A Chat with Katie Fforde, Author of our Summer Book Club Pick

Have you heard of a wedding planner who doesn’t believe in love?

With thanks to Penguin, our Joules Summer Book Club pick is the uplifting and feel-good romantic novel, Wedding Season by Katie Fforde.

Katie’s book is all about wedding planner Sarah who has just agreed to plan two more weddings, but not only are they on the same day, they’re only two months away! Sarah enlists the help of her two best friends to help her pull together the two events in time. Little do they all know that helping other people find happiness will lead them down their own path to true love …

We caught up with Katie to discover more about her novel and her writing process.

Have you always wanted to be an author?

I first thought I wanted to be an author in my twenties when I had two small children who didn’t sleep and a husband who was at sea a lot of the time. Add in two mad cats and an Irish Wolfhound you will understand why I was very tired. I became addicted to Mills and Boon novels as an escape and when I became less tired, I thought, I could write one of these! All in all, I wrote eight novels, either entirely or partially, before I finally accepted defeat and thought it just wasn’t going to happen. It was only then, thanks to the Romantic Novelists’ Association, that I was introduced to a literary agent, who convinced me that I could write something a bit bigger . . . and writing contemporary romantic fiction proved to be my true calling!

My debut novel Living Dangerously was snapped up by a publisher before I’d even finished writing it and was published in 1995 – at the age of 42, 10 years after I first started trying, I was finally a published author. The story was inspired by much of my own life: my town, my job, my wardrobe, and even my elderly cat.

Since then I’ve written a further 29 novels as well as a collection of short stories and a Quick Read for The Reading Agency.

Where do you find your inspiration when writing?

Inspiration for books is everywhere. In the past I have had ideas for books from television programmes, the small ads in magazines and overheard scraps of conversation. It is amazing how many ideas there are if you keep your antennae on high alert!

How do you choose your characters’ names, have you met them?

I struggle a bit with names. It’s very important to get them right and I have used up a lot of names by now. I probably haven’t met them in real life!

What are your three favourite books and why?

This is a hard one! My first favourite is King Arthur and his Knights. My mother read it to me when I was very small. I think it made me a romantic novelist. The second is Friday’s Child by Georgette Heyer, the first of hers I read. I carried on until I’d read them all, several times. My third is The Diary of a Mad Housewife by Sue Kauffman which I read when I was 16 and a student in Rome. It was far too old for me really but I re read it recently and I can see why I liked it. The writing is so frank.

You can invite three people to dinner, past or present, who would you invite and what would you cook?

I cannot imagine anything more stressful than inviting my heroes to dinner and then having to cook for them but here goes. Georgette Heyer. I don’t suppose she’d come because she’d be too grand and wouldn’t want to have dinner with another writer. Shakespeare because he is the best writer ever, and I don’t suppose he’d be fussy about the food. Maya Angelou, another writer who is right up there.

As for the food, I might start with ‘pine cones’ which is savoury choux pastry with cheese and ham which you deep fry. Tasty and quite easy, although a bit ‘last minute.’ Then a really good stew, like beef cooked in beer (which I would do the day before) with a cheese scone topping. For pudding I might do a simple chocolate mousse with cream. I think chocolate needs cream!

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

This advice was given to me and other new mothers by a paediatrician, but it applies to everything. ‘Don’t ask advice unless you’re absolutely sure you don’t know the answer.’

Tell us something about yourself that we likely don’t know! The more obscure the better!

I spent three months in Rome when I was 16 studying modern dance and singing. I was spotted by someone looking for dancers and he wanted me in his show. I declined. My mother wanted me home!

Thank you so much for speaking with us Katie!

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