Tuesday 1 March 2011

Guest Blogger - Kate Johnson & The Untied Kingdom

Hi Debs, it’s such a pleasure to be here in your gorgeous shed! I’m quite jealous, all I have for my Writing Cave is the spare room, complete with two old computers, several St Patrick’s Day Guinness hats, a futon and usually a cat or two hiding away (it’s hard to count sometimes, they keep changing places. A lesser woman would freak out over the strange noises froming from behind the furniture, but I know any intruders or ghosties are likely to have four legs and a tail).
But enough about my Crazy Cat Lady tendencies. I’m here to talk to you about my upcoming release from Choc Lit, The Untied Kingdom. Here’s what it’s about:

The portal to an alternate world was the start of all her troubles - or was it?

When Eve Carpenter lands with a splash in the Thames, it's not the London or England she's used to. No one has a telephone or knows what a computer is. England s a third world country and Princess Di is still alive. But worst of all, everyone thinks Eve's a spy.

Including Major Harker who has his own problems. His sworn enemy is looking for a promotion. The general wants him to undertake some ridiculous mission to capture a computer, which Harker vaguely envisions running wild somewhere in Yorkshire.

Turns out the best person to help him is Eve. She claims to be a popstar. Harker doesn't know what a popstar is, although he suspects it's a fancy foreign word for spy . Eve knows all about computers, and electricity. Eve is dangerous. There's every possibility she's mad.

And Harker is falling in love with her.

One of the first questions I get asked about this book is, “Where on earth did that title come from?” The second is, “How did you ever think of that idea?”

The first is easier to answer. It has to do with a misspelling, a friend from Texas, and Yahoo Internet Messenger. You can probably guess the rest!

As for the world itself...that’s harder to explain. I could spin you the story about my same Texan friend and how she thought it was hilarious that the BCG injection routinely given in Britain was considered by her medical textbooks (she’s a nurse) to be a drug only given in third world countries. “Did you know you live in a third world country?” she asked me. “Well, it’d explain the transport system,” I replied.

And from there things just...grew. My friend and I joked about over Instant Messenger about what this world would be like—about key moments in British history that could be changed or reversed. What if we’d lost one or both of the World Wars? What if we’d never had an empire? What if the Industrial Revolution had happened to someone else?

And suddenly, I had a book taking form in my head.

Usually whenever anyone asks me how on earth I come up with ideas from my book, the look I give them is as blank as the one they’re giving me. “What do you think about when you’re washing dishes or driving the car or hanging out laundry? Don’t you have these stories running through your head? Isn’t your mind full of other people?” For all my powers of imagination I can’t imagine what it would be like to not be constantly dreaming of heroes and villains and stories. And yet when it came to The Untied Kingdom...yes, I remember exactly how it started.

With a misspelling.

Kate is a prolific writer of romantic and paranormal fiction. Born in 1982, Kate is Choc Lit’s youngest author and lives near Stansted. She is a self-confessed fan of Terry Pratchett, whose fantasy fiction has inspired her to write her own books. Kate worked in an airport and a laboratory before escaping to write fiction full time. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and has previously published short stories in the UK and romantic mysteries in the US. She’s a previous winner of the WisRWA's Silver Quill and Passionate Ink's Passionate Plume award.

Her UK debut novel The Untied Kingdom has had rave reviews from everyone who has read the manuscript. This eagerly awaited novel will be published in April 2011 by Choc Lit.

Thanks to Kate for visiting The Plotting Shed and telling her all about The Untied Kingdom. I can't wait to read it and if you'd like to be in with a chance of winning a copy, please leave a 'Pick Me' comment. You have until 6pm on Saturday 5 March. Good luck.


Flowerpot said...

Pick me please! Sounds like a great read - and I've often misstyped that word as well!

Pat Posner said...

Pick me, pretty please!
Erm, I actually read it as United at first! Love how the title came about. Great interview.

Deborah Carr (Debs) said...

flowerpot - it does sound good, doesn't it? I love that title.

pat - Thanks. I also read it as United at first.

B.E. Sanderson said...

Wow, that sounds like an awesome story. Let me know when it's going to be published over here (because as great as it sounds, it really should make it across the pond). Don't worry about entering me in the drawing, Debs. I don't want you to have to pay shipping to get it to me.

Kaye Manro said...

Wow Kate-- I love your premise. The very first story I ever wrote took place in an alternate realtiy, too. Yours sound fantastic and I'd love to read it!

Congrats on the release and good luck!

Talli Roland said...

1982! You are indeed a young'un! :)

Interesting to hear how your story started. Can't wait to read it!

Karen said...

I love how the title came about and the book sounds fantastic! Can't wait to read it.

Janice said...

Pick me please: great interview and what sounds like a great story. Can't wait to read Untied Kingdom!
Janice x

Deborah Carr (Debs) said...

B E - thanks, I'll try to find out for you.

kaye - it does sound good.

talli - I thought that was interesting too.

karen - good, wasn't it?

janice - me too.

Lizzie Lamb said...

First iof all - great Blog, Debs. I need a plotting shed in a more temperate climate right now. Well done to Kate for coming up with such an intriguing idea for a novel. They keep telling us to think up new twists and turns and she's definiitely managed that with the Untied Kingdom. Please pick me as a winner this week - just discovered that I'm possessed by SANTA and need help.

Think about it!

Deborah Carr (Debs) said...

lizzie - thanks for liking my blog. My shed is far warmer than expected today, probably due to the sunny weather. Mind you it's perishing outside.

Possessed by SANTA? Am thinking about it now?

Suzanne Ross Jones said...

Great post, Debs and Kate.


Deborah Carr (Debs) said...

suzanne - thanks.x