Kate Cann is a well known author of YA and teen novels, and today, I am pleased to welcome Kate for an author interview! First, can you tell me and the readers something about yourself and about your books?
Honestly, the best thing is to go to my website, www.katecann.com . It’s all there, complete with photos!
When did you know you wanted to write professionally?
I was working as a copyeditor on various Young Adult books and I didn’t like the way they treated sex as either silly fantasy or as really depressing! So I wrote my own relationship book, Diving In, and was lucky enough to get it published. In the Deep End and Sink or Swim followed, completing a trilogy.
What inspired you to write your upcoming book Possessed? What influences and experiences did you bring into the book?
It was a kind of collision between my love for nature and wildness, and for the Gothic genre. I love its subtlety, its dark, romantic atmosphere, with its hints and whispers and half-understood things. I wanted to create a true Gothic heroine who has to confront her deepest fears and survive. For research I was able to spend the whole day - and then the night! - at an ancient manor house that a friend of my husband is the trustee of. It was wonderful; I had total freedom to roam the place, taking notes furiously. The atmosphere was charged, clotted; I really felt the weight of its history, of all that had happened there. The housekeeper told me all the ghost stories associated with the place just before bed, and the night was probably one of the scariest I’ve ever spent! The first night that Rayne spends in the Old Sty was based on what I felt then – too afraid to put out my hand to pick up a glass of water and so on. The whole visit was an absolute gift; my imagination was in overdrive. Plus I was very influenced by going to the autumn fire festivals at Newick and Lewes in Sussex (check out the photos on my website). I love the idea that these old traditions continue even though most people have forgotten their origins, and found myself thinking - what if they’d been put in place as protection, and one day that protection was needed again ….
What do you like most about writing for teens?
Teenagers quite simply make the best fictional characters going! They’re volatile, passionate, dramatic – everything is new and raw for them, they feel things so intensely. There’s a directness and almost purity about Young Adult fiction that I love. No waffle allowed!
If you could be a character from your books for one day, who would it be and why?
What an interesting question, I’ve never been asked that before! I’d be the green lady from Possessed – if she counts as a character. I would love to fly and transform and be intensely at one with nature …
What did you read when as a teen?, which authors inspired you the most? And which are your favorite books and authors now?
I loved the Claudine books by Colette, and gave the heroine of the Diving In trilogy the name Colette as homage. I loved Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights (still do!) and The Lord of the Rings …oh, and Sartre, and Jean Rhys, and Katherine Mansfield. Doris Lessing is probably my all time favourite author now. I read all and everything though.
What's your favorite and least favorite part of being an author?
Favourite is the absolute bliss of calling something you love ‘work’ and the complete freedom you have. The downside is also the freedom; on a bad day, you can just feel unemployed and drifting.
Do you have a dream for the future of your writing, something you’d love to accomplish?
I’m just finishing off a book for adults (as opposed to young adults) and I’d love to get it published! The industry has taken such a hammering recently – books sales have plummeted. It will be enough just to hang on in there! Also I’d like to get a contract to finish my book WITCH CRAG, set in a dystopian world where strong women are persecuted as witches and the only way they can protect themselves is by fleeing to a gloomy crag and then acting as witches to scare their persecutors away. It’s about how we mythologize ourselves - about image and reality and truth, and the crossings over between them. With a fair bit of gore and lust and fear thrown in …
Kate Cann's newest novel Posessed will be in US bookstores from Februari 1 and is published by Point (Scholastic).
For my Dutch readers: De boeken van Kate Cann zijn ook in het Nederlands vertaald en gepubliceerd by Uitgeverij Kluitman.