Monday, June 18, 2012

Courage and Invisibility

I love having guest writers here and today it’s wonderful to welcome Catherine Kirby, the very talented author of Sari Caste and See Through. Over to you Catherine!

I'm honoured to be invited to contribute to your blog Katheryn, thank you. I hope your readers will enjoy this piece about my books and a little about myself.

I spent a great deal of my early life moving around the country. My parents seemed unable to settle anywhere for long. I've had experience of living in a variety of places and of meeting a good variety of people. All of this helps with creating characters. The experience helped me observe differences in communities and how a place can affect the people who live there and vice versa.

I now enjoy living down in the West Country with my husband, daughter and our crazy cat. It's a beautiful part of the country and we love it here. We have the sea to one side of us and the estuary to the other. Everywhere there are beautiful rolling hillsides abounding in wild life, birds and of course sheep and cows. Since our cat is mainly an indoors cat we also have visits from all kinds of bird life in our garden too. It's a great place to be.

As a child, I often wondered what it would be like to know what went on inside other people's heads and to see what they thought about and why. I expect that was the beginning of my writing dreams and ambitions.

I've always loved reading and enjoyed writing too. First, I attempted short stories, gradually extending my reach to longer ones. I had little idea what a story required to make it complete. I enjoyed creating characters and stories though so I kept going. I attended workshops and met like-minded people with whom I formed a small writing group.

My first novel, Sari Caste began after reading a newspaper feature that touched me deeply and sparked my creative interest. I experimented with a series of short stories, in which I tried out various characters and situations. In the back of my mind was the certainty that I would use these to eventually develop them further in a novel. My characters grew increasingly more rounded and distinct. Once I embarked on writing the novel it took its own course. Whenever I found myself struggling I'd look through my notes for inspiration. To spur my enthusiasm and stamina there was always plenty of coffee to hand too! The growing word count helped with pacing and with knowing I was getting towards those satisfying words - The End. I discovered that it was, in fact, the beginning of polishing and editing my work. Finishing that first draft was, nevertheless, a wonderful feeling that I'd managed to complete my first attempt at a novel.

The research was extensive. I spent a lot of time reading, looking at maps, studying the geography, climate, food and even the electricity and water supply of Calcutta and Darjeeling, in which the story is set. I became completely immersed in everything to do with my subject.

By the time it was almost complete, I found I'd written a circular novel that started and ended in the same place. I didn't know I would do this when I started out. It simply evolved that the main character began by looking back at events that led up to that moment of reflection, and then beyond.

My second novel, See Through, is completely different. It's a light-hearted fantasy that deals with the way people perceive and interpret each other through their own prejudices and needs. It's set in the basement of the local shopping mall, which is a base for the invisible characters, as well as in the homes of the other story characters.

In See Through, people who have a surname that is also a colour have the ability in times of great stress to become invisible. They then have 3 months to sort themselves out or they remain in an invisible limbo forever.

Fleur is an exception to the rule that those who are invisible cannot be heard either. However, her young son, Dylan, can both see and hear her. This causes all kinds of problems for Dylan with the rest of the family, who refuse to believe him.

Deserted by Fleur, her husband Sean is tempted by a variety of other women in his life and chaos ensues when Fleur finds out. The invisible and visible characters' lives become entangled causing much confusion, humour and surprises. There's a twist ending that hopefully draws the story to a satisfying conclusion and allows for the possibility of a sequel.

At the moment I'm writing another novel - the working title is Lies Truth and Other Rumours. I don't want to say too much about it yet as there is still some way to go with it. It's serious, funny and sad. In common with my other two novels it has themes of the ways in which people's live collide and change.

Writing is like a holiday for me. Escaping into the world of my characters is both exciting and challenging - just right for an involving break from the everyday. I hope it provides that for my readers too.

My novels are available here:

Sari Caste     -     Kindle - ClickHere

                           -    Paperback  - Click Here

 See Through -   Kindle - Click Here


  1. Thanks for sharing your methods and ways of working. It's always interesting to hear what makes other writers tick and how they go about their work.

    1. Thanks for your comments, Andy. I agree, it's interesting and sometimes inspiring, to hear how other authors go about things. I find it fascinating to hear about what sparks off ideas for their stories and characters too.

  2. Very interesting interview, Catherine. Coincidentally, my next novel is partly set in India.
    I've had Sari Caste in my (enormous) TBR pile for ages. I'm moving it up to the top!

    1. Hi Jenny,

      What the name of your next novel and when's it out?


  3. Hi Jenny, it's good to know you are also inspired by India. Thanks for downloading Sari Caste and I do hope you enjoy reading it. Let me know what you think!

  4. I have thoroughly enjoyed contributing to Katheryn's blog. I've had a lot of interest in my article and sales have increased too. Thanks Katheryn for this wonderful opportunity.

    1. Thank you Catherine for contributing such as interesting article! I can't wait to read your wonderful book, Sari Caste - it's at the top of my TBR list!