Friday, 14 March 2014

A Squeeky chat with Kathryn Ledson - Melbourne author and my Aunty.

Today I'd like to introduce you to Melbourne author (and my fab Aunty) Kathryn Ledson. Since The Squee is all about celebrating hard work, creativity and being generally excited about things, I couldn't wait any longer to brag about my talented Aunty and her two recently published hilarious crom/rom/com fiction books!! (Nothing like a little "neppa-tiz!" - a School of Rock reference if you're not familiar)

I asked if Kath wanted to write something for me to share here but she turned up her nose and said "can you just ask me stuff? I'm better at that"

So here goes!

Can you tell me a little about yourself, and your path to becoming a published writer?
If I think about where it all started, I’d have to say as far back as 1986 when I had a conversation with myself along these lines: ‘Kath, if you want certain things in your life, YOU have to make them happen.’ I was terrified, but went ahead and left my (brief, unhappy) marriage, secure job of 6 years, Melbourne and all my family (including a very cute little niece) and got a job on Hayman Island. It kind of went from there. I’d find myself saying, ‘What next?’ Leaving the corporate world for good and returning to school to do a writing course was just part of that whole process, but I didn’t for a second think I’d be writing a novel! Or two.

Rough Diamond (published by Penguin) was your first novel. For those who have not read it, can you give a little bit of a plot outline without giving too much away?

Well... there’s a girl, and a hunky guy, and he’s bleeding to death in her front garden. That doesn’t give too much away does it? No, really, it’s a story about an ordinary office worker who finds herself recruited into a secret team of vigilantes, who’ve made it their business to go about Melbourne eradicating all kinds of baddies (just like Batman). There might be a bit of naughtiness too – some love and lust – but the bedroom door stays firmly closed (in case you’re thinking 50 Shades...)

And your second and most recently released novel Monkey Business? (also published by Penguin).

Monkey Biz is a bit out there. It’s a sequel to the first but you can read it as a stand-alone novel. I’ve unleashed my weird humour in this book. Erica Jewell (my series character) gets a call to say that her beloved (she’d never let him hear her call him that) – the one bleeding to death in Rough Diamond – is in trouble yet again. This time he’s MIA on the dangerous, war-torn island of Saint Sebastian. Erica goes there to rescue him.

Where did your character and plot ideas come from? What has inspired you?
Well, about the time you were born, I was hooked on a very daggy show called Scarecrow and Mrs King. It featured Kate Jackson, fresh from (the original) Charlie’s Angels (another fave), who played a prudish, divorced housewife who happened to be in the right place at the right time and bumped into a spy (“Scarecrow”) needing help escaping bad guys. She was promptly recruited by his secret US agency and never looked back, until she made the mistake of marrying the spy, in which case the series was then boring and over! So I think a seed was planted way back then – it just took 30 years to sprout. And the plot ideas? Mostly from hilarious dinner parties with clever friends and family. (You did keep those sunburn diaries for me didn’t you?) [Editor note: I may indeed share the sunburn diaries at some stage! Keep your eyes peeled folks]

Did you realise right away that you were a funny writer? Or did you work at it?
Who are you calling funny! I’m very serious and sensible. Just look at Erica’s mother – a respectable, God-fearing Catholic lady. You know, as I wrote Rough Diamond, I’d titter to myself about some things (like Erica’s reaction to her Dad farting in front of Jack), but really didn’t expect to be considered a ‘funny writer’. Not that I mind! I quite like it, actually. No, the humour just comes. I can’t help it. A bit like farting, really.

Can you describe Erica Jewell and Jack Jones and the nature of their relationship?
Well, they do have a thing together. But Jack is damaged – he lost his wife and parents in the World Trade Centre in New York on that fateful day – and hasn’t let anyone close to him since. So Jack keeps an emotional arm’s length with Erica, and she doesn’t mind that at all (even though she secretly – to herself only – refers to him as her ‘boyfriend’), having been hurt by her lying, cheating, bastard ex-husband who ran off with a (blonde) bimbo in a (crappy old) sports car. There’s a serious attraction, though, that’s for sure. Over the series it’ll keep heating up until someone’s got to either cook or get outta the kitchen.

Can you tell me about something that gets you excited- something that makes you SQUEE!?

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