10 things to know about Kate Mosse

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1 Swim­ming helps her si­lence the busy­ness of her brain: ‘It’s so ut­terly bor­ing it puts me into a fugue state.’ 2 She writes on a lap­top with no in­ter­net con­nec­tion. ‘My desk is where imag­i­na­tion hap­pens.’ 3 Kate started out as a book ed­i­tor. ‘I was ex­pect­ing my sec­ond child and had just been of­fered a big job in pub­lish­ing, but I knew I didn’t want it. Over lunch with a lit­er­ary agent friend I said that the book I re­ally wanted to read about mother­hood didn’t ex­ist. And he said, “Then write it.” He ne­go­ti­ated a pub­lish­ing con­tract for me the next day.’ (Be­com­ing a Mother, Kate’s first book, was first pub­lished in 1993 and is in its sev­enth edi­tion). 4 Her favourite book is Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights: ‘It’s about land­scape, race, women’s place in the world and the amoral­ity of na­ture, but most of all it’s about place: the moors and Wuthering Heights are the lead char­ac­ters. It changed what was pos­si­ble for women to write.’ 5 The first novel in her Langue­doc se­ries, Labyrinth – a Grail ad­ven­ture story about two women sep­a­rated by 800 years – has been trans­lated into more than 37 lan­guages, was the best­selling ti­tle in the UK in 2006, has won var­i­ous pres­ti­gious awards and has now sold more than 8 mil­lion copies world­wide. 6 Her hus­band, Greg, took her sur­name. The cou­ple has two grown-up chil­dren, Felix and Martha. ‘I’m in­sanely proud of them! I’ve learnt a lot from them: they’re both bril­liant at friend­ship, are loyal and sup­port­ive, pas­sion­ate about their ca­reers and work hard.’ 7

She’s an­noy­ingly ac­com­plished. Aside from her best­selling fic­tion, Kate also writes non-fic­tion, plays and short sto­ries, and hosts TV and ra­dio shows. She’s also deputy chair of the Royal Na­tional The­atre and the founder di­rec­tor of The Women’s Prize for Fic­tion (pre­vi­ously the Or­ange, then the Bai­leys Prize for Fic­tion). In 2013 she was awarded an OBE for ser­vices to lit­er­a­ture. 8 She loves crime fic­tion and lit­er­ary fic­tion, but says she can’t write ei­ther: ‘The sort of writer you are is not the sort of reader you are. I’m a sto­ry­teller. His­tor­i­cal fic­tion is where my heart is.’ 9 When writ­ing a novel, as op­posed to re­search­ing or plan­ning, she gets up at about 4am seven days a week and works on her first draft for six or seven hours straight. ‘Get­ting four or five hours un­der your belt be­fore any­one else is around is ideal.’ 10 She be­lieves strongly in book awards for fe­male writ­ers: ‘Women’s voices and rights are ac­tively be­ing rolled back. To see them hon­oured is very im­por­tant, as is cel­e­brat­ing a di­verse range of voices in terms of class, eth­nic­ity, age and gen­der. The Women’s Prize con­trib­utes to the pos­i­tive am­pli­fi­ca­tion of bril­liant women’s voices.’

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