Today’s Wednesday’s Guest is Kate Frost, who is sitting down for a chat with the central character from her debut novel The Butterfly Storm. Please help me welcome the ladies to It’s Not All Gravy. Grab a chair at the table and I’ll provide a cool drink to beat the hot summer day in Greece. Here in Texas that cool drink would be sweet tea, but in Greece it is a chilled beer.
It’s one of those perfect Greek summer days, hot and dry with just a hint of a breeze when I meet up with Sophie at the fish restaurant by the harbour in Oia, Santorini that she and Alekos had been to the summer before. Sophie’s already there at a table by the water wearing a short cream skirt, a pink vest top, her green eyes shaded by sunglasses. She’s tanned and toned, a few years younger than me and pretty in a not obvious kind of way. Her long hair looks even redder than normal in the sunshine. She waves me over, and I thankfully sink into the chair opposite her feeling hot and flustered from walking in the sun.
‘You found it okay then? she asks.
‘Of course, I’ve been here before remember? That’s why I wrote about it in the novel. You and Alekos loved it too.’
‘Apart from the argument.’
‘Yes, sorry about that.’
There are two glasses of cold beer and an array of dishes already laid out on the table: calamari, fried mussels, Greek salad, octopus and fried Santorini tomatoes.
‘I ordered,’ Sophie says, taking a sip of her beer. ‘I love your skirt by the way.’
I smooth down my long gypsy skirt. ‘This old thing, really?’
‘It’s something mum would wear.’ I take that as a compliment. Sophie’s mum, Leila, may be a good few years older than me but she has taste, a youthful appearance and always looks good.
‘I have a bone to pick with you,’ Sophie says, folding her arms and leaning back in her chair. ‘Did you seriously have to put me through all that emotion?’
‘Of course,’ I say, shading my eyes from the sun. ‘Who wants to read a story without emotion?’
‘Fair point, but family trouble, boyfriend trouble, a domineering mother-in-law to be… you really dished it out, didn’t you.’
‘Well, I did try my hardest to make your story an interesting one that readers could invest in.’
Sophie stabs a piece of calamari with her fork and pops it into her mouth. ‘Why did you write it?’
‘The Butterfly Storm? Because it was a story I wanted to tell and one that was full of passion and themes that most people can relate too – family, love, independence, a sense of belonging.’
‘What gave you the idea in the first place? Was it me?’
‘Um, actually no, Sophie, it wasn’t you. It was the time I’d spent in Greecevisiting my husband’s family that inspired the idea. I always start off with an idea of place. For The Butterfly Storm it was Greeceand north Norfolk in the UK where my grandparents lived; for my new novel it’s Tanzaniaand Zanzibar. You came along afterwards when I had a rough sense of plot and ideas for certain scenes, such as the birthday party in Greece. But ultimately you told the story. I went where you took me.’
‘Did you always intend to have me narrating the story?’
‘I never really thought about writing it any other way than from your point of view. The story needs to be seen through your eyes so it makes sense that you take the reader on your journey both physically and emotionally.’
‘And what a journey it was.’ Sophie pops a fried mussel into her mouth. ‘Oh my God, Kate, you have to try these.’ She squeezes more lemon over them and passes the plate to me.
I pick a juicy looking one and pop it in my mouth. ‘That is so good.’
Sophie smiles and taps her glass against mine. ‘To us and our story. Oh, and congratulations on finally becoming a published author.’
Kate Frost has wanted to write since she was seven. Over the years she’s had short stories and articles published in various magazines including The London Magazine and New Welsh Review. She has a MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University and The Butterfly Storm is her first novel. She lives in the UK with her husband and their dog.
Four years ago, life for Sophie Keech was perfect. A new start in Greece with Alekos, her boyfriend of just six weeks, removes Sophie from a mundane 9-5 job, takes her away from the difficult relationship she has with her mum, and gives her the opportunity and belief that she is finally doing something positive and exciting with her life.
But a lot can change in four years. An engagement, a domineering mother-in-law to be and the reality of life in Greece not being quite what Sophie imagined puts a strain on her relationship with Alekos.
When an accident forces Sophie back to the UK to look after her estranged mum, she has time to reevaluate her life, her idea of family, where she wants to be and, most importantly, who she loves.
If you enjoyed meeting Kate, you might want to visit her BLOG – and follow her on TWITTER