A novel experience with Cathy Kelly!
We invited SHE readers to spend a day with best-selling author Cathy Kelly. And what a response...
Tickets for the first-ever SHE Experiences event, in association with HarperCollins, sold out fast - and after just a short time spent with bestselling author Cathy Kelly, it was very easy to see why. For budding authors, our special event provided the ideal opportunity to find out what it takes to write a book and how to get it published.
A hundred SHE readers turned up in anticipation - and no one was disappointed. Cathy's enthusiasm for her craft was infectious and her agent Jonathan Lloyd (who will, forever more, be known as the Simon Cowell of literary agents') was informative, candid and amusing. The afternoon workshops gave everyone the chance to share their ideas and the chatter continued long after it was time to go home.
Could the next Booker prizewinner have been among us?
If you were unable to join us, visit www.authonomy.com, a new community website developed by the editors at HarperCollins to discover fresh new writing talent.
About Cathy Kelly
Cathy Kelly, 42, admits to buying books in a strangely addictive way, which means that she has piles of (as yet unread) paperbacks gathering dust by her bed. Wife to John and mother of five-year-old twins Murray and Dylan, here she reveals some of her favourite reads...
What was your favourite book as a child?
The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge (Lion, £4.99). It's a wonderfully magical story that has since been made into the film The Secret of Moonacre.
Is there a book that you love because it reminds you of a particular time in your life?
For my 15th birthday I was given Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (Pan, £8.99). I curled up in an armchair at my grandmother's house - and devoured it in one sitting!
What's the best advice that you've been given regarding your writing career?
I had a wonderful teacher at journalism college, who encouraged us to be ourselves in our writing, no matter what. I've never forgotten the wisdom of her words - you just can't fake the way you think and feel.
Which author has been your greatest inspiration?
For years I read and re-read Colette constantly. With her exquisite use of language, that's so beautiful and sensuous, she writes about women in a sensitive way that I really admire - and would love to emulate.
If you could take just one book to a desert island, what would it be?
I know I'm supposed to say War and Peace but The SAS Survival Handbook by John Wiseman (Collins, £14.99) would be so much more useful...
Is there a book that you find yourself constantly recommending to people?
It depends on what I've just read. Recently it's been Killing My Own Snakes by Ann Leslie (Macmillan, £20). But for a long time it was Daughters of Britannia by Katie Hickman (Flamingo, £11.99). I have a real affection for reading about women's lives.
Do you let anyone read your books before you submit them?
As a writer I think it's only natural to feel insecure about everything, so I sent my last book to the author Marian Keyes. My sister has also read some early drafts, but I always feel rather anxious. If I haven't heard from her in 24 hours, I'm convinced she hates it!
Is there a book you've always meant to read?
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (Penguin, £8.99). Don't even ask why - it's in that pile by my bed.
Cathy Kellys latest book Once In A Lifetime (HarperCollins, £14.99) is out now. For more information about Cathy visit her website www.cathykelly.com.