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A Q&A with Kate Blair, author of The Magpie’s Library

For some, third time’s the charm. But Kate Blair has been three-times lucky. The 2017 graduate is getting ready to publish her third novel, and we caught up with her over email to learn more about the details.

Tell us about The Magpie’s Library. How did it come about?

The Magpie’s Library came from a number of things: a story idea I’d had over fifteen years ago; a wish to re-write aspects of my grandfather’s dementia; and a desire to explore the separate stories we each live, and the stories we tell ourselves, both good and bad.

This will be your third published book. How has your experience with the publishing process evolved with each book? Has any facet been more difficult, or easier?

I’ve been lucky enough to have the same publisher for all three books, so by book number three, I’m more familiar with how things go at DCB. The writing process manages to be different every time, and definitely gets harder. Partly because I now understand what each scene of my book should be doing, and my first draft always falls agonizingly short of achieving that. On the other hand, I have built up a wonderful crew of trusted beta readers, which means the rewrites are rather more productive.

How did you find the experience of working with your writing mentor? What insight into your writing did you gain through the mentorship process?

I took the course because I want to keep finding new ways to approach my writing, and having a mentor work through a whole draft of a novel was an opportunity to do that. Tim Wynne-Jones made me take a step back and look at points of view that I hadn’t considered, but were an excellent fit for the story. He helped me to realize that I had far more writing tools than the ones I had got into the habit of using.  He was extremely encouraging and always made me reach deeper into the “why” of the story.

To learn more about Kate and her writing, visit her online at, or follow her on Twitter @curledupkate.

Kate Blair headshot

Photo credit: Calvin Thomas