I’m delighted to be welcoming Kate Frost to my hot seat. Last year Kate chatted to us about her novel Beneath the Apple Blossom and today, she’s sharing with us her second novel in the Hopeful Years series, The Baobab Beach Retreat. Both standalone novels, The Baobab Beach Retreat is an uplifting and moving novel about love, loss and hope, set in Tanzania and Zanzibar.
Find out which character she would choose to be, the experience that inspired this story and much more.
Kate Frost lives in Bristol with her husband, a hyper pre-schooler who still loves waking up before 5am, and their cute and chilled out Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. When she’s not being used as a climbing frame, Kate writes women’s and children’s fiction. She has four books out, Beneath the Apple Blossom and The Baobab Beach Retreat being the first two novels in The Hopeful Years series. Kate’s debut novel, The Butterfly Storm, was published in 2013 and her first children’s book, Time Shifters: Into the Past, an exciting time travel adventure for 9-12 year-olds and the first of a trilogy, was launched last year.
Connect with Kate Frost
Welcome back 🙂
If you could choose to be one of the characters in your books which would you be?
The women in my women’s fiction books all go through a pretty difficult and emotional time, so I think I’d chose to be one of the male characters instead! (That’s not to say they all have an easy time either.)
Jamil is one of the leading men in The Baobab Beach Retreat. He’s young, good looking, half British, half Tanzanian and lives and works at the luxury safari camp his father owns in Tanzania’s stunning Selous Game Reserve. Jamil was a lot of fun to write – charming, sexy and hopefully likable, so I think it would be a lot of fun to step into his shoes for a while.
What scene did you enjoy writing the most?
It’s got to be one that features Jamil! Like I said, he was a lot of fun to write. Connie leaves the UK to get over a broken marriage only for her life to be complicated once again by men, Jamil being one of them. He’s younger and has had a crush on her since he was in his early teens. There’s a scene where the two of them are alone on a Zanzibar beach and it was great to play around with the dynamics between them, the way Jamil flirts and Connie tries to resist… They also have a heartfelt conversation that really gets under Connie’s skin – he both charms and confuses her. It was an enjoyable scene to watch unfold as I hadn’t really planned it. I love it when that happens and a character takes over for a while.
Did you travel to any places Kate?
I didn’t travel anywhere to actually write the novel but it was a travel experience that inspired the setting for the book. I spent two weeks in Tanzania and Zanzibar on my honeymoon in 2009. It was an incredible place and I knew one day that I would set a book there. When I introduced the character of Connie’s aunt who lived overseas in Beneath the Apple Blossom (the first book in the series), the obvious place for her to have her beach retreat was, of course, Tanzania. The safari camp and beach resorts in The Baobab Beach Retreat are fictional but they are based on the places my husband and I stayed.
Did you do any research?
I looked back over photos and the travel diary I kept during my time in Tanzania and Zanzibar to get a feel for the place again and recapture the sights, sounds and smells. Because the book is mainly set at a beach retreat I contacted the PR person at the Selous Safari Company (we stayed at two of their camps, Ras Kutani and Siwandu, on our honeymoon) and they helpfully answered my questions about the day to day running of the luxury camps and the amount of staff and the types of jobs at both a beach retreat and a safari camp. Google Earth was also a really good way of getting the sense of a place and to plot routes and find how long it would take to drive somewhere.
Let’s talk book covers. Who designs them?
The Baobab Beach Retreat is the second in The Hopeful Years series, so it closely follows the look of the first book, Beneath the Apple Blossom. I love the cover of Beneath the Apple Blossom, it depicts the tone of the story and themes perfectly and it’s actually one of the covers Jessica Bell, my incredibly talented cover designer uses to promote her business. It’s a simple but effective concept using an image and colour scheme which Jessica followed on with The Baobab Beach Retreat. I think the two covers work beautifully together and I can’t wait to see what book three in the series will look like!
What inspired you to write Kate?
The home tutor I had following open heart surgery for a hole-in-my-heart when I was seven is the reason why I write! There are two things I remember her teaching me about: dinosaurs and how to write a story. I spent hours scribbling stories at our dining table when I was a child, before getting distracted by acting when I was a teenager. After I graduated with a BA Hons Drama I started writing again and have carried on ever since.
Do you have a favourite place you go to for inspiration or a favourite activity?
If I want to get a decent amount of writing done, then I go to one of the local coffee shops. The background noise and a decent latte helps me focus and I can get two or three times as much writing done than if I was at home.
Inspiration wise it always comes down to place for me – pretty much all of my books have been inspired by somewhere: Greece, north Norfolk, Tanzania, Warwick Castle (for my time travel adventure series for children). Getting outdoors and going for a walk is great thinking time and I often come up with ideas when out in the fresh air.
Finally, can you share with us what you’re working on now?
I’m hoping to start on the third book in The Hopeful Years series in the new year but at the moment I’m working on the sequel to my most popular book, The Butterfly Storm. I intended for it to be a standalone book, but lots of readers have asked for a follow up, so with ideas brewing over the past couple of years I started writing The Birdsong Promise earlier this year. I’m wading through the muddy middle at the moment but taking part in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is helping me to power through.
Wishing you success with all your writing projects Kate.
Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 662.0 KB
Print Length: 227 pages
Publisher: Lemon Tree Press (14 Nov. 2017)
Tanzania. A place to be happy, to sleep uncovered with the sound of waves crashing to the shore. For Connie Stone, it’s a place to heal.
When Connie leaves behind a cheating husband and heartache in the UK for her aunt’s beach retreat, the last thing she wants is for her life to once again be complicated by men.
Yet when her past follows her to Tanzania, her time to heal is short-lived and a reckless decision shatters her hopes for a fresh start. An unexpected return to the UK reveals a long-hidden family secret that Connie has to deal with before she can decide the direction her life should take.
Getting over a broken heart was never going to be easy. Can Connie put the past to rest and find peace and love in a country far from home?