Interview with multi-published author Kate Rigby
A brand-new year and a very seasoned writer. Kate Rigby must be the longest writing and most widely published author among my friends. She has written some fifteen books and has had several publishers over thirty years of writing.
Kate writes in the genre that is also my all-time favourite: literary fiction. A wonderful world opened up to me after starting to read her books and there are so many of them that I have – unfortunately – been unable to read samples of all her work. The direct reason for this interview was the launching of The Little Guide to Unhip, which is a simply hilarious string of stories and ideas about the opposite of being a fashionista. The book has its own Facebook group if you would like to become unhip yourself: https://www.facebook.com/groups/127345853945903/ . The book gives you an instant idea of the wide scope of Kate’s capacities. She just picks up a topic, any topic and writes about it with such detail, vigour and humour that the object comes alive before your very eyes.
I also read a sample of Suckers n Scallies, about a young boy named Kit Ramsay who is sent to his aunt in Liverpool for the summer holidays. This book pre-eminently showed me the literary talent Kate Rigby is. Not only because she has written for over 30 years, does she know what she’s doing. A writer needs to be more than just experienced with words and stories in order to stand out, to keep being read. She has an eye for detail and the vocabulary of a language professor but most of all she has the love and the drive to write, an intense drive to write, for getting it right. It just drips from every polished page.
I also read a sample of Far Cry from the Turquoise Room, also excellently written in totally different voice, hauntingly beautiful prose.
The final sample I read was from Thalidomide Kid, dedicated to the deformed children born after their mothers took the medication Thalidomine for morning sickness in the first months of pregnancy in the late 1950s. But the kid in this book, Daryl, is quite a special hero despite the fact he has no arms. Again, it shows Kate shuns no controversial topics like any self-respecting literary writer and she tackles it with precision and great care.
If you’ve never read any of Kate Rigby’s books before, this is your time. She is an amazing writer and leaves many of us in her shadow. This is not just empty flattery, but what I truly believe. Thank you, Kate for sharing your talent with us!
Where do you live (town, country)? Were you born and bred there?
I live in Totnes, Devon where I’ve lived for the last 14 years. I was born in Crosby, north Liverpool and have also lived in Cirencester, Bournemouth and Wimborne.
What kind of food do you like? Are you a good cook? How important is food to you?
I do like food but I hate cooking with a vengeance. If I have to cook I do the minimum, and usually buy ready-made food. My concession to home-made food is to make the vegetables and then add a Sacla sauce to them or something of the sort.
Do you do any sports? How often? What does exercise mean to you? Any other hobbies?
I don’t do any sports though I support Liverpool FC and I also follow the tennis – hence my novella ‘Break Point’. My other hobbies are photography, music and singing. I’m also doing a lot of campaigning online against the injustices our government is meting out to the most poor and vulnerable in society. I feel very disturbed by the fact that most people are unaware of what is going on as the newspapers distort the truth; worse they are vilifying sick and disabled people.
Do you have kids/grandkids? If so, please tell us a little about them?
I had 14 at the last count – or is it 15? My books! I think this is something that all writers can relate to: the conceiving, the nurturing, the delivery, the sending out into
the world. It is one of the ideas I explore in my anti-novel ‘Lost The Plot’ written under a pseudonym.
Do you like travelling? Where do you go then?
I like travelling but travelling doesn’t like me so I don’t do it very often apart from short distances. We do try and get a holiday once a year.
Would you call yourself a social human being? Do you have time for going out and spending time away from the writing desk?
I’m not a very social human being, except in very small bursts. As I have fibromyalgia I get tired very easily and socializing is very tiring!
However, I am quite a social being online. You can converse at your own pace, but even then if you come to a thread late you can feel you’re butting in or that everyone else has said what you were going to say and usually more eloquently.
Which character trait do you like best about yourself and why? Which trait would you rather do without?
The character trait I like best about myself has to be creativity. The one I like least is anxiety.
Can you describe the place where you write + the view?
I write at my desk in my sitting room. This year I invested in a proper office chair and I now have an iMac with more than 600 MB on – a step-up from my trusty old laptop! The view is a wall with two of my late father’s watercolours, one of Liverpool
streets with a view to the Cathedral (not paddy’s Wig-Wam, the other one – Liverpool has two cathedrals in case anyone is unaware) and the other is of Exeter maritime. To the right are the French windows. It’s a lovely, light room with a skylight, though at this time of year, everything is murky.
Is there something you always need to have near you when you work?
A cup of tea is never far away and at this time of year a hot water bottle to rest my feet on.
What genre(s) do you write in? How did that develop?
My genre is literary fiction but since this is a much misunderstood genre because of the word ‘literary’ I prefer to describe my work as any of the following: contemporary, retro, gritty and/or quirky. I suppose this developed as this is the type of genre I like to read the most.
When was your first book released and how did that make you feel? Have you published more than one book?
My first book ‘Fall Of The Flamingo Circus’ was published in hardback by a small press called
‘Malvern Press’ in 1988. I’d had several rejections of my first novel but Malvern were the first publisher I’d sent Fall Of The Flamingo Circus to and I walked around in a pleasant daze of disbelief for days. Not long after it was released it was reviewed well in The Times! After that paperback rights were bought by Allison & Busby and the book came out in paperback and sold nearly 2000 copies. It was also released in the US in hardback. One of the amazing things is that I still have the occasional person contact me who read it years ago and who it made a lasting impression on. Although I’ve had many books published since then, I’ve never managed to build on that initial success and, of course, times and publishing have changed beyond recognition, bookshops have disappeared and literary agents are as hard to get as publishers. But I have had small
successes along the way.
Many of my books have been inspired from life experiences, for instance Down The Tubes is loosely based on my experience working in the addiction fields. Seaview Terrace is based on a place where I
used to live and Break Point is inspired by my former obsession with Wimbledon!
What are your writing habits? (every day, number of words, etc?)
Alas, I don’t even get the time to write every day now as there are so many other things to do e.g. formatting, proofing, promoting etc. I usually do any writing when at my mother’s during my offline time!
Who’s been your biggest inspiration and why? Since when?
My mother. It was she who inspired me to start my first novel at the age of 19. She was writing novels and going to a writing class so I used to pick her brains for tips. She never did get any of them published, though she did have an agent ask her to
meet him in London in 1982 but because she was moving house she had to decline.
I think later she regretted it a lot because he was a good agent. My sister Ann is also a big inspiration and has helped me develop my characters and has also designed some of my covers.
Who is your agent and/or publishing company?
I have had various publishers over the years, most of them small press. Now that the technology has advanced sufficiently, I’ve decided to go it alone for now, though it would be good to have a publisher who could take care of the marketing and
Thank you so much, Kate!
http://amzn.to/uT3Qs9 – Far Cry From The Turquoise Room (Kindle)
http://bit.ly/t0aVqP – Far Cry From The Turquoise Room (paperback)
http://amzn.to/t3TfKj – Break Point (kindle)
http://amzn.to/uk3e6A – Break Point (Kindle)
http://amzn.to/rsc86v – Down The Tubes (Kindle)
http://amzn.to/uF880s – Suckers n Scallies (Kindle)
http://bit.ly/t6NnN4 – Sucka! (paperback)
http://amzn.to/sgzvWx – Tales By Kindlelight (Kindle)
http://amzn.to/d7xHYV – Little Guide To Unhip (Kindle)
http://amzn.to/vyNlLF – Little Guide To Unhip (paperback)
http://amzn.to/t8XFIY – Thalidomide Kid (Kindle)
http://amzn.to/v6KgNY – Thalidomide Kid (paperback)
http://amzn.to/sqLmAC – Lost The Plot by Kirby Gate (Kindle)
http://amzn.to/sH41jk – Fall Of The Flamingo Circus (paperback) – I’ve just
seen it advertized for a penny!!
For more information about Kate and her books please visit her website:
Or her blog: http://bubbitybooks.blogspot.com/