Welcome to my blog, Katherine. In the run-up to Halloween, the first spooky thing is that your name was my maiden name. I do a double-take whenever I see it!
Thank you! I always do a double-take when I see your married name... am I talking to a Duchess?
No, sorry. I come from a long line of commoners! You have an impressive list of books available. Can you begin by telling me about your writing journey? You started off with a traditional publisher, I believe?
If it had been possible to publish indie without spending thousands of pounds on a print run, I might have started a bit earlier! But we didn't have ebooks or print-on-demand in those days, so the traditional route was the one everyone chased. After a frustrating seven years of sending manuscripts around to publishers, my first novel "Song Quest" was picked off the slush pile by the editor who discovered Harry Potter, and went on to win the inaugural Branford Boase Award for a debut book for young readers.
Excellent! Your books are mainly fantasy, science fiction and historical stories for young adults. Have you always written for this audience? I’d have thought they were a tough crowd?
Not always. During those seven years it took me to find my first publisher, I wrote a lot of short SF, fantasy and horror fiction (hence my Halloween-themed title “Spellfall”!) for various indie magazines with an adult readership... also short romance under a pseudonym for the women's magazines that made some actual money. But fantasy was my passion, though I always assumed I'd write fantasy for adult readers - in fact, "Song Quest" started out life as an adult novel and was edited for younger readers, though not much needed taking out since it was never THAT kind of adult. So I suppose my style must suit the teen/YA crowd, though quite a few adults enjoy my books too, especially the more historical ones such as my Alexander the Great epic "I am the Great Horse". I've only branched into younger fiction quite recently with my King Arthur's daughter books published by Templar.
I love the Arthurian legends, and your Great Horse is an excellent story. What kind of books do you read yourself?
I started out with pony books as a child, then became a big fan of Anne MacCaffrey as a teenager. After falling in love with "The Lord of the Rings", I devoured all the big fantasy series - David Eddings springs to mind - and then I had a King Arthur phase, which is probably where my interest in history/legend comes from. These days I tend to read more widely and prefer single books, but I still enjoy horses in fiction and recently discovered Jojo Moyes through her book "The Horse Dancer".
Is there a book you really wish you’d written?
I'm always discovering books I admire, but every author is different, and I think it's important to write your own book not someone else's. Sometimes, though, when I'm examining my bank statements and panicking about the coming changes to the state pension age for women, I wish I'd written Harry Potter...
Yes, better to be the first Katherine Roberts than another J K Rowling - but...
What’s your next literary ambition?
To conquer Createspace so I can get some of my out-of-print titles back into (real) print.
Not easy. Without a friend's help I'd be stuck. Thanks for joining me on my blog - and happy Halloween!
If you'd like to read Spellfall it's available on Amazon here and until Halloween it's at the special offer price of 99p/99c.
And here's a sneak preview of the new Createspace cover for the forthcoming paperback.