19 Jun 2014
Come and meet the lovely Kathryn White
Guilty as charged, your honour. Dreams often inspire my writing, especially some of my poetry. In my last dream, I was assisting the Phantom to recover some antiques from a gang of pirates. For copyright reasons, I probably won’t be able to write a story about that one ...
When did you first start writing? And when were you first published?
I first started taking my writing seriously when I was in my final year at high school. That same year, I had my first non-fiction piece published, thanks to the encouragement of one of the teachers at my school. When I was nineteen, I had my first fiction piece published—it was a humourous short story that appeared in a major newspaper.
What is it about 'chick lit' that appeals to you the most? Do you read other genres?
I love how the female characters are so easy to relate to. With chick-lit we often get a glimpse of very ordinary young (or not so young,) women who find themselves in extraordinary circumstances. It’s always fun to watch the whole thing play out. The endings are kind of fun too—some authors like Adele Parks give their characters a very realistic ending while others like to indulge in a bit of fantasy, the kind of ending everyone would secretly like to have in real life.
Can you tell us a little about your books?
I’d like to think that each of my books is a little bit different. Cats, Scarves and Liars is an offbeat thriller about a young widow who finds herself in some very extraordinary circumstances, Behind the Scenes is a YA tale about an aspiring actress who lands a part on her favourite television series, Best Forgotten is about a young woman with amnesia who may or may not have murdered her ex-boyfriend and Being Abigail is about a woman who rebuilds her life after a failed suicide attempt. All of these novels are set in Australia—Cats, Scarves and Liars and Being Abigail are both set in my hometown, Adelaide.
What inspired you to write them?
Each novel was inspired by something different:
Cats, Scarves and Liars came completely out of nowhere. I was writing the opening scene where Peppa is in her kitchen speaking with Charles as a bit of a writing exercise one afternoon, just to try something a bit different. I started writing at about 2pm on a Saturday afternoon. By 11pm that evening, I realised that I had just written the first 15,000 words of a novel. I decided to keep writing and within three weeks I had a novel that I had never consciously intended to write. In many ways, it was a lot of fun writing a story when I had no idea of the ending or what might happen next—I thrive on that kind of creativity. That said, to write that way means having to do a lot—and I mean a lot—of editing and redrafting. What I ended up with is a novel that is quite unique in a lot of ways.
Behind the Scenes was inspired by the road not traveled. For a while there in my teens I wanted to be an actor, but I eventually found myself gravitating toward writing. One day, I found myself wondering what might have happened if I had become an actor instead and decided to write a book set in the television industry. That said, I have very little in common with my heroine, Catlin Ryan, who is a little, tiny bit of a grouch.
Being Abigail was very character driven. In my teens, I used to write a lot of stories featuring Abigail as a young woman. She was a lot of fun to write about—she’s very highly strung and can often see the humour in very ordinary situations. (In many ways, she is a lot like me.) One day when I was in my mid-late 20s, I found myself wondering what Abigail might be like as an adult—if she and her love interest Samuel had stayed together and whether or not she was happy. Being Abigail was concieved after I decided that her life probably had not worked out quite as she planned. I originally published the novel as a website and later rewrote, edited and polished about two months worth of entries and republished it as a book. I have not updated the website in a long time and no one really visits it very much, but I’ve kept it up just for fans of the book.
Best Forgotten is a story of one young woman’s complex inner life. It was inspired by a writing exercise.
Who designs your covers?
If your latest book was made into a film, who would you cast?
Ooh, this is a tough question.
What's your favourite book that made it to the big screen?
Most definitely A Room With a View.
What were the last two books you read?
Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover and We Are Called to Rise by Laura McBride.
Name one female author who you think deserves to be better known.
Kathryn White. Just kidding, lol. I think there is a huge pool of talent out there, especially with independently published authors, the ones who are writing as a means of self-expression and who are pushing the boundaries with non-traditional story arcs and themes. White Walls by HMC is one example, My Beautiful Suicide by Atty Eve is another. As for traditionally published authors, I think Lottie Moggach who wrote Kiss Me First deserves a lot more credit.
Where do you write?
At home or at a park near my home—if the weather is nice, that is.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? And did you follow the dream?
When I was in primary school, I wanted desperately to be an author “one day.” In my final year of high school I found myself gravitating back toward that dream and wrote my first novel while I was meant to be studying for my dreaded year twelve exams. Fortunately, I passed and was one of the few kids from my school to be offered a place at university. I chose to study English Literature at Flinders University and ended up staying on to do Honours. It was a solid training ground for my writing career. I later went on to study Marketing.
As for my day job—I work for Australia Post—when I was a kid I used to be a bit fascinated by the post office. So I guess that dream came true as well ...
In the movie of your life, who would play you?
I really don’t know ... But please pick someone who can one, act and two, look good with dark hair and glasses.
I noticed you live in Adelaide, Australia. How has this location influenced your writing?
Adelaide is a very artsy city. Every March there are a lot of festivals and during the remainder of the year there is usually lots to look at and be inspired by. I think one of the big things is that not many people outside of Australia know that Adelaide really exists. It’s kind of fun to write about my home city and put it out there for the world to read about.
Top drink to make you tipsy? I’m still waiting to get tipsy off this chocolate milk. Something tells me that isn’t going to happen soon ...
Shopaholic or shopadon't? Shopaholic. Well, at the bookshop at least.
Sky high heels or closer to the ground? Closer to the ground.
E.L. James or Jilly Cooper? I’m choosing E.L. James. She did what most indie authors can only dream of.
Cry baby or tough cookie? Tough cookie.
Writer. Bookworm. Poet. More of an enigma than an entrepreneur, Kathryn White lives in comfortable surrounds on the South Coast of Adelaide, where she spends her time writing fiction and poetry and reviewing novels for her website Kathryn’s Inbox. By day, she works at a busy inner city Post Office. She graduated from Flinders University with Honours in English Literature and later studied Marketing. Kathryn began writing when she was in her teens, never believing that anyone else would be interested in reading her work. She has never been happier to be wrong about anything in her life.
Kathryn enjoys writing about misunderstandings—the kind of things that could happen in real life—and giving them an unusual comic or dark twist. Sometimes both.