Interview with Kathy Sharp

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a seaside town, and now, after a very long gap living inland, I'm living by the sea again - within sight of it. And I'm very content to be here. The sea always seemed to me to be a living thing, and it figures very strongly in my first novel.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Isle of Larus is a comedy adventure, and a romance, too, in the old-fashioned sense. It tells of the four leaders of an imaginary isle, all of them grown-up people and disinclined to change, and how they cope with a series of difficult and sometimes downright impossible situations. They are by turns alarmed, appalled, indignant and very annoyed by it all, but they learn a great deal about themselves, and each other. There are storms, shipwrecks, invasions, piratical thieves, a betting scam, and a herd of ponies stuck in a cellar for them to deal with, and much else besides. It's a very unusual book, and you really need to read it for yourself!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I think it's that magical moment when you feel you've finally succeeded in describing something - a feeling, perhaps, or a difficult concept, in a way that everyone can understand. Or finding a new way to write about something that many other people have already described. Finding just the right words is the hardest thing, and the most magical moment.
What are you working on next?
A sequel to Isle of Larus. There are plenty more adventures for the inhabitants of the Isle! Little do they know what I have in store for them.
Who are your favorite authors?
Not surprisingly I enjoy sea stories, so the novels of Patrick O'Brian and Nicholas Monsarrat are great favourites. Monsarrat in particular is, I think, one of the finest story-tellers of all.
I loved Rudyard Kipling's books, too. He is a little out of favour these days, but some of his poems and stories, with their magical edge, take you to the very heart of Englishness. Among non-fiction authors, I very much enjoy reading Richard Mabey, another writer who evokes the magic of nature in a completely original way.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I belong to a choir, and singing with them is always great fun. I love the sense of co-operation, of working together to produce a result that none of us could produce alone. The sound when we sing together is so much more than the sum of its parts. At least I hope it is.
I also love plants, both wild and cultivated, and enjoy spending time studying and photographing them. It's very relaxing and therapeutic!
What is your writing process?
No fixed process, really. If I have an idea, I write it down immediately, whether it's relevant to what I'm doing at the time or not. I don't set targets, if I can avoid it. The output is better if I wait until the ideas are bursting to get out, I find. In short, a little disorganised.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first stories I read were probably cartoon tales in children's magazines and annuals. I got through a vast number of them. I do remember being enchanted by the adventures of Toby Twirl, rather a forgotten character these days. The stories were in rhyme which gave them a magical quality, and I was happy to read them over and over again.
What do you read for pleasure?
Historical fiction, particularly Philippa Gregory. Her stories, however well we know the outcomes, are always a rattling good read. I enjoy Karen Maitland's medieval tales, too.
Published 2013-09-03.
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Books by This Author

All the Wild Weather
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 79,100. Language: British English. Published: August 11, 2016 by Crooked Cat Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
Writer Paddy Fields is investigating the mysterious disappearing Isle of Larus – but never dreams he will find himself helping to defend it against a seemingly unstoppable enemy. His adventures with the gentle people of Larus lead him into an exciting and life-changing experience. Can Paddy manage to help fight off rampaging pirates in the world of Larus without revealing the island's secrets?
Sea of Clouds
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 79,310. Language: British English. Published: October 22, 2015 by Crooked Cat Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Dark, Fiction » Adventure » Sea adventures
Three messages arrive in the world of Larus: one brings a seeker of the truth, one brings an old flame, and one is a cry for help. They are all bad news, so far as the Reverend Pontius is concerned. But little does the Reverend, and the other guardians of Larus, know that none of them will have such far-reaching consequences as a fourth and very mysterious message that appears...
Isle of Larus
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 87,630. Language: British English. Published: July 23, 2013 by Crooked Cat Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
The calm before the storm. The four guardians of the Isle of Larus have been enjoying quiet and comfortable lives, with nothing more than the occasional shipwreck to trouble them – but all that is about to change.