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03 June 2020

Q&A with Kate Mallinder

Today I am lucky enough to be doing a Q&A with Kate Mallinder as part of the blog tour for Asking For A Friend, the author's second book. I think it's fascinating to see how authors write and how they got their inspiration.

Asking For A Friend comes out tomorrow, and I am very excited - it sounds excellent.

Q&A with Kate Mallinder

Q&A with Kate Mallinder

Can you describe Asking For A Friend in five words?

Heart-warming, satisfying, holiday, feel-good, friendship

What inspired you to write the Asking For A Friend?

A variety of things collided. Firefly were interested in me writing something ‘the same but different’ which makes sense as it builds on people’s enjoyment of my debut. I tried to distil what it was that made Summer of No Regrets what it was and which bits should be the same and which bits different. I got tangled in that for quite a while. At the same time I was doing a part-time MA in Writing for Young People and a writing prompt helped me to write what is now the opening chapter and it introduced me to Agnes and Hattie. It’s changed a lot but those two characters are essentially the same as when I first wrote them. I wrote three or four versions of the first six or so chapters with synopsis permutations until I found the story both I and Firefly liked. I think second books are written with more of an eye on the market but I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

Which of your characters would you most like to sit down and have a cuppa with?

Oh that is HARD! I think as soon as I put myself into those relationships then all the dynamics change, and while my focus is on the individual characters, I’m endlessly fascinated by how people act and react in different groups. Having said that, I would love to tell Jake that it will all be okay, to tell Hattie she already has the strength, she just has to find it and to tell Agnes she is awesome and to carry on being true to herself.

Where would you most like to go on a 'study break'?

Wow, this is extra-specially loaded at the moment when we can’t go anywhere! I’ve been daydreaming about going to loads of different places. I think if I was actually intending to study I’d like to go to the Bodleian Library in Oxford or the Tianjin Binhai Library in China or go back in time to the amazing old public library of Cincinnati. But if I was planning to ‘study’ then somewhere warm, sunny and interesting. I went to Lanzarote a few months ago, not expecting to be fascinated by the landscape. I brought home a pebble of volcanic rock and have it on my desk and it makes me smile just seeing it.

Are you a planner or a pantser?

I used to be a pantser but now I plot a lot more, mainly through necessity and a desire not to waste time. I know you’re not supposed to think of it as wasting time. I like to think of it as trying to streamline the process, though it’s still a messy, tangled jumble. I usually write multiple drafts of the opening chapters, then write the whole thing, then edit. There is crying and chocolate.

What is your favourite thing about writing?

You know when you read, you can have ‘meh’ sessions when you don’t fully engage with the story, and then sometimes you immerse in what you’re reading so completely that you don’t notice time passing and you forget to eat or sleep and it feels the best and you buzz with the story? Well writing is very like that. A lot of the time it’s turning up, doing your best and putting in the work, but every now and then your story completely devours you, and it feels more real than life. That feeling is awesome. I’ve heard Chris Vick talk about that feeling. He describes it as crack cocaine. It feels like you’re flying.

Finally, what are you working on now? What can we expect from you in the future?

There are several stories at different stages: some ideas, some finished and one new and shiny one that I’m writing for my MA. I’m aware that just because I’ve had books published in the past, doesn’t guarantee anything in the future and that along with publishers pushing back titles and the shops being closed, the possibility decreases. Let’s say I’m hopeful but pragmatic.

Asking for a Friend by Kate Mallinder cover

Will you be reading Asking for a Friend by Kate Mallinder?


  1. An excellent interview and incredible questions! I love reading about authors thoughts, their books and their writing process it is a lot of fun!

  2. These were some fab questions! I enjoy hearing more from authors about their work :)

  3. Such a lovely interview, heartwarming books are the best kind of books


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