Posted by Juliet Madison
To celebrate the upcoming January 1st release of THE JANUARY WISH, the first book in my small coastal town series set in Tarrin’s Bay; The Town of New Beginnings, I’m starting a new interview segment called ‘At Home With…’
Today, for the first interview in this new segment, we’re paying a visit to author Kate Belle…
Let’s knock on her door… knock! knock!
1. Hi Kate, where are you from and how long have you lived there?
I feel like a gypsy when asked this question. I’d moved house five times by the time I was seven. My family settled in Benalla, a small town in Northern Victoria, where we lived until I was 13 and I kind of consider it ‘home’, although I’ve lived longest in various parts of Melbourne, so really the city is my home now.
2. What do you love about the place you call home?
I loved growing up in Benalla in the 1970’s. We had so much freedom to explore the Broken River, parks and train station at the end of my street. Now, in the city, I love the sense of community in my small suburb in the North East. I also love the cultural diversity the city has to offer – Melbourne has a strong Aboriginal community and people from over 150 countries. It makes for a fascinating place in terms of food, entertainment and literature.
We have an old fashioned shopping strip in Were St, Montmorency. The Were St Food Store makes THE BEST COFFEE ANYWHERE (because if it weren’t for the PASSION, we’d all be drinking instant). There are mosaics inlaid on the footpaths depicting some fascinating local history, like the dog with a cart that used to show up to buy his masters milk, bread and newspaper every day. Or the line of gumboots left at the railway station waiting for their owners to return from their city jobs and walk home through the mud. I know I’m bound to bump into someone I know there so I never feel lonely.
Like everything else in our home, our pets are second hand. Marmalade, our neurotic ginger (girl) cat arrived first, after our last adopted Greyhound died. But the cat wasn’t enough for Miss 9, and waiting for a cat friendly Greyhound was taking too long, so we went to Save a Dog Scheme and adopted Bear.
I walked past him because he’s long haired, but the volunteer there kept saying ‘THAT is a great dog. You can’t go past that dog.’ Turned out she was right. He is an amazing animal, so aware, clever, loving and gentle – even if a bit dependent and needy.
At first Bear was a nightmare. We couldn’t leave him alone without him destroying everything he could get his teeth into. He filled the lounge with towels from the bathrooms, half chewed toys from Miss 9’s toybox, and ripped up cushions and carpet. He became extremely anxious when we were away, even for 10 minutes.
She joined our family and we learned she is more Princess than dog, so not the ideal companion for Bear we hoped for. It’s taken Belle and Bear a good six months to work out their differences and they seem to be very good friends now. Although Belle will still turn over the dog beds in the middle of the night and settle herself on the couch, leaving Bear to sleep on the unforgiving floor.
[Juliet– too cute!]
5. What is your favourite room in the house and why?
My bedroom. Especially when my husband’s not in it. It’s the one place I can thoroughly escape from the world and be an introvert. No phone, no tv, it’s a haven of books and soft lighting and way too many second hand clothes.
Gosh, I struggle with these questions. My laptop, my diaries and my daughter’s baby photos probably. But then there are all my wonderful and rare books. And the cd’s. And the irreplaceable 1960’s coat of midnight velvet. Too hard!
[Juliet– I hope to see you wear that at a future RWA conference, Kate!]
7. If you had a magic wand, what’s one thing you would change about your home or your town?
I’d definitely make Melbourne smaller. It was a perfect size in the mid-nineties I think. That or magically create the BEST public transport system in the world so it would be easier to get around. I’d also give all our homeless folk somewhere decent to live so they weren’t stuck with the indignity of living on the streets.
8. It’s movie night at your place, the popcorn’s out, and everyone’s nabbed their favourite couch corner or armchair… what movie/s will we watch?
Well that is a huge argument waiting to happen, right there. Miss 9 will want to watch Harry Potter or Grease AGAIN! Hubby will want to watch a cheesy comedy or chick flick (yes, sometimes I wonder). I’ll want to watch something arty, perhaps even foreign with subtitles. You’ll have to choose, Juliet, or we will end up reading books instead.
[Juliet– Okay, I vote for…Dirty Dancing!]
9. Imagine you have the luxury of a chef for a night and you’ve invited people over for a dinner party, what would you have the chef cook?
Don’t you find with food, like movies and books, it depends on your mood? Is it winter or summer? Are the guests all adults or families? I’d have to do some research, come up with something incredibly complicated I’d never attempt myself. Something rare, delicate, Asian perhaps. Or a fragrant Indian feast.
Only 3 Juliet? But I have literally hundreds! Okay, okay.
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
I Take You by Nikki Gemmel
The Swan Book by Alexis Wright
11. Name something unique or uncommon that you have in your pantry or fridge:
Wait, let me go look.
[Juliet– I’m guessing you didn’t find anything unique in there, Kate? ;)]
12. If you could live anywhere for one year, where would you go?
By the coast somewhere warm, but not the tropics. Maybe Northern New South Wales, up around Coff’s Harbour somewhere. I’m open to suggestions if someone’s offering.
13. You’ve just received a phone call from a friend or relative, and they’ll be arriving in five minutes for a visit. What do you do?
a) Relax on the couch until they arrive.
b) Put the kettle on; place some (probably homemade) snacks onto a tray; set the table; put flowers into a vase; and light a candle (and maybe even make some place cards with your super calligraphy skills).
c) Put the kettle on; tip out a few cookies onto a plate; check your reflection in the mirror, and wait.
d) Freak out; shove excess household clutter under beds, in cupboards, drawers, and the garage; trip over something in the process; hold an ice pack to your bruised forehead while swearing profusely; check the mirror to see if you’re still in pyjamas; frantically change into suitable clothing whilst simultaneously holding ice pack to your head; fall over again; alternate ice pack between head and location of new injury; then shove ice pack under bed and greet visitors with the fakest smile of pure calm you can muster.
Do people do A, B or C?
[Juliet– I certainly don’t]
And help her pay for that in-house chef (or housekeeper) by buying a copy of her book, The Yearning, here:
Print book: Target, Kmart, Myer, Collins, Dymocks, Big W, Eltham Bookshop and other independent bookshops and major airports. If not in stock just ask.
Read an extract here.
It’s 1978 in a country town and a dreamy fifteen year old girl’s world is turned upside down by the arrival of the substitute English teacher. Solomon Andrews is beautiful, inspiring and she wants him like nothing else she’s wanted in her short life.
Charismatic and unconventional, Solomon easily wins the hearts and minds of his third form English class. He notices the attention of one girl, his new neighbour, who has taken to watching him from her upstairs window. He assumes it a harmless teenage crush, until the erotic love notes begin to arrive.
Solomon knows he must resist, but her sensual words stir him. He has longings of his own, although they have nothing to do with love, or so he believes. One afternoon, as he stands reading her latest offering in his driveway, she turns up unannounced. And what happens next will torment them forever – in ways neither can imagine.
Next week we visit the home of bestselling romance author with Entangled Publishing, Annie Seaton, so be sure to come back next week for another installment!