My ALLi author guest this episode is Kate Frost, a romance writer who had wanted to become an author ever since heart surgery as a child kept her at home and reading. Kate's own take on the genre is to transport her readers to exotic locations and to emphasize her characters. She also writes children's books and helped found a children's book festival.
ALLi's Inspirational Indie Author Podcast stream is sponsored by Kobo Writing Life, a global, independent ebook and audiobook publishing platform that empowers authors with a quick and easy publishing process and unique promotional opportunities. To reach a wide readership, create your account today! Thank you, Kobo, for your support of this podcast.
Find more author advice, tips, and tools at our Self-Publishing Author Advice Center, with a huge archive of 2,000+ blog posts, and a handy search box to find key info on the topic you need.
We invite you to join our organization and become a self-publishing ally, if you haven’t already. You can do that at allianceindependentauthors.org.
Inspirational Indie Author Interview: Kate FrostOn the Inspirational Indie Authors Podcast, @howard_lovy features @katefrostauthor, a romance writer who takes her readers to exotic locations. Click To Tweet
Don't Miss an #AskALLi Broadcast
Subscribe to our Ask ALLi podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Player.FM, Overcast, Pocket Casts, Spotify or via our RSS feed:
Inspirational Indie Author Interview: Kate Frost. About the Author
Kate Frost is a hybrid author of bestselling romantic escape novels including One Greek Summer, An Italian Dream, An Island in the Sun, The Baobab Beach Retreat and The Greek Heart. After self-publishing 12 novels she signed a six-book deal with award winning publisher Boldwood in 2021. She has a MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University, has also written a middle grade time travel adventure trilogy and is the Co-director of Storytale Festival, a children’s book festival that takes place in her home town of Bristol where she lives with her husband and son. You find her on the Web, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
About the Host
Howard Lovy has been a journalist for more than 35 years, and now amplifies the voices of independent author-publishers and works with authors as a developmental editor. Find Howard at howardlovy.com, LinkedIn and Twitter.
If you’re a published indie author who would like to be interviewed by Howard for the Inspirational Indie Authors podcast, you need to be a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors.
Then contact Howard, including your membership number, explaining why you’re an inspirational indie author and what inspires you.
If you haven’t already, we invite you to join our organization.
Read the Transcripts Inspirational Indie Author Interview: Kate Frost
Howard Lovy: My guest this episode is Kate Frost, a romance writer who had wanted to become an author ever since heart surgery as a child kept her at home and reading. Kate's own take on the genre is to take her readers to exotic locations, and to emphasize her characters. She also writes children's books and helped found a children's book festival. I'll let Kate Frost tell her own story.
Kate Frost: I'm Kate Frost, and I'm the author of 15 books, with number 16 coming out in August. I mostly write romantic escape sort of women's fiction novels. So, uplifting, heart-warming stories of love, romance, hope, new beginnings, and second chances, all featuring different characters in beautiful locations. So, they're all standalone, the most recent ones.
Howard Lovy: Kate has wanted to be an author since she was seven years old, and she had to spend a long time at home to recover from heart surgery.
Kate Frost: I grew up in Bristol, which is where I still live.
Both my parents loved reading, and so I was encouraged to read from an early age. So, I got a love of books through them, and they always read to me, and stories were always a part of our childhood. I wanted to be a writer and an author.
When I was seven, I had open heart surgery for a hole in my heart. So, it was major surgery. My parents had a terrible time with it, but for me it was just an adventure, and of course I was off school for months afterwards and so I had a home tutor, and I remember her teaching me two things in particular, one was about dinosaurs and the other was how to write stories, and from that point onwards, I knew that one day I wanted to write novels.
Howard Lovy: Kate recovered and went on to study drama in college.
Kate Frost: I did a drama degree, first of all, and that's what I wanted to do. When I left school, I had this idea that I wanted to act, so I did a drama degree and graduated when I was 21.
I remember I had an actor, who I remember he came around to my house, and he was talking to me about the reality of acting and living that kind of acting life, and he said, only do it if it's the only thing you ever want to do with your life, because it's hard work being an actor.
I had that light bulb moment when I realized, actually it wasn't the only thing I wanted to do, and writing was what I'd wanted to do since I was a kid. So, although I still dabbled in acting, it was writing that took over, from my early twenties.
Howard Lovy: After college, she held a number of jobs that involved dealing with the public.
It was then that she began to gather stories.
Kate Frost: I did all kinds of things, and I think from that age I always wanted to do something creative, which is where the drama, the acting, and writing went hand in hand. But I found it really tough going.
I was working lots of different jobs. I worked in a factory for a bit, and that was partly when I was at university. I sold makeup, booked makeup parties. I worked at NHS Direct on calls, so giving advice about people's health. I worked in a bookshop. So, I did loads of different things, and I was writing all the time, and I was plugging away at writing novels, and that's when I did the MA in creative writing.
Because it was difficult, I didn't get an agent. I tried going down that route of getting a literary agent, and it never quite happened. So, I also started writing articles, sort of travel articles for different websites, and earning money through writing that way for a bit as well.
Howard Lovy: All the while she was working on her own writing project, a novel.
Kate Frost: I used to work evening shifts and night shifts when I was working at NHS Direct on the phones, and so some night shifts when it was very quiet, I would sit and write my novel there. So, it gave me that time to write as well, which was earning money and writing at the same time, which was perfect back then.
My first novel was the Butterfly Storm, which didn't fit neatly into romance genre. So, I guess it was women's fiction more than anything, but I fell into doing that because I'd written quite a lot of short stories prior to that and they'd been science fiction and quite dark and very different to what I write now, but it's the characters that I love. So, all my novels are character driven, and although they're romances, the majority of them, it's those relationships, whether it's the love interest relationships or mothers and daughters or friendships, that really interest me.
So, it's writing all those different characters.
Howard Lovy: And for Kate, the joy of writing comes from the characters she creates along the way.
Kate Frost: I mean, I had a very, really happy childhood and upbringing, and I quite like exploring dysfunctional families, and I guess maybe it goes back to acting as well that it's what I loved about acting so much, is stepping into a character who was completely unlike me and playing somebody so different, and so I think it's the same with writing. I enjoy exploring those characters that are so different to me and those sort of family setups that again, were very unlike my own.
Howard Lovy: Kate eventually decided to self-publish her work after an unsuccessful attempt to find a literary agent.
Kate Frost: Yeah, it was about 10 years from writing my first novel, which I started writing whilst I was doing my creative writing MA, and it took me a long time to write that first novel and rewrite it. I had five agents read the whole manuscript, which was brilliant and more than I'd hoped at the time, and I had the same sort of rejections, which were very positive, which were, we love it, you write well, but we don't think it's going to make money. So, they were positive rejections. So, I took something from that rather than it being a straight rejection.
But things have changed. So, from sort of 2004, when I'd first started writing and was doing the MA, to 2013, when I first self-published, the whole publishing landscape had changed in that time and by 2013 lots of people were self-publishing and lots of people were self-publishing really well. So, I guess it made me think, I've got a good story, why don't I take charge of it and do it myself? So, that's what I did.
Howard Lovy: But to self-publish properly, Kate went through a lot of trial.
Kate Frost: And error and I learned an awful lot over, I guess in these last 10 years of self-publishing.
I mean, the first book, I did, with my husband, we did the cover ourselves and I don't think I even had an editor or proof-reader. I mean, it had gone through lots of people, it had been critiqued at the course. It'd seen agents. Another publisher had seen it, so it'd gone through a lot of revision anyway, but it was a complete learning experience.
And as I then published the next book, and the next book, I had a cover designer, the lovely Jessica Bell, who I know you've interviewed before, and I got a proof-reader an editor.
So yeah, it was just learning as I went and I joined the Alliance of Independent Authors and found a wealth of information through there, and yeah, with other writer friends like Debbie Young, who I've known for years, just learnt my way through it.
Yeah, I made lots of mistakes along the way and learnt how to do things better.
Howard Lovy: Kate feels like she's proven those agents wrong, the ones who told her that her work would not make any money.
Kate Frost: Yes, I have. It did make me money. It's been one of my most successful books, but not the most successful. So, they may well have had something in that, and I think that's because it doesn't quite fit a genre, and that's what I mean by, over the last 10 years, I think I've just become a bit more business minded and a bit savvier about what I'm doing.
So, I started researching genres and book covers, and so my Romantic Escape series, which is the most recent book, self-published books, have done an awful lot better because I wrote them to market and what readers want, and got, Jessica Bell again to do covers that absolutely sold them.
So, it's been a big learning experience, but it's worked out well for me in the end.
Howard Lovy: Romance is a very competitive genre, so I asked Kate what distinguishes her novels. The answer was location.
Kate Frost: I think it's a combination of things. I mean, I think I've just found my, I guess my niche, in the fact that I write the location and the setting is as important to me as the characters and the story.
So, it's really the setting as well as that love story that runs through it that's the selling point, which is where it goes back to that escapist fiction.
I think I also got a bit lucky in the sense that my success really started in 2020 with the pandemic and everybody was at home, and everybody was reading because that was one of the only things you could really do, and so that sort of escapist, romantic fiction, I think had a huge boost then as well. So, that really helped.
Howard Lovy: In addition to romance, Kate also writes for kids, and she helped found a children's literature festival.
Kate Frost: Yeah, so I have also written, as well as the sort of romance and women's fiction novels, I've also written a time travel adventure trilogy for children, so middle grade fiction.
I've always been really keen on encouraging kids to read and write and be creative. I've got a nine-year-old of my own, so it's all gone hand in hand with that.
Back in 2019, I was put in touch with somebody else locally who wanted to start a children's book festival in Bristol, and we got on and we started talking about it, and I decided to help her with it. In the first year we did 40 events over a week, across loads of different places across the city. We had over a thousand people taking part, as in coming to the events, and it was brilliant.
Then of course Covid hit, and it disrupted everything, but we're still managing to keep it going, and we're doing our fifth festival in October this year. So yeah, it's very much about encouraging kids to read, write, and be creative, and they're real interactive events where kids get to talk to the authors and the illustrators and do their own writing, and it's really positive and encouraging.
Howard Lovy: Although Kate remains an indie author and plans to continue as one, she also recently signed on with Bold Wood Books.
Kate Frost: So, that was really off the back of my romantic escape series. So, in 2020, again, after I'd become savvier with how I was self-publishing and I'd done my research into genres, and I'd had book covers done by Jessica and I think I published two or three books quite close together.
So, I think over that course of 2020, I think I had three books out, and then one of them the Greek Heart, which has got an absolutely beautiful cover, is set in Grease, an uplifting story, that was the one that really took off and it really started selling and it gave a boost to the other books as well.
So, my editor, Caroline, from Bold Woods, actually saw my books in amongst lots of the Bold Wood Books on the Amazon top hundred categories, and so she approached me. We had a conversation and she wanted me to write similar romantic escape novels for them. So, we had lots of different conversations and I had to pitch them some ideas of characters and places and brief ideas about stories.
I also ended up writing the first, I think it was about the first 10,000 words of what ended up being the first book, One Greek Summer.
Then in 2021, I think it was May 2021, they offered me a six-book deal.
Howard Lovy: Kate's advice for other indie authors can be found in one word.
Kate Frost: Today is exactly 10 years since I hit publish on the Butterfly Storm. So, 10 years ago today that I first self-published, and I think it's perseverance really.
For me, it's been a really long journey, and hard work, and time's when I felt like giving up, not giving up writing, but I guess giving up the dream of actually earning a living from writing novels.
So, I think it's having that determination and persevering, and just keeping at it, and I guess learning and doing your research and studying the market, particularly if you want to earn a living from it and do this sort of as a job.