I was privileged to meet Kim Walker at our Crooked Cat get-together in Edinburgh last month. I only wish we’d had more time to get to know each other, especially as our taste in books is similar.
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became a writer.
I was born and raised in the USA but met and married my English husband in 1977. We’ve lived in Yorkshire ever since.
Writing has always been a pleasure/compulsion for me, taking different forms through my life, as time allowed, but I never thought I could be an “author”. My memoir demanded to be written, though, and when I had the opportunity to have-a-go, I grabbed it with both hands.
What prompted you to write your wonderful poignant story, “Once Removed”?
Curiosity is the simple answer. I wanted to know what would bring someone to self-harm and what people who care can do to help. The novel grew out of my research.
What books / authors have most influenced you in your writing?
I’m an avid reader across a wide range of genres so this is a very difficult question. Jodi Picoult has certainly been an influence. Her books tend to feature challenging social issues and I love the way she’ll lead me down one path of opinion then rip the rug out from under me by presenting another facet that is equally persuasive.
I like books that take me to new places/understanding, books that challenge me with characters that I care about. I loved John Green’s The Fault in our Stars, Annabel Pitcher’s My Sister Lives on the Mantlepiece, Gavin Extence’s The Universe Verses Alex Woods, Barbara Kingsolver’s Poisonwood Bible and Khaled Hosseini’s Thousand Splendid Suns just to name a tiny few.
Would you care to describe the differences between living in the US as you knew it, and the Yorkshire moors?
This is an interesting question because I lived my childhood in the States but my adulthood in England so I find it very hard to compare the two. My daughter-in-law is Finnish and we have fun talking about the differences between the three countries. The similarities are also striking. For example, mothers across the world teach their children things like, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
You have had prolific success as an author. What do you enjoy writing most – autobiography, novel, short stories, articles.
My memoir, A Life Less Lost, wrote itself although I had much to learn and took five years redrafting and redrafting until it was good enough to share with others. Short stories and articles are a good vehicle for learning writing skills and I’ve been lucky to have a few published. A friend and I co-wrote a couple of radio plays, which was great fun. They didn’t make it onto the airwaves but may end up as novels. I enjoy writing poetry but my real passion is novels because they are what I read most.
Are you going to try anything new? Like to give us an insight into your typical day at the office?
I’ve started two novels but have taken the summer off from writing. Normally, I spend the morning at my computer and the rest of the day out in the real world. I’m a keen gardener (fruit and veg), help my husband doing up old houses for resale, tripping off, walking the dog, badminton and crafts (sewing, knitting, crocheting unusual things).
This is my veg plot! I can’t imagine a more wonderful place to spend time.
What books would you take with you on holiday?
Whatever takes my interest, things recommended by friends, magazines, Amazon, Goodreads. I’ve read a fair few of the books published by Crooked Cat. They have a good eye for engaging stories.
How did you find Crooked Cat?
A friend recommended I have a look at Crooked Cat when Once Removed was ready for submission and I was impressed from the start by their openness and professionalism. They have exceeded my expectations and I’m happy to recommend their books to reader friends and their company to author friends.
I love the name of Kim’s Blog, Nuts and Crisps