Do you think I wouldn’t? Have a Russian hamster strutting its stuff today that is? Absolutely not. Although it’s my absolute privilege to bring you this fabulous lady… Kate Furnivall, New York Times best selling author of more books than I’ve had hot dinners.
To show off a few. And naturally get the low down on her sumptuous settings, sweeping romance and of course, any writing tips. Well, you’d know I still wouldn’t behave, not entirely anyway. Besides you all like the little hamsters…
I’m telling you now though I’ve been hooked on Kate since devouring her first amazing book, The Russian Concubine. Historical fiction–are you kidding? AND written by an outdoorsie. What is NOT to love? Okay, so that was a Russian hamster, Kate was raised in Wales, so that should have read..
And I’m pinching myself black and blue to make sure I’m actually interviewing her today. She’s not just a writer I adore, she’s a writer who made me want to keep going. I never dreamed I’d interview her. So, without more ado OR hamsters except for maybe this trumpet tootling one…gotta have the fanfare…
here she is.
Shey: If I remember correctly, one of the things that drew me to read The Russian Concubine was that your mother’s childhood was spent in Russia, China, India, and this influenced your writing, but recent books are set in Egypt and Singapore.
Kate: You’re right. I wrote four books focused on Russia and China, countries that really spoke to me because of my family connection. But hey, a girl has to move on – especially when her publisher tells her to! My publisher didn’t want me pigeon-holed in readers’ minds as just a ‘Russia’ writer. That was fine by me because I’d got the research bug and I was keen to discover and explore exciting moments in history in other countries. So I let my heart lead me – and it headed straight for Malaya and Egypt. Beautiful bewitching places.
Shey: Ooh…. Absolutely. Wildly romantic too. Do you jet-set to these faraway places? For research purposes of course? I mean you wouldn’t want some reader thinking Wikipedia has it wrong.
Shey: Oh the tortuous, unappreciated sacrifices writers make.
I’m reckoning a bottle each will ease the suffering.
Kate: I suffer for my art like crazy! Researching Russian vodka or Bahamas beaches is exhausting, let me tell you,
but I do it all for my readers, of course. Hmm, now where shall I go for my next holid…, whoops, I mean research trip. Italy is always magnificent in the springtime ….
Shey: I can recommend Rome. Very nice…. You can meet the Zambian Ambassador there in an Irish bar too..
Kate: (Drumming nails) Place or story? To be honest, it’s a close-run
thing. Probably place wins by a hair’s breadth. I find myself drawn to a place, usually because of a historical event that interests me – like the Bolshevik revolution, the terror of the Japanese invasion of Singapore,
Shey: Well Kate, excellent reasons to go do that research.
Oh yes, and tell a cracking good tale of love and adventure at the same time. If I’m lucky, a story rears up in front of me straight away, and that makes my life easier. But sometimes I have had to launch myself into my research, biting my nails while I wait for a story to come and hit me over the head. Fortunately for me, it always does in the end!
Shey: Thank goodness too or we’d be deprived of your wonderful books! Is there a place you haven’t written about you would love to write about?
I adored writing about Egypt – all that camel-riding and felucca-sailing and tomb-raiding. (What I do for my readers!)
But the heart of Africa calls to me. I’ve never had the delight of going there but I can see myself elephant-riding and fighting off crocodiles with nothing but my bare hands and my trusty writing-pen.
(OR IS IT KATE…..sorry!)
Eye-balling a lioness. Oh yes! So I might have to take a safari one day soon. For research purposes – of course.
Shey: Of course. Your readers will be glad at all you do for them.
Kate: Or on the other extreme, there’s Alaska with all that virgin ice …. and maybe a whale cruise ….
Kate: Dartmoor is on my doorstep. I go there all the time. It’s one of the most awesome places on earth. But are you saying no research trip to an exotic location? Come on! Where’s the fun in that? So no, Dartmoor is going to have to wait its turn way down my list, I’m afraid.
Shey: I know. You could go and live in Alaska, or Italy, and come and research Dartmoor. Problem solved. Of all your books and all your characters, do you have a favourite?
Kate: That’s like asking a mother to choose between her children.
Shey: I know. I’m bad that way.
Kate: I am besotted by them all.But very quietly I will whisper that THE RUSSIAN CONCUBINE is immensely special to me because not only was it inspired by the story of my grandmother and mother as White Russians, but also because it was the start of all this crazy writing business for me.
The book jumped on to the New York Times Bestseller list and after that my life zoomed off in directions I’d never foreseen.
And the book’s kick-arse heroine, Lydia, is very close to my heart. I lived with her for three years (three books) and she made my days scary!
But another of my characters whom I adore is Georgie from SHADOWS ON THE NILE. I wanted to go on writing and writing him forever, so that I wouldn’t have to say goodbye. When I finish a book, it’s like a bereavement, I miss my characters so much.
Shey: Yeah, it’s hard to say goodbye. Kate, it’s hard to say goodbye to you too today when I could chat for the rest of it. I want to thank you for coming , for your time. It’s been an absolute blast having you. One last question. Is there any advice you can give an aspiring author other than … don’t do it?
Kate: Five Tips:
- Read loads.
- Write a story you feel really passionate about.
- Don’t give up.
- Don’t ever give up.
- Don’t ever ever give up.
I leave you with two quotations that I love :
‘Work is more fun than fun.’ – Noel Coward
‘I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours.’ – Jerome K Jerome.
Shey: Lol. Love it.
She’s an amazingly nice lady and it’s been my absolute thrill and pleasure to have her here. TO find out more about Kate try here.
It’s 1932 and 27-year-old Jessica is living London life to the full when her younger brother Tim, an ancient Egyptian archaeology expert, goes missing. Teaming up with Sir Montague Chamford – who can resist neither a damsel in distress nor the chance of adventure – Jessie vows to find her beloved brother.
Following the clues Tim has left in his wake, Jessie and Monty head to Egypt. In the relentless heat of the desert, romance is kindled between them, but danger also lurks in every shadow. And then Jessie starts to wonder how much Monty really knows about her brother’s disappearance . . .
A dramatic story of adventure, excitement, love and romance can all be found in the Shadows on the Nile.