it, (especially dreamy Charles Walker, cus he’s dreamy). Getting positive reviews is the best feeling ever; it’s better than boys, booze and shoes all put together and they are my three favourite vices so that’s saying a lot.
Q. There’s a strong sense of a whodunit element in your book which turns out to be not what the reader would expect. What made you add a sense of mystery to the plot?
A. It was all about the comedy for me. I think laughter adds a wonderful extra frisson to any emotion. How many times have you been really angry and giving out yards, or sad and snuffling away, having a good cry, and then suddenly something makes you laugh? It’s such a beautiful feeling. So while the book tackles heavy topics like death, assault, abuse, cheating and loss, the mystery element keeps it moving fast through the emotional scope and the laughter (and the twist) make it enjoyable.
Q. Rosie can stand in the middle of a table, she can walk through glass and someone can see her. How many times did you watch Ghost in order to prep for the writing part?
A. HeeeHEEE! I didn’t need to, it was one of my favourite films as a kid… In fact, I think I even reference Patrick Swayze and Whoopi Goldberg’s relationship in the novel. It was a big help, having a vast amount of supernatural fiction already out there, in terms of drawing the parameters of what Rosie can and can’t do. But at the same time it made it a bit tough, too, to come up with something unusual. Hence, the taste issue. Which I won’t go into, in order not to be a spoiler. But I don’t think anyone has come up with that particular quirk of being dead yet!
Q. What can readers expect from you next?
A. Well! I’ve just finished another supernatural, romantic, mysterious comedy… it doesn’t have the whodunnit element and it’s not as slapstick as Rosie Potter, it’s a little bit (just a little bit, mind) more grown up and I love it so much. I’m so excited about it. It’s a big, juicy, beautiful, heartfelt love story, with equally gorgeous characters. And next on my list I’m trying to decide between three other ideas that have been brewing a while. One is outrageous… I think that’s my baby!
Let’s do a quick fire round. Don’t think about the answers – just type…
I’ll be honest with you, Emma Louise, that’s pretty much how I do everything in life 😉
Kindle or Paperback?
Paperback all the way. I love the way they smell, crinkle, fold, feel. I hate the way they fall apart in the sun though. Someone needs to sort that out.
Coffee or Tea?
COFFEEEEEEEE. And herbal tea. But mostly COFFEEEEEEE.
London or New York?
Oh Gawd. Both! But only for holidays. I’m a country gal.
No Wifi or No TV?
That is EASY. I don’t have a TV, have rarely had one in my whole life. And I can watch Game Of Thrones on my laptop so no-brainer!
Debut Author or Best Selling Author?
Well, I’m a debut author who wants to be a best selling author. So sort that out for me, wouldya?
Summer or Winter?
Ohhhhhhh… I love both! But I’ll go Summer because the Winter in Ireland is too long, pretty and cosy as it can be. Summer for long evenings, rambling walks in the wildflowers, ice cream at the beach, and dancing in the street.
Thank you very much to Kate for popping over onto my blog. Her debut book, The Happy Ever Afterlife of Rosie Potter (RIP) is available in Waterstones, WHSmith, Amazon and everywhere else that sells great books.