My guest today is Kate Frost, author of several novels, including The Baobab Beach Retreat, Beneath the Apple Blossom, and The Butterfly Storm. Kate has chosen some amazing photos and the stories behind them are quite special. It’s a real pleasure to welcome her to the blog so she can share them with us.
Choosing only five photos from the forty-one years I’ve been alive (forty-one exactly, as today is my birthday!), is almost impossible. So to help narrow it down, I focused on the experiences and places in my life that have had the greatest impact and meaning.
Post heart-op, 1985
I was seven when I went into the Bristol Royal Infirmary to have open heart surgery for a hole in my heart. I was at an age when it was an adventure rather than something to be feared. I guess I didn’t realise the enormity of what I was to undergo, or the significant risk. The reason why I’m a writer is because of this operation and the time I spent off school afterwards recovering. I had a wonderful home tutor who taught me lots of things, but the two that stuck with me were learning about dinosaurs and being shown how to write stories. I wrote my first novel at the age of eight and I’ve not stopped writing since.
One place that means so much to me is my grandparent’s farmhouse on the edge of a small village in north Norfolk. Growing up I was lucky enough to spend every Christmas and some summers there. The view in the photo is from the garden, overlooking the field of horses up to the church at Blakeney. I used the exact view in my debut novel, The Butterfly Storm, although the village and cottage my main character spends time in are fictional. Despite my lovely grandparents no longer being with us, it’s a place I’m still lucky enough to enjoy, as the farmhouse was left to my mum.
I adore this photo of me and my son who was only twelve weeks old at the time. Leo had been long awaited. It took more than four years and four cycles of fertility treatment before he arrived in February 2014. For me, this photo sums up the highs and lows of those years. Despite being unbelievably tired, I was also completely content.
I married a Greek, and so we’ve been to Greece lots of times to stay with his family. They live in north mainland Greece, not far from the sea and this photo was taken from their garden looking towards Mount Olympus. Pretty special as views go! I love how the mountain can look so different depending on the weather or the time of year. Sometimes it’s obscured completely by clouds, other times it basks in a purple haze. On perfectly clear days you can see the definition of the mountain and in winter, often through to early spring, its snow-topped peaks. It’s no wonder some of my books are set in and have been inspired by Greece!
I was born in Bristol and grew up on a Victorian terraced street with Horfield Common at the end of the road. I went away to university in Aberystwyth and toyed with moving to either London or Brighton but I ended up back in Bristol and have been living there ever since. I love where we now live in Southville, a vibrant and creative part of the city that’s walking distance to the waterfront and the city centre but also to countryside. In August when the International Balloon Fiesta takes place we can sit in our garden and watch the balloons go over; Upfest, Europe’s largest Street Art and Graffiti Festival is on our doorstep; and, exactly like where I grew up, we have a lovely park at the end of the road. We may move one day, but for the time being, it’s perfect.
Wow, thank you so much, Kate. What interesting photos, and what wonderful stories behind them. It’s been a pleasure to host you here today. Have a fabulous birthday!
Kate Frost has wanted to be an author ever since she wrote her first novel during the long months she spent off school following open heart surgery when she was seven. The novel was called London’s Burning and was a time travel story set during the Great Fire of London.
Over the years Kate has worked in a cinema, a bookshop, a factory and at NHS Direct. She’s also worked as ground staff at Edgebaston Tennis Tournament and as a Supporting Artist in the films Vanity Fair, King Arthur and The Duchess. Kate has a MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University and has also taught lifewriting to Creative Writing undergraduates there.
Kate lives in the UK with her husband, young son and their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and spends her days chasing after an energetic pre-schooler and not keeping on top of the housework.