Meet Kate Blackadder, whose debut novel Stella’s Christmas Wish is published by Black and White Publishing.
Kate, membership secretary of Edinburgh Writers’ Club, lifts the lid on a secret dream and why she got into Very Big Trouble when she decided to walk home from school alone.
My name: Kate Blackadder – after thirty years of marriage I’m well used to getting comments on my surname! (No, my husband’s first name isn’t Edmund.)
My family: The aforementioned husband and I have a son, a daughter and a daughter-in-law.
I have a sister and a brother and a huge extended family with loads of first cousins and now their children and grandchildren.
I was born in… Inverness but my family moved around a bit. After Inverness shire we lived in Morayshire, Nairnshire, two locations in Sutherland, and the Isle of Arran.
When I left home I lived in Glasgow (two addresses), Edinburgh (two addresses) and London (five addresses). Phew.
But I now live in… Edinburgh again – and do not intend to move, not ever, never.
I like my home because we’ve got a front-window view of Edinburgh Castle, and within short walking distance we have good shops (food, and almost anything else you might want), four cinemas, three theatres, a concert hall, and restaurants and cafés galore, not to mention a thousand years of history.
We’re ten minutes’ walk from Princes Street but only ten minutes’ drive from the glorious Borders countryside.
Best holiday… was when our son was studying in America, in Providence, Rhode Island.
One visit to him had an unexpectedly dramatic start when our internal flight – the last of the day – was cancelled and we ended being driven by a fellow passenger in a hired car for the three-hour journey from New York.
A kind stranger
I texted our son to tell him – he was as horrified as I would be if it was the other way round!
But, thanks to the kindness of a stranger, we were delivered safely to our hotel that night where we found we’d got an upgrade to a gorgeous room almost as big as our flat.
The many highlights of the next fortnight included meeting our lovely future daughter-in-law for the first time and a visit to the Louisa M. Alcott house in Concorde, Massachusetts – fulfilling a long-held dream of mine.
Worst? The worst was not actually going on holiday … in two consecutive Octobers the Canadian family holiday I’d booked had to be cancelled because of last-minute medical emergencies including my daughter’s burst appendix.
I’d still love to go to Canada – but would that be tempting fate or third time lucky?
Earliest childhood memory? After my first primary school Christmas party my dad was late in coming to pick me up.
Despite having been told to stay put until he arrived I decided to walk the mile home.
I took a circuitous route so my poor father, driving frantically up and down the road, didn’t see me.
I arrived back to find myself in Very Big Trouble.
Best thing about my life? As well as my family, of course, the best thing about my life is being a writer.
Not only is there the joy and satisfaction (and payment!) of being published – but also most of my social life revolves around writing friends and writing events.
There’s such a lot going on in Edinburgh – writing classes, clubs (I’m membership secretary of the Edinburgh Writers’ Club), poetry coffee mornings, bookshop events, and of course the annual Edinburgh International Book Festival to name but a few.
Worst thing? I am very fortunate in so many ways that I shouldn’t complain.
But I dearly wish that my mum could know that I was a published writer as she always encouraged me to read – and used to send relatives the (awful) poems I wrote as a child.
She would be so thrilled to see my name in print in magazines and now in a (e-) book.
What keeps you awake at night? My to-do list.
And wondering ‘what if …’ whether it’s close to home or about world events.
When one worry dissolves another pops up to take its place.
My husband says I could worry for Scotland.
Favourite meal? I’m happy to cook this myself, if someone does the clearing up, thank you.
Hummus (actually I’d buy this; my home-made is never quite so good – I think it requires more olive oil than I have the courage to add), with veg. sticks and pitta bread to dip.
For the main course: butterflied leg of lamb, rubbed the previous night with cumin, ginger and garlic – recipe from Taste magazine years ago – with couscous and salad, and a good red wine.
Then Josceline Dimbleby’s light Lemon Pudding Delicious with Scottish raspberries.
Greatest extravagance? A bright pink coat with such a pretty lining from the Damsel in a Dress label.
Resistance was useless.
But I wear it a lot and someone told me last week that it was a cheery sight on a winter’s day!
My guilty secret? I was a terrible nail-biter as a child.
Early one morning I’d chewed the ends of my own ten digits when my eye fell on my sleeping sister’s arm, hanging temptingly over the side of the adjacent bed…
Reader, I resisted.
But only just.