Book Nerd Interview
I love nothing more than creating characters - both on page and on-stage! I studied English Literature at Sheffield University, spent a year at UNC-Chapel Hill, followed by a crazy year at Mountview drama school, a national Shakespeare tour, and back-packing through South-East Asia. I love all genres, and am busily working on a variety of projects from novels to picture-books - whilst playing the odd princess/assassin/zombie in-between!
My debut YA/Crossover novel SOMEONE ELSE'S LIFE will be published by Simon & Schuster in February 2012, and my FAIRY TALE TWISTS series (Orchard Books) for 5+ are out now! Each rhyming story takes a familiar fairytale character and reveals their version of events - as you've never seen them before!
SOMEONE ELSE'S LIFE: When Rosie's mother, Trudie, dies from Huntington's Disease, Rosie's grief is intensified by the fear that she will also inherit the fatal illness. Until she discovers that Trudie was not her real mother after all - that Rosie was secretly swapped at birth with a sickly baby destined to die...
Devastated that her whole life has been a lie, Rosie tags along on her ex-boyfriend's gap year trip to secretly trace her birth mother. But as Rosie delves into her past and discovers yet more of her family's deeply-buried secrets and lies, she is left with a heart-breaking dilemma - to continue living a lie, or to reveal a truth that will shatter the lives of everyone around her...
Read Chapter One Here! http://katiedaleuk.blogspot.com/p/sneak-peek-someone-elses-life.html
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Adventurous. Creative. Dreamer.
If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?
I have always loved acting, ever since I was cast as Mary in the local nativity (only to lose my two front teeth – just like Kitty in Someone Else's Life!) and I actually trained at drama school in London after graduating from university, followed by various acting jobs, including a summer playing Juliet in a national tour of Romeo and Juliet.
When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
My mum, Elizabeth Dale, also writes books for children and teenagers so I’ve always really loved making up stories, and was submitting manuscripts to publishers from a very young age! I always knew I wanted to do something creative – either writing or acting – or both!
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in writing Someone Else's Life?
When I started writing Someone Else’s Life, I had never heard of Huntington’s disease. I was writing a story about Rosie, a girl who was deliberately swapped at birth, but I needed a reason why she would discover the switch had occurred, and I decided that the reason could be genetic. So I started researching genetic diseases and stumbled upon Huntington’s disease, a hereditary condition with symptoms similar to the physical effects of Parkinson’s plus the mental decline of Alzheimer’s.
I was especially surprised to discover that while there are around 6,000 reported cases in the UK there may actually be up to twice as many cases, because people often hide their condition, are mis-diagnosed, or even decide not to be tested.
Why? Because there is no cure.
This got me thinking. What would Rosie do? What would I do, if I were at risk?
What would you do?
Suddenly, instead of being a novel centred around one girl discovering her true identity, Huntington’s disease became the beating heart at the centre of my story, which consequently evolved into a much deeper, more emotional tale about secrets and lies, devastating ethical decisions, the complexities of family, and the enduring strength of love through any adversity.
What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about Trudie?
She’s named after Gertrude in Hamlet! And she named Rosie after Rosalind in As You Like It.
Where did you get your idea for Rosie?
I saw a story in the news about two babies which had been switched at birth, and it just stuck with me. What if one of those babies was me? How would I feel – about myself, about my family, about my “real” family – when I found out? What would I do? Questions kept bombarding me until that was the story I had to write!
Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite YA book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre?
My favourite book of all time…well, there are many, but Holding Me Here by Pam Conrad always sticks in my mind. It’s the story of fourteen-year-old Robin who’s own grief over her parents’ split is heightened when she discovers her new lodger, Mary, has left her own husband and children. Robin’s well-intentioned efforts to reconcile the broken family backfire terribly with far-reaching consequences she could have never imagined, in a plot that twists and tugs on your heart-strings right to the end. A terrific read.
My current favourite book outside my genre of contemporary YA is Suzanne Collins’ superb The Hunger Games – it’s so fresh and original and exciting and utterly gripping – I’m not a speedy reader but I whizzed through it and can’t wait to read the next two books!
What was a time in your life when you were really scared?
Quite recently, just after I moved house, I was reading Savita Kalhan’s wonderful The Long Weekend – a chilling cliffhanger of a book – on the bus on the way home, and was so engrossed I missed my stop and had to get out in an area I was unfamiliar with. Haunted by the scary characters in the book, alone in the dark, it was the scariest walk home ever!
You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your teen readers. What would it be?
Be brave enough to be yourself. It is at once the easiest and the most difficult thing ever, as there are so many pressures and expectations – from parents, friends, society, but find what makes you happy and stick with it, no matter what.
What new author has grasped your interest?
I am very impressed with Annabel Pitcher’s debut novel My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece. The voice she created for the narrator, ten-year-old Jamie, is so endearing, funny and authentic, and the way she deals with the difficult subject-matter is original and fresh. Definitely one to watch.
What’s the worst job you’ve had?
Working on a battery chicken farm. It was just terrible – the chickens were all crammed into tiny cages in a big dark barn, and they all pecked at my hands and were squawking and screaming at having their eggs taken away. It was traumatizing and I didn’t last more than a day.
What is your favorite Quote?
Yesterday’s history, tomorrow’s a mystery, today’s a gift – that’s why we call it the present.
Where can readers stalk you?
A variety of ways!
On my blog: http://katiedaleuk.blogspot.co.uk/
On Facebook: Katie Dale, Someone Else’s Life
On Twitter: @katiedaleuk
When 17-year-old Rosie's mother, Trudie, dies from Huntington's Disease, her pain is intensified by the knowledge that she has a fifty percent chance of inheriting the crippling disease herself. Only when Rosie tells her mother's best friend, "Aunt Sarah," that she is going to test for the disease does Sarah, a midwife, reveal that Trudie wasn't her real mother after all. Rosie was swapped at birth with a sickly baby who was destined to die.
Devastated, Rosie decides to trace her real mother, joining her ex-boyfriend on his gap year travels, to find her birth mother in California. But all does not go as planned. As Rosie discovers yet more of her family's deeply buried secrets and lies, she is left with an agonizing decision of her own, one which will be the most heart breaking and far-reaching of all.
Katie Dale’s Someone Else’s Life is a riveting story right from the start. It was a midweek evening when I started on this book and thought I would start by reading the first few chapters right before going to sleep. After the first chapter, my evening plan of going to sleep was non-existent. I found myself absorbed by its engaging plot and unforgettable characters. Dale puts together a mix of tragedy, heartbreak, and drama about a girl’s self-discovery voyage in finding her place in this world.
The plot revolves around seventeen-year-old Rosie, who’s mother was a victim of Huntington’s disease. Fearing that she might have this devastating illness, she plans on getting tested, but not before her mother’s best friend tell Rosie that her deceased mother is not her biological parent. Armed with the news, Rosie plans on locating her real mother.
It was an emotional roller-coaster ride from the first page to the last. I found this book to have a deep message behind Rosie’s story. It will motivate readers to some long deep thoughts about one’s identity, relationships, and the general meaning of life. This delightfully charming novel is easy to relate to, especially for ones who have lost someone dearly. Dale’s story of Rosie is very captivating and we learn that people, blood-related or not, who truly love and care about you is what makes them family.
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