Interview with Katrina Wallace-Karenga

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Oh I grew up in the beautiful Scottish countryside. We occupied a big house that was once part of a 17th Century estate, an old creaky building, cold, but we loved it. We had a small-holding of sorts; chickens, horses, dogs and a huge garden, surrounded by farmers and their fields. I was always outdoors. Always helping in the garden, doing chores, going on adventures to the river or the nearby woodland. We cooked food, rather than bought it. We read books when forced to stay indoors and told stories to each other as TV was restricted. Still I cook, I read and I write. My childhood was everything.
What's the story behind your latest book?
You know, this is a very good question. You see, I am a working Mom. By choice. Even when I was a soccer Mom (which I loooooved) I freelanced. Although it was a career break, it wasn't a full stop (so to speak). Being a working Mom means I got really good at separating work and home. This meant at home I was Mom full time and at work I researched and wrote for a huge and diverse range of development facing organisations and institutions. In essence, this cook-book come story-book teaser (there is a bigger one to come) for me represents change. Change at a time that my children are now grown and need to grow. It is hard to let go. I must. So, I just feel it is time to merge by home and my work-life because both are such important sides of me. Writing about cooking feels so natural, and merges two much practiced skills.
What are you working on next?
Two things. Firstly, a fuller version of this little teaser. This was my confidence builder and a response, a thank you, to those who love my food (the converted, haha). Just Katering: Fully Loaded is already under way and should be out early/mid 2018. Secondly, I have the skeleton of a literary cookbook in my notes, and a chaos of ideas for it in my head. It is at pre-research stage (lols) but it is my aim to get the bulk of it done in 2018.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Good Lord! It is a struggle as much as a joy. I really am interested in quality so I give myself a hard time. Experience is not enough. I need to share it well. So focusing on the joy part, it is the striving to share the experience and the journey itself. The end result is always a work-in-progress so the joy, the thing that keeps me going, is the journey itself.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The Sun. The Rain. The Moon. Simply put I am a Romantic, but life is generally tough, so I practice Realism. Lols. I have to work. We are a very entrepreneurial family, with lots of commitments and people who rely on our support. Right now, my workplace is going through change, so that is taking up a lot of my head-space, what next on the office front? At home, well, here I am writing for me and not for work- that is very exciting and inspiring.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Cooking. Reading. As an extroverted introvert, I spend a lot of time alone actually. I also volunteer a lot. I sit on the Trustee Board of a large national legal NGO, so important it keeps going as it does such essential work. I tell stories and read to children- started a storytelling group at my local library network and got involved in revamping the children's sections a few years ago. Libraries are so important, we must not lose them. I enjoy supporting young creatives, and get involved in arts and culture projects whenever I can. I also just faff around a lot. Really domestic, you know. Honestly, sometimes I just love getting the washing done.
Describe your desk
Intermittently messy and neat. Both at home and work. It is always colourful. I write happy so I need cheery things around. But it does get out of hand because I try to keep all the things close by and then it all falls over. I am not an angst-filled writer. Anger kind of stops me in my tracks so I keep my creative spaces bright, light and fun. I also think the routine nature of tidying my desk helps me clear my head and think through an idea or next project.
When did you first start writing?
School. High school mostly. I seemed to breeze through English class with As. It was never a chore to write, whether creatively or technically. I just got on with it. Throughout school I was always writing something in and out of class.
Published 2017-12-28.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Just Katering
Price: Free! Words: 2,340. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: December 26, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Cooking, Food, Wine, Spirits » Methods / slow cooking, Nonfiction » Cooking, Food, Wine, Spirits » Italian
Italian Food, with Scottish, Jamaican and Zimbabwean influences. You didn’t know I cooked? Where have you been! Keep in touch and I will tell you more. Check me out on Instagram@ kats_slowfood_zw