Katie Fforde is a British romantic novelist. Her first novel, Living Dangerously, was chosen as part of the WHSmith Fresh Talent promotion and she has published more than 18 novels since then. She has sold over 3 million books, and her work has been translated into Czech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Polish and Swedish.
Her latest novel, A Secret Garden, was published in February and is still circulating very well in our libraries. Her 2016 novel A Summer at Sea was recently chosen for our Suffolk Loves collection and is widely available.
1. Who were your literary influences as you were growing up?
I think Georgette Heyer has been my biggest literary influence. I started reading her books when I was quite young. I was a bit surprised when a reader spotted the influence after my first book but I have read them all so often I thought she was probably right.
2. I have heard that you take your research very seriously. Did you really go on a Ray Mears survival course to research a book?
I do take research very seriously. I like to get my hands in the clay - something I learnt from the potter friend who was helping me with my first book. Instead of having me taking notes in the corner while she threw a pot, she made me sit at the wheel and try. I realised then without that literally hands-on approach, it wouldn’t have worked so well. And yes, I certainly did go on a Ray Mears course. It was enormously good fun.
3. What are the essential ingredients of a feel-good romantic novel?
The essential elements of a good romantic novel are believable characters we can relate to, like and find attractive, a strong plot which is more than just the love story, a good, strongly portrayed setting and good secondary characters.
4. Is there anything you can tell us about your latest project?
My latest project is about farming and cheese. I love both (although am not actually a farmer.)
5. Do you have a message for your many readers in Suffolk Libraries?
I value my library readers even more than those who buy the books. They have to make a real effort to get the books and so I’m grateful that in the midst of so much choice, they choose my books (sometimes!).
6. Can you tell us one thing that your readers might not know about you?
Readers might not know that I am incredibly untidy, but they may have picked that up from my characters.
7. If you hadn’t become a writer what would you have liked to do?
I think if I hadn’t been a writer I would have been a counsellor or some job where I get to listen to people’s stories. I love doing that.