Today I’m delighted to welcome Katrina Mountfort to Me, My Books and I.
Katrina was born in Leeds. After a degree in Biochemistry and a PhD in Food Science, she started work as a civil service scientist. Since then, she’s had a varied career. Her philosophy of life is that we only regret the things we don’t try, and she’s been a homeopath, performed forensic science research and currently works as a freelance medical writer. She now lives in Saffron Walden, Essex, with her husband and two dogs, but is a Yorkshire girl at heart and hopes to return there one day. When she hit forty, she decided it was time to fulfil her childhood dream of writing a novel. Ten years later, Future Perfect, her first novel, was published by Elsewhen Press. Future Perfect is the first of a trilogy; part 2, Forbidden Alliance, is due for release on 4th September 2015. When she’s not writing, she enjoys music festivals, walking, travel, and curling up with a book and a glass of wine.
To find out more:
Where did the idea for Future Perfect come from?
I had the idea around ten years ago when I first heard about men waxing off their body hair. At the same time, waif-like supermodels were plastered over every magazine and it occurred to me that if this trend continued, in a hundred year’s time, men and women would be almost indistinguishable.
Who designed the cover and why did you go for that particular design?
Alison Buck from Elsewhen Press, my publisher. I was delighted with the design, which portrays the Citidome and outdoor communities. I particularly love the representation of a dome meeting the branch of a tree. I would have never chosen a monochrome cover but it’s so striking and helps convey the stark, sterile nature of this future world.
Which of your characters would you like to meet in person and why?
Ooh, that’s an interesting question. I’d like to feast my eyes on Mac; to me he was a model of male perfection. But I’d like to meet Jem, give him a hug and say, ‘It’s okay not to be BodyPerfect.’
What do you hope readers will learn from Future Perfect?
That beauty is an artificial concept created by society. It’s upsetting to see young people become obsessed with body image from an early age. I grew up in the seventies, when everyone permed their hair and it was so unfashionable to be skinny that you could buy a supplement called Wate On. Also that it’s far more important to have a handful of genuine friends then hundreds of social media ‘friends’ or followers. But I’ll get off my soapbox now as this is a subject I could talk about all day.
What makes it stand out from the crowd?
Because it doesn’t sit firmly within one genre; in fact my husband says I’ve created a new genre: chi-fi. It follows in the tradition of novels like Nineteen Eighty Four and Brave New World but has at its heart themes that young women can relate to. It’s a story of love and self discovery in a society where both are forbidden.
Do you follow a plan when you are writing or do you let the story guide you?
There’s a loose plan and usually at about 30,000 words in, I draft a more detailed chapter plan. If you introduce a plot twist at a late stage you run into all sorts of problems with continuity. But when I’m in the flow it’s as if the characters have a life of their own and they sometimes end up doing something I wasn’t expecting!
Do you have any writing quirks?
Not quirks as such but I like to have a dog in the room – I have two black Labradors and the bigger one likes to sit under the desk, which is comforting but makes my writing space very cramped.
Who are your favourite authors and do you think they have influenced your own writing in any way?
I love David Nichols and Jojo Moyes as they create characters that immediately engage the reader. But my strongest early influence was Emily Bronte. Even though I now see Wuthering Heights as flawed, there was something magical about that forbidden love that’s influenced most things I’ve written since.
If you could travel anywhere in the world to do research for a book where would it be?
I’ve started to write a novel based on a road trip in the US and would love to spend 6 months out there to research it properly.
Paperback or eBook?
eBooks for convenience, but if I love a book, I have to own a paperback copy.
Snow or sun?
Snow – there’s something magical about the fact that every snowflake is unique. One of the most joyous scenes to write in Future Perfect was when Caia encounters snow for the first time.
Sweet or savoury?
Savoury. I could live without cake but not cheese.
Listener or talker?
Listener mostly, but after a few drinks I talk too much.
Dogs or cats?
Any last words for your readers?
One of the most rewarding aspects of becoming a writer has been engaging with my readers, so please feel free to contact me via my website. And stop trying to fit in when you were born to stand out.
Thank you so much for being here today, it was a pleasure to have you on my blog. I particularly enjoyed reading about where you got the idea for Future Perfect!
Now check out the book:
“In Future Perfect, the population live comfortable lives within Citidomes.
The BodyPerfect cult encourages a tall thin androgynous appearance, and looks are everything. But this is a culture of ‘look but don’t touch.’ Attraction and relationships are forbidden. Caia, a young Ministry scientist, is shocked to find herself becoming attracted to her co-worker, Mac, a rebel whose questioning of their so-called utopian society encourages her own questioning of the status quo.
As Mac introduces her to illegal and subversive information she is drawn into a forbidden, dangerous world. In a society where every thought and action are controlled, informers are everywhere; whom can she trust?
When she and Mac are sent on an outdoor research mission, Caia’s life changes irreversibly.”