Today we’re interviewing Lucky13 author Kate Kelly, whose debut novel RED ROCK hits the shelves today! A little about the book:
The ice caps have melted. The coastal areas we once knew are gone, and only scavvers now live in the flooded towns. The world has changed, but as 14-year-old Danni Rushton soon discovers, it isn’t the first time… Living with her uncle after the tragic death of her parents, Danni s world is turned upside down when her aunt is assassinated. With her dying breath, she entrusts Danni with a strange, small rock. Danni must not tell a soul that she has it.
But what is the rock for, and to what lengths must Danni go to keep it safe? This action-packed adventure takes the reader from the barren terrain of Greenland, to the flooded ruins of Cambridge, and on to a sinister monastery in Malta. In her effort to save her uncle and evade a power-hungry space agency, Danni discovers that friends aren’t always what they seem, and a rock isn’t always just a rock.
Welcome, Kate, to the OneFour blog, and kudos on the publication of RED ROCK! Can you tell us a bit about your path to publication? How did you get your agent? How long did it take before she placed your novel at Curious Fox?
Most agents find their clients through the slushpile, but I am one of the minority that took a different route. When I spotted that Julia Churchill, an agent at A.M. Heath, was offering 1-2-1 surgeries at a local literary festival I made sure I booked myself a slot. It was too good an opportunity to miss. I had just finished writing Red Rock and I thought this would be great to get some industry feedback before I started submitting.
Of course things never quite work out how you think they will. Julia loved my opening chapter and wanted to see the full. Weirdly she remembered an earlier effort of mine that she had rejected on a full about a year before and we ended up chatting about why that one hadn’t worked and not about Red Rock very much at all. Needless to say I was over the moon when she subsequently signed me. But that was only the beginning. The submission process is nerve racking—out your novel goes into the big wide world and then…you wait…and you wait…..
But at last the call came and I’ll never forget that moment. I was out on my mountain bike when my phone went with the news that Curious Fox wanted to acquire, and I took the call sitting on a grassy bank outside a farm watching the swallows skim back and forth between the outbuildings. It was a magical moment.
RED ROCK rocks as a MG sci-fi/thriller! What authors influenced you in writing these genres?
I have always been a huge fan of science fiction, and so many of the authors who have influenced me in this respect are the well know sci-fi authors – John Wyndham, Isaac Azimov and Ray Bradbury among others. But at the same time I have always loved a good adventure and none did this better that the Victorian novelist H. Rider Haggard. I used to seek out his books in second-hand bookshops and I loved the blend of lost civilizations and the age of exploration. I guess I wanted to capture something of this magic in my own work.
Global Warming causing ice caps to melt is at the heart of your story’s premise. Why did you select this environmental theme?
In a way I didn’t select it, it selected me. The fact that the Greenland ice sheet is retreating is fundamental to the plot, but you can’t just melt an ice sheet without taking into account the ramifications. Perhaps it is the scientist in me talking, but I then had to look at what effects this would have, and the more I investigated the more worrying the whole issue became. The sea level doesn’t need to rise by very much to have a devastating effect on large areas of the world. Not to mention the disruption of the ocean circulation patterns and the weather systems.
The settings are fascinating–Greenland, Cambridge, and Malta. Have you been to these places? What made you choose them? How did you research your settings?
I always like to set my stories somewhere I’ve actually been. Admittedly these days you can do an awful lot of research online – you can even get right down to ground level and explore a place in google street view. But for me to write authentically about somewhere I need to be able to feel it, smell it, sense the atmosphere and the only way I can really immerse myself like that is to actually go there. I’m fortunate in that I’ve travelled quite widely to some fascinating places so I have a lot of experience to draw on. And should I decide to set a story somewhere that I haven’t been—well now I have the perfect excuse to go there.
What will you be doing for a launch?
I’m holding a party in my local village hall, and the theme is Red. I’ve asked the guests to wear red and I’ll be dishing out red cakes and red wine, (and cranberry juice for the younger guests).
As this community is All for One and OneFour KidLit, we’d like to know what two or three books inspired you as a child.
Well I’ve already mentioned H. Rider Haggard, and of course he is best known for his children’s book King Solomon’s Mines, so I reckon that one has to go on the list. Then, like so many kids, of both past and present generations I was a huge fan of Enid Blyton, especially the Famous Five books, but I really don’t think I could single out any one, so I’ll just say all of them. Finally The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff brought Roman Britain alive for me, and I’ve been fascinated by archaeology ever since.
Lucky 13 debut author Kate Kelly has a love of the sea and literature. She was born in Scotland but grew up in rural Devon. Coming from a long line of seafarers she succumbed to the ocean’s call, studying geology and then oceanography at the university, and pursuing a career as a marine scientist. Kate’s passion for science and the sea influences many of the themes she explores in her fiction. Find Kate online at Twitter and Goodreads.
|Christine Kohler worked as a political reporter covering the West Pacific. Her YA novel is set on Guam during the Vietnam war: 15-year-old Kiko finds out that his mother was raped during WWII. When Kiko discovers a WWII Japanese soldier is hiding in the jungle behind Kiko’s house for 28 years, will Kiko take revenge? NO SURRENDER SOLDIER, Merit Press, Jan. 18, 2014.|