It's a custom of mine to spend a few hours every week digging through book lists and contacting authors who might want to be featured on Writing Belle. I love meeting new people and talking to them about the art of storytelling. I was delighted to come across Katherine Hayton, the author of a mysterious thrill ride called Breathe and Release. Katherine is from New Zealand, and her writing is as bright as her personality.
She took the time to kindly sit down for an interview with Writing Belle. Check it out. I think it's worth your time - and pick up her book on Kindle, too!
Interview with Katherine
Welcome to Writing Belle, Katherine! Where are you from, and how did you get started writing?
I’m from Christchurch, New Zealand, and I started writing when I was about eight. Stories about rabbits mostly, because I was obsessed with Watership Down. I’ve moved on since then and been through a romance phase (all unpublished thank goodness – they were terrible) and have now ended up writing mysteries, which is much more fun as I get to kill off anyone I don’t like.
Tell me about Breathe and Release.
Breathe and Release tells the story of two women.
The first woman, Elisabet, was involved in a car accident and has retrograde amnesia. When her husband Graeme’s attention to her starts to spiral down, first into apathy and then into violence, she becomes more interested in recovering her memory and working out who she was, and how she ended up in the relationship. Another member of the household is her adoptive daughter, Kristen. She is Graeme’s daughter from a previous marriage, and her relationship with Elisabet is extremely strained.
The second woman, Lillian, wakes to find she’s a captive in an underground cell. She can’t find a way to escape, and is fighting her hardest to stay alive long enough to be found and rescued, or to figure out a way to free herself.
What about your other books - Found Near Water and Skeletal? Are those part of the Breathe and Release story or are they separate?
The three novels are all standalone, although there are some minor crossover characters.
Found, Near Water is a novel about the loss of a child. When Rena Sutherland discovers her daughter is missing, she forms a close bond with her assigned victim support officer, Christine Emmett, while they try to work out what’s happened and bring her daughter back home. The story also intersects with the woman in Christine’s support group who each have a story of loss relating to a child.
Skeletal follows a coroner’s court case, trying to determine the cause of death for a teenage girl, Daina Harrow, whose remains are unearthed ten years after she died. As each witness gives evidence, Daina’s spirit provides a running commentary on them and then details the situations that actually occurred leading to her death.
How long does it take you to write a novel?
I’ve been writing part-time so I finish about one novel every six or seven months. I’m on a sabbatical from work at the moment for six months, which should give me a chance to speed that up a little bit, and to play around with a few different formats.
Why do you think you write?
I’ve always been fascinated by books, and how written words on the page can completely mesmerise the reader until you have entire make-believe worlds existing in their heads. Performing the same trick has always been an obsession of mine, and I think I now have enough practice at it that I can release it on the unsuspecting public.
Let's say you've got writer's block. How do you overcome this?
I have writer’s block quite frequently. It either comes in the form of I’m too lazy to write today so I’m going to pretend that I can’t, or it appears as I can’t work out where this story is going and everything I’ve written so far is terrible and I want to stop now before I make any more of a fool of myself.
Either way I’ve found the trick is just to force myself to keep writing. The laziness is something I’m used to combatting in any form of work, so I have tricks up my sleeve to fool myself into accidentally doing some work by pretending I’m not allowed to eat, or not allowed to play, or not allowed to do this, that or the other, until I’ve done a teeny, tiny, little bit of work. Which then makes it easier to do just a little bit more, and just a little bit more, until it’s all done.
If I’m stuck in a book I’m writing and don’t know where to go I just write out one more sentence and one more sentence until something sparks and I can work out where it’s going again.
Any plans to write more books?
I’m working on another couple at the moment. One of them is involving time-travel, and the effects this has on a great-aunt and niece over generations, and the other is about a woman who has been in the control of a poltergeist or similar for decades, and has only just come free and is able to make her own decisions for the first time.
What types of books do you enjoy reading yourself?
I really enjoy reading mysteries and thrillers so they’re the main genre of book that I read. I like delving into odd sections of non-fiction as well, especially where people have unusual jobs or know morbid and interesting things, so I usually have one or two of those on the go as well. Other than that, whatever takes my fancy usually ends up on my Kindle in a never-ending TBR pile.
Where can readers connect with you online?
I have a website www.kathay1973.com/ where I put up whatever’s happening with my books, some reviews, a few oddities, and a link to sign-up for my newsletter. There’s also a sample of my blog posts, and a link through to my main blog page which is http://kathay1973.blogspot.co.nz/
You can also find me on Twitter everyday https://twitter.com/kathay1973 and I have an author page on Facebook www.facebook.com/kathay1973 and an author page on Goodreads www.goodreads.com/author/show/8390059.Katherine_Hayton and Amazon www.amazon.com/author/katherinehayton and Google Plus https://plus.google.com/+KatherineHayton/posts and YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/katherinehayton
There may be a few random other places, but I’m sure that will be enough for everybody to get sick of me!
Thank you for talking with us today! Happy writing!
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I look forward to hearing from you!