Interview with author Kate Forsyth

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To celebrate the launch of Aussie (and internationally bestselling!) author Kate Forsyth’s new book, Dancing On Knives, Read3r’z Re-Vu visited the signing of her book at Dymocks, George Street, Sydney in June. We then rubbed shoulders with the author in a private session to chat all about Dancing On Knives, her inspiration to become a writer, and the quirks and mysteries of the writing and publishing process. Kate is best known for her historical novel Bitter Greens, has written a plethora of children’s novels, loves the historical fantasy genre, and has also won five Aurealis awards.

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Writing fantasy…

In our interview with Kate she mentioned that it was by pure “luck” that she decided to start writing fantasy as it wasn’t really her first choice of genre, but always wanted to get into writing because she loved to read. She actually feels most true writing and reading historical fantasy or fiction, so much so that all her books have a fairy tale theme. She’s even recently completed a doctorate in fairy tale retellings from the University of Technology, Sydney. That being said, she acknowledged that it’s quite difficult to write historical work because you need to do a lot of fact checking (did toothpaste exist in the 1930’s???) and instead believes that contemporary fiction is the easiest to write because everything is familiar to everyone, and there’s a lot less research that needs to be done.

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Writer’s block…

Apparently Kate doesn’t get writer’s block(!), at least not in the conventional way. Sure, she has some days where she just doesn’t feel like writing, but always tries to “work through” the blockage and stick to a linear fashion when writing. To keep her going everyday, each morning she opens her files and reviews what she wrote the day before, making a checklist of what she still needs to research, discover or find out. Another strategy she has developed when she’s feeling stuck is to go out for a walk and clear her head, which usually does the trick!

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Tips for new writers…

Kate shared with us some great tips for those wanting to begin a career in creative writing:

  • Read a lot and write a lot – many people who want to be writers don’t actually write nearly enough
  • Have a dedicated time where you write every day or week and aim for 6 hours of writing per week
  • Keep a daily journal – it’s a process of automatic writing which is closest to your natural style and helps you develop more fluid and natural writing
  • Set a weekly word target which is challenging but achievable
  • Have courage and write what you want to write despite what might be hot on the market at the time (Fifty Shades of Grey = tacky mummy porn…Twilight = resurgence of the vampire genre…you get the idea! Just don’t)

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Quick Kate facts you didn’t know….

  • Kate doesn’t have just one favourite author – there are too many! Find a very comprehensive list of Kate’s favourite authors and books on her blog
  • She is currently writing a book about Nazi Germany from the first person perspective, so she’s reading hundreds of memoirs to get a better idea of ‘personal voice’
  • When she doesn’t like a book she just stops reading it! Too many books, so little time. Yep, we know the feeling!

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Thank you for sharing with us Kate!

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