Name Kathleen Kerridge
Where are you from
Southsea, way down at the arse end of England, in Hampshire.
A little about yourself; i.e. your education Family life etc
I am a married mum of four with three children still at home and a lovely dog called Neffie. I work as a full time writer and cook a lot. I’m educated to AS Level – I fell pregnant at 15 and had my eldest, then just when I thought I was safe, I went back to college at 24…and fell pregnant with my youngest at 25. I have no desire to go back for a degree and get child number five.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I went accidentally viral with my third ever proper blog-post and have created a small tornado of feelings and divisive sentiments…maybe it’s a good thing, though. I am working on my third novel, Legacies, which I am hoping will be received as well as the first two novels in my ‘Searching for Eden’ Series (Call of The Dark & Into The Woods). I also have the third in the ‘Searching for Eden’ series, Shadowfae, due out in late autumn, early winter.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I can’t remember not writing. I started reading aged eighteen months, because my mother was disabled and found it was a good way to keep me amused while she was bedridden and we were living with my grandparents. I was writing single page stories (nonsense ones, of course, I was only young) by the time I started school aged four. I think I have always been attracted to the fantasy worlds books can offer.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Hmm. I think it was when I began to get up and work eighteen hours straight, trying to make sense of the stories forming in my head. I had to leave my job (which I loved) through ill health and I thought…maybe I can make a go of my storytelling. It grew from there. I have been calling myself a writer for about three years, properly.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I had little choice. I know it sounds fanciful, but the characters were there, in my head, and I couldn’t shut them up. They had stories to tell and they wanted me to tell them. At first they were speaking an alien language and I had no idea how to translate it into something readable, but that came with time and patience. I had two very strong and able men, who happened to be in love with each other and be a bit magical. I had to tell their story…inspiration never hit me round the head. It crept up slowly on me.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I write Fantasy Romance (if I have to give it a genre) but I like writing most styles. I like dark and a bit psychologically perilous. Magic, elves, other worlds and battles are right up my alley, mixed in with a bit of sex and a lot of fun.
Fiona: How did you come up with the titles?
Into the Woods, I titled before I knew Disney had the film coming out. Eden runs into the woods…it’s not exactly the most oblique title, is it J
Call of The Dark is titled because it explores more of the mind, and what can make us act ‘dark’—why we act dark. How far would you go and what would you sacrifice? That sort of thing.
Legacies is (the current work in progress) is the story of how one man’s decisions, attitude and personality can affect the lives of all those around him. It starts with the death of a Prince and revolves around those left behind.
Shadowfae is a story about how the shadows of The Fae, long thought a myth, turn out to be real—it’s based mostly in the Human Realm, which is a departure from the first two Searching for Eden books J
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Love is love is love. We judge and we are quick to believe certain things about certain people. We label and we generalise, yet we rarely have the full picture. I like to make people think. Does it matter where someone is born, where they come from, who their parents are, or the colour, religion, sexuality? We are all living beings…let’s love each other and try not to judge.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
For a fantasy book, a lot of it. While the majority of my characters are Gods and Fae, they suffer, love, hurt and struggle the same as us. They have leaky roofs and ramshackle housing and there is war, pain, loss and suffering. There’s also a lot of magic, Elven Realms, Power-Shares and evil kings…so maybe I hit a balance!
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Some are, yes. I drew on a lot of personal experience when I wrote Khari and Eden’s characters. They were my cathartic medium, letting me examine my own past and make peace with it. It was mine as well as theirs, although theirs is much worse (obviously). I gave them the strength I wish I had known sooner. Other characters are based on various aspects of various people I know. They were fun to explore.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Oh goodness. Terry Pratchett, without a doubt. Neil Gaiman, Diana Gabaldon, Stephen King (the early stuff), Dean Koontz…I drink in their words like a woman dying of thirst in the Sahara. Recently, I am loving Patrick Rothfuss and his King Killer Chronicles.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Lord John and The Scottish Prisoner, by Diana Gabaldon. I love Lord John Grey and Ms. Gabaldon’s style of writing J
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Because my main characters are two gay men, I have made a lot of friends in the M/M writing community (Male-Male Romance). This has in turn led to discovering hundreds of Indie Authors. My favourite, at present, is Jordan. L. Hawk and her ‘Whyborne & Griffith’ series. It follows a gangly, awkward intellectual who falls hard for a dashing ex-Pinkerton Agent. Mysteries, Paranormal and a sprinkling of very proper, yet extremely raunchy, sex.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Legacies: a Prequel to ‘Searching for Eden’, following Cole and Takana through the early years of their relationship.
Shadowfae: Book #3 in the Searching for Eden series
…and a top secret project, which I’m keeping to myself for now. But for those of you who have read my books…Jai is in it.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Google. It is my life support. Unplug me and I’ll die.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I would extend the ending of Call of The Dark. I was inexperienced and concerned about word count. I would add a lot more, now I know better. Tell the story as it must be told.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Escapism and ego. I would write (bad) poetry and (worse than bad) songs as a teenager. I pity all I read and sang them to.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I shouldn’t, but I can. This is an excerpt from Legacies:
“I won’t stay in the bed, if you try to sleep on the floor. We both have the bed, or neither of us do.”
“Well, I wouldn’t want it said I made a young lady sleep on a hard floor,” Cole said, sitting on the edge of the bed to remove his own boots. He slipped under the quilt after grabbing a bottle of wine from the shelf as well as their ale cups. Propped up against the headboard, he poured for Takana, handing her the small cup, then for himself. “You are not too discomfited by the travelling?” he asked.
“No. It helps to be travelling with such a nice companion.”
Cole smiled, sipping wine.
“You will manage not to pass out, drinking un-watered wine?”
Cole turned at look at Takana, amazed to see the impish grin resting on her face. She winked at him, then laughed, turning onto her side to prop herself up on her elbow.
“I shall endeavour,” he said, starting to laugh himself.
“I can make us tea, if you begin to feel lightheaded.”
Cole poked Takana in her ribs, snorting with laughter. “Cruel woman.”
She sobered, drinking quietly, eyes on his face. “I could not lose the bet,” she said, lifting her uppermost shoulder. “I wanted to come with you.”
“I wanted you to,” he said, matching her honesty. “You have quite bewitched me. The feeling is…new to me.” He pushed one loose braid back over her shoulder, sighing to himself. “I feel as though I have gone insane. I keep telling myself you are young, that you have to live a life. That I will wait. And yet, Takana, I can’t think of anything beyond when I will see you next. I can’t go an hour without wondering how you fare…if you are well. I couldn’t be gone from you, so I returned without seeing to half the business I had set myself and, still, even now, I am telling myself that—”
He shut up, finding it impossible to speak with Takana’s mouth covering his own.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I find it hard to remember that my readers are not in my head. That I need to tell the story, because it’s only real inside my head and behind my eyes. I miss things, because I expect psychic abilities from my audience!
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Diana Gabaldon, without a doubt, although Pratchett is a very very close second. Can we call it a tie?
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I don’t need to travel far, thankfully. I live on an island with a nature reserve, a small forest at the city lines, a seafront, castles, ancient 12th century buildings and bustling shopping centres. I am very very lucky to have been born and raised where I was.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
All my cover art is done by the amazingly talented Jay Aheer. (Jayscoversbydesign.com) We met last June, when she sent me the most beautiful bit of fan art. I had an awful cover and I was cheeky enough to ask if she wanted to play around and make me a good one. She agreed, (luckily, because there’s no way I could have afforded her services, now) and the rest is history. We talk every day. She’s my Ninja Lady.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Killing the people I love. Hurting them. I often sit, crying so hard I can’t breathe, because it makes ‘better writing’ to be harsh and firm. I love the finished results, but I feel like I’m euthanising kittens when I hurt one of my ‘people’
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Empathy and compassion. When I first wrote the first draft of my first book, Jaizel (Jai) was a caricature of a cartoon baddie. It took a good year of writing before I realised that even the very bad people must be relatable. I learned to ask for reasons, and give life to the pasts of my characters. I think it’s helped me grow as a person, as well as a writer. Nothing seems black and white anymore.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Words don’t bleed—cut them. Words are free—use them. Tell your story and tell it as you wish it to be told. Take criticism and learn from it. Love what you do.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Keep an open mind. All is never simply what is seen on the surface.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Yes, reading out loud, at least. It was Adventures Of The Wishing Chair, by Enid Blyton. I was four and loved it so much it’s ridiculous.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
Justin Hartley (Smallville). I’d need a bib for the drool though.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
I won’t be having a headstone. I have donated my body to medical science and hope to get a job as a full time classroom skeleton. A good friend gave me the idea.
I would have people remember me by saying, “She wasn’t that bad, really…let’s have a drink!”
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I make clothes, crochet, cook, paint (rooms, not pictures—I have the artistic ability of a monkey on speed) and walk. A lot. My dog is a Saluki, and I can walk her till she drops…maybe. It hasn’t happened yet, but we like to challenge each other, when we’re not laid in bed together writing books.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I don’t watch much actual TV. We have it for the kids, more than anything. I do watch catch-up though, when I remind myself to take a lunch break. I like cookery shows. I have watched every single show on 4oD and BBC iPlayer. I have an extremely limited budget for food, so to feed us well and healthily, I like to get ideas from characters such as The Hairy Bikers and (dare I say it) Jamie Oliver. He’s my guilty pleasure.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Sushi / teal and turquoise / Indie folk. That was easy, wasn’t it? J
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I wanted a career in office management and PR. I was very close to achieving all I ever wanted, then it all went wrong. This is better though. Maybe it does all happen for a reason.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
http://kathleenkerridge.com It’s a fun place to visit. Come and say hi J
Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/OfficialKathleenKerridge