Friday, July 17, 2015

Summer on the Water, Katherine Smith - Season 2, Episode 12

Today I am pleased to welcome author Katherine Smith to my Summer on the Water blog. Not only does Katherine write, but she also manages Heddon Publishing, a publishing place for Indie authors. I'm looking forward to hearing her story as well as her Indie publishing venture.

Katherine, what is Writing the Town Read about? Give readers a brief elevator pitch.

Writing the Town Read is a modern story set in July 2005 when there were terrorist attacks on the London transport system.

The story is set in Cornwall, a good way from London and follows the story of opinionated yet slightly naïve local journalist Jamie, whose boyfriend Dave goes missing in London at the time of the attacks. It’s her story, not his, and follows her search for him as well as facing up to a number of other challenges. There are elements of mystery and humour which I hope combine to make an entertaining and thought-provoking read.

I love thrillers, and this sounds fascinating! Since this is a ‘Summer on the Water blog’, I want to know what body of water you set your story near. 

Writing the Town Read is set in an unnamed Cornish town which was largely inspired by St Ives, a town surrounded by the most beautiful turquoise sea – unexpectedly exotic for Britain.

Jamie has been drawn back to life in the town she grew up in, seduced by the sea and the different pace of life it inspires.

I chose to set the story by the sea because I suppose I am partially living vicariously through my novel – I have never lived by the sea but I fully intend to one day. For the meantime I just have to content myself with writing about it.

I am also intrigued by the contrast between life in small, remote places – and you don’t get much more remote than the tip of Cornwall, in the UK at least – and large cities. I do live in a rural town at the moment but it is land-locked. The sea adds another, vital, element to rural life.

I think we all to an extent, live vicariously through our stories! Thanks for this. Do you live near the water yourself, Katherine?
I am determined I will live by the sea one day. St Ives, though not named specifically, was a major inspiration for Writing the Town Read and a good portion of the book was written there. We used to have family holidays in Cornwall when I was a child and I love the county as a whole but I discovered St Ives when I was about 21 and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since. To risk sounding like a hippy, I feel my energy increases when I am there, and I just feel absolutely at home. 
You don't sound like a hippie at all! (If you are, then I am, too.) Okay, Katherine, why are you choosing to self-publish? Tell us about this thing called 'Independent Publishing."

I set out trying to find an agent and traditional publisher and I received encouraging feedback but the more I found out about self-publishing, the more it seemed to make sense. This tied in with being approached by another author, Michael Clutterbuck, to publish on his behalf (I was already working as a freelance editor, proofreader and copywriter).

From there, Heddon Publishing grew and by the time this interview goes out I hope to have published 20 books, two of which are my own.

Although I am assuming most writers dream of huge advances and a bestselling novel, I really think that the world of independent publishing is inspiring. It constantly reminds me of why I write – I love it – and is full of individuals who help each other out, which really appeals to me.

Having said that, yes, if I was offered a huge sume of money by a traditional publisher, I would probably sell out!

My advice to another author thinking of self-publishing for the first time is to make sure your book is edited, proofread and presented brilliantly Also get a good cover! The story may be absolutely amazing but without these key factors it will sink like a stone and possibly be ripped apart by readers.

Katherine, you are asked to give a Ted Talk. What will it be about?

Possibly about not letting parenthood limit your possibilities. I’m speaking as the mother of two young children (three and five years old). My first pregnancy was the catalyst for setting up my freelance business and since then I have self-published two novels as well as setting up Heddon Publishing and working with a range of clients in the publishing, education and business worlds.

Also, more importantly – though I’m not sure this is what TED talks are for! - not letting business compromise your parental ideals. My priority is being a parent but it doesn’t stop me achieving my goals. It just means they take a bit longer…

That sounds very self-righteous; it’s not meant to.

Thanks Katherine. Where can readers find you?


Heddon Publishing

Heddon Publishing/Facebook

To purchase:  

Writing the Town Read UK

Writing the Town Read US


  1. Thank you Katherine for posting this. I love British novels and live in a very tiny community so I can relate. I also started to write when my children were small, mostly so I didn't go insane and could put on paper some of their antics.

    1. Hi Barb,
      Sorry for this very late reply but from your comments I'm guessing you can appreciate I've been swept away by child-related stuff and trying to fit in my publishing work over the summer, and have been very remiss in terms of all things writing. Thanks for taking the time to read this though :-)

  2. Ohhh. Cornwall. That's on my list of places I must go. And here's a chance to take a virtual trip through your book.

    1. A very, very late reply from me, I do apologise! Cornwall is a place like no other 9in my humble opinion). It's definitely got a touch of magic!

  3. I do love the idea of a story set in Cornwall and hope to have an opportunity to read this intriguing story. Enjoyable interview, Katherine.

    1. Thank you Gail and apologies for this late reply. I am only now getting my feet back on the ground after the schools have gone back in the UK. I'm glad you enjoyed the interview. I am hoping to return to some new writing today...

  4. Thank you Katherine for sharing with us. We all enjoyed meeting you and your cast of characters, and learning more about Heddon publishing.

    1. Linda, I'm so sorry I didn't reply sooner to this. The summer got a bit over-whelming with work, children and no writing at all unfortunately! Thank you so much for having me on your blog though, I think your series was excellent and I loved having the chance to be featured.