The Story of You is a real emotional roller-coaster! Possibly darker than any other novel I've written and definitely the hardest TO write. I'd describe it as a big, emotional, romantic drama which at its heart, is about how the past defines us, or whether it has to define us at all. It poses the question: even if terrible events have befallen you, can you get a second chance at life? And most importantly at love?
Please tell us about the character of Robyn.
Robyn King is a 32 year old, kind yet fairly opinionated psychiatric nurse who save for her beloved job, is only living life at 70 per cent when we meet her. This is because she hasn't dealt with her past - which is what she does throughout the book, and it is what the book is about I suppose. She was once a different person: she had an idyllic childhood and was more carefree, more risk-taking, but then the summer she was 16 happened and her whole life exploded. When we meet her in the book, the man she was in love with at that time has just come back into her life and it's a question of whether, she can deal with her past, in order for love to flourish again or not. She is someone who has never dealt with her demons, and now, is having to. She is also strong and brave, but ultimately very vulnerable.
How much has your background in Journalism affected your novel writing?
It's provided some great material at times. (I met and interviewed some wacky characters during my time as a features writer!) but I wouldn't necessarily say it's made me a better novelist. I thought it would when I started writing fiction: well if I can write features then I can write a novel? I thought. WRONG! They are two entirely different disciplines and I had to teach myself to write good fiction. However, I will say, that already being used to writing every day did help in terms of discipline, and also when it comes to promoting your book, it helps if you know how to write features and pitch ideas to magazines.
You freelance for many different publications so which one stands out for you?
It all pays the bills so I'm not fussy or precious about who I write for! However, obviously, writing for Marie Claire is close to my heart because I was a staffer there for so long. I have also recently started writing for Psychologies magazine which I love as it allows me to indulge my obsession with analysing people,(comes in handy as a novelist too).
You are also a keen blogger so how much does this help to keep your writing going in between books?
Blogging is just something I enjoy - I suppose it's natural for me to want to write about it if something happens to me or someone I know. I'm currently writing a blog about the writing process of my fifth novel (here if you'd like to take a look! www.katyregan.com) and I'm finding it's really helping with my actual writing because it's meaning I'm really thinking about the process and why something is, or isn't working in the book. Hopefully it's reassuring to read for other writers too as there are so many bad days when writing a novel! It's good to know you're not alone.
Please tell us about your path into journalism.
I started out writing for the student newspaper at Leeds University where I did my degree and I just loved it: not just the writing but the atmosphere in the office, the fact that the kind of people who were doing that too were my kind of people - I'd found my spiritual home! From there, I went to work for a very lowly free paper in Northampton as a reporter but it was great for cutting my teeth and learning good journalistic basics like reporting, interviewing and shorthand. I decided whilst I was there, however, that I preferred the human interest feature-writing to news reporting, so set my sights on working for magazines in London. I moved to London and temped whilst blagging my way into magazines with NO prior experience but lots of good ideas and determination! These were the days of no mobile phones (Yes I am THAT old) so I used to be trying to get case studies for features whilst standing in a phone box on my lunch hour from some grim temping job at a label company! Good times. I eventually got a few breaks, writing features for Cosmo and Company, then I got a job at 19 Magazine (since folded) and then as Features Writer and Commissioning Editor at Marie Claire, which was my dream job at the time.
Do you believe that your past defines your future?
No, not unless you let it. I believe it shapes you, but doesn't have to define you. This is something that Robyn learns in the book.
What is next for you?
The Story of You is out on July 3rd and I am currently writing my fifth book which I'm really excited about! Hopefully, if it turns out as I envision it, (one never can tell!) It'll be funny AND sad, which in my opinion is the best sort of book. I'm going to be writing in the voice of a child too for some of it which I'm very much looking forward to, as I have a nine year old boy myself.