The Author tells all:
Kitty Wilson tells us some secrets.
- Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?
I knew I wanted to write romantic comedy, it’s what I love to escape into and is what I found myself writing whenever I put pen to paper. No matter how seriously I would begin, a little bit of romance and my sense of humour would sneak in. So, with genre decided, I then had to choose the subject matter.
There is an old adage ‘write what you know’ and as a new writer I thought it was worth following. Up until very recently I was lucky enough to have lived in Cornwall for twenty-five years (the first and much of the second book in the series were written whilst I was still there) and when living there became a parent and a primary school teacher, teaching infants in a reception class. So, when it came to story ideas I had to think what do I know? And the answer was Cornwall, schools and small children.
Luckily these are three things that I don’t just know but am passionate about. All three things make my soul sing loud. I’m hoping that is what makes my books slightly different, especially with so much women’s fiction set in Cornwall, the fact that I really know the county and love it, inside out.
The setting allowed me to create a fictional village where I could write about a strong sense of community, something that is very true of the Cornish. They look after each other. Community is important to me and although my books are light-hearted feelgood fiction, having a strong community around my characters allows me to explore the fact that all humans, no matter how lovely their life appears, have difficult things to deal with. And it is frequently the support of others that help us navigate the trickier times.
Having been both sides of the school door, as parent and teacher gives me insight, I hope, into how school communities work. As supportive as communities are I used to be amazed at how the playground can often be fiercely competitive, with parental games of one-upmanship and I wanted to write about this, but in a gently comedic way. I remember one mother used to quiz all the parent volunteers on their qualifications because she wanted to make sure they were people she deemed suitable for sitting and reading with her child!
I hope that my passion for the setting, the subject matter and the themes of each book come through to provide happy, escapist and reassuring reads.
- How many times have you been rejected before your first novel was accepted or before this book was accepted?
I have lost count of how many rejections I had before I got the first book in this series published. I had written a romcom before The Cornish Village School which I loved, it was based around an old stately home, a reality show and a new age guru and I naively assumed it would get published as soon as it was finished. I sent it everywhere and had rejection after rejection after rejection. This served the very useful purpose of forcing me to develop a thick skin and accept that getting published was a process and that each rejection was a step along the way. It also taught me the importance of editing my work. Whilst I may have thought a polished first draft was the finished article, all my rejections taught me that there was usually a lot more work to do and that work is best done with a fresh eye. The well-known suggestion to put your work away and then look at it again with an editing hat on is very sage advice, if time constraints allow.
I think tenacity is a vital quality for any wannabe author to have, most of us are going to be rejected time and time again before we get accepted and the one thing that is sure is that if you give up you’re never going to see that book in print.
3. What is your favourite genre?
I write romcom and I love to read it. I love being able to curl up with a book and lose myself in the romance of the will they, won’t they (when we know they will) of the genre. If it makes me giggle as well as sigh with the romanticism of it all, then I am very happy indeed. However, I like to mix up my reading so don’t just stick to one genre. I’m an avid devourer of historical fiction as well, and love a saga. I occasionally like to read literary fiction, have read a huge range of classics albeit in my teens and twenties and have recently dipped a toe into the murky world of crime (reading it, not doing it!). As long as it’s well written and pacy then I’m going to be a fan!
- Which author had the most influence on your writing? Your writing style? Your writing genre?
When I was eight years old I snuck one of my mother’s Jilly Cooper books out of the bookshelf and smuggled it upstairs. I read five chapters before I reluctantly accepted I didn’t understand a word and popped it back again. However, as a worldly-wise adolescent I gobbled them up. I had always been an avid reader but Jilly Cooper introduced me to romance as opposed to the derring-do of adventure. I was hooked. Not only did she write romance, she wrote it with humour. So, by introducing me to the genre, she had a huge influence.
- What have you done with the things you wrote when in school?
I am a shocking squirrel, I struggle to throw anything out. Much to the children’s disgust I still have all their teeth and I have even kept the bunk-bed screws from when my mother finally dismantled it (I loved that bed). This means that I have everything I have ever written. More or less.
I moved house earlier in the year and going through the attic I realised I had kept everything, all my exercise books from primary and secondary school, even my rough notes for essays. I’ve also kept every single silly scribbled note that you pass between your friends when you supposed to be doing geography. So, all the writing I did in school can be guaranteed to be in the attic, in fact I read a fair amount of it as I was having my clear out. Will any of it be re-jigged to try and get it to publishable standard? I think not. But if nothing else the poems of my tortured teens gave me a jolly good laugh all these years on.
Author Bio: Kitty Wilson lived in Cornwall for twenty-five years having been dragged there, against her will, as a stroppy teen. She is now remarkably grateful to her parents for their foresight and wisdom – and that her own children aren’t as hideous. Recently she has moved to Bristol, but only for love and on the understanding that she and her partner will be returning to Cornwall to live very soon. She spends most of her time welded to the keyboard, dreaming of the beach or bombing back down the motorway for a quick visit! She has a penchant for very loud music, equally loud dresses and romantic heroines who speak their mind.