AUTHOR Kathryn Andrews recently released her debut fantasy novel.
Elements Acquiesce is a tale for young adults set in Victorian Ireland, boasting mythical creatures, adventure, romance and death.
This week she took time out of her busy schedule to speak with the Irish Post...
What are you up to right now?
I’m currently promoting my debut fantasy novel, Elements Acquiesce which is set in Kilkee, Clare. I’m also writing the sequel, which I hope to release later this year.
Who are your heroes?
My parents. I admire how hard working they have been in their lives, their integrity and the kindness and generosity they show to others.
What's been the best decade of your life so far and why?
I’d say it’s the first decade and then my late teens and early twenties. I had a great childhood. I come from a working-class background and I was blessed with very kind and loving parents. I have a large family with lots of aunts, uncles and cousins and we all used to meet every Saturday at my grandmother’s house. I also have many fond memories of family holidays in Kilkee.
What record sends a shiver down your spine?
I enjoy a broad range of music styles… I have always loved listening to Elvis Presley but singers in more recent times whose voices have given me goose bumps are Leona Lewis – Run, Lana Del Rey – Video Games and SAULT – Wildfires.
What is your favourite place in Ireland?
For sentimental reasons, Kilkee will always be my favourite. My maternal grandmother was born and raised in Kilkee’s West End and I’ve been going there since I was nine months old. The Pollock Pools are my favourite place in the whole world.
What makes you angry?
Cruelty to people and animals and injustice.
What book influenced you most?
I decided I wanted to be vegetarian when I was nine and by the time I was eleven I had completely stopped eating meat. When I was fifteen, we read Animal Farm by George Orwell at school. It really made me think about animal welfare in greater detail and I became vegan for six months. I now eat a mix of vegetarian and vegan food. I’m pleased there are more options in most restaurants now.
What was the worst moment of your life?
Losing loved ones, especially my grandmother. I’m terrible at funerals. I can’t stop crying. I was eleven when I attended my first funeral at the Catholic Church in Kilkee. My great aunt had died and we travelled over from England as soon as we heard. I’d been holding back the tears for the whole car journey and I remember clear as day, getting out of the car and seeing the hearse. I found that very difficult indeed.
Which local star in any field should the world outside Ireland know about?
I always enjoyed listening to Paddy Reilly’s music on my car journeys across Ireland. I’m also a fan of Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders but I suspect the world already knows about him.
If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be?
I’d like to be fitter. I’m working on that. I cancelled my gym membership at the start of lockdown. It’s probably time I went back. I’d also like to spend more time on the sea, kayaking and paddle boarding.
What is the best lesson life has taught you?
Don’t settle, especially in relationships and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t achieve something.
What is your favourite film and why?
My favourite will always be Top Gun. I love the action, the uniforms, the cheekiness and the songs. It’s just a great film. I’m looking forward to seeing the second one when it comes out.
What do you believe in?
I believe in dreaming, swimming in the sea no matter the time of year, driving along country roads in the summer with the music up and the windows down, laying in bed and listening to the pitter patter of rain on the windows, kindness, family and that loved ones who have passed are watching over us.
What trait do others criticise you for?
Being indecisive. You might have guessed because I can’t pick just one answer for some of your questions.
Where do you live and what are the best and worst things about that place?
I live in Hampshire, England on the south coast. It’s great because I’m not too far from the sea and countryside but also very close to a lot of amenities. I also have family and friends near by. Traffic can be a bit of a nightmare at times, especially during rush hour.
On what occasion is it OK to lie?
It’s always better to be honest and truthful but I think a white lie is ok in certain circumstances, for example, if you’re planning a surprise for someone’s birthday or if you ate the last slice of cake.
What do you consider the greatest work of art?
I admire artwork that shows real skill and talent, especially fine art such as detailed pencil drawings and realist oil painting portraits. There’s an oil painter I’m following on Instagram called Damian Lechoszest. His work is phenomenal.
What is your ultimate guilty pleasure?
Chocolate and salted caramel ice-cream. I’m also partial to a well-made hot chocolate.
Who is/was the love of your life?
My family. I have three gorgeous nephews who are the loves of my life.
Elements Acquiesce by Kathryn Andrews is available online from Amazon, Blackwell’s Books and Waterstones as well as other good online bookshops.
Click here or follow @kathrynandrewsbooks on Instagram for more information.