Name: Katherine Blakeman
Age: Old Enough To Know Better, Young Enough Not To Care!
Location: South-East England
What? I'm sure you'd rather see my Bitmoji than my face...!
I've always been a bookworm. Yes, I know that's a cliché, but it's true. My pre-school records say that three-year-old Kathy's favourite book was 'Postman Pat', which I apparently read to whoever would listen at any given opportunity. (Until I read those records I had no idea that Postman Pat even had books, so he obviously made a great impression on me.)
Except clearly he did, because I've hardly stopped reading since. Fast-forward another six or seven years and I was starting high school with my specs, a paralysing shyness and a never-waning love for books. As I entered my teenage years, my phone and social media did have their appeal, but every night I would leave my phone downstairs and return to the little worlds on my bookshelf. Enid Blyton, Jacqueline Wilson and Lauren St John were personal favourites. Through my teenage years and more recently, they have been set aside a bit in favour of post-1900 historical fiction and lesbian fiction - but they're still on my shelf, old faithful stories to return to when I'm feeling unmoored.
Crucially, all these authors gave me an insatiable appetite for writing. Going back to my schooldays, I have clear and fond memories of hunching over a table with my paper and pen, furiously scribbling Blyton-esque stories which my teacher would then read out to the class. When I was eight or nine, a teacher of mine even gave my first novel to a publisher friend of his to be published as an eBook. For a long time I didn't look it up, but my schoolmates did - it was big news at that time. People asked me about that book right up until I left sixth form aged eighteen! I have since withdrawn it.
That isn't to say I've stopped writing, though. I honestly cannot remember a time when I haven't had a book on the go. (Often several, given that I have the attention span of a gnat when it comes to writing my own books.) For four years, that book was The Silent Chapter. Set in the first half of the twentieth century and dedicated to my grandmother, whose own personal experience of being an evacuee is embedded into Chapter Eight, The Silent Chapter is very close to my heart. It's gone through several stages - I can't be the only author who wrote their chapters in the wrong order, right? - but that has only added to its depth. I finally regarded it finished in Spring 2021.
The Silent Chapter was published, after much excitement, in February 2022. Hailed 'one of the best debut books I have read in a while' by Briony Molly Media, I can safely say it's been well-received so far! Order it today for a lovely little parcel of historical fiction goodness to be delivered to your house (or your Kindle).
But I'm not only a historical fiction writer! While it was certainly my first love, in the last couple of years or so I've branched out into lesbian fiction. Perhaps something to do with the fact that I'm gay myself! Around the time I was starting to accept that, I started writing The Summer We've Had. It's a sunny Sapphic romance set in Cornwall in 2018. And I combined it with one of my other great interests: psychology. Specifically, Dissociative Identity Disorder, a type of complex-PTSD that one of the main characters has. I've never seen fiction containing DID before, so that alone promises that The Summer We've Had will unlike anything you've ever read before! It will be available for pre-order very soon.