I’m really excited today to welcome one of my favourite authors, Kate Braithwaite, to my blog to tell us why she writes…
For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to write novels. Reading always has — and always will be, I think — one of my very favorite things to do. And reading books is what makes me want to write them. I don’t want to write poetry, or short stories, or flash fiction, or memoir, or non-fiction… just novels. I love them. And through years of daydreaming, of uncertainty about what to write about, of procrastination and tremendous fear of failure, I always believed that one day I would write a novel and have it out there in the world.
There were certainly times when it looked like never happening. I remember a close family member telling me when I was in my thirties that really, if I was ever going to write a novel, I’d most definitely have done it by then. Ouch! But around that time we started our family and that was a game changer for me. I had this realization that if I didn’t write a novel then, it was going to one of those things that never done. I’d be living in the stories of my children’s lives without having forged my own life story as I’d intended. Believing I would write a novel wasn’t getting me anywhere. I had to actually do the work.
Where and how to start? I had a myriad of notebooks with four of five pages filled in with ideas for stories. They’d all been abandoned, in favor of new shinier notebooks and new, but equally under-developed ideas. But in one notebook I had a clipping from a newspaper interview with the writer, Fay Weldon, and her advice was to write a novel that you, the writer, would want to read. Ok, that made sense, but I was still struggling for what to write about. That’s when I came across a second hand copy of Nancy Mitford’s book about Louis XIV, The Sun King. I read it and was stunned by a chapter about a poison scandal that had rocked the court at Versailles. There were so many ingredients in there that appealed to me… a miscarriage of justice, murder, infidelity, a woman scorned, poison, alchemy, witchcraft. Here, finally, was something I would love to read a book about.
I remember as I worked on it, for just a few hours a week when my kids were napping or at nursery school, that it was much harder work than I’d imagined! I certainly promised myself more than once that unless it was a stellar success I wouldn’t be putting myself through the experience again. There was so much research, so many characters to keep track of, all the complexity of weaving real events into a satisfying fictional story.
Now I’m on my fourth novel and it’s still a challenge. The stellar success I imagined with that first book didn’t exactly materialize, but I was way too far gone by that time to consider stopping writing. Like most passions, writing is addictive. The process of creating is life-affirming and life-enhancing. The challenges are real and the work is hard, but the satisfaction of creating a novel that other people will enjoy is immeasurable. So I write because I love it. It’s as simple as that.
Blog – www.kate-braithwaite.com
Twitter – @KMBraithwaite
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/katembraithwaite/
Author – www.kate-braithwaite.com
US Reviews Editor – Historical Novels Review