Katie Lowe is a writer living in Worcester, UK. Her debut novel, The Furies has been published by Harperfiction (UK) this May. I have the pleasure to have this amazing short e-interview with Katie, while we discuss who she is, what inspired her to become an author and find out more about her first book.
Who is Katie Lowe?
Well, at the moment, first and foremost, I’m a novelist – spending almost all of my time working on my second book. I’m also about to start my PhD in literature – on the subject of female rage in literary modernism, and contemporary women’s writing – so I’d also say I’m an avid reader!
I live in Worcester, in a lovely little house with my sister, who’s an incredibly talented musician… So I consider myself to be a pretty lucky person, all things considered.
What inspired you to become a writer?
I think in one way or another it’s what I’ve always wanted to be – there’s a photo of on my eighth birthday in front of the typewriter I’d begged my parents for, because even back then, apparently, I took myself very seriously as a writer!
With that said, I always thought I’d write non-fiction – so for a long time, my great dream was to become an academic, or a journalist. It was only when my agent suggested I try my hand at fiction that I even considered I might be able to do it – and even then, I had to work at it for a good four or five years before I figured out how, exactly, fiction works… And that I could have a lot of fun doing it.
What particularly inspired you to write ‘’The Furies’’?
I knew I wanted to write a book about young women – particularly teenage girls – because I remember that period of my own life as being pretty emotionally intense, and full of potential. And the idea of witchcraft as a form of rebellion seemed to me too interesting not to write about. I find it a really powerful idea, personally, to have this history of (often forgotten) women who’ve positioned themselves as outsiders, even in the face of truly terrifying consequences… So I wanted The Furies to, in some way, explore that.
What message do you want to give to your readers through ‘’The Furies’’?
I don’t think there are any characters in the book that are particularly aspirational, or who’d serve in any way as role models – so I’m not sure it’s got an enormously positive message, in that respect. But what I’d love for it to do is to show that women – even, and especially, young women – have real agency, and power, and that they only have to believe in their own ability to harness it to make incredible things happen… Though whether that’s a good thing for the girls in this book, I’ll let your readers decide!
How do you deal with a writer’s block?
To be honest, I’ve never really found writer’s block to be a huge issue – partly because, up until quite literally the last month, I’ve always had to find time to write outside of work, using free minutes here and there… So each time I’ve sat down at my desk, I’ve been desperate to get going.
However, I’ve definitely found myself stuck on plot points, or other technical issues, while writing before – and for me, the best way to keep going is to go and do something else. So, for instance, if I’m stuck on how to move the plot forward, I’ll go back to another part of the book and focus on the description, the dialogue, or something else, and polish it up – and usually while I’m working on that, something will click with the bigger issue, so I can pick up where I left off.
What is the most challenging part when writing a book?
For me, it’s definitely plot. I so admire writers who can put together a really gripping, twisty plot – and it’s what I wanted to learn how to do with The Furies (though I’ll let you decide whether I’ve succeeded!) Writing flowery descriptions and spending time in character’s heads – that, for me, is all a joy – but the mechanics of getting a story from beginning to end in a way that’s believable, and yet unexpected… It’s definitely the biggest challenge, for me – and yet also the most satisfying thing to get right.
What kind of books do you want to read?
Given my PhD topic, this might be a fairly predictable answer – but I love books with complex, angry women – ideally who aren’t particularly likeable, either. I don’t know what that says about me, as a person, but… Here we are.
I also love books that give me an insight into a world, or a situation, that I know nothing about. I think there’s nothing better than closing the last page of a book and feeling like you truly experienced something you’d never have had the opportunity to, otherwise.
What was your favourite read in 2018?
A book that I absolutely adored – by which I mean, kept bringing up in conversation, without any context, and forcing it into the hands of almost-strangers – was Suicide Club by Rachel Heng. It’s an incredibly well-written book, with a brilliant premise – but it’s also deeply bittersweet, and asks a lot of questions about how, and why, we should want to live. I loved it.
Thank you for your time, Katie! It was a pleasure.
If you want to read my thoughts about The Furies, click here.