Name Katrina Mountfort
Where are you from?
I was born and brought up in Leeds, England. Since then I’ve lived in London and East Anglia, but my heart belongs to Yorkshire and I plan to return in the not-too-distant future.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
My work and educational background isn’t what you’d expect of a fiction writer: I have a degree in Biochemistry and a PhD in Food Science. For most of my career I was a research scientist (as well as a short-lived flirtation with homeopathy) and am now a freelance medical writer. I’ve been married for 27 years, no kids but two gorgeous black Labradors.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
The third part in my Blueprint Trilogy, will be released by Elsewhen Press in the autumn.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Writing was a lifelong dream but I didn’t start until I hit forty. A close friend had recently died of cancer and it made me realize I couldn’t put off that dream forever.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I went to the wonderful Festival of Writing in York and met so many fellow writers.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Bizarrely, it was a magazine article about men waxing off their body hair. In the same edition were pictures of waif-like supermodels. It occurred to me that if this trend continued, gender differences would eventually disappear, and so would sexual attraction.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
My writing is fast-paced and I like to mix up the rhythm with short and long sentences.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I’m terrible at thinking of titles! Future Perfect was my husband’s idea and I instantly loved it; the so-called utopian society in the novel is far from perfect. Forbidden Alliance was my idea and is the only great title I’ve ever come up with. There are two forbidden alliances within the book; that between a teenage boy and girl, and the Alliance of Outdoor Communities who are rebelling against the Citidomes.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes, that beauty is an artificial concept created by society. I hate to see teenagers developing eating disorders because our culture has told them they should be thinner. In Future Perfect, Cathy, our heroine is perfectly normal by today’s standards but is made to feel a freak because she falls far short of the BodyPerfect ideal: very tall and skeletally thin.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
A frightening amount considering it’s set in a dystopian future. There’s constant pressure to conform and people collect as many contacts as they can but have no real friends. But this society is much more extreme: sex and relationships are forbidden and anyone who question’s society’s norms is labeled a subversive thinker.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I’m short (1.57 m) and my looks have never been in fashion. I was a skinny teenager in the late 1970s, when curves were in. Since I’ve filled out, women aspire to being thin. And let’s not even get started on my curly hair!
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Wuthering Heights is the novel that has influences me most. I enjoy it less than I used to; Heathcliff is monstrous at times. But no-one has written so well before or since about love and passion. In Future Perfect, Caia finds a copy of the book outside the Citidome (novels are banned). I felt it was the perfect story to help someone understand emotional intensity.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
To broaden my reading horizons, I often pick a random novel from the express zone of the library. At the moment, it’s Robin Talley: What we left behind: excellent YA fiction on the theme of gender identity.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
When my novels were published by Elsewhen Press, I began reading their other authors’ work as a gesture of support, and have discovered some excellent authors. In particular, J.A. Christy is a great talent. As well as speculative fiction, I also enjoy well-written women’s commercial fiction, and am currently devouring anything by Terry Tyler, who writes perceptively but with a great lightness of touch.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m currently working on another work of speculative fiction but also have written two-thirds of a women’s fiction novel – I usually have a few things on the go at once.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
The Word Cloud online forum is a wonderful resource. Writers post excerpts of their work and fellow writers critique it. It’s a much more effective way of getting feedback than asking friends, who will always soften the blow. The first time I posted something, it was ripped apart, but I learned so much from the experience.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
No, my medical writing work pays the bills. But writing fiction is my passion in life – there’s no better feeling than sitting at my computer and the words flowing faster than I can type them.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I hate reading my published novels because I always find something I want to change – nothing major, just the odd sentence.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I was a shy child and reading was escapism for me. In particular, the Enid Blyton Mallory Towers novels enabled me, briefly, to become the popular child I longed to be. Soon I was creating fictional worlds in my mind.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I’d rather not in case I jinx it – the plot isn’t finalized yet.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Not in the writing as such; my biggest challenge is establishing a regular routine. Working freelance means that some weeks I’ll have very little time to work on my novels and other weeks I have plenty of time but little inspiration! I get around this by jotting down ideas in notebooks on the days I have little time. Walking my dogs provides great thinking time.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I’m not sure I can pick out one as a favourite but I love Kate Atkinson’s writing style; she uses quirky details and manages to elevate the ordinary to something extraordinary.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not really; I went to the Novacon festival in Nottingham last year to launch Forbidden Alliance, a lovely event where I met plenty of kindred spirits.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Alison Buck of Elsewhen Press designed the Future Perfect cover, and I love it. Unfortunately she wasn’t available to design the Forbidden Alliance cover, so Alex Storer took it on. He did a wonderful job of retaining Alison’s strong monochrome images as well as incorporating all the elements of a complex story.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Technology kept catching up with me! In the original draft of Future Perfect I talked of DataPads instead of personal computers, then the iPad became available, so I changed it to a watch that projected a virtual screen. When I heard of the Apple watch I was not impressed!
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Future Perfect was the first novel I started and was ten years from conception to publication. In that time, I learned all the basics of writing fiction: show not tell, creating suspense and allowing my characters to develop.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write quickly, edit slowly. When the words are flowing, don’t stop to read over them – the more words you have on the page, the more likely you are to reach the end of the draft. And when editing, read it aloud; it’s the best way to pick out clunky sentences or unrealistic dialogue.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Stop trying to fit in when you were born to stand out.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
It was probably a Ladybird book. I have a great fondness for Sleeping Beauty so I’d like to think it was that.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Plenty of things! I cry easily, mostly at sad films. My husband and my dogs make me laugh.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
I’d love to meet Emily Bronte. She had a short and sheltered life, during which she never had a relationship with a man, but must have had a rich inner life. I’d ask her where the character of Heathcliff came from.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
She lived her life as an exclamation not an explanation.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I love travel, yoga and swimming. I’m also the sort of person that always has a new interest on the go. Trampolining, belly dancing, painting, drawing, playing piano, making mosaics and stained glass crafts – you name it, I’ve tried it!
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
TV shows: Breaking Bad, Happy Valley, anything written by Kay Mellor.
Films: Gregory’s Girl, Amelie, anything quirky.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Food: dark chocolate, cheese, anything spicy
Colours: purple, orange
Music: I love most rock/pop music, in particular 1980s chart music, electronic music and 1960s psychedelia
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I would have loved to have been a singer in a band but unfortunately I can’t sing a note!
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
I have a blog on the subject of unsung women in history, which is great fun: friends are constantly sending me ideas and I’ve discovered some wonderful stories:
I also have a website: