Eeek I am so excited to share an extra special post today. Sorry but feeling a tad giddy here. You may have seen my review last week on the incredible book Witchcraft Couture, a book that I just loved; it totally absorbed me, and got into my head. In fact I am still pondering over the ending. You know one of those books that you could interpret the ending as one way or the other.
I have been lucky enough to have email contact with the author of this fantastic novel the lovely Katarina West. As several emails have passed between us I have got to see the warm generous person she is, and was so honoured when she agreed to an interview for my little blog.
What inspired you to become an author?
I’ve always known that I wanted to become an author, since I was twelve. Writing has always been with me, so it feels like I’ve never chosen it.
What was the inspiration behind Witchcraft Couture and what came first, the concept, or the character ?
The concept. I’ve always been fascinated with talent. I mean, why do some people succeed so easily, whereas others – often equally gifted – never really fulfil the hopes they nurture? What’s the difference? Is it a question of talent? Hard work? Mad ambition? Or pure luck? What moreover inspired me to write this book was the fact that I’ve suffered from creative blocks, too. I used to destroy my texts, because a ruthless self-censor told me that they weren’t good enough. Then one day I started to think about creative blocks in a larger context, and that’s how Witchcraft Couture was born.
How long did it take you to write Witchcraft Couture, were there many revisions?
It took several years. I had long pauses between manuscript versions, and worked with other writing projects. Oscar wasn’t an easy character to live with, not an easy person to understand. But I always returned to him.
How did you complete your research of the fashion industry?
First of all, I read a lot. For some years books on fashion history were my favourite bedtime reading. I love the fashion of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. The designs were so beautiful, and there were so many larger-than-life fashion designers, like Elsa Schiaparelli, or Balenciaga, or Vionnet, or Coco Chanel. And I also interviewed fashion designers. Polimoda International Institute of Fashion Design & Marketing in Florence was really helpful to organise interviews, and I remain grateful for that.
Have you got the inspiration for your next book?
I’m actually right in the middle of writing it! It’s called Absolute Truth, for Beginners, and it tells the story of a twenty-something Elisa who falls madly in love with a famous scientist. A classic coming-of-age story, really. It will come out next autumn.
What is a usual day like for you?
I wake up at six-thirty, and start writing right after my son has left to school. I write non-stop till he comes back home (and try to grab a quick lunch somewhere in the middle). Then it’s usual family life until he goes to bed. After that I switch on my computer again, answer emails, check Twitter and Facebook, try to do secretarial stuff. I’m always in a hurry, always late, and always guilty that I’m not somewhere else. Or that I haven’t done everything I was supposed to do. Does that sound familiar, anyone?
Could you tell us one interesting fact about yourself?
Even if I always knew that I wanted to become a novelist, it took me years before I started to write, simply because I was afraid that I wasn’t good enough. So I studied political science and completed a doctorate in humanitarianism. I was determined to work for some international NGO and save people in war zones. But then I met my husband – an Italian – and fell in love, and ended up living in Tuscany. So in the end, I have saved only one Italian husband, one computer-game-wizard son, and one unruly shepherd dog. And at times, even they refuse to be saved. Isn’t that weird?
How do you relax?
Reading. It’s not easy to find the time to just sit down and read. But when it happens, it’s pure heaven.
If you could give one tip to an aspiring author, what would it be?
There are so many! But I suppose if I had to choose just one, that would be: read and write as much as you can. And study the ones who do it well. Good luck!!!
Katrina thank-you so much for answering my questions, It has been an honour to virtually get to know you. I can-not wait until your next book. And to attending the film premier of Witchcraft Couture, I am convinced this will make the most incredible film.