Today Katie Dale has been lovely enough to answer some burning questions I had as part of the blog tour for her book Someone Else’s Life which is available now:
What inspired you to write the story in Someone Else’s Life?
I saw a story in the news about two babies which had been switched at birth, and it just stuck with me. What if one of those babies was me? How would I feel – about myself, about my family, about my “real” family – when I found out? What would I do? Questions kept bombarding me until that was the story I had to write!
Have you always wanted to write professionally?
No, when I was little I wanted to grow up to be a farmer’s wife! Then the acting bug hit and I pursued that right through to drama school and beyond, performing in various short films and a feature film, then as Juliet in a five-month outdoor theatre tour – it’s hard to pretend you’re dead for twenty minutes when it’s pouring with rain!
You were selected to be in Undiscovered Voices anthology in 2008. What was that like?
Incredible! The only problem was that I entered the competition just before flying off to travel through South-East Asia for seven months! D’oh! So I was actually in an internet café in Vietnam when I got the email telling me I’d been selected! Suddenly agents and editors were contacting me, interested in reading the rest of the novel – a dream come true! – but I’d only written four chapters! D’oh!
I tried desperately to complete the novel whilst travelling, writing on beaches, boats, elephants etc but it was just impossible, so I finally waited till I got home. The competition opened so many doors for me, and it was one of the judges of the 2008 anthology, Catherine Coe, who gave me my first writing contract – but not for Someone Else’s Life, for an eight-book series for 5-8 year-olds! After that everything seemed to fall into place – I got offers from four literary agents, and Someone Else’s Life is being published in the UK, USA, Canada, Germany and Brazil!
Did you have to do a lot of research for Someone Else’s Life on the locations and issues that Rosie faced?
Locations-wise, fortunately I’d been to most of the locations featured in the book already – I spent a year studying abroad in the US as part of my degree – and the rest I managed to research online.
My main research was focused on Huntington’s disease – a disease I had never previously heard of. I joined an email group and talked to people with family affected by the disease, and they kindly shared their stories with me. Then I met people affected by Huntington’s – people who themselves are at-risk or symptomatic, or have family members with HD – and attended a conference of the Huntington’s Disease Association, which really brought it home to me that while the disease itself is devastating, it doesn’t define you. It’s how you choose to deal with it that counts – and I left feeling totally humbled and inspired by these incredible, courageous people.
I love the UK cover for Someone Else’s Life. Did you get any input in it and what was like for you when you saw it all finished and finalised?
I did get to see the rough for the cover, and made some suggestions (eg that Rosie should wear a red dress that she describes in Chapter 1) and really appreciated that Simon & Schuster took them on board. But nothing prepared me for seeing the final cover – I was STUNNED! I am so delighted with it, I’ve even made a bag with the cover design on! I feel like I really lucked out and am so grateful to Simon & Schuster for such a beautiful cover.
What is next for you? Are you working on the next novel already?
Yes! The next book is another stand-alone YA, but this time it’s more of a thriller – here’s the blurb:
Tall, dark, and handsome, the first time Sasha meets mysterious Christian she knows he is The One. But Christian is hiding a terrible secret. Why does he clam up every time Sasha asks about his past? Why does he have the initials L.N. engraved on his watch? Why doesn’t he have any family – and why does he dye his blond hair black?
Then when Christian’s house goes up in flames, his tyres are slashed, and he flees for his life, Sasha insists on going with him.
But as Christian’s secret is unveiled in front of the whole world, it seems everything he’s ever told Sasha is a lie. Even his name. Her loyalties torn, her emotions in tatters, Sasha must decide whether to stand by the man she loves, or turn him over to his pursuers. Can what they’re saying about him really be true? Should she trust him? Or is she in terrible danger…?
But Christian isn’t the only one keeping secrets.
For what if their accidental meeting was no accident at all…
On my blog I like to celebrating being a fangirl about books; What are do you fangirl over?
Oh my gosh, I am a fangirl over heaps of things! I LOVE shows like Dawson’s Creek (I chose to study abroad in North Carolina just because that’s where they filmed it!), Gilmore Girls, Desperate Housewives, Neighbours (I got to visit Ramsey St when I was travelling, and met the lovely Karl Kennedy!). I also love cheesy bands like Steps (I’m totally going to their reunion tour, and use the Steps DVD to work out!) Busted, and McFly, and I absolutely adore anything Peter Pan – he’s had a special place in my heart since I was a little girl, waiting at my bedroom window to fly off to Neverland!
Thanks so much to Katie for taking part in the Q&A and for more information on Katie and her book check out these links