Kate Frost chats with us today about her second novel, Beneath the Apple Blossom, which published 4th August and is touring 5th – 17th August.
Kate lives in Bristol with her husband, an energetic toddler who loves waking up before 5am, and their cute and chilled out Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. When she’s not yelling ‘slow down’ to said toddler or being used as a climbing frame, Kate writes women’s and children’s fiction. Her debut novel, The Butterfly Storm, was published in 2013. Her first children’s book, Time Shifters: Into the Past, an exciting time travel adventure and the first of a trilogy will be published in October 2016.
Connect with Kate Frost
Welcome to Jera’s Jamboree.
What was the idea/inspiration for Beneath the Apple Blossom?
A dark and painful time of my life inspired my novel, Beneath the Apple Blossom. I considered turning my experience of infertility and subsequent treatment into a memoir but decided it was too personal to share. It did get me thinking though, about how little infertility, fertility treatments such as IUI, IVF and ICSI, along with miscarriage are openly talked about. I wanted to write a novel that would appeal to women who were struggling with their own fertility, who were contemplating having fertility treatment, who had suffered miscarriage and loss, who knew someone who was going through IVF, or who didn’t want to have children despite society suggesting that was what they should do.
A woman struggling to cope with her infertility was the starting point for the novel, but with the introduction of three more female characters dealing with different issues in their lives (not wanting to have kids and infidelity to name just two), the novel blossomed into a story about four women coping with both the desperate desire to have a baby when they can’t, along with the fear and devastation of getting pregnant when that’s the last thing they want.
By the way, I should say that I eventually got lucky; after four cycles of fertility treatment my husband and I welcomed our son in February 2014.
(Congratulations to you both)
Please tell us more about the characters.
The book is told from the point of view of four women: Pippa, Georgie, Sienna and Connie. Pippa and Connie long to have a baby but are struggling with infertility and IVF, while Georgie and Sienna have complicated enough lives without the addition of being pregnant. Although the book is told equally from the point of view of each character, it’s Pippa who has the direct connection to the other three women through family and friendship.
What scene did you most enjoy writing Kate?
It was the last scene of the book, which unfortunately is the one I can’t really tell you anything about without spoiling the book! It was enjoyable to write for a couple of reasons – one because I’d managed to write 90,000 words in nine months with a toddler, and two because it was an emotional book to write and having written all the ups and downs that Pippa, Georgie, Sienna and Connie had gone through during those 90,000 words, it was a relief to know that I’d managed to tie their stories together. I’ve never cried while writing before but with this book there are at least four scenes when I did, and the last scene is one of them, despite it being an enjoyable scene to write. You’ll just have to read it to find out why.
…. and what scene was the hardest?
As I just mentioned I was in tears writing a couple of the scenes, but the one where one of the characters goes to her twelve week scan and discovers she has had a missed miscarriage was the hardest to write. Fortunately I never had to go through that horror but I did suffer an early miscarriage after our second round of fertility treatment and that, coupled with the joy I felt at our twelve week scan (after our fourth successful treatment) when we got to see our son wriggling about waving his little arms and legs, made me realise just how devastating it would be to go into that scan with so much expectation and have it destroyed in a moment.
Do you have a most creative time of day?
It used to be in the afternoon, but since having my son writing time has been regulated to Tuesday and Thursday mornings when he’s at nursery or when he’s gone to bed – if I can stay awake that is. Creative time has to be snatched during his nap time whether I’m feeling inspired or not. It is, however, always a better alternative to doing the washing up.
Panster or plotter?
I’m a bit of both really. I do a sketchy plot outline and usually know the beginning, a few scenes that go in the middle and have an idea about the end. With Beneath the Apple Blossom I had an idea of where the story would take Pippa and Connie, but I didn’t really have a clue with Sienna and Georgie. It’s always a relief to reach the end and find that the plot holds together, but a lot of the time I’m not sure quite how I got there!
If your novel is part of a series, what is in the future?
The next book, which has the working title The House of Stone, follows Connie to an exotic location; book three is likely to combine the continuing story of half-sisters Pippa and Georgie; while the last book will focus on Sienna and what happens to her after Beneath the Apple Blossom ends.
Finally, what has been the best part of your writing journey so far?
The snowball effect that happened after I did a free promotion on my first novel, The Butterfly Storm, in 2013. It was August, the book had been out for about two months and had sold a handful of copies mostly to friends and family. I did a five day free promotion with KDP Select and had around 20,000 books downloaded and reached #1 in the UK free Kindle chart. Over the following few days when the book went back to paid, The Butterfly Storm made it into Amazon’s Movers and Shakers chart, was a bestseller in Literary Fiction and Women’s Literary Fiction categories, and peaked just outside the Amazon Kindle top 100. The best part, however, was reading the reviews that began to trickle in – naturally there were a few bad ones but the majority were 4 and 5* and most importantly they were honest. Reviews from people I didn’t know, but who loved my book. That was an incredible feeling.
Thank you for being my guest today Kate.
Wishing you success with Time Shifters : Into the Past and continuing The Hopeful Years.
Four women, linked by blood ties, friendship, betrayal, loss and hope, struggle with the choices they’ve made and the hand that life’s dealt them.
All Pippa’s ever wanted is marriage and kids, but at thirty-four and about to embark on IVF, her dream of having a family is far from certain. Her younger sister Georgie has the opposite problem, juggling her career, her lover, a young daughter and a husband who wants baby number two.
Pippa’s best friend Sienna has a successful career in the film world, and despite her boyfriend pressurising her to settle down, a baby is the last thing she wants. Happily married Connie shares the trauma of fertility treatment with Pippa, but underestimates the impact being unable to conceive will have on her and her marriage.
As their lives collide in a way they could never have predicted, will any of them get to see their hopes realised?