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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Kate’s yearning to write full time now a reality


Hi Kate and welcome to Adventures in Authorland. Please get comfortable and tell us a little about your adventure.

Thanks for having me Jean. I’m delighted for an opportunity to meet some NZ readers.

How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?

I’ve written prolifically over the last six years and the late nights have paid off this year. My first novel, THE YEARNING, was published with Simon & Schuster, Australia, last month and Random Romance published two of my erotic novellas in February. In addition to those I’ve had two short stories published in anthologies with a third anthology about to be released in July this year, as well as another novel next year.

My favourite has to be The Yearning. It’s my first full length novel and took me four years of rewriting to work into a publishable standard. I love it because it emerged from a very deep place within. Writing it was a very intimate and intense experience. It virtually wrote itself (initially), then went through about a dozen major rewrites, one of which made me sick and I had to take some time off to recover. It really does feel like a baby I gestated for four years. I’m very excited about its release because it’s attracting five star reviews on Amazon, Goodreads and book review blogs.

Can you give us some details about your upcoming release/s?

The Yearning is an unexpected and complex novel. It’s being promoted as erotic romantic fiction, but it doesn’t quite fit that mould. It’s set in an Australian country town in 1978. A teenage girl falls deeply in love with her charismatic substitute English teacher and she lures him into an affair with erotic love letters. When the affair is discovered the pair are separated, but the young girl grows up longing only for Solomon Andrews. Not until she reconnects with him twenty-five years later can she resolve her feelings for him.

It’s a story about passion, longing and the desire to deeply connect with another human being. The Yearning explores the lines between love and lust and the moral boundaries we cross when we just want what we want. The narrative is explicit at times, but isn’t salacious or tawdry. The student/teacher relationship is opened up for examination, not exploited as some might expect it to be. I have tried hard to treat both characters with respect. I didn’t want either of them to be demonised or seen as victims. I want people to understand the consequences, the damage, that this kind of relationship can reap in the long term.

When you are not writing, what are your hobbies, passions, etc?

My family and pets keep me very busy. I read a lot. I’m an extrovert so I love socialising and spend a lot of time interacting with an online community of writers. I enjoy being mentally and emotionally stimulated, and have a strong sense of social justice, so I get involved in environmental and social justice organisations like Australian Conservation Foundation and Amnesty International. I used to work with local Aboriginal organisations and have a strong passion for issues relating to reconciliation and Aboriginal rights. I have lots of interests and not nearly enough time to indulge them all.

I also like to cook (when I have time) and LOVE reading cookbooks for relaxation. Nigella is my favourite.

Do you hear from readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

I LOVE hearing from readers and try to interact with them regularly via Facebook (mostly) or on my blog. It’s nice to hear compliments about my books, but even more I enjoy talking to readers about how they respond to my (and others) work. It’s great to have a conversation with someone about how Ramon Mendez (from my Master of Love series erotic novellas) learned about Tantra, or why they loved a particular sex scene, or why they think a character behaved in a certain way. I like to talk about run of the mill things too. Bringing up children, recipes, other books, festivals – just about anything. That’s what I love about being in an online community. New friends, new idea’s, great humour. In many ways the internet has brought us all a lot closer together.

Tell us about your writing journey before and after you signed with a publisher.

Up until this year I was working part time. I wrote two days a week while my daughter was at school. Sometimes I’d work into the night if I had a competition deadline to meet. I entered lots of short story competitions, but the field was always so competitive. There are so many very talented writers out there. I received one prize and a number of commendations and they kept me going while I was polishing The Yearning.

The turning point for me came when I attended the 2011 Romance Writers of Australia conference in Melbourne. There I was introduced to a new world of passionate writers and I met my wonderful agent, who shortly afterwards offered to represent The Yearning. I also met some publishers there and had the opportunity to pitch The Yearning to them. None of them ended up taking it, but Sheila was very confident we’d place it with someone eventually.

Then 50 Shades of Grey hit the stratosphere and every publisher in the world was looking for erotic romance titles. Sheila helped me land a contract for two (unwritten) erotic novellas with Random House’s new digital imprint, Random Romance. Suddenly I had publishing deadlines to meet. The competitions sank to the bottom of the priority list and I took some time off work to write, which was utter bliss. I remember saying to my husband ‘I’m so happy doing this, this is what I want to do every day.’

I was unhappy in my job and later in the year redundancy packages became available so I applied. In September 2012 I received a redundancy offer AND a publishing contract for The Yearning on the same day. It was divine coincidence. I signed them both and rushed them off in the post, drinking a bottle of champagne to celebrate (not a good idea because I was on crutches at the time!)

This year I am depending on my redundancy payout to survive (for now) and writing full time. I sit at my desk Monday to Friday, 10am – 3pm. I treat it like a job and I’m very committed. The benefit is I’m more available to my family, I’m fitter because I have time to go to gym and I’m the happiest I’ve been in years After years and years of despondent and gloomy struggle I’ve finally hit a point in my life where I can truly say I’m doing what I love.

Do you have any advice for new writers beginning their adventure?

Never give up. Keep trying. People who give up never get published.
Don’t let your ego get in the way of improving your writing. Learning the craft can be depressing, especially when you compare yourself to others. Reading great writers used to depress me because I felt I’d never achieve what they did. The best lesson was to drop my defensive, protective attitude to my writing and take on good advice. Be brave and allow someone to tell you when your writing isn’t working. Grow a thick skin, because once you’re published you going to need it.

Write every day. Just write something, it doesn’t matter what. Make words a constant habit.
Finally, persist. No matter how many rejections you get, keep improving your work and try again. Remember, every rejection is one step closer to your publishing goal.

THE YEARNING by Kate Belle

Blurb 
It’s 1978 in a country town and a dreamy fifteen-year-old girl’s world is turned upside down by the arrival of the substitute English teacher. Solomon Andrews is beautiful, inspiring and she wants him like nothing else she’s wanted in her short life.
Charismatic and unconventional, Solomon easily wins the hearts and minds of his third form English class. He notices the attention of one girl, his new neighbour, who has taken to watching him from her upstairs window. He assumes it a harmless teenage crush, until the erotic love notes begin to arrive.
Solomon knows he must resist, but her sensual words stir him. He has longings of his own, although they have nothing to do with love, or so he believes. One afternoon, as he stands reading her latest offering in his driveway, she turns up unannounced. And what happens next will torment them forever – in ways neither can imagine.
Buy links:
Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Yearning-ebook/dp/B00BSVMRC4/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1368593170&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=The+Yearning)
Fishpond (http://www.fishpond.co.nz/q/The+Yearning?rid=1085552448)
Local bookshops and major retailers including Target, Myer, Collins, Dymocks and Big W.
Kate Belle Bio

Kate lives, writes and loves in Melbourne, juggling her strange, secret affairs with her male characters with her much loved partner and daughter, and a menagerie of neurotic pets. She holds a tertiary qualification in chemistry, half a diploma in naturopathy and a diploma in psychological astrology. Kate believes in living a passionate life and has ridden a camel through the Australian desert, fraternised with hippies in Nimbin, had a near birth experience and lived on nothing but porridge and a carrot for 3 days.

Blog/website: http://www.ecstasyfiles.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/ecstasyfiles


2 comments:

  1. Great interview, Kate! Terrific to learn more about you and congratulations on the wonderful reviews The Yearning is receiving :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great interview. The Yearning is very near the top of my very ridiculous TBR pile and I cannot WAIT to read it.

    ReplyDelete