This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Kate Forster wrote her first book while recovering from depression. From there she got an agent and a book deal and has now written 10 women’s fiction and young adult novels, the latest of which is Picture Perfect – a glitzy tale with some serious issues at its heart.
Picture Perfect is about two girls who escape a childhood of poverty and abuse and head to Hollywood.
Zoe is a manager of A List stars and about to produce her first ever film with a charming but perpetually drunk English author.
Maggie is America’s Sweetheart but wondering how long she can keep that crown as she heads towards 40.
Ever since they were children, their friendship is the one thing they have always relied on but when a young girl comes to LA looking for her biological mother, and the female role of a year in Zoe’s film is up for grabs, reality comes knocking and the woman realise that no secret stays hidden forever, and even the hardest hearts of all of us have the capability to break.
Where do you find inspiration for your books?
In magazine articles, stories I hear from others. Little snatches of conversation that passes me by. Myths, legends, gossip pages. Everyone has a story, you just have to stop talking and listen for a while.
Can you tell us a little about your average writing day?
I try and write at least 1000 words a day, or I edit what I wrote the day before, if I have other things going on. I start with tea, and then move to coffee throughout the morning.
My brain is best when it’s morning but then I get a second wind in the evening, so sometimes I write from 7.30pm-10.30pm.
When you are writing, do you use any famous people or people you know as inspiration?
Yes! All of my characters are based on actual people. You have to guess who they are. I think that’s part of the fun.
What is your favourite Women’s Fiction book of all time and why?
This is so hard to choose. There are many books that resonated with me but I will say Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.I don’t know of a more dramatic book with a more flawed character then Scarlett O’Hara but her maturation through the novel is where the art is, plus the fabulous characters. I have read this book over ten times and always find something amazing within it’s pages.
What female writer has inspired you?
JK Rowling for her tenacity, generosity and her vivid imagination.
Can you give us three book recommendations?
The Ten Year Nap by Meg Wolitzer – Four, overeducated, privileged stay at home mothers in New York are facing their children growing up and they have to ask, what’s next? It doesn’t matter where you live, this theme is universal; what do mothers do when their children don’t need them anymore?
Unsticky by Sara Manning – A really good bonk-buster affair.
Any short stories by David Sedaris – Be warned if you’re reading in a public space. His short stories are laugh out loud funny.
I plan with a basic structure, which will probably change as the characters push the story and they’re not always compliant to my wishes. Then I get their names and star signs of the main characters and then I’m ready to start. I usually do around three drafts.
What was your journey to being a published author?
I wrote a book as I was recovering from depression. It was a way of escaping and stopping myself from overthinking my own life. From there I got an agent, a book deal, and now I write for a living. Sometimes the worst of times are the beginning of something good, even if you can’t see it at the time.
What do you think is the biggest myth about being a novelist?
That I’m rich!
We only ever hear about the Dan Brown, JK Rowling, Stephen King deals. The rest of us are just getting by the best we can.
What advice can you give to our readers who want to write a novel of their own?
Write the book you can’t find on the shelf. And don’t give in when the Voice of Doom in your head tells you how awful it is, just keep plugging away. Write because you have to finish the story for the characters, and stick at it and don’t give it to anyone to read unless you trust their opinion 100%.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am writing my next adult novel, which is intense but good. When I write I always have a symbol that comes to me as I start the book.
With The Perfect Location, it was a lemon.
With The Perfect Retreat it was a yellow rose.
With Picture Perfect it was a gardenia, and with the next book, it’s a crème brûlée.
I don’t know why these little symbols pop up but they anchor my vision. Is it the texture or the scent or the flavour? Who knows but they work for me.