Meet Kate Ryder:
After pursuing a career in publishing and acting, Kate found her passion in writing. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Society of Authors. Her self-published debut novel received a Chill with a Book, “Book of the Month” Award. She currently lives with her husband in the Tamar Valley in a renovated 200-year-old Cornish sawmill. She finds the Cornish landscape a great source of inspiration. When she is not writing she enjoys reading, art, theatre and travel.
Thank you very much for taking the time to appear on my blog, I really do appreciate it.
It’s a privilege to appear on your blog, Michelle. Thank you for inviting me.
Please tell us a little about Cottage on a Cornish Cliff and where the idea for the book came from?
Cottage on a Cornish Cliff is the continuing story of Oliver and Cara, who throughout the course of the book deal with acceptance, forgiveness and trying to put things right. Although both Oliver and Cara realise they have experience a love that only happens once in a lifetime, each has taken the mature decision of putting aside any personal gratification for the sake of their respective families.
At the end of Summer in a Cornish Cove I knew Oliver and Cara’s story wasn’t over, and in my head their journey continued. It was only when several reviewers begged me to write a sequel that I decided I had to share their continuing story.
This is a sequel, did you know how you wanted the characters journey to play out before writing or did you find the characters had a mind of their own?
I had an idea how the characters’ journey would play out, but – and this is the magic of writing – the characters had a habit of taking over and telling their own story, and often went off-piste!
In the book Summer in a Cornish Cove, depression is something that plays an important part of the story. Was it important for you to get the message about depression across to the readers and does it play a part in the next book?
I felt it was important to get the message about depression across to readers. So often depression is mistaken as weakness and I wanted to show that even though the world may know a person by his (or her) public image, a psyche is fragile and “things” may not always be as they appear. In this social media/celebrity age that we live in, we are often pressurised into appearing successful and in control, whilst hiding how we truly feel. I felt it was time to demonstrate that a little understanding goes a long way.
Depression continues to play a part in Cottage on a Cornish Cliff. Although Oliver has lived with mental imbalance since late childhood and is aware of what works for him and what doesn’t, because of his current personal circumstances he finds himself tempted to over-medicate.
How do you develop your plot and characters, who feel very real to me?
Thank you. I’m glad you found the characters real. I always have a storyboard of photos to refer to. It’s not something I set out to do, it just develops organically. When I wrote Summer in a Cornish Cove I was definitely a pantser and allowed the characters to evolve as they so wished. With Cottage on a Cornish Cliff I tried to embrace more of a plotter mind-set, but still the characters wanted to go off on their own. I’d never written a sequel before and I found it an ‘interesting’ experience! When I finally typed THE END, I treated myself to a wonderful oil painting of a cottage on a cliff that I’d come across while creating the storyboard. Weirdly (although things like this often happen to me) it turned out the artist once lived almost at the very spot where I set the book!
Do you have a certain place where you like to write?
I live in a two hundred year old cottage, rumoured to have been a sawmill. It is a three-storey property and my office is on the top floor. When I’m up there, lost in words, I feel cocooned and far away from the rest of the world.
Location plays a big part in this story, how do you choose your locations?
Cornwall has always resonated deeply with me and there are many locations where the story could have been set. However, because of Oliver’s fame and need for seclusion and privacy, it had to be an isolated part of the county. The Lizard delivered. During visits to friends who live there, we explored the area and walked the coast path, and I found the landscape at the mouth of the Helford River worked well for the setting.
Did you learn anything from this book while writing it?
Yes, mostly to do with babies (I don’t have first-hand knowledge) and delving into Greg’s psyche took me to some very unsavoury and dubious places. Also, not to panic! I discovered that by taking little steps it is possible to meet deadlines.
When you are not writing what can you be found doing?
Working! I am a negotiator with a company that specialises in selling farms, equestrian properties and country houses across the West Country. I also spend a large part of my life with a gorgeous Arab gelding and we are currently on a journey of Straightness Training; a programme based on the principles of the old grandmasters and their ‘classical’ way of training horses.
A film is being made of Summer in a Cornish Cove and then a sequel of Cottage on a Cornish Cliff, who is going to play Oliver and Cara?
Oliver is easy. When Summer in a Cornish Cove was first published, series one of Poldark was just airing. I already knew Aidan Turner’s previous work and, through Being Human, was aware he can play moral dilemma and angst really well. His portrayal of Ross Poldark further confirmed he can handle subtle emotion with ease. Also, having recently seen him on stage as mad Padraic in The Lieutenant of Inishmore, there is no doubt that he is a fine actor and the perfect casting for Oliver (in a few years).
Cara, however, is not so easy. Although she is a child of our time, she is also a free-spirit with a God-given light and I have yet to find an actress who truly possesses her ethereal quality. Spookily, however, during the summer I saw someone on a Cornish beach who literally stopped me in my tracks. I thought Cara had come to life! This person was oblivious to anyone else on the beach and simply enjoying the moment, playing with her dogs in the sea. That scene fired my imagination and made its way into the book. Now, if that young woman also turns out to be an actress, the search will be over!
Christmas is coming. If you could buy one present for one of the characters in your book what would it be and why?
A pet for Jamie. He is the youngest of Oliver and Deanna’s confident, goal-orientated children. However, he possesses a more cautious and fragile nature and is often pushed out of the way and overruled by his more robust siblings. Oliver worries constantly about him, seeing his own mental imbalance in his son’s tendency to quiet introspection. If Jamie had something he could call his own he would not feel so alienated and adrift.
What advice would you give to any budding writers?
To write every day, if possible (but don’t beat yourself up if you can’t!) As with learning any new skill, flexing those (writing) muscles will lead to progress, which is never a straight line (something I’ve become aware of through Straightness Training). Simply enjoy the journey with all its many twists and turns.
What are your future projects?
I am very fortunate in that I have a four-book deal with Aria. Book number three is a contemporary romance set against an intriguing ghost story, a tale inspired by a discovery made during extensive renovations to my Cornish cottage. Book number four is still in the melting pot.
Thanks again for appearing on my blog and taking the time to answer these questions.
You are very welcome. I know you connected with Summer in a Cornish Cove and I hope you enjoyed Oliver and Cara’s concluding chapters.
A link to buy Cottage on a Cornish Cliff is below along with Summer in a Cornish Cove.