Hello, and happy Thursday my ducky darlings. Today I'm introducing you to a fabulous author - Katy Moran - who has the same publisher as me and is the author of several wonderful fantasy novels and a dark contemporary romance.
Hidden Among Us, which came out on the 7th of March. After reading it I immediately started badgering Katy to come on the blog and do an interview. I also managed to get three finished copies of Hidden Among Us from Walker Books and will be hosting a giveaway for them, along with bookplates signed by Katy, next week when I do my official book review.
Onto the interview!
Zolah: First of all - welcome to The Zoë-Trope, Katy! I absolutely LOVED Hidden Among Us. It's just the most wonderful, unique, bittersweet story, jammed full of lovely British and Celtic folklore and mythology. It reminds me most of books by British authors like Diana Wynne Jones, where the reader is offered no easy solutions and nothing is predictable.
Can you remember the initial spark of inspiration that started Hidden Among Us growing in your brain? What was it and how did it come to you?
Katy: Our creepy and mysterious folklore traditions have been lurking in the back of my mind since I was a child, but I think the actual spark of inspiration for Hidden Among Us came from two different places at two different times.
I used to do quite a bit of festival work – I'd started out volunteering at Glastonbury in 1999 and ended up working in my friends' cafe for pretty much the whole of summer 2007. It was a time of torrential rainfall (streams of water running through the kitchen), hysterical laughter and a sort of devil-may-care blitz spirit. After a very wet and muddy festival, my friend Annabel and I finally got away from the Glade at about 4 in the morning, pulling up at a nearby petrol station soon afterwards. There was a smart shiny red car at the pump ahead of us, and I remember watching in total fascination as two very tall, leggy and beautiful festival-goers climbed out, picking their way across the forecourt. They were out of this world. Annabel and I were still completely covered in mud, but these guys had taken the festival look to a whole other level, clad in very little but scraps of floaty leather and some feathers. They just looked totally otherworldy (and hilarious, out of context). I've often seen amazing-looking people lurking in the early hours at festivals or big outdoor parties, and thought how almost inhumanly gorgeous they were.
So stumbling across unusual people like that was definitely one source of inspiration for the Hidden, but I'm also quite fascinated by the effect of rainy English sunlight glancing off bodies of water – puddles, rivers or lakes. When that weak rainy light turns the puddles on the lane silver, I think they look like doors to another world. See also the final question here about a certain song!
Zolah: While you were writing, who or what did you feel was at the core of the book: the element that you loved the most or which was most important for you to get down on the page?
Katy: I think that the most important aspect of the book is the family bonds between the brothers and sisters, and how love in its many forms can make us turn to the most unexpected and often even downright dangerous or damaging course of action.
Zolah: What is your writing process like? Are you a planner or a pantser? Do you write long-hand or type directly onto a computer? Where do you normally work?
Katy: I learned to touch-type when I left school, so I always type directly on to my laptop. That way I can write at the speed of thought – sometimes very fast, sometimes extremely slow! I usually start out with a character and a basic plot arc. I did a chapter by chapter plan for Hidden Among Us and its sequel, but I'm not really sure how helpful this was. With the sequel, I got bogged down in it a little bit and became stuck a few times – quite late on in the writing process I realised that in this case I would have been better off brainstorming my characters and their motivations.
When I first set about writing Hidden Among Us, I didn't actually know one of the most important facts about Lissy, my main character. Without wanting to give this away, all I can say was that it came as a real flash of inspiration when I got a bit closer to Lissy as a character. I had a sudden realisation about her. I usually work with my laptop on the sofa, which is actually playing merry hell with my back! When we move in a few weeks, I'm going to have an outside office, and will start working at a desk again.
Zolah: Oooh, *speaking* of the sequel to Hidden Among Us... Can you tell us anything - any little detail - about the new book?
Katy: In the sequel to Hidden Among Us, we get to hear the Hidden's side of the story, and it all gets quite scary! There are also some new Hidden characters introduced, as well as the usual betrayals and counter-betrayals.
Zolah: If you had to a song to listen to right now, what would it be and why?
Katy: Reynardine by the Fairport Convention, sung by Sandy Denny. She had such a wild and beautiful voice - perfect for a story about a mysterious and dangerous young man encountered one night. This song lit a spark of inspiration that smouldered for many years.
Sounds right up my alley. Thanks so much for taking time out to satisfy my curiosity, Katy!
If you'd like to learn more about the book
and about the process of getting it from idea to publication, check out
the earlier stops on Katy's book tour, which you can see listed in the
lovely banner to the right. And if this has whetted your appetite to
read the book, remember to come back next Tuesday and enter for a chance
to win one of THREE copies of Hidden Among Us, and signed bookplates
Read you later, guys!