Katie Dale is an actress and author. Her first book, Someone Else's Life will be published in February of 2012, and I for one am VERY excited to read it. Here's the product description from GoodReads:
When seventeen-year-old Rosie’s mother, Trudie, dies from Huntington’s Disease, her pain is intensified by the knowledge that she has a fifty-per-cent chance of inheriting the crippling disease herself. Only when she tells her mum’s best friend, ‘Aunt Sarah’ that she is going to test for the disease does Sarah, a midwife, reveal that Trudie was not her biological mother after all... Devastated, Rosie decides to trace her real mother, hitching along on her ex-boyfriend’s GAP year to follow her to Los Angeles. But all does not go to plan, and as Rosie discovers yet more of her family's deeply-buried secrets and lies, she is left with an agonising decision of her own - one which will be the most heart-breaking and far-reaching of all...
To find out more about Katie or Someone Else's Life, please do visit Katie's blog, follow her on Twitter or read the collab blog, she's part of, The Edge. For now, over to you Katie...
Hi Clover, thanks for inviting me to your blog!
Can you tell me a little something about yourself?
I was born in Blackburn, Lancashire, and swore to never lose my northern accent, but sadly did when I moved to Sussex, where I have lived ever since. My life so far has been pretty varied – after attending an all-girls school I went to pretty much an all-boys school (girls permitted in Sixth Form) followed by an English Lit degree, the second year of which I spent studying abroad in North Carolina, because Dawson’s Creek was filmed there (yes, really!).
Then I moved to London to follow my dream of going to Mountview drama school, and spent the next few years travelling all over the place pretending to be other people, from Laura in The Glass Menagerie in Brussels to Juliet in a national Shakespeare tour, and then went travelling through South-East Asia, where I heard the exciting news that I’d been chosen as a winner of the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) Undiscovered Voices competition! Unfortunately I was still in Vietnam so I missed the launch, and I’d only written half the book, so on my return I got my act together and my debut YA novel Someone Else’s Life will be out in February 2012.
Did you have a role model growing up?
As an aspiring actress I completely idolized Kate Winslet – I went to see Titanic about 5 times! – I loved her because she was so beautiful (without being a stick insect) and so talented but so utterly down-to-earth.
My mother, Elizabeth Dale, has always been a role model to me. She’s utterly selfless, and unfailingly kind, caring, and fair, and has always encouraged me to follow my dreams. She is also a children’s book author, and inspired my love of writing from a very young age.
Who do you look up to now?
I admire an awful lot of people. Anyone who’s had the guts to follow their dream, and everyone who devotes their lives to helping others. Since researching/writing Someone Else’s Life, in which one of the characters has Huntington’s Disease, I have been completely bowled over by the people I’ve met who have Huntingtons – particularly Pat Leslie-Penny and Matt Ellison – their incredible courage, strength and humour are utterly humbling and truly inspirational.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
My first ambition was to be a farmer’s wife! I loved animals and imagined myself feeding chickens and stroking lambs all day!
Later, the acting bug kicked in when I scored the role of Mary in the local Nativity (age 8) – only to lose my two front teeth! D’oh! It didn’t deter me, though, and I eventually made it to drama school, where I spent a crazy year singing, dancing and playing everything from a yapping toy dog to Sonya in Uncle Vanya. Writing is sort of an extension of acting for me – both are all about creating characters and getting inside their heads, and both allow you live a million different lives vicariously through those characters, which I love.
Tell me something about the women in your life who have been an influence on you?
When I was growing up I had an amazing drama teacher, Marguerite Beale, who despite being in her eighties had an incredible joie de vivre – she loved children, playing cards, laughing and tap-dancing! She was utterly inspirational and completely unforgettable.
My grandmother, Margaret Dale, was the epitome of grace and dignity. Despite not having much money, she was unfailingly cheerful and kind – a true lady.
Elizabeth Gow, my partner’s grandmother, is very similar, but for her wicked sense of humour! She is truly young at heart and I hope that at her age I am half as feisty!
My partner’s mother, Christine Woods, is another awesome woman. As well as working all hours, she is a Brown Owl and is one of the most patient, selfless and kind people I’ve ever met.
My sister Caroline, with whom you cannot help but laugh. She is a primary-school teacher, finds humour and pleasure in everything, and always makes me giggle. She fills her life to the seams and always invests herself 100% in everything she does.
My littlest sister Jenny, who has overtaken me in life by getting married and having beautiful children before I even feel grown up enough to do either. She makes me feel old! But she’s given me a gorgeous niece and it’s lovely to turn to her for advice now the tables have turned.
But most of all there’s my incredible mother, who inspires me every day.
Who is your favourite fictional character? And why?
Oh, heaps! Here’s a few:
Marianne Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility, for her incredible passion for love and life.
Peter Pan – I’m still captivated by the boy who wouldn’t grow up.
Scarlett O’Hara, because she’s an utter force of nature, and while she may be extremely selfish, vain, and thoughtless, she actually has a huge heart and enormous strength and never, ever admits defeat.
What were you like as a teenager and how did you cope with all the changes that occurred?
At my all-girls high school I was really quite studious, and despite being a bit of a boffin and a school prefect somehow also managed to find myself in the popular crowd. I loved drama and was in all the school plays, but I’ve never liked sport.
When I started at Sixth Form suddenly the ratio of boys to girls was about 6 to 1 and after four years at all-girls school, this was quite a wonderful shock to the system! I got a bit distracted from my studies, but stayed true to my love of drama – the boarding school was organized into Houses and each House put on a play each year – for which the boys houses always needed girls for the female roles!
If you had any advice for yourself as a teenager, what would you say?
Don’t worry so much about fitting in. Be yourself. Don’t be so shy!
Plus, boys are great, but they come and go – but the girl friends you make could last you a lifetime.
Of the issues and concerns that women are faced with today, what's the area you most like reading/writing about?
The issues I’m interested in are controversial ones – subjects that are fiercely disputed by the general public, and have compelling arguments on both sides, with no clear right or wrong answer, and how the people who are personally affected by these issues find ways of dealing with them, whether they’re male or female. Human dilemmas, that could affect any of us, which leave the reader with food for thought.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Not really, except thank you so much for having me!
Thank you SO MUCH for those brilliant answers Katie! :)