Welcome, Catherine Hokin.
Catherine: Character-driven, feisty, lyrical
If you could have a relationship with one of your fictional characters who would it be and why?
Catherine: My protagonist Margaret of Anjou from my debut novel Blood and Roses. She’s a tricky one: ambitious, strong-willed and potentially quite dangerous in the decisions she makes to ensure the crown stays with her family line. I’d like to be her political ally – it may be hard to be her friend as, in her position with attacks coming from all sides, trusting anyone was difficult. It would be fascinating to get close enough to see just how planned she was in the decisions she took and how much was having to react to challenges to keep her, her cause and her son alive. I’d like to see if the woman I imagine her to be is close to the reality. I think it is but I’m pretty sure she’d have some surprises up her sleeve.
Catherine: Both my debut novel Blood and Roses and my second novel which is just coming through editing are set in medieval England at very turbulent times. Crowns were switching, heads were falling and gobby women like me would probably have ended up facing a witchcraft charge! I’d keep to the side-lines, chronicling events and trying to avoid a Game of Thrones style assassination plot. Unless, of course, I could plan a few of those myself…
Dead or alive literary dinner party: who would you invite, and what would you serve?
Catherine: I’m going to for dead people – I spend most of my life in the fourteenth century so I’m better at talking to them than live ones. I love magical realism so I want Gabriel Garcia Marquez – hopefully he can talk me through 100 Years of Solitude: I’ve read it, taught it and love it but I’m still confused! I also want the fabulous Angela Carter who is my favourite author and then I’d like Chaucer as I think an update of The Canterbury Tales with some of our modern tribes would be brilliant. I love to cook but I’m going to ask Heston Blumenthal to do us a magical medieval feast. There’s better be cockatrice.
If you had to write in a different genre which would it be and why?
Catherine: Something twisted – horror and speculative. I’ve written a couple of short stories in this vein that have been published – I like a chill rather than gore and a bit of dark humour. I’m also playing with magical realism in another group of stories – shorter stories are great as you can play with styles. I do find people find my stories more twisted than I expect sometimes, my sense of humour can be a bit black.
What do you dislike the most about being an author?
Catherine: It can be a solitary thing and I’m quite gregarious which means outbreaks of over-socialising and a fear I might be turning into a Californication-style writer! To be honest, there’s not much to dislike as long as I can keep putting out words people seem to like to read.
Favourite word? Catherine: Drink! (in a Father Ted accent)
Catherine Hokin was in the chair, author of: Blood and Roses