The Kiwi Kids’ Bookstore owner and Kiwi author Kate Gordon-Smith answers our questions about her writing and books in our next ‘Meet the Author’ segment.
Q: Are you writing any books at present?
A: Yes! I’m very pleased to say I’ve finished the first draft of the first book in a new series called the Red Collie Mysteries. I think they’ll suit readers aged 7-10, so junior fiction or younger middle grade if you want an official book classification category.
The first one is called Maddison McQueen and the Cupcake Mystery and features 10-year-old Maddie and her red and white border collie called Ruby (who is based on Kenzie, our red and white collie, pictured with our rescue dog Snow).
Maddie and Grandma are entering their cupcakes in the baking competition at the Wanaka Pastoral Show, but someone steals Grandma’s cupcakes off the bench! Maddie and Ruby, plus Maddie’s great friends Josh and Rose, investigate.
So far the story outlines for four books have made themselves known to me. I’m plotting the second on, Maddison McQueen and the Stolen Puppies, already and working on plans for the edits, illustrations, covers, etc so more news on anticipated publication dates to come 🙂
Q: It’s been a while since you released Lily and the Unicorn King. What’s happening with that series?
A: Well… I have written about half the second unicorn book, called Sasha and the Warrior Unicorn. But the story’s gone in the wrong direction and it needs a massive rewrite from about a third in.
Honestly, I haven’t had the energy for it over the past year or so, but kept telling myself I couldn’t write anything else until I fixed that book. So… I wrote nothing for a LONG time.
Yes, I’ve been busy with this bookstore and other work, but that was just an excuse why I wasn’t writing. Eventually I figured out that I could give myself permission to leave the second unicorn book for as long as it takes to feel like I’m ready to work on it again.
And, with that clearing of mindset, I’ve ripped into the Red Collie Mystery series and have absolutely LOVED writing a much shorter story, set in my hometown with no fantastical unicorns telling me how to the story needed to go. I do love the unicorns, but they’re bossy!
Q: What do you enjoy about writing for children and teens?
A: I love so much about writing for young readers. Mostly, I think it’s about trying to recreate what I enjoyed about reading as a child (but more modern and inclusive!). The magic of getting lost in a great story and meeting characters you really enjoy. Of not wanting to stop reading because you HAVE to find out what happens next. The excitement of seeing another book in the series being released. Of being able to relate to some characters, as being like you, and being inspired by others who are braver, more adventurous, etc.
On writing fiction in general, it’s just so much fun to make up the world in which your story is set. It might be based on a real place, but you’ve got the freedom to change whatever you like.
Right now, making sure that writing is fun is the most important thing for me. That’s what fuels me to keep writing. And I hope that sense of fun flows through into the stories for the readers to enjoy too.