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    • Michelle

      Important Announcement!   07/28/2018

      Dear BCF members,   This forum has been running now for many years, and over that time we have seen many changes. Generalised forums are nowhere near as popular as they once were, and they have been very much taken over by blogs, vlogs and social media discussions. Running a forum well takes money, and a lot of care and attention, as there is so much which goes on behind the scenes to keep things running smoothly.   With all of this in mind, and after discussion within the current moderator team, the decision has been made to close this forum in its current format. I know that this will disappoint a lot of our long term members, but I want to reassure you that it's not a decision which has been taken lightly.    The remaining moderator team have agreed that we do not want to lose everything which is special about our home, and so we are starting a brand new facebook group, so that people can stay in touch, and discussions can continue. We can use it for free and should be easier for us to run (it won't need to be updated or hosted). We know not everyone has FaceBook, but we hope that those of you who are interested will join the group. We will share the link, and send invites as soon as we are ready to go. Added: We may as well get this going, find us here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/195289821332924/   The forum will close to new registrations, but will remain open for some time, to allow people to collect up any information, reading lists etc they need to, and to ensure they have contact details for those they wish to stay in touch with.    The whole team feel sad to say goodbye, but we also feel that it's perhaps time and that it feels like the right choice. We hope we can stay in touch with all of you through our new FaceBook group.   I personally want to thank everyone who has helped me moderate the forum, both in the past and the present, and I also want to thank every single person who has visited, and shared their love of books.. I'm so proud of everything we've achieved, and the home we built.   Please visit the new section in the Lounge section to discuss this further, ask questions etc.


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About KateHarrison

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    Settling In
  • Birthday January 26

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    Brighton, UK

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  1. YA Books for Oldsters

    I love John Green - even though I am not convinced his teens talk like teens - and also Code Name Verity was fabulous. But maybe I am the only person in the word who wanted to throw The Book Thief at the wall...
  2. Ask the authors...

    Hi Chesilbeach, I've written all sorts - adult fiction (not the 50 Shades kind!), screenplays, features and now non-fiction - but the idea for Soul Beach came to me and it was just demanding to be written, and with younger characters who'd engage with a strange other world online. I didn't set out to write YA because it was a hot genre, it was simply that the story seemed right for that age group and I had to do it!! I was pretty used to being told I wrote 'fluff' because I wrote books that women liked, so to be honest, the world of children/teen fiction is more respected. In all honesty, what matters to me is the readers - what I love about YA readers, and YA books themselves, is that they are more open to crossing genres and exploring ideas of life and death alongside the more everyday. Adult fiction tends to be more narrowly defined. Does that make sense? xx
  3. YA Authors

    Hello I'm Kate and I write thrillers for teenagers, as well as comedies for adults (like The Boot Camp and The Secret Shopper's Revenge) and, most recently, two books about healthy eating - The 5:2 Diet Book and The Ultimate 5:2 Recipe Book. What can I say? I'm easily bored...! My Soul Beach trilogy is based on the idea of a Facebook for the dead - and my heroine, who is very much alive, discovers Soul Beach when she receives an email from her murdered sister on the day of her sister's funeral...
  4. It's not quite virtual reality, but my Soul Beach trilogy books are based in an online world which the heroine experiences as real - the idea of the book is a kind of Facebook for the dead, where the living can visit, but the dead can't leave... it's a thriller, rather than sci-fi, though. I did want to explore the boundaries between the real world and the virtual one, and how seductive online worlds can be.
  5. Featured Author - Kate Harrison

    Thanks, Michelle, for asking me on here, and to everyone else who took the trouble to post a question - they really got me thinking! Kate x
  6. Featured Author - Kate Harrison

    Oh, another interesting one! It
  7. Featured Author - Kate Harrison

    Right, let's try again! Movies
  8. Featured Author - Kate Harrison

    Oh no, I just typed a really long answer to the questions and it came up 'cannot find server' and I lost the lot! Reminder to self: always copy your answers before submitting! Back later to do it again.
  9. Featured Author - Kate Harrison

    Right, I'll answer this one then have some breakfast! Are any of your characters based on anyone that you know? No! Certainly not consciously...It's VERY dangerous to do that and somehow it would restrict me, too. If someone I meet briefly has a very striking appearance or behavioural/speech eccentricity, then I might put that into a very different character. The only other way I might do it is that if I am creating my central character and want her to be very sympathetic, then I might base her response to a crisis on what I think one of my best friends would do: one has great repartee, for example, and another is just incredibly kind, even under a lot of pressure. But that's in a specific situation, rather than lifting a person's life and putting it in a book! Back later to answer the others!
  10. Featured Author - Kate Harrison

    Hello Karen, Nice to 'meet' you! Hope you enjoy Brown Owl when it reaches the top of your pile...I think I'll answer these one at a time! 1. How did people react (friends, family etc) when you told them you were writing your first novel? Were they all supportive or were some a little sceptical about whether or not you could ever make a career out of it? They were all supportive up to a point - I'd always loved writing, and they knew that - though, like me, they were sceptical about the idea of being able to make a career of it. And, of course, for the first couple of years after getting a publishing deal, I couldn't afford to make a career of it - though that was my long-term plan. When I got my deal and when the book appeared on the shelves they were thrilled: it really is one of those things to celebrate, having a book deal, and people seem to react to it with real pleasure! I did (and still do) bore my close friends with discussions about plot and character, but since I've been published I've also found writer friends who don't mind those conversations because they want to talk about the same things...
  11. Featured Author - Kate Harrison

    oOoOH, some more. a) Which book have you enjoyed writing the most? Michelle, in a way, I enjoyed the first one, Old School Ties, the most, because I wrote it before I knew any better i.e. it was rather like when you first learn to ride a bike, the thrill of it, before you begin to worry about things like punctures and road safety (or, in the world of writing, to worry about character development and plots and so on). The Self Preservation Society was a book I'd wanted to write for ages as the character is most similar to me: a real worrier. Writing that felt like coming home, as the character did what I've done...followed a dream. But it was very complicated to structure due to the flashbacks. And then my most recent book - a Top Secret Project (see next answer) - has been tremendous fun. Can you tell us what you're working on next? Two things: I'm writing my next book, to be published in May of next year. It's called The Secret Shopper's Revenge and is about mystery shoppers, who are PAID to go shopping undercover and snoop on bad service. It's a fun subject, but the three women I feature each have big secrets of their own. They're forced to work together, like Charlie's Angels, and it's about female friendship - and shopping. I have quite an ambivalent attitude to shopping - I hate it when you walk into a shop and you feel like you don't belong or you're too plump/old or whatever to shop there and I wanted to have some fun with that. I also have a Top Secret Project on the go...obviously if I told you, I'd have to kill you, but it's another book, written under a different name, because it's in a rather different style. I may return under a different guise to talk about that one, if I'm allowed to, Michelle...
  12. Featured Author - Kate Harrison

    Hello again! Actually, I changed publishers after my first book. I was lucky enough to be published by Piatkus after winning the novel competition at the Winchester Writers' Conference, and we signed a one-book deal - I actually got an agent after a deal, which is an unusual way of doing things and so after that first book we decided to see what interest there might be from other publishers. I really liked being with Piatkus but fiction publishing is dominated by the larger companies and I wanted to see what was 'out there.' Two big publishers were interested and I moved to Orion with my second book (The Starter Marriage) and have stayed there ever since. The Secret Shopper's Revenge, which I'm writing at the moment and will be out in May, will be my fourth book for them. In answer to the question about whether subsequent deals are easier, it's a lot to do with sales figures. If you're exceeding expectations, then the next deal should come through, but a lot of authors do have difficulty after the second book because it's such a competitive market and if your books don't perform, there are always millions of other writers ready to take your place. In many ways, the lack of control is the trickiest thing about being a published author - you just keep your fingers crossed that fairy dust is heading your way!
  13. Featured Author - Kate Harrison

    It definitely varies with each book, Michelle, though as I write more, I am becoming more of a plotter than a 'pantser' (i.e. someone who flies by the seat of their pants). I think maybe this is because I've read a lot of theory about how film stories are constructed (fellow writers on here might have come across the Robert McKee book, Story). This tends to focus much more on structure. Having said that, I definitely need some mysteries to solve while I'm writing, or I'd get very bored. What tends to happen is that the characters become clearer as I write the first draft, and so I create more and more dramatic or difficult situations for them. I'm not one of those writers who claims characters 'speak' to me (!) but they do become more real as I progress with the story. Brown Owl was probably the fiddliest book so far to write, with Self Preservation a close second!!!! At first, I had the idea of the Brown Owl being a distant figure who'd touched all the women's lives, and it was quite a long way into the process that I decided she should be Lucy's mother but I knew immediately it was the right decision. And Michelle, I'm so glad you liked the books that way round - it'd be awful to think the books are getting less enjoyable Though I am sort of fond of them all in their way, even though I am very self-critical. It's one of the things I've found since being published, that you can't ever please all the people all the time and you have to find a way of clinging onto your original conviction that you're doing something worthwhile...though I found it tough at first! Though I've just heard Brown Owl is featured in this month's Writing Magazine as an example of how to handle multiple stories, so that's perked me up on this grey morning.
  14. Featured Author - Kate Harrison

    Dear Paula, So pleased you're enjoying Brown Owl! And thank you for the compliment... I suppose when it comes to getting people to read on, I am creating stories I'd like to read, first and foremost, and hoping other people will like them too. The technical aspects of it are important - giving each character a challenge or emotional 'quest', starting at the most dramatic moment you can think of, trying to tie the quests together - but I have to love the characters, even if they're imperfect and have terrible flaws. And then I hope that readers will identify with them too. I learned a lesson from my first book, Old School Ties, which features a distinctly arch, bitchy central character. I totally understood why she was the way she was, but quite a few people said to me that she was too unlikeable and hard to identify with. So now I work harder at showing the human side of everyone, even my villains. That doesn't mean making everyone cute and adorable, but it does mean making them understandable... Having said all that, Brown Owl was a very fiddly book to plot - couldn't have undertaken that with my first book, trying to juggle four storylines, plus a whole story in flashback too! So hopefully I am improving with experience! Kate
  15. Featured Author - Kate Harrison

    Hello again, Back after a sunny weekend in Somerset and the West Country - sunshine, wow! Put a smile on everyone's face. How I got published, Michelle? Right, well, definitely not one of those overnight successes. Took me ages to get my act together...I loved writing as a child but never thought that people like me (pretty ordinary, parents doing nothing to do with writing, living out in the sticks) could write a book and get it published. So I looked for a job where I could use my love of writing, and became a journalist, first in print and then in radio and TV, working for the Beeb in total for about 15 years! I'd done various writing evening classes over the years but without having the 'killer' idea that I thought might make a novel. Anyway it seemed so implausible that I'd be published. Then when 'chick lit' books began to be published, I wondered whether I might have a chance: actually, the first contemporary book I really recognised as describing the way my friends lived was High Fidelity. But my job was very full-on so I didn't get cracking really until I got online - there was a great site called Getoutthere which was a brilliant community of would-be writers (I'm still in touch with some of them). It also hosted various writing competitions and I won one, which encouraged me. Then, finally, at Christmas 2001 I had an idea for a book about school reunions which became Old School Ties. I was so excited by the idea that I wrote it in three months, in my lunch-break, after midnight etc. People tend to assume that because I worked in the media, it was really easy to get published, but actually I had no connections and my 'break' came as a result of an anonymous competition. I tried a few agents but they were all quite down on the market for 'chick lit' (it had taken me so long to get going that it was seen as a bit over-supplied). So I began another book (I had the bug by then), and then paid to go to the Winchester Writers' Conference, a great gathering of writers and agents and publishers. I also entered a short extract from Old School Ties in the conference's novel competition and to my excitement, it took first prize. The judges were the publishers at Piatkus - and they offered me a book deal. I also met my agent via another writer who attended. The book came out in 2003 - since then I've had three more published, with a 5th on the way. And last week I went back to the Conference - as a tutor! I really recommend competitions as a way to get feedback and get noticed.