Friday in Focus with Kathy Sharp

Posted 16th March 2018 by Emma in FIF, Q&A / 0 Comments

It’s Friday!!!! FINALLY!! And today I am excited to be joined by Kathy Sharp.

Can you tell us about your most recent book?

Whales and Strange Stars is set in the marshlands of 18th century Kent. All of the characters have something to hide, so it’s a tale of mysteries and secrets.

Can you tell us about the characters in this book?

The main characters are young Rosamund Euden and her uncles Burto, a ferryman, and Joss, a boatman. They live at the Tradewinds Inn in the dilapidated and forgotten riverside port of Wych Ferry.

Who is your favourite?

My favourite is Joss Euden, a mercurial character. He is easily pleased, and just as easily cast into depression. A bit like me, I suppose! His happiest relationship is with his boat, the Belle Isle, and I loved writing about that.

Who was the easiest to write?

Probably Mr Antonius. He is another conflicted character – a respectable businessman with shady connections. He was easy to write, in a way, because he never fully reveals his thoughts.

Who was the most difficult?

Young Rosamund. Her wish for adventure and to see the outside world beyond her home at Wych Ferry is pivotal to the story, and I had a struggle to get it right. It’s also never easy for an adult to place themselves in the head of a teenager.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

Keeping track of the plot and subplots. It’s a tightly-meshed and many-layered story and it was important that everything happened at exactly the right point in time. There were days when I thought I’d never untangle all the knots.

Do you have a favourite scene from this book? What is it and why?

As always, I was happiest writing about Joss the boatman. My favourite scene is one in which he has been involved in a skirmish and is lying seriously injured in an icy ditch in the dark. You might be surprised to hear that it’s probably the funniest scene in the book.

What is your favourite place to write?

I live near the Chesil Beach in Dorset, and whenever I have some serious writing to do I walk across to the Chesil Beach Café where I can have not only excellent coffee but an inspiring view across the Fleet Lagoon, too.

What is your favourite place to read?

I most often read in bed before I sleep. In fact, I can’t sleep unless I read first.

What is your favourite book and why?

Not one favourite book, but nineteen of them. This is Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin series, set in the Napoleonic Wars. Fabulous seagoing adventure combined with great storytelling. If I had to choose one it would probably be Desolation Island, which contains one of the most breathless and sustained chase scenes ever written.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I enjoy visiting historic gardens and photographing all the plants. It verges on an obsession. I also enjoy singing with a local choir – Island Voices on the Isle of Portland.




Friday in Focus with Kathy SharpWhales and Strange Stars: An Adventure by Kathy Sharp
Published by Crooked Cat Publishing on 16th January 2018
Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery
Pages: 263

A world beyond her own.

A sea captain passes through the forgotten port of Wych Ferry, and whiles away an hour relating his traveller’s tales to young Rosamund Euden. He tells her that the stars are different, if you sail far enough, that the horizon isn’t quite real, not when you get there; he speaks of sea serpents and whales, and mysterious islands.

To an impressionable girl who has never left her home, the whales and strange stars of his stories come to symbolise the great outside world she longs to see. The sea captain moves on, unaware of the dramatic events he has set in action as Rosamund’s search for adventure leads her into a world of dangerous secrets in the marshlands of eighteenth century Kent.

Torn between loyalty to her uncles, and her desire to discover what lies beyond the marshes, Rosamund seeks help from an unexpected source. But who can she really trust?

About Kathy Sharp

Kathy Sharp was born and brought up by the sea in Kent. Life took her inland, and she worked for many years as a desktop publisher for Surrey County Council, and as a tutor in adult education.

And then, one day, she visited a friend who had just moved to the Isle of Portland, Dorset, and fell in love with the place. She has now lived by the sea in the Weymouth and Portland area for more than a decade, and still loves it.

Kathy also sings with, and writes lyrics for, the Island Voices Choir on Portland, and is a keen member of local writing groups, as well as enjoying studying the local flora.


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