Today, I’m delighted to give a special welcome to my guest: bestselling author KATE RYDER.
I came across Kate’s work by chance last year after noticing that my own book White Stones, had hit No.14 in the Amazon Charts for a paranormal ghost romance, and looked to see who was in the No.1 spot. It was Kate with Secrets of the Mist. The blurb to Kate’s book drew me in and I simply had to read it. It didn’t disappoint. In fact, it became one of my best reads of 2020, so you can imagine how eagerly I looked forward to her next book. Now released and already riding high in the charts, it’s next on my TBR pile. Thus I was thrilled when Kate agreed to come into Kit’s Library to tell us more about herself and some of the background to her exciting new novel. Over to you, Kate.
Thank you for inviting me to talk about my newly published novel, Beneath Cornish Skies, and to share insights into what inspired me to become a writer and set many of my novels in Cornwall.
As far back as I can recall, I’ve always had my nose buried in a book! Words fascinated me from an early age and this developed into writing poetry and stories, but on leaving school I chose to study acting. Drama college confirmed that my true passion lay in writing and that centre stage was not for me. Over the years, I’ve worked in a variety of industries and within publishing I was employed as a proof reader, copy editor and writer. During a period of working for a national newspaper and wishing to escape news-speak, to flex my creative writing muscles, I joined a local writers’ group with the intention of penning short stories. However, one particular writing exercise turned out to be a little longer than intended and I soon had 85,000 words and the semblance of a novel. I self-published that short-story-turned-novel under the title, The Forgotten Promise, and was thrilled, if a little shocked, when it was shortlisted for Choc Lit’s 2016 “Search for a Star” and also awarded the very first Chill with a Book “Book of the Month”.These acknowledgementsinspired me to take my writing more seriously and in 2016 I joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association. I graduated from their New Writers’ Scheme the following year when I signed a book contract with Aria Fiction, and to date, I’ve published four novels; three being set in Cornwall.
There have been many influences in the creation of Beneath Cornish Skies, not least, the substantial thatched cottage I holidayed in many years ago. Located in a magnificent, natural setting on the rugged and wild North Cornish coast and very close to the Devon border, the experience left a deep impression on me. Over the intervening years I’ve returned to that property many times in my imagination and, now, it is reinvented as Foxcombe Cottage in the book.
Foxcombe Manor is loosely based on Tonacombe Manor, which dates from the reign of Elizabeth I and has inspired several literary creations over the centuries. Its ghostly sightings are well-documented; however, in Beneath Cornish Skies I have embellished, or added to, the accounts of paranormal events.
The local parish church in Morwenstow – St Morwenna and St John the Baptist – is known for its famous nineteenth century vicar, the Reverend Robert Stephen Hawker. Affectionately referred to as Parson Hawker, he served as vicar to the smugglers, wreckers and dissenters of the area from 1834–1875. By all accounts, he was an eccentric and compassionate man, and buried many a drowned sailor washed up on the shoreline at the bottom of the local cliffs at his own expense.
My love affair with Cornwall started many years ago when holidaying there as a child with my family. The sea; the wild, rugged cliffs; the bleak but beautiful moors, home to feral ponies; the flora and fauna; the black haired/dark-eyed locals with their distinctive, regional accent; the myths and legends – all these held a fascination for me, and later, during my teenage years, at any given opportunity I would head west. It seemed a magical, faraway land, which in those days it was! Road improvements during the intervening years have helped to lessen the distance between Cornwall and the rest of the UK, but thanks to its isolated position on the South West coast, much of it has remained untouched for centuries. Bordered in the east by the River Tamar, the county boasts the longest stretch of coastline in England, with over 300 golden beaches.
Cornwall is a land of many faces – from the undulating, relatively soft, Devon-like landscape in the east, to the ruggedly remote area steeped in legend that is West Penwith. The industrial revolution had a huge impact on the county and, at that time, it was amongst the most industrialised part of the UK, if not the world. Littered throughout the landscape are haunting reminders of its past industry, often set against a dramatic backdrop of pounding seas against unforgiving craggy cliffs.
They say that once you’ve felt the magic of Cornwall its invisible ivy will never let you go. I’ve found that to be true. Wherever I’ve lived, I’ve been aware of Cornwall’s magnetic pull, and I am one of those people who have an enduring love affair with Cornish mizzle – the thicker and more atmospheric, the better! Briefly, during the late 1980s, I lived and worked in the county, but it wasn’t until the start of the Millennium that I finally swapped the South East of England for the jam-first side of the beautiful Tamar Valley when my husband and I purchased a derelict, 200 year old cottage and set about renovating it. Today we are fortunate to live in that, now, renovated property in a charming village located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
About Kate Ryder
Kate Ryder is an Amazon Kindle international best-selling author who writes timeslip and romantic suspense in a “true to life” narrative. She has worked in the publishing, tour operating and property industries, and has travelled widely.
A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and The Society of Authors, in 2017 Kate signed a 4-book contract with Aria (digital imprint of award-winning independent publisher, Head of Zeus).
SUMMER IN A CORNISH COVE, a contemporary romantic suspense set on the Lizard Peninsula, saw her nominated for the RNA’s 2018 Joan Hessayon award, while its standalone sequel, COTTAGE ON A CORNISH CLIFF, reached the heady heights of No.2 in Kindle Literary Sagas.
SECRETS OF THE MIST, a mysterious timeslip romance, was not only rated in the #top 50 on Amazon UK Paid Kindle but also achieved No.1 Kindle best-selling status in the UK, Canada and Australia. In its original, self-published version as The Forgotten Promise it was received the first Chill with a Book “Book of the Month” award.
Her fourth book with Aria, BENEATH CORNISH SKIES, is a beautiful romance with a hint of ghostliness set on the north Cornish coast.
Originally from the South East of England, today Kate lives on the Cornish side of the beautiful Tamar Valley with her husband and a collection of animals.
Thank you so much, Kate, for taking time to bring us such a fascinating insight into Beneath Cornish Skies, and wish you continued success. I hope will join me again in the future.
Don’t forget, if you’d like to write a Guest Post for Kit Domino’s World, be it on Loving Life or about writing, books, reading, blog tours or book releases for Kit’s Library, please contact me.