Kate Beaufoy has an MA in French and English literature from Trinity College, Dublin. She began her career as a professional actor – winning a Dublin Theatre Festival Best Actress award – before becoming a fulltime writer. As Kate Thompson she has had a dozen novels published, including the Number One bestseller ‘The Blue Hour’, which was shortlisted for the RNA award. Kate’s novels have been translated into French, German, Greek, Italian, Czech and Dutch. She has contributed to numerous newspapers and magazines in Ireland and the UK, written and broadcast for RTE, and is regularly invited to participate in literary events across the media. As Kate Beaufoy her first novel – the critically acclaimed ‘Liberty Silk’ – spent four weeks on the Irish Times bestseller chart. Her latest novel – ‘Another Heartbeat in the House’ – charted last summer and has been shortlisted in the popular fiction category in the Irish Book Awards 2015. Kate lives some of the year in Dublin and some on the West coast of Ireland. She is an advanced-level scuba diver, a wild swimmer, a keen practitioner of Bikram yoga, and the fond keeper of a bewitching Burmese cat.
- Can you tell us what your new book ‘Another Heartbeat In The House’ is about?
‘Another Heartbeat’ is a story within a story. One strand of the novel concerns Edie Chadwick, a young woman working in a London publishing house; the other chronicles the fortunes of a 19th century adventuress and possible inspiration for Becky Sharp, one of the wickedest and most engaging heroines of all time.
- To the readers of the website, can you tell us about yourself and how you got into writing.
I was utterly clueless when I embarked on my writing career; I simply decided that after nine consecutive years working as an actress in a soap opera, it was time for a change. Once I had made the decision to quit the day job I worked extremely hard – twelve hour days were not uncommon. I was also very, very lucky; my first novel (‘It Means Mischief’, written under my stage name, Kate Thompson) was accepted by the third publisher I approached, and that secured me an agent.
- What’s your favourite opening line from a book?
‘Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realised it.’
- As well as being an author, you are also an actress, what do you prefer creating the character or acting the character?
Creating a character on the page means that you call the shots – although most authors will tell you that the best characters take over and sometimes obdurately refuse to do your bidding! I’ve found that I get more of a creative buzz from writing, although I sorely miss my ‘tribe’ of fellow actors.
- If you were to start your own club, what authors would you ask to join?
An authors’ club sounds rather elitist! To paraphrase Groucho Marx, I’m not sure that I would want to belong to any club that would accept me as a member … However, two of my very best friends – fellow-writers Marian Keyes and Hilary Reynolds – are keen hill-walkers, so we all three share ideas and suggest solutions to knotty plot conundrums while stomping up and down the Wicklow Mountains.
- What is your favourite part of the writing process?
Many writers loathe it, but I love the editing process: I am blessed with an editor – Harriet Bourton – whom I trust absolutely.
- What is your favourite book of all time?
William Thackeray’s ‘Vanity Fair’.
- If you could rewrite any story, which one would you chose?
Peter Pan. I used to love reading it aloud to my daughter as her bedtime story, but the end – when Peter finds out that Wendy has grown up and can no longer fly – always made me cry inconsolably. In my version, I’d allow poor Wendy one last chance to fly with Peter.
- What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
Read. Read as much and as often as you can. Haunt your local library, get to know your librarians and ask them for advice. Libraries are a fantastic resource.
- If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
May I bring the complete works of Tove Jansson? Her Moomintroll stories are crammed with eccentric, captivating characters and unexpected nuggets of philosophy; I have loved them since I was a child. Homer’s ‘Odyssey’ is the best adventure story ever, and the satire in Thackeray’s ‘Vanity Fair’ never fails to make me laugh – every time I read it I find something to delight me anew.
- When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
Although she considers herself to be my muse and would be highly offended to be described as an ‘item’, my Burmese cat, Miss Leeloo, has been my constant writing companion since kittenhood. Very often she makes arcane contributions to my WIP, such as the following: §§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§1§§§§§§§§11115===
- And finally do you have any projects to releases on the horizon that you would like to share with the readers of the website?
The upcoming film version of ‘Another Heartbeat in the House’, which in my dreams stars Emma Stone, Carey Mulligan, Aidan Turner, Charlie Hunnam and Meryl Streep. I will gladly accept a small role as second weather-beaten peasant woman.