To celebrate our summer reads special in the August issue, in association with Orion publishers, the first in a series of authors, Katherine Webb, speaks to woman&home.
Katherine Webb was born in 1977 and grew up in rural Hampshire before reading History at Durham University. She has since spent time living in London and Venice, and now lives in rural Berkshire. Having worked as a waitress, au pair, personal assistant, book binder, library assistant, seller of fairy costumes and housekeeper, she now writes full time.
Read our reviews of Katherine's novels here
What books are you planning to read on your holiday this summer?
I'm completely hooked on the A Song of Ice and Fire books by George R R Martin, so I'll no doubt be taking whichever volume of that I happen to be on! I also pledged to read more classics this year, so I might take Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities.
Which book evokes a memory of a holiday past for you?
In my twenties I went on a package holiday to Turkey with some girlfriends, and read Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace. The hotel pool was packed and had dance music pumping from the stereo...but I lay there reading and was instantly transported to nineteenth century America. It was magic.
Which book is your dessert island read?
I have no one favourite book...I completely loved Stef Penney's The Tenderness of Wolves the first time I read it, so perhaps I could take that to re-read. Or something huge to keep me going - Victor Hugo's Les Misérables; or Tolkein's The Lord of the Rings.
What will you be writing on your summer getaways this year?
Absolutely nothing! I don't even write postcards when I'm on holiday. When I get back, if I've had a strong reaction to a place one way or another, I tend to write down my impressions then.
What is your favourite way of relaxing on holiday?
I've been on lots of backpacking, adventure type holidays, but for sheer relaxation nothing beats reading by the water in some quiet corner of the Mediterranean - Greece or Italy or France. Preferably with a glass of chilled wine, and a big bowl of olives...
Which book transports you to a foreign land, from the comfort of your living room?
I just finished The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey - a captivating book set in Alaska, and so beautifully written that I could see the mountains and smell the earth and feel the freezing wind blowing...
What is your favourite holiday destination and why?
My parents always took us on holiday to the South of France when we were little, so going there feels like getting reacquainted with an old friend. I love the scenery, the quiet, the ancient villages and sense of history there. And I really, really love the fantastic food and wine!
Where do you feel most inspired to put pen to paper?
Truthfully, at home. Writing requires a kind of switching off from the real world, for me, which is hard if you're in a wonderful new place with lots to see and do, and in good company. At home, by myself, with no distractions - that's when the urge to write is strongest. Summer holidays are my time to read rather than write!
Read about Katherine Webb novels here
Check back next week for our interview with writer Kate Harrison, author of The Secret Shopper Affair