Thursday, March 18, 2010

Interview with Kate Forsyth

Kate Forsyth is an Australian author of over 22 books, both for adults and children, including The Gypsy's Crown, The Starthorn Tree, and her newest book, The Puzzle Ring.
To learn more about Kate and her books, visit her site here.

If you could describe your new book, The Puzzle Ring, in three words, what would they be?
Exciting, mysterious, beautiful

How has writing impacted your life?
Its completely changed my life. I was poor, hungry, skinny, and desperately dreaming of the life I wanted, a life as a writer. Now I make my living from writing, my books have won awards and been published all around the world, and I live in a beautiful, big house with views of the ocean in Sydney (And I’m not so skinny anymore)

What made you want to include Scottish history in The Puzzle Ring?
My grandmother’s grandmother was Scottish, and she used to tell us all the old tales that her Nana told her. This meant I was fascinated with all things Scottish from quite a young age. It also suited the book. I was imagining a story about an ancient curse, and Scotland has more curses than any other country in the world. I was imagining a place where fairies and witches could still, perhaps, exist – and Scotland has one of the richest and strongest fairy lore in the world. And I wanted my heroine to go back to a time that was truly dangerous and 16th century Scotland fit the bill perfectly. Besides, it gave me a chance to write about Mary, Queen of Scots, one of the most intriguing, beautiful and tragic women in history ...

What do you think makes fantasy such an exciting genre to read and write in?
Fantasy is a genre in which all things may be possible, and so a writer has immense freedom to imagine new worlds, to play with boundaries, to reflect and comment upon our own world without sermonising, and to weave together many different strands – romance, history, humour, mystery and suspense, wonder and magic. Also, it is a genre in which plot is all important, and I love to plot (that sounds rather sinister, doesn’t it? Mwahahhahhah)

Is there a certain time or place that you enjoy writing in? An atmosphere that simply inspires you?
I can write anywhere, at any time – in the park while my children are playing, at the airport while waiting for a plane, curled up on the couch at 3am because my characters are keeping me awake with their infernal racket .... however, I most like writing during the day when the kids are at school and I have hours of blissful peace stretching before me. I find it takes me at least an hour or two to really pass into the magical place where the real world fades away and I am actually living the story, hearing in my head, seeing it in my mind’s eye, running and fighting and dancing and laughing with my characters ... then my alarm beeps to tell me its time to go & pick the kids up.

What is your very favorite character that you have ever created?
What a cruel question! How can I possibly choose? Between impulsive Isabeau who I first dreamt of when I was 16 and ruthless Rhiannon, the first woman to ever tame a flying horse? Between lovely Lewen, a man I could have married if he was real, and charming Dide (a man I could have run off with!) Between shy Briony, whose magical gifts are so subtle and strange, and strong-willed Liliana, who has such power in her words? Between Hannah, red-haired, left-handed, and stubborn, the heroine of the ‘The Puzzle Ring’ and black-haired Donovan who plays the flugelhorn like an angel? You cruel woman, I cannot choose!

How did growing up in Australia with a pet wallaby make you who you are today?
Well, having a pet wallaby was rather fun! My father was a vet, and Christabel the joey was brought in after her mum was killed by a car. She was only tiny and very sweet. She slept in a sack hanging on the back door handle, and when she put herself to bed all you could see was her tail and her hind legs hanging over the edge. My sister and I had to get up every 3 hours to feed her special milk with an eye-dropper, at least until she was old enough to eat hay and grain. At that time we had, in our suburban back yard, a horse, two dogs, four cats, an aviary of birds, and Christabel the wallaby. Feeding time was like living in a zoo! And my love for animals comes through in my books, I think – there’s usually an animal friend of some sort, from Isabeau’s elf-owl Buba, to Rhiannon’s flying horse Blackthorn, to the dancing bear and monkey in The Gypsy Crown, and the goats in The Starthorn Tree. In the Puzzle Ring is a rather malevolent cat ...

Outside of the wonderful world of literature, what do you do?
I have a husband and 3 children who rather unreasonably demand a fair amount of my time. Like most mothers, I seem to have far too much washing, cleaning, shopping and cooking to do. However, since my kids would rather play that do chores, and I’d rather write than do chores, we’ve come to a fair arrangement where we do a lot of the former and rather less of the latter. Otherwise, books are my world. If I’m not writing, I’m reading. And if I’m not reading, I’m talking about books or thinking about books or blogging about books. It’s a good life.

Other than the necessities (food, water, shelter, etc.), what things could you not live life without?
I think you left books out of your necessities of life. Other than those few things, love, friends, music, beauty.

Review of The Puzzle Ring coming soon...


  1. Wonderful interview! This book is one I'm anxious to read. :-)


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