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After spending three years as a diehard New Yorker, Katharine Swartz now lives in the Wales with her husband, their five children, and a Golden Retriever. She enjoys such novel things as long country walks and chatting with people in the street, and her children love the freedom of village life—although she often has to ring four or five people to figure out where they’ve gone off to. She writes women’s fiction as well as contemporary romance under the name Kate Hewitt, and whatever the genre she enjoys delivering a compelling and intensely emotional story. The Second Bride is the third book in Katherine’s charming series, Tales From Goswell.
Below is a Q&A with this author.
1. What first inspired you to write the Tales from Goswell series?
Moving to a 200-year-old vicarage in a small village in Cumbria lit the creative spark.
2. Do you have a particular writing routine?
I have small children so I tend to fit my writing around them. I try to write in the mornings for about three hours while I have childcare and then be firm about closing the laptop and devoting time to my family.
3. Name the writing habit you rely on to get you through a first draft.
I have to push through the hard parts, including, inevitably, when I am convinced this is the worst thing I’ve ever written, and just finish it.
4. Which living author(s) do you most admire?
Mary Lawson. Her books are beautiful.
5. Which book would you take to a desert island? Let’s stick to the formula – excluding the Bible and the complete works of Shakespeare.
Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss, which has been on my bedside table for years. I always pick it up when I need to be encouraged.
6. How much of you is in any of your characters?
Everything and nothing—all my characters are fiction, but I bring myself, my emotions and fears and desires, to every person I write.
7. In another age I would have been . . .
A governess. I like the safety of the school room.
8. Who would your fantasy dinner guests be?
My family. Living abroad I don’t see them often enough.
9. Which book do you wish you had written?
The Harry Potter series for obvious reasons, or the above mentioned Stepping Heavenward for how much hope it has given people over the years.
10. Who is your favourite literary character?
The narrator of Remains of the Day. He is oblique and unreliable and yet you have so much sympathy for him.
11. Did any of the characters in your book surprise you while writing?
Characters continually surprise by how they have a mind of their own, even though I’m the one controlling them!
12. What would your super power be?
13. What is the worst piece of writing or career feedback you’ve received?
Many years ago an agent once sent me an email that was not meant for me to see—‘Her writing is mediocre, but this is the kind of thing we could make money from’. I never want that to be my motive for being in this business!
14. What is the worst job you've done?
Waitressing in New York City.
15. What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Trust in God. Love never fails.
16. Have you written anything and been surprised by its reception?
I have been gratified by how many people have enjoyed my books, and I have also appreciated the criticism I’ve received as I hope it makes me a better writer.
17. Which book (not your own) do you wish everyone would read?
The Bible, with an open mind.
18. Which book do you suspect most people claim to have read, but haven’t?
The current work of literary genius, whatever it is!
19. How do you feel about physical books versus e-books?
I have a foot in both camps. I love reading e-books but I don’t actually feel like I own the book, and I keep all my physical books too.
20. Do you have any advice for an aspiring author?
Write. Try to write everyday, or as often as you can. That is the only way you will improve your craft.
An interesting, expressive, and bittersweet dual time frame novel. Marine archaeologist Rachel investigates a shipwreck with links to the slave trade, while in 1763 Abigail falls in love with a tobacco trader in Whitehaven. This is the fourth in the Tales from Goswell series. These books feature the village of Goswell in Cumbria and a new main lead (or two) is introduced each time. A slice of history creates a dual timeline, with the present linking to the past and the focus equally on both. Characters from previous books are mentioned which adds continuity, it almost feels like a much loved holiday cottage, returning to a place that feels comfortable and homely. The slave trade from Whitehaven spears this storyline, with Katharine Swartz balancing the thoughts of the time with love and as usual with her books, hope. What it is to be family sits centre stage in The Widow’s Secret, and while a tale full of warmth, there is also an undeniably flinty and thought-provoking edge.
An interesting, expressive, and bittersweet dual time frame novel. Marine archaeologist Rachel investigates a shipwreck with links to the slave trade, while in 1763 Abigail falls in love with a tobacco trader in Whitehaven. This is the fourth in the Tales from Goswell series. These books feature the village of Goswell in Cumbria and a new main lead (or two) is introduced each time. A slice of history creates a dual timeline, with the present linking to the past and the focus equally on both. Characters from previous books are mentioned which adds continuity, it almost feels like a much loved holiday cottage, returning to a place that feels comfortable and homely. The slave trade spears this storyline, with Katharine Swartz balancing the thoughts of the time with love and as usual with her books, hope. What it is to be family sits centre stage in The Widow’s Secret, and while a tale full of warmth, there is also an undeniable flinty and provocative edge.
A bittersweet, compassionate family drama set in Cumbria. Ellen is under pressure after her step-daughter comes to live with her family. Emotionally bombarded, Ellen attempts to solve the mystery of a death certificate from 1872, that was found under their floorboards. This is the third in the ‘Tales from Goswell’ series with its trademark dual time frames, yet a sharper, biting edge hovers over the stories. 1872 is brought to intense life, yet past and present almost become one, as feelings breach the time divide. Both tales reveal heartbreak and family angst, Katharine Swartz handles the pain and emotion with great sensitivity and tenderness. Goswell centres the tales, with the warmth of village life sitting in the background, along with Jane Hatton from ‘The Vicar’s Wife’. An emotional read awaits in ‘The Second Bride’, yet one that is ultimately full of love and hope. ~ Liz Robinson Click here to see The Lost Garden by the same author.
A charming, warm and evocative tale, told in two time frames, this is the second in the Tales from Goswell’ series set in Cumbria. Eleanor’s story starts in 1918, while Marin’s although not dated, feels as though it is set in the present. The two tales are connected, by more than the walled garden that remains a constant from one time to the next; both Marin and Eleanor are experiencing loss and attempting to make sense of the world around them. The focus on the time immediately after the First World War gives a fascinating insight into some of the difficulties faced by men and women trying to find a sense of normality. The Hatton’s from ‘The Vicar’s Wife’, the first in the series, also appear in Marin’s story. This sweet, engaging tale, has a darker edge, however the focus on forgiveness and hope that weaves through both time frames, creates a moving and enjoyable read. ~ Liz Robinson
Jane Hatton and her British husband Andrew relocate from New York City to a small village on the Cumbrian coast. Jane has been city-based and career-driven but when her fourteen year old daughter Natalie falls in with the wrong crowd at school in Manhattan, she and Andrew decide to try country living. However Jane has trouble getting used to the silence and solitude of a remote village. Natalie hates her new school, and eleven-year-old Ben struggles academically. Only seven-year-old Merrie enjoys country life. Has Jane made a horrible mistake? The Hattons have bought the old vicarage in the village. When Jane finds a scrap of shopping list, she grows curious about Alice, the vicar's wife who lived there years before. As we follow the twin narratives of Jane, in the present, and Alice in the 1930s we discover that both are on a journey to discover their true selves, and to address their deepest fears.