Thank you so much for stopping by today’s author spotlight with Kathleen Jowitt. Today we will learn a little bit about Kathleen as an author and get a sneak peak into her newest book Speak Its Name. Please leave any questions you might have for the author in the comments section. You can also reach out to her at the links following the interview. I have included affiliate links in the post if you are inspired to buy the book and support the author and my blogging endeavors.
Speak Its Name by Kathleen Jowitt
Purchase links: Amazon
First off, I want to thank Kathleen for taking the time to answer these questions for me. Please feel free to leave any questions you may have in the comment section below!
About Speak Its Name:
What is the title of your newest or upcoming book?
Speak Its Name
What publisher is this book being published by?
What is the publication date?
THE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS:
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
I’m a thirty year old trade unionist admin-wrangling singing bicycling Anglican bisexual writer. Having lived in various locations around the south and west of England, I’m now settled in Cambridge.
Can you give the readers a brief summary of your latest book?
A new year at the University of Stancester, and Lydia Hawkins is trying to balance the demands of her studies with her responsibilities as an officer for the Christian Fellowship. Her mission: to make sure all the Christians in her hall stay on the straight and narrow, and to convert the remaining residents if possible. To pass her second year. And to ensure a certain secret stays very secret indeed. When she encounters the eccentric, ecumenical student household at 27 Alma Road, Lydia is forced to expand her assumptions about who’s a Christian to include radical Quaker activist Becky, bells-and-smells bus-spotter Peter, and out (bisexual) and proud (Methodist) Colette. As the year unfolds, Lydia discovers that there are more ways to be Christian – and more ways to be herself – than she had ever imagined. Then a disgruntled member of the Catholic Society starts asking whether the Christian Fellowship is really as Christian as it claims to be, and Lydia finds herself at the centre of a row that will reach far beyond the campus. Speak Its Name explores what happens when faith, love and politics mix and explode.
What genre does it fall in?
Young adult/contemporary crossover. I’ve been describing it as ‘University of Barchester’ in homage to Anthony Trollope!
Will you share a few words about your latest book, other than the usual blurb?
‘Speak Its Name’ is the story of an evangelical Christian coming to terms with her sexual identity and navigating the murky waters of student politics in the process. It’s been a long time coming, but it’s a story that’s still being played out across the world. It’s about faith and doubt, love and integrity.
Give us a little insight into your main characters! Who are they?
Lydia Hawkins is an earnest young woman (with a wicked sense of humour!) who has been raised in a conservative tradition of evangelical Christianity and who is gradually coming to the realisation that it’s not big enough to hold the person she really is. Colette Russell believes in the Way, the Truth and the Life. Particularly the Truth: she’s a scientist. And it turns out that the two of them can’t be friends unless they acknowledge the possibility of their also being something more.
Will we be seeing these characters again any time soon? Is this book part of a series?
No, though I’m not ruling out the possibility of a sequel.
Tell us a little bit about your writing style. When and where is your favorite time/place to write?
Any substantial chunk of time that I can fill up with words, and any place where I can drink a large cup of coffee and not have to talk to anyone. I used to write in the two-hour gap between work and choir practice. Now I do it on the train during my fifty-five minute journey to the office. I carry an exercise book in my bag and write the first draft longhand; then, when I get home in the evening, I type it up and fix any obvious errors – the first of many edits.
What sort of book do you enjoy reading in your free time? What was the last book you read? Did you enjoy it?
My reading tastes are eclectic, and I’m more likely to abandon a book because I don’t like the style than because I don’t like the content. I was unexpectedly charmed by ‘Women of the Silk’, by Gail Tsukiyama, whose gentle, matter-of-fact tone sustains a harrowing plot. I’ve just finished a re-read of ‘Racing Through The Dark’, David Millar’s autobiography, and dragged myself to the end of ‘North Face’ by Mary Renault. Renault is a hugely influential figure in LGBT literature, of course, but I’d honestly recommend starting elsewhere – ‘The Charioteer’, probably.
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer? Have you held any interesting jobs while you worked on your books?
Definitely. Both my parents are writers, in one way or another, so it seemed like a natural thing to do. I love my day job, though, and I wouldn’t give it up – I work for a major trade union, and it’s a great feeling to know that I’m doing something to improve people’s lives and that I’m part of a movement that’s fighting for decent rights at work.
What does your writing process look like?
A bit of a mess, if I’m honest! I’m not one of those writers who can sit down and write a story from beginning to end – I’ve tried it that way, and I just get bored. Instead, I start with the scenes that happen to have grabbed my imagination in that particular moment, get them down on paper, and trust that the bits in between will show up when they’re good and ready. I’m a vicious editor, and will print out and red-pen several successive drafts before anyone else gets a look at it.
Why did you choose to write GLBTQ romance? Why not another genre?
I felt that there was a scandalous shortage of books that addressed the interlinked questions of sexuality and faith at any level deeper than the very superficial. I wanted very much to write a book that would tell young LGBT Christians that they didn’t have to make that agonizing choice between being true to their own identities and holding on to their faith, that it was possible to choose both. This seemed to be the best way to do that.
One last questions…totally unrelated to books! I am a passionate foodie. Is there one thing in your pantry that you would be horrified for people to know that you eat?
I’m working on not feeling guilty about anything I eat. I’ve got a little tub of kirsch-soaked, dark chocolate-coated cherries stashed in my desk drawer, but that’s only because I don’t want to share!
Thank you so much for answering my questions. I think my readers will enjoy learning more about you! Good luck in your future writing!