Author Interview with Katherine Woodfine

Hello everybody!

Today, I’m super excited to share my interview with Katherine Woodfine; author of the Sinclair’s mysteries, and the newly released Rose’s Dress of Dreams. Onto the post!

1. Can you describe Rose`s Dress of Dreams in 5 words?

Category is: fashion eleganza extravganza!*

(*with apologies to Ru Paul)

2. The book focuses on Rose, who envisages many dresses throughout the book. If you could design the dress of your dreams, what would it look like?

What a lovely question. I think I’d probably take inspiration from one of my favourite descriptions of dresses in literature – perhaps the glamorous ‘blue taffeta and blue organdie’ frock Pauline wears to the film-premiere in Noel Streatfeild’s Ballet Shoes, or maybe Kate’s dress from ‘Invitation to the Waltz’ by Rosamund Lehmann: ‘an airy apple-green frock’ with ‘a little floating cape… green stockings and silver shoes’.

3. Rose is based on the woman regarded as the first fashion designer, Rose Bertin. What sort of research did you do on her? Which other female figures of history do you find inspirational?

I’d heard of Rose before as the creator of Marie Antoinette’s iconic outfits, but it wasn’t until I listened to an episode of the ‘Stuff You Missed in History Class’ podcast about her that I had the idea for ‘Rose’s Dress of Dreams’.

Once I knew I wanted to write about Rose, and had the germ of the plot, I went off to one of my favourite places – the British Library – to read as much as I could about Rose and her life. I also looked for pictures of some of the outfits she created, as well as lots of other images of 17th century fashions – you can see some of them in my Rose’s Dress of Dreams Pinterest board.

4. You also write upper middle grade mysteries. What differences have you found with writing Rose and those? Has anything been particularly exciting or challenging about it?

Writing Rose was a very different experience to writing my Sinclair’s Mysteries books. The text is obviously much shorter, which initially was daunting – but in fact, I found I really enjoyed the challenge of telling an evocative and atmospheric story in fewer words.

5. My favourite thing about Sinclair`s was the wonderful setting. Where is your dream location to set a book that you haven`t yet, and why?

Most have my books have been set in urban environments – cities like London or Paris, complete with wonderful shops like Sinclair’s. I love exploring cities and always find them a wonderful source of writing inspiration. However, I love the countryside just as much, and I’m definitely a country girl at heart, so I’d love to set a book in a wild rural landscape at some point in the future.

6. Do you have any tips for aspiring writers? What advice would you give on plotting a mystery?

Read as much as you can – reading helps such a lot in building an understanding of how stories can work, enriching your own writing and sparking off new ideas. And try not to be intimidated by the blank page or to worry about getting it ‘perfect’ first time. In fact, in my experience, the first draft of anything is usually hideous! It’s important to remember that you can always polish and edit your writing later – the main thing is to dive in, and get some ideas down on the page.

In terms of writing a mystery, I usually do a lot of plotting in advance. I like to work out the important details – how, when and where the crime was committed (and of course, by whom!) I’ll then work backwards and think about how this will be revealed. I often use post-it notes to make a plan – I’ll write a different key moment or piece of information on each one, and move them around until I get them into an order that I think works.

7. What is your writing routine like? Do you have any unusual habits or quirks?

Not really! I write at all different times, and in all kinds of different places (at home, in libraries, in cafes, on trains…) so I try not to get too attached to any particular habits. However, I do find I generally work best early in the day (I’m definitely a morning person, and basically useless in the evening) and of course, when I’ve got some sort of tasty snack close at hand…

8. Lastly before the quickfire round, can you say anything about what you’ll be releasing next/what you`re working on at the moment?

The next book I have coming out is the first book in my new Taylor & Rose Secret Agents series, illustrated by Karl James Mountford. This series picks up two years after the end of the Sinclair’s Mysteries – we rejoin Sophie and Lil, and see them venturing into the thrilling world of Edwardian espionage!

Each book in the series is set in a different city: the first book is Peril in Paris, which will be published on August 9th. I’m busy working on Book 2 at the moment!


Favourite ice cream flavour? Salted caramel

Disney character you`re most like? I’m going to say Belle from Beauty & the Beast, for no other reason than that ‘With a dreamy, far-off look/And her nose stuck in a book’ is a good description of me most days.

Favourite music/musical artists? So hard! I’ll go for Kate Bush.

Since it`s finally summer, would you rather go to the beach or to the park for a picnic? To the beach, so I can swim in the sea, which is one of my favourite things to do.

Your top 3 reads of 2018 so far?
There are so many things I could choose but I’ll say:
• The Storm-Keeper’s Island by Catherine Doyle (middle grade)
• The Lonely City by Olivia Laing (non-fiction)
• Reservoir 13 by John McGregor (adult fiction)

Are you a fan of Katherine’s books? Are any on your TBR? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!

Amy xxx


Author: goldenbooksgirl

Disabled book blogger who also writes TV, film, music and other posts from time to time | UKYABA Champion Teen 2018 | Email: | she/her

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