Today we have an interview with the mysterious Kitty Charles, whose series The Arcade is available now.
Kitty Charles is a pseudonym for six best-selling women’s
fiction authors. We came up with the idea one night…we were hanging out,
drinking bubbly, talking about how we loved creating characters and telling
stories, and one of us said, ‘We should totally write a story together. Like a
soap opera. And publish it as e-books, one a month.’
That’s how THE ARCADE was born. We designed a fabulous
shopping arcade, built in the 19th century, full of small gorgeous shops and
their intriguing owners. There are twelve shops, and each month there’s a new
story centred around one of the shops. The stories and the characters all
interact with each other, too. There are secrets and passions, danger and
temptation. Basically it’s a monthly soap opera, in e-book form. It launched in
January, with a story about a New Year’s Eve party with an unexpected climax,
and we’ve published a story a month since then.
How do you collaborate? Do you write an episode each or
There are twelve shop for twelve months, and six of us, so
we’ve each got two shops to write about. We share ideas and plotlines
beforehand, but each of us takes responsibility for our own episode. It is
enormous fun to brainstorm together and it’s even better when another author
takes up an idea or a character you’ve created and runs with it. Although we’re
not always in the same room, we liaise and share online.
Do you all bring different elements, like the Spice Girls?
YES! We ARE the Spice Girls! Curses, you have foiled our
Seriously though, we all have different strengths: some of
us are good at writing humour, some at suspense, some at sensuality, some at
emotion. Some of us are tech-y and can do the formatting and uploading bit;
some are market-y and can plan how to get our books in the hands of readers;
some are pedantic and take care of the copy-editing; some are artistic and take
charge of the cover design brief.
Will you EVER reveal your identity?
We just did. We’re the Spice Girls. 😉
What do you think of self publishing and ebooks?
Although all of us have a career in traditional publishing,
we’re excited about the opportunities that self-publishing offers writers and
readers. A serial novel seemed strictly Victorian a few years ago; now it’s
easy to get something like that out there for readers. The ebook format suits a
serial perfectly, too; it’s a short, convenient story that can be read
What is your favourite Women’s Fiction book of all time and
Hold on, is this a trick question? Are you hoping that we’ll
mention one of our own books under one of our real names, thereby revealing our
secret identity? Or are you hoping that we’ll mention everyone else’s books
EXCEPT for ours, thereby revealing our secret identity in reverse?
Very clever. We will foil you, by saying that it is RIDERS
by Jilly Cooper. Because we definitely are not Jilly Cooper.
Or are we?
What do you think is the biggest myth about being a
That we all hang around with other novelists drinking
champagne and plotting novels together for fun. …Oh wait, hang on…
What advice can you give to our readers who want to write a
novel of their own?
From the rather peculiar collective perspective of Kitty
Charles, we can say: Why not try a collaborative project? There’s something
very satisfying about having a built-in brainstorming partner, and also a
guaranteed audience for what you’ve written. Next time you’re having a glass or
two of wine with your BFF, instead of having a good gossip, try thinking up
some story ideas!
What are you working on at the moment?
We’re working on the next episode of THE ARCADE. Writing a
serial is quite interesting because we can use our readers’ feedback to help us
write the next episode. We love hearing what characters readers love, and what
they want to happen, so we can incorporate that into the next story. This is
one reason we’re on Twitter, as @KittyCAuthor.
Thanks Kitty… whoever you are!