Yesterday evening, I attended “An Evening with Kate Morton” at the central branch of the Kitchener Public Library.
A packed auditorium and overflow room greeted the international best-selling author of The House of Riverton, The Forgotten Garden, The Distant Hours, The Secret Keeper, and The Lake House. Her latest release, The Clockmaker’s Daughter, is one of the Top 10 books of 2018 (Indigo).
After reading a short excerpt from The Clockmaker’s Daughter, Kate participated in an armchair conversation with Kitchener writer, Kayleigh Platz. The time flew quickly as Kate shared her writing journey and details about her novels.
One of three daughters, Kate was born and raised in Australia. A voracious reader, Kate lived inside her books but didn’t even consider writing as a career. In fact, it never occurred to her that real people wrote books.
At age twenty, Kate was inspired by a visit from her fourteen-year-old sister, who had written a sexy romance. The sisters bought notebooks and started brainstorming ideas for future novels.
As soon as Kate put pen to paper, she realized she had to write. She wrote two manuscripts that will never see the light of day. After the second manuscript was rejected, Kate researched what was selling and then made a list of what she wanted to see in her own books.
Two-thirds of the way through Book 3—The House of Riverton—she sent the manuscript to an agent who passed it on to a publisher. Intrigued, the publisher asked Kate how long it would take to complete the novel. The House of Riverton was one of the most successful UK debuts of all time.
Kate’s Writing Process
The first three to five months is a scribbling period, Kate’s favorite part of the process. Using pen and paper, she sorts through fragments of ideas and thoughts. A picture starts to form as Kate outlines the plot and becomes more acquainted with the characters.
As soon as the characters feel real, Kate starts writing on the computer. It takes nine to twelve months to complete the first draft which is really like an eighth draft. As Kate finishes writing each scene, she stops to make changes. Final editing takes another five to six months.
Asked about a sequel, Kate explained that each book is complete on its own. When it’s finished and shared with the reader, she is ready to focus on the next book.
A long-time fan of Kate Morton, I’m reading and thoroughly enjoying The Clockmaker’s Daughter. It is her most intricate book with multiple storylines alternating between the past and present.