Q & A with Kate Morton

Posted on 22nd October 2015 by Sally Campbell
The Lake House, Kate Morton's latest novel, is set in Cornwall and when Booksellers at Waterstones Truro were lucky enough to meet her this summer, they asked the following questions.

Kate Morton is the number one bestselling author of The Distant Hours and The Secret Keeper. Born in Australia, she fell in love with Britain at a young age. Her latest release, The Lake House, is a sinister mystery centring on an abandoned Cornish mansion house. It explores the way a secret can leaves traces, years after the event, in the fabric of a building. Secrets that can have devastating consequences if unearthed.

Kate Morton visited the Truro shop this summer and was kind enough to answer the following questions from booksellers  - and great news, just in, she will be returning to the shop on October 30th for a signing event:

What is the fascination with houses and gardens? (Gaynor Drew)

I’m fascinated by the intermingling of the present and the past—the way we can occasionally sense both at once—and the relationships (and secrets) between people across the generations. Houses, as the places that we build in which to live out our most intimate moments, provide excellent sites for my stories, both as settings and as metaphors for the lives of those who dwell within them. Quite aside from writing, one of my favourite things to do is to visit old houses and gardens and imagine the lives of those who came before me.

What are you reading at the moment? (Claire Shaw)

I’m reading PD James’s Innocent Blood. It’s my first PD James and I’m loving it every bit as much as I hoped I would. James’s writing is crisp and engaging, and the plot wonderfully tight and intelligent with a building suspense that’s perfectly controlled. My other top recommendation at the moment is Philip Marsden’s nonfiction book, Rising Ground, a beautifully written account of a walking tour Marsden undertook around Cornwall in an attempt to understand the power of place in our lives and imaginations

Did any children's books inspire your writing? (Alice Martin)

In a general sense, it was all the books I read as a child—more particularly, the way they made me feel—that inspired me to become a writer. I’m constantly trying to recapture the joy of childhood reading, the complete immersion in a story that makes the real world disappear. I believe that the books we read as children, when we’re capable of suspending our disbelief so completely and our imaginations are as yet unhampered by adult concerns, become a part of us.

Have you got a favourite big house which has inspired the houses in your novels? (Isabel Popple)

It didn’t exactly inspire my novels, at least not in the traditional sense, but my current favourite old house is Trerice, near Newquay. I’ve visited a few times, but on one occasion over the summer, the weather was absolutely perfect—one of those glorious August days when the sky is a deep clear blue, the leaves of the garden glisten, and the sun is so warm one could happily fall asleep on the grass beneath an overarching branch. The house itself was similar to the way I imagined Loeanneth when I was writing The Lake House.

Where is your favourite place to write? (Annie Brockbank)

I can write anywhere and under almost any conditions, which is a good thing as I have three rather noisy sons! Thankfully, once I’m sitting at my computer, the rest of the world disappears so that I’m not aware of the words I’m typing, rather I’m seeing the story play out inside my mind. When I’m plotting, however—scribbling ideas in a notebook, finding the connections between them—I do like to venture outside my office. My ideal place would be a busy coffee shop, a small table in the very back corner from which I can see without being seen, and preferably with a view through a window somewhere. (Drizzle on the other side of the window would be extra lovely, if that could be arranged!).

What attracts you to writing about the UK rather than more about Australia? (Gaye Lush)

I fell in love with the UK from afar as soon as I learned to read and started slipping regularly into The Enchanted Wood. England became for me a place as magical as Narnia; when I was seventeen and made my first real-life visit, it was as if I’d stepped through the wardrobe and into the world of my childhood imagination. I’ve come to know the place better since then, and adore its landscape, architecture, history, literature and people. I especially love London: such a dynamic city where tradition and progress rub together and merge and things are in a state of constant transition.


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