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Interview with UK bestselling author Katie Fforde about her latest US release A Perfect Proposal

A Perfect Proposal: A Novel


Katie Hi, welcome to my blog.

Tell us about your latest US release A Perfect Proposal.
A Perfect Proposal was based on two real things in my life.  The first was a painting.  It's of an old rectory lived in by some ancestors of my husbands.  It had been hanging in the spare room and I saw it and suddenly had a thought.  I said to my husband, I wonder if we could find that house.  He made husband-noises but I had an idea for a book.  The other thing was connected to my family.  I had an American grandmother who sadly, I never met.  She was an heiress (one of those who married into the Scottish aristocracy, like Downton Abbey only colder) and there are some mineral rights that have been in the family for about a hundred years.  For 99 years they were worth nothing but suddenly people were showing an interest.  My cousin had to track down all the people who had the shares and get them to sign legal documents so she could act for us.  It has still come to nothing but she worked very hard.  And she didn't have a lovely American lawyer to help her.  I was a bit nervous about asking if I could put the idea in a book.


I’m trying to get to know you a bit by visiting your website and I’m really enjoying your witty humor. I have to ask when and where did the writing bug bite?
I started writing over 20 years ago.  It took me eight years to realise I couldn't write Harlequin romance novels and write something more me.  Its a bug that is in my family though which I wouldn't have imagined.


You have quite a menagerie in your home. Are animals prominently featured in your novels?
Some books have animals and some don't.  I have put animals I'm fond of in there as a way of keeping them with me after they've gone.


This is your 18th novel (congratulations). Does release day still excite you?
I have a love-hate relationship with release day.  You want your little bird to fly but you also want to keep it safe.  Before it's published no one can see what's wrong with it!



When you start a new novel project what’s the very first thing you do?
I like to take a run up to starting a new novel.  I do a certain amount of research and may have done this before I've finished the last novel then I sort out the characters' names and then write a few notes about what I want to happen.  I also have a discussion with my editors (over lunch!) and then the day dawns and I begin.  It is a bit like jumping into cold water.  Once you're used to it you wonder why you didn't want to do it.


You say you’re a country girl even though you were born and raised in London.
Do you think your writing benefits from living in the country?
I love cities, I love London but it's in Gloucestershire, where I've lived for over 30 years that I feel at home.  I like to see trees and hills, cows and sheep, rivers and valleys.  Then my creative juices get going.  I think my writing benefits from the beauties of nature (which sounds very pretentious!).  There's something about the country that triggers my writing.  If ever I get stuck, a walk, a drive, or a look at some view gets me going again.  (two questions in one there.)


Why did you choose to write romance?
I love writing romance because I think falling in love is the best, most exciting thing there is.  If they could put it in drug form I'd be on the corner trying to get it!  But in real life falling in love when you're married (and I have been for 40 years) is no longer acceptable, so writing about other people doing it, people you've created, is the next best thing.  (Actually better in many ways.)


If you could only pick one favorite author who would it be?
If I could only have one author it would have to be Georgette Heyer.  I think she taught me to write with her wit, her use of language and her characters.  Now I'm a writer I'm a bit more critical of her plots but she's still the best.



What are you working on now?
I'm working on a book about estate agents at the moment.  One big reason for this is the fact my sister and husband have been house hunting.  I have looked at a great many houses with them and they are so picky!   I couldn't waste all that research.


Do you ever cross the pond for author events? Do you have any scheduled soon?
I have no plans to cross the pond at the moment but currently I'm in Australia and I have done events here.  But I have to confess it's mostly because we are on a big trip and doing some events seemed like fun.


Katie, Thanks so much for taking the time to answer a few questions. Good luck with the new novel.
Thank you for that - those were fun questions.