Being dyslexic hasn’t held Katie back, she’s just released her 22nd book! Here, the half-scottish writer tells us about life, love and happy endings...
She is the godmother of romance having just released her 22nd novel A Summer at Sea – a love story set in Scotland. Like many of Katie Fforde’s books, this one is also inspired by real-life events she has experienced during her 63 years of life. Now a busy grandmother-of-four, the half-scottish, best-selling author has no plans to retire and still finds time to pen romantic novels that change fans’ lives. So who better to speak to about love, life and happy endings...
All my books have a personal aspect to them. If they are not based on personal experience, they are all about subjects that I am really interested in.
I wouldn’t write about subject if I wasn’t interested in it. A Summer at Sea is very personal because I have known The Puffer (the Clyde Puffer which features in the book) for over 40 years. Nick and Rachel Walker, who run it, are some of my oldest friends. And it’s centred on my real holiday romance – it’s only been going on 43 years! It’s loosely based on my early romance with my husband Desmond. I do think you can meet someone away from home and carry on that relationship.
I would never write something with a sad or gloomy premise.
I have to write uplifting stories partly so I am not miserable for the year-or-so that it takes to write them. I like a happy ending and a cheerful theme – I couldn’t do harrowing, or write about children or animals being harmed.
I think my books are like a box of chocolates, they have different flavours and you are going to feel cheered up.
The promise is you will feel safe in my world. I set out to do that because when I was a young mum with two babies who wouldn’t sleep, my husband was away at sea and it was stressful, I was very sleepdeprived, and my safe place was a Mills & Boon novel. I read them one a day, this was my happy place to go. Then I thought, ‘I would love to do for other people what those books do for me’. There is a lot of me in my books. If you think, ‘that woman is so irritating’ then you won’t like my books!
Writing is a bit of a challenge, especially when you have been in the business as long as I have.
You are very anxious not to disappoint people, come up with something fresh and get it on to the page. I like to write about 1,000 words a day but my time is more limited now my children have had children – I have recently celebrated the arrival of my 4th grandchild! I am 63 now, and my husband is semiretired, but I have no plans to retire from writing. If ever I have no ideas and don’t know what to write, I may think about retiring, but while I still have loads of stories and I still enjoy doing it, I will press on.
I am writing my next book now. I start my new book long before the previous one hits the shelves – in fact about a year before.
My new book went on sale at the end of February, and I am on chapter 10 of my latest book I am working on. It’s about a hidden garden, an artist, a gardener and a stonemason and their lives intertwine. I know the ending will be happy, but I don’t know how that ending will come about. Towards the end of the book I’m writing, the book that I want to write starts coming into my head – the new book begins to emerge. It’s like feeling broody when one of your children goes to school. It is quite odd, because for months my head’s been in another book, and then I find myself talking about the book that’s out there.
With husband Desmond on the Clyde Puffer