Kate Belle had a ‘yearning’ to be an author and Simon & Schuster obliged by picking up her work after she ‘broke the rules’ and bloomed (how’d I do, Kate?)
Welcome, Kate, and thanks for treading the boards with us today!
Thanks for having me Susanne – oops – sorry - I think I might have just scratched your lovely floorboards with my heels! Never been good on these things. Nothing a bit of sandpaper and polish won’t fix (grins hopefully).
High heels are so elegant, any damage will be excused!
1. Are you inspired most by places, people or experiences and how do these work their way into your writing?
Quirky things inspire me, odd snippets of conversations, dream images, awkward moments in lifts, strange characters – like a toddler I once saw in a pram with HUGE hair. Grown up hair. I kept staring at her thinking, what’s a kid doing with hair like that? Why doesn’t her mother cut it? That little girl will find her way into one of my stories one day. If you see a woman staring quizzically at you on the street, say hi, it’s probably me.
2. How did you come up with the idea of The Yearning?
The Yearning began as a collection of unsent love notes I’d written over many years to unattainable lovers, as well as a cluster of short stories and pointless prose. The story built itself around a short piece that eventually became The Union chapter, where the young girl and her teacher, Solomon, first make love. I wrote the original piece in a breathless rush and it pulsated in a drawer, much like the erotic love notes Solomon collects from his young student, until it grew some bones and fleshed itself out into a novel.
3. How do you come up with your characters’ names?
My female protagonist is anonymous for the majority of the novel. I did this deliberately for two reasons. I wanted her to be a kind of every woman, because the issues she struggles with I think are common to many, many women. It was also a way of showing how invisible she felt in her life. How everyone else’s agendas dominated her decisions and choices. Her name is only revealed at the very end when she is ready to stand on her own two feet.
The names are biblical because the journey through the novel is a spiritual journey of discovery of love. Solomon is derived from The Song of Solomon, a beautiful biblical poem about love, lust, sex and loss. Quotes from this are peppered throughout the novel. I didn’t have a name for the girl until the 11th hour. My very fabulous agent, Sheila Drummond, came up with a suggestion (a biblical one) and I knew immediately it was perfect.
4. If you could pick a soundtrack to match your main character’s life, what would it be?
I wrote The Yearning to a CD – Seduction by Luminesca, an Australian guitar/cello duo. The music is so beautiful, so sensual, it really captured the quality of what my characters were feeling for each other whenever they came together.
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5. Do you read reviews of your books? What do you do when you read a not-so-nice one?
My first two erotic romance ebooks (Breaking the Rules and Bloom) were published in February 2013. For a little while I couldn’t tear myself away from the reviews, until the not so great ones started turning up. I had to suppress the urge to explain myself, or excuse myself, or defend myself, and, after spending a fair bit of money on red wine to drown my self-pity and doubt, I got over it and realised I CAN’T write to please EVERYONE. Die-hard-happy-ever-after addicts, who need the hero to be after ramming a ring on the heroine’s finger, don’t take to my style of story. That’s okay – there’s plenty of material out there for them. Women (and men) who enjoy a sensual story that inspires their imagination and a desire to explore and question, love my work.
That said, I do try to learn from the more informed and eloquent not-so-good reviews. If there is something constructive offered within a review, I will attend to it and use it to improve my work.
6. How many times were you turned down before you finally got published?
Not as many as I expected. My agent is pretty savvy and was very strategic about when and who she sent the manuscript to. It was probably rejected 5 or 6 times before it found a perfect home with Simon & Schuster.
7. What reason(s) did the publishers give for their rejection of your manuscript?
This was interesting, and funny. ‘Too literary’ for commercial publishers, ‘Too didactic’ for literary publishers, ‘Too dated’ (1970’s setting) for another publisher. Many publishers were uncomfortable that the young girl is barely 16 when she engages in a sexual relationship with Solomon, unsure how readers would respond to it. But given this is what the novel is about, it was a non-negotiable as far as I was concerned. For the most part the rejections were extremely complimentary and constructive. Publishers, on the whole, are pretty nice people. Writers should remember that.
8. If there is one genre that you have not written in yet, but would love to try writing a book in that specific genre, what would it be?
You’ll laugh! Children’s books. My daughter and I have half a dozen story ideas we’ve developed over the years together (she’s 8 now). Having a child around is a great way to get inspiration for children’s stories. They are so playful and imaginative. I’m a lover and collector of children’s literature, so it would be wonderful to have an opportunity to write in this genre one day.
(I look forward to discovering your other side!)
9. How many blurbs did you have to write before the final one?
Literally hundreds. Synopses and blurbs are THE hardest things to write, but great for writing practice. And great for really getting a strong handle on what your story is about. Try cramming 80,000 words into a paragraph or two! Tough gig!
**I’d like to add that Kate and I first ‘met’ in an online synopsis/blurb writing workshop. Funny thing is, we each recognised the other’s synopsis much, much later and reconnected!
10. If you could bring one of your characters to life, who would it be? And why?
Ramon Mendez. Read the novellas. It’s obvious why.
11. What are you working on now?
My second novel (working title Saint – but I’m not sure that’s the one that will stick). It’s another dark, sensual love story and I can’t wait to finish it. It’s still evolving, but the broad synopsis goes like this:
Solid, reliable Banjo, is killed in a hit and run accident after walking out on a furious argument with Jade, his wild wife of twenty years. As the police search for the driver responsible, Jade falls into deep depression and Banjo’s spirit watches, tormented by one question: Did Jade love him above all others?
Their daughter, Lissy, is desperate to revive her mother. When she discovers a secret, artistic journal chronicling Jade’s extra-marital relationships, she contacts some of the men with whom Jade shared her body and heart in the hope that one might rouse her from her wilful stupor. Banjo’s in spirit and Lissy in life watch as a long line of ex-lovers show up to urge Jade to live, each shedding some light on the mystery that was Jade and Banjo’s lasting marriage. Saint is a story of unconditional love, sacrifice and a woman born with the absolute courage to be herself.
(I can’t wait to read this one too, Kate! Love your ideas!)
Thanks for having me Susanne, and great to meet you all. Please pop by my website or blog and leave a comment or follow if you like what you see. I love to hear from readers and readers to be.
First love. Forbidden love. A young girl’s desire. A teacher’s seduction.
A yearning that should never be fulfilled.
It's 1978 in an Australian country town and a dreamy fifteen-year-old girl's world is turned upside down by the arrival of the substitute English teacher. Solomon Andrews is beautiful, inspiring, and she wants him like nothing else she's wanted in her short life. Charismatic and unconventional, Solomon easily wins the hearts and minds of his third form English class. He notices the attention of one girl, his new neighbour, who has taken to watching him from her upstairs window. He assumes it a harmless teenage crush, until the erotic love notes begin to arrive. Solomon knows he must resist, but her sensual words stir him. He has longings of his own, although they have nothing to do with love, or so he believes. One afternoon, as he stands reading her latest offering in his driveway, she turns up unannounced. They must make a decision, and its consequences will haunt them until they meet again twenty years later.
Charismatic and unconventional, Solomon easily wins the hearts and minds of his third form English class. He notices the attention of one girl, his new neighbour, who has taken to watching him from her upstairs window. He assumes it a harmless teenage crush, until erotic love notes begin to arrive in his letterbox.
Solomon knows he must resist, but her sensual words stir him. He has longings of his own, although they have nothing to do with love, or so he believes. One afternoon, as he stands reading her latest offering in his driveway, she turns up unannounced. Each must make a choice, the consequences of which will haunt them until they meet again twenty five years later.
The Yearning Ebook 1 April 2013
Amazon buy link http://www.amazon.com/The-Yearning-ebook/dp/B00BSVMRC4/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1364205570&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=The+Yearning+by+Kate+Belle
iTunes buy link https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/the-yearning/id576561492?mt=11
The Yearning Paperback 1 May 2013
Booktopia buy link http://www.booktopia.com.au/the-yearning-kate-belle/prod9781922052643.html
Erotic romance novellas: The first two in Master of Love series featuring the handsome and charismatic Ramon Mendez, a masterful lover changing women’s lives by awakening their sexual potential.
- Breaking the Rules: iTunes (https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/breaking-the-rules/id587669259?mt=11) & Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Breaking+the+Rules+by+Kate+Belle
- Bloom: iTunes (https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/bloom/id587669283?mt=11) & Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Bloom-Random-Romance-ebook/dp/B00ANG3YKY/ref=pd_rhf_se_p_t_1)
Kate is a woman of many passions who juggles her pens with the rest of her life. She holds a tertiary qualification in chemistry, half a diploma in naturopathy and a diploma in psychological astrology. Kate believes in living a passionate life and has ridden a camel through the Australian desert, fraternised with hippies in Nimbin, had a near birth experience and lived on nothing but porridge and a carrot for 3 days.
Kate has received literary commendations and prizes under another pseudonym and has had a number of literary and commercial works published. She writes and loves in Melbourne, juggling her strange, secret affairs with her male characters with her much loved partner and daughter, and a menagerie of neurotic pets.
For all titles by Kate Belle please follow this link.