Saturday 17 September 2016

Blog Tour: The Secret by Kathryn Hughes

The SecretFrom the #1 bestselling author of The Letter comes The Secret - a heartbreaking novel of tragedy, hope and second chances. Fans of Jojo Moyes and Amanda Prowse will love the moving human drama of Kathryn Hughes. 'A wonderful uplifting story' Lesley Pearse on The Letter

Mary has been nursing a secret. Forty years ago, she made a choice that would change her world for ever, and alter the path of someone she holds dear.

Beth is searching for answers. She has never known the truth about her parentage, but finding out could be the lifeline her sick child so desperately needs. When Beth finds a faded newspaper cutting amongst her mother's things, she realises the key to her son's future lies in her own past. She must go back to where it all began to unlock...The Secret.

Hello Kathryn, welcome to Booky Ramblings. Was there anything particular that inspired you to start your journey of being an author?
I think most people who are avid readers harbour a desire to write a book too. I don’t think there was one particular event that inspired me to write, it was more of a long-held ambition that I hoped I would get around to one day. And I’m pleased that day came, even if it only took me 49 years!

What would you say is the hardest part of writing/publishing a book for you?
Everything about writing/publishing is hard! Most things that are worth doing are difficult but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. For me, I try to start off with a great premise, then work on an intriguing beginning and a compelling ending. It’s those pesky 90,000 words in the middle that are the problem. When I was writing my first book, The Letter, I just tried to fit it in when I could which is probably why it took me six years. There was no pressure and as I hadn’t got an agent, never mind a publisher, there was no rush. The second time around was completely different. I now have an agent and of course I am published by Headline, who very kindly set me a deadline. I definitely needed to be more disciplined but without a deadline to focus on, I would no doubt have faffed around for another 6 years.

If you could only read four books for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Animal Farm by George Orwell, because it’s my all-time favourite book.
Jaws by Peter Benchley, because it’s my all-time favourite film and yet I’ve never read it.
And two more books which I’m ashamed to say I’ve never got around to reading:
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens and Little Women by Louise May Alcott.

Do you and your main character share any personality traits?
Hmm, I’m probably not the best person to answer that! I think I’m a bit of a worrier just like Beth but not to the extent that I’m a nervous wreck. I work on the philosophy that if I worry about something, it won’t happen. It works for me!

If you could live in any book what book would that be?
Without a doubt the best holiday my family and I have ever had was on a ranch in Wyoming. The scenery was stunning, and my horse was a delight who very kindly only threw me off once. We made some friends for life on that holiday and we will never forget it. So, if I could live in any book, it would have to be The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans. It was his descriptions of the sweeping Montana landscape which made me want to go on a ranch holiday in the first place.

Where do your ideas for your books come from?
There is inspiration all around if you look hard enough. I always carry a notebook with me and if I overhear a snippet of conversation that I think sounds funny or heart-warming then I’ll jot it down. Newspapers are an endless source of material, and many books are inspired by true events. Often, my best ideas will come to me in the middle of the night and I will fervently scribble down the makings of a bestseller. When I read it back in the morning though I wonder ‘What on earth was I thinking?’.

Any advice for aspiring authors?

Yes, stop procrastinating and finding excuses for not writing. I messed around for six years instead of knuckling down. With the rise of self-publishing, even if you don’t find a traditional publisher, there is no need for your masterpiece to languish in the back of your filing cabinet. Get it finished and get it out there. Completing a book is an achievement you should be proud of.

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