‘Now holidays are always planned to spend as much time by the sea as possible!’
One of the aspects of feedback I get from readers that especially pleases me is that the Kydd books are seen not just as being for male readers; in fact I now know I have quite a large number of female readers following the adventures of Kydd and Renzi. One such is Kate Ross, the October Reader of the Month.
Kate lives in North Yorkshire with her husband of three years. As well as being drawn to Age of Sail fiction Kate is a passionate participant in the performing arts and runs a business providing educational classes to local children in performance.
I had the pleasure of meeting Kate Ross at a recent book signing during the Falmouth Tallships regatta and later got in touch again to ask her more about her passion for the genre.
Over to Kate…
As a woman what draws you to Age of Sail fiction?
I’ve had a long-standing interest in all things historical, compounded by my undergrad degree in history from the University of York. That said, I think there is a true magnificence about the Age of Sail both in terms of the ships themselves and the sheer strength of the human spirit – and it is that which has always drawn my interest. Despite the male-dominated nature of most of the famous stories I think the notion of the ‘hero’ and the demonstration of endurance in the 19th century navies cannot fail to capture people’s interest.
Initially I had read C S Forester’s Hornblower novels which whetted my appetite for the genre when I was just 14. Since then I have been enjoying the adventures of Kydd, having previously read Alexander Kent’s Bolitho adventures and Sean Thomas Russell’s Charles Hayden Novels.
Do you have any connection with the sea yourself?
Not really… Family holidays have usually involved a beach and I love watching boats, ships and busy ports. Having lived in West Yorkshire most of my life opportunities to be near the sea always meant a long car journey but now holidays are always planned to spend as much time by the sea as possible!
What did you most enjoy at the Falmouth Tallships event?
That was AMAZING! Meeting a special author… Taking a three hour sailing trip on the magnificent tall ship Mercedes. We helped set sails, walked the deck whilst out at sea and learned so much about the workings of the vessels and life aboard. Having the opportunity to explore the ships, take tours and soak up the atmosphere of a town celebrating its heritage made for a truly great holiday.
In the Kydd books do you have a favourite character?
I’m still working my way through the titles but so far it’s Renzi. Simply because of the clever mix of education, philosophy and ‘gentleman’ he brings to the between-decks environment. He is a clever balance to Kydd’s practical intelligence and robust outlook. That said, I think the interaction between the two of them is what really brings the reality to the stories.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I really enjoyed Kydd – the gritty descriptions of the brutality of the foremast life were such a refreshing contrast to the officer stories you find in other books in the genre. Kydd’s career is a very different journey so far, and it has brought a new appreciation to me of the hard circumstances necessary to keep that crucial naval dominance with the British.