Report by Lisa Nightingale
‘If you are writing; you’re a Writer.’ International Best Selling Author Kate Mosse told us, ‘Say to yourself. I am a Writer.’
Kate writes women’s’ stories. Those that are not about finding a husband or having children – there are plenty of writers doing that. A writer can write in any genre; let the story choose its own genre.
It’s place that triggers her writing finger. She stands in her setting, whatever the weather, lets her spirit take her and immerses herself in its history, opening her imagination to hear and see the setting’s people.
Using the places that fascinate her in her day-to-day life has always been key to the success of Kate’s writing. ‘Hold the faith’ she says. Keep going until you hit that little spark, the oddment in your research that sets your story off and running.
‘Be kind to yourself.’ She instructs us. ‘Accommodate your real life in your writing.’
Bring it back to your story; find the trip that sets it apart and focus on this, especially when promoting your book.
The sad truth is that for many women in various countries reading and writing is prohibited. The highlighting of their situation is freeing their creativity and they are eternally grateful. The Prize for Fiction which celebrates and promote the very best of international fiction written by women puts their books in the hands of readers.
If you are writing history, you have the freedom to pick your story, but you mustn’t lie. Historical writers occupy two camps – Kate is firmly in the one that believes if you are going to take a historical incident as a setting for your story, then you owe it to those that died there to be true. As a playwright Kate feels the same and urges others to think seriously about their honesty to the facts – otherwise we end up letting in those who would exploit us. She uses the example of Donald Trump influencing the masses who have been led by the incidents and facts of film like The Hurt Locker, which aren’t true.
As for character, Kate knows her stuff – characters and plot are indistinguishable; one leads the other and vice-versa. Characterisation is more about what’s in their heart. This is what drives Kate’s characters. It’s not until much later in telling their story that they will actually appear in her imagination and she can say ‘ah, that was you!’
Kate places character 1 in the story and soon character 2 will present themselves. If, in your first draft, a character starts to take over – let them! See where they take themselves. Often, those that you thought would be minor characters turn out to be major players.
The time slip novels of the Languedoc trilogy allowed Kate to place a character overlooking her setting and gave her the opportunity to love and describe it. The other character, of course couldn’t do that – they lived there! But she doesn’t recommend time slip – it is time-consuming, research heavy (OK for Kate – she loves research) and requires many different drafts.
One genre that she wouldn’t write? ‘Science Fiction,’ she says. She couldn’t do spaceships. But then the setting and place is Kates inspiration and she like to ‘physically feel’ the place. Which of course, is difficult on the moon.
For a list of her books and she urges you to buy from your local, high street book store can be found at www.katemosse.co.uk