LOOK! who has popped into My Book Corner today. It’s the absolutely lovely Kate Foster. Kate writes children’s books about dogs and friendship and family! The fabulous PAWS will be jumping onto the shelves soon (NOW for our Australian readers! Lucky ducks!). So, of course, we waved our infamous questions under Kate’s nose… and she gave us some GREAT answers…
Tell us about you in 25 words or less.
Mum to three human and two canine boys. Writer of joyful middle grade fiction and chapter books containing many dogs. Cake eater. Dog lover.
Your debut novel, Paws, is hitting the Australian shelves this month. UK readers will have to wait a little bit longer. Can you tell us a little bit about how it came to be?
Of course! I wrote PAWS in 2019 while on submission with another project. They say keep writing, and HOLY MOLY for me that’s been the best piece of advice I’ve ever followed and I now hand it out to everyone entering the trenches. And, for someone who has to battle like a sword-wielding warrior during the drafting process, PAWS strangely and smoothly fell out of my head and onto the page in weeks. Result! I think this was mainly because the story had been percolating for a long time, but I needed to be in the right place in my life to draft it, I needed to be emotionally ready. Authors often don’t talk about this element of their careers enough.
Fast forward a few months plus a change of agents, I then went on submission with PAWS and it received an offer within about six weeks, so pretty quickly! Finding a publishing team like Walker, who felt as passionate as me and understood the importance and warmth of my quiet little story, was truly one of the best feelings ever. I still pinch myself that I get to work with Linsay and Christina and co. on my baby. And the fact I’ll be working with Team Walker UK soon is like a dream. PAWS is a hopeful story with a big heart, and I think, right now, something a lot of us need in our lives to counter all the stress.
Ok, here’s a challenge… can you sum up your book in five words? [runs and hides!][stares at you angrily] Only joking, I quite like these challenges!
WARM. FRIENDLY. CUDDLY. HOPEFUL. DOGS.
Boy + dog + boy + dog = friends
What does a typical day look like for you?
Somersault out of bed, fifty star jumps, one hundred sit ups … No, not really. It’s more like peel myself out of bed, down coffee, school run, walk dogs, clean up, open laptop, snooze. Then, check and respond to emails and messages, prepare any blog posts scheduled in, another coffee and breakfast cake/cookies depending on what I have in. Then, write write write, before school run, clean up, make dinner, watch Bake Off or similar cooking show, read, and bed.
What makes you happy?
My dogs, other people’s dogs, all dogs, videos of dogs, dogs. Oh, and my family and books. And cake.
What’s on your TBR pile at the moment?
It’s so big. But, right now I have: Glassheart by Katharine Orton, Eight Pieces of Silva by Patrice Lawrence, Cuckoo’s Flight by Wendy Orr, List of Ten by Halli Gomez, Dear Justyce by Nic Stone, Boy, Everywhere by A.M. Dassu and and and … on and on it goes with so many incredible books!
What’s your worst habit?
I have … a few. I think my main one is probably the default assumption that I annoy everyone. It’s exhausting and so silly. Like, first, why does it matter what other people think of me? And, second, I have literally no evidence to support my feelings! I also tense my jaw a lot, buy books way too often, and am really really really bad at keeping in touch with friends.
Your favourite word(s) and why
Hello. I LOVE this word so much. You can say it in every way imaginable, with caution and passion and anger and delight, as a question and as an answer. It can carry so much more than a simple greeting. It’s friendly and easy and universally recognised. I love it!
What are your top tips for budding writers?
Enjoy your writing always. Enjoy it. Enjoy. If you plan to be published one day, whether that’s traditionally or self, there comes a point when you lose control and other people become involved – eventually readers. That’s ludicrously exciting, but can also be ludicrously stressful: to see your baby in the hands of strangers. So, I think remembering the pure love and enjoyment of writing is essential so you don’t fall victim to the pressures and expectations and disappointment.
Is there anything that’s surprised you about the publishing process?
How friendly everyone is! Not that I was going into this expecting people to be snooty and rude, but more that everyone is so ridiculously and wonderfully enthusiastic and passionate and welcoming. I’m that person who always feels like a burden to others – I imagine people seeing my name in their inbox and letting out a long frustrated sigh with a “God, what does she want now?” before opening the email. But, Team Walker is filled with the most supportive and loving people and it’s been absolutely inspiring. I want to do it again and again and again!
Can you give us a glimpse / hint at your current WIP? (I can bribe you with cake!)
I will take the cake. Thank you. Always take the cake – that’s my number two rule in life. Number one is: Always pat the dog.
My current WIP is SO MUCH FUN! It’s about a group of autistic kids attending socialization and emotion-regulation classes who have to come together to perform a daring and dangerous and heroic rescue. Yes, there are dogs. Yes, there are awkward kids making friends. But also, there are numerous funny interactions and many warm fuzzies. I hope it hits shelves one day in the future.
Did we forget anything?
I think that cake you bribed me with … I accept most flavours and am very fond of filling and icing. Also, People should totally check out my Twitter and Instagram feeds because I’ll be running many fun dog-themed giveaways to celebrate the release of PAWS!
Just for fun
Tea or coffee?
Paper books or e-books?
e-books (PLEASE DON’T HATE ME.)
Cake or chocolate?
Write or type?
Poetry or prose?
Hot or cold?