Saturday 3 March 2018

#8 #Saturday Shorts – with #Kathy Sharp

It's Saturday again so it's Saturday Shorts Interview time! 

Today I have my Crooked Cat author friend Kathy Sharp who is about to take my comfy seat and get out of the snow that's presently settled over almost the whole of the UK.

Welcome back to the blog, Kathy! It's been a while since you've visited, so let's hear about what life is like for you...

Please tell us a little bit about your daily life. 
I live by the sea in Weymouth, Dorset – part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. I have lived here for nearly fifteen years now, and I love it. This wonderful place inspired me to take up writing again after a gap of many years.

When is your best time to write?
In the mornings, usually. It’s when I feel most creative.

Which social media platforms do you find most comfortable to use?
I’m a private person so I tend to be a little wary of social media. I probably feel most at ease with Facebook. I have come to know some lovely people both here in Dorset and round the world through writers’ and readers’ groups I have joined.

Nancy: of all of the social media sites that i've joined I'm also most comfortable on Facebook. 

Please tell us what your latest book is about and its genre.
Whales and Strange Stars is an adventure set in the marshlands of 18th century Kent. Historical fiction? Yes and no. The characters and events are fictitious, but I did try to give the book an authentic period setting.

Nancy: That's a tricky aspect I find in my writing, too. It's the dividing line between an authentic setting and the point at which even a slightly known historical figure becomes fantasy since we can never portray them exactly as they were. 

Did anything in particular influence you to write it?
Yes, and it’s a long story. But in short – I spent much of my early life out in the marshes and on the river in that part of Kent. It’s more than fifty years ago, but the book is laced with my own memories of riverbank life, wildlife, and messing about in boats.

Nancy: I've visited Kent but never been on the marshes. The whole of the south coast is a wonderful place to visit, and I have to confess I mostly spent holiday time driving to the many historical visitor attractions and sites of interest - of which there are loads! The book sounds like a fascinating way to be introduced to the area via the past leading, which could lead on to the present.  

Did your latest book require any specialised research?
I read 18th century authors such as Daniel Defoe and Fanny Burney to get an idea of the ‘voice’ of the times. I studied the political and social history of the century, too, of course – but on the whole I felt I learned more about ordinary people of the day from Defoe.

Nancy: I've not read Defoe since I was in my teens, but trawling through social history of an era- newspapers etc -  is amazing for finding out useful tidbits, and for me is always a very pleasurable digression. 

Who is your main character?
Rosamund Euden, a young girl who has never left her home, a silted-up and forgotten river-port. It’s Rosamund’s longing for adventure and to see the outside world that forms the heart of the book.

What’s your main character’s greatest weakness?
Eavesdropping. No good ever comes of listening in to other people’s conversations, as Rosamund discovers.

What’s your main character’s greatest strength?
Loyalty. But misplaced loyalty can be a dangerous thing. She discovers that, too.

Are you a lover of editing your work?
My plots are complex, and I enjoy working on them to see that they make good sense. I’m not a fan, though, of pulling my prose apart word by word. It interrupts the flow of storytelling too much.

What’s your favourite occupation? (apart from writing!)
Studying and photographing plants, both wild and tame. It’s a lifelong obsession! I’ve recently begun researching the history of garden plants and 18th and 19th century plant hunters. It’s a fascinating subject and it’s giving me lots of ideas for future books.

Nancy: Yes, I don't see them often ( re FB's weird sharing policy) but have really enjoyed your photography, and sometimes photos re. your choir info as well. Please continue to share them on Facebook!

Find Kathy at the following places: 

Kathy Sharp
Kathy Sharp was born and brought up by the sea in Kent. Life took her inland, and she worked for many years as a desktop publisher for Surrey County Council, and as a tutor in adult education.
And then, one day, she visited a friend who had just moved to the Isle of Portland, Dorset, and fell in love with the place. She has now lived by the sea in the Weymouth and Portland area for more than ten years, and still loves it. The wonderful Jurassic Coast, and Portland in particular, were the inspiration for her Larus Trilogy of novels.
Kathy also sings with, and writes lyrics for, the Island Voices Choir on Portland, and is a keen member of local writing groups, as well as enjoying studying the local flora.

Thank you for sharing your days with us, Kathy and my very best wishes for all of your writing, past, present and future! 


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