Thursday, 26 March 2015

Author Interview ~ Katherine Webb.

I'm very excited to be taking part in the blog tour for The Night Falling today! I read The Night Falling back in November last year and fell completely in love with it, so I jumped at the chance to ask its wonderful author Katherine Webb some questions.




Hi Katherine - thanks for joining us! Can you tell us a bit about your latest novel, The Night Falling? 

A pleasure! Thank you for having me.

The Night Falling is a story about love, greed, and courage set in Southern Italy in 1921. It brings together characters from both sides of a vast social gulf, at a time when the majority of people lived in terrible poverty, and revolution was in the air. After generations of repression, the agricultural workers were beginning to rebel against the existing order, and the landowners were proving themselves willing to use any means to defeat them. My characters each have their own agendas, their own secrets and their own desires; their coming together is high charged - to say the least!

The Night Falling has a great cast of characters. Which one did you enjoy writing the most? 

I was very attached to all of them – even the more minor characters, but I have to admit I fell quite in love with Ettore, so it was a joy to write him. His chapters flowed so easily as I was writing – I knew him inside and out, and could hear his voice clearly. He’s so courageous, so decent, so infuriatingly proud.

How much research did you do for The Night Falling? The war and poverty in the book all felt beautifully well researched. 

Thank you! I did a lot of research. I read as much as I could, but soon found that very few books about this time and place in Italy have been translated into English – and though my Italian’s not bad, it’s not good enough to research an entire book with. So I went on a research trip to the town where the story is set, and explored the surrounding countryside. It was invaluable. I met so many interesting people, many of whose parents had been alive at the time I would be writing about. They were happy to talk to me and share their stories; I got to look around lots of historic buildings and houses; at private photos and collections. It was a fantastic experience, and helped so much with the writing of the book.

Reading The Night Falling really gave me the taste for historical fiction, which I now find so fascinating. Where did your interest in writing historical fiction come from?

I’m glad to hear you’ve started to read historical fiction! I’ve always been fascinated by history – even in early childhood. When I was little I loved nothing more than exploring a ruined castle, and letting my imagination run wild, conjuring up the lost lives and stories of the place. I studied History at university, and although the first few (unpublished) books I wrote were contemporary, I think my writing really came alive when I started to write historical settings. I hope my passion for the subject shows! It’s hard to define what’s so exciting about history – I suppose it’s the notion of all those secrets, all those hidden stories, all those lost worlds.

What do you love the most about writing? 

Getting the first germ of an idea for a new book. It can be the smallest thing – a feeling, a scene, a setting – I but I always know when I’ve hit on something, and straight away it’ll start to grow and develop of its own accord. It’s a magic moment – always so exciting.

Can you tell us anything about what you’re working on at the moment? 

My next book (it’s almost finished) is set in Oman in the early 1900s and in 1958, during the Jebel War when the British army was helping the sultan repress an uprising. It’s a fascinating place and little known part of history, and the story centres on an elderly explorer, a young adventurer, and a long game of revenge…

How long does the process of writing and completing a book take you? Does it vary between books? 

The ‘fallow time’ between books sometimes varies from a couple of months to six, but the time spent actually working on a book is almost always the same. Once the idea has percolated for however many months, I spend about three or four months researching, and letting the plot and characters develop, and then about four or five months writing the manuscript, depending on how long it is. I work at about 10,000 words a week, on average.

All of your books have stunning covers – do you have a personal favourite? 

I’m glad you like them! I have to say, I think the new design that my publishers have devised for The Night Falling are my favourites – I loved the hardback cover, and I do think the paperback is stunning too.

What’s the best book you’ve read recently? 

I’ve just finished Wind, Sand and Stars by Antione de Saint-Exupéry, which is a beautiful philosophical memoir about flying and the desert. I also recently read We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler – it’s very original and brilliantly written. I’m currently reading A Single Breath by Lucy Clarke. It’s a real page turner, and it’s making me want to go to Tasmania…

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Title: The Night Falling.
Author: Katherine Webb.
Publisher: Orion.
Genre: Historical Fiction.
Publication Date: March 26, 2015.

Purchase: Amazon UK

Puglia, Italy, 1921.

Leandro returns home now a rich man with a glamorous American wife, determined to make his mark. But how did he get so wealthy - and what haunts his outwardly exuberant wife?

Boyd, quiet English architect, is hired to build Leandro's dreams. But why is he so afraid of Leandro, and what really happened between them years before, in New York?

Clare, Boyd's diffident wife, is summoned to Puglia with her stepson. At first desperate to leave, she soon finds a compelling reason to stay.

Ettore, starving, poor and grieving for his lost fiancée, is too proud to ask his Uncle Leandro for help. Until events conspire to force his hand.

Tensions are high as poverty leads veterans of the Great War to the brink of rebellion. And under the burning sky, a reckless love and a violent enmity will bring brutal truths to light...





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