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#LoveOzYAbookclub May 2021 author interview – KATHRYN BARKER (Waking Romeo)

Hello again, it’s raining where I am and I hope where you are, you’re staying warm and dry.

This month’s author interview is with the very lovely Kathryn Barker, who has explained some things about the genesis of this month’s read, WAKING ROMEO, and about her favourite line of poetry – and how she has her very own Trash TV Night!

Read on…

Kathryn, can you tell us a bit about the backstory for your book?

Years ago, I started wondering what would happen if someone invented time-travel, but you could only go forwards. That’s where the idea for the ‘world’ in Waking Romeo came from.

After a while I wondered who you could recruit to try and save that broken world, without impacting the timeline. That’s where the idea of the Deadenders came from.

Much later, I started wondering about the epic love stories that we’d studied in school. In particular, Romeo & Juliet and Wuthering Heights. I decided they weren’t especially healthy examples. I started wondering how I might tweak them to create something new and more in keeping with my own ideas around love.

Then, one fateful afternoon, I decided to try and combine all of those separate ideas into one story. The result was Waking Romeo. 

Are you a plotter or a pantser? Or something in between? Do you even believe in that ‘plotter Vs pantser’ stuff?

A panster … given that I’ve just written an intricately plotted time-travel novel, I think that also makes me a masochist. When I grow up, I want to be a planner. I love the idea of knowing where I’m going with a story, rather than just stepping out into the darkness, fingers crossed. Having said that, I think that the ‘not knowing’ – and me stubbornly wanting to find the answers – is (unfortunately) part of how my creative process works…

Now for the #LoveOzYAbookclubTrash Media Challenge – which fave trash movie/show would you cheerily inflict on your friends?

Actually, I used to host a weekly trash TV night! I’d make some simple food that was easy to share, usually in the slow cooker. After work, friends would descend on my place and we’d eat while watching Project Runway or Next Top Model. We called it ‘Trash TV Night’, and I hosted it every week for years, back in the BC days (before children).

My current favourite guilty pleasure is Bridgerton, not that it’s trashy. I told my mum about it and she immediately binge-watched the whole season. Perhaps that means I ‘inflicted’ it on my dad?

Your book has a title, and it’s an awesome title. But what might it have been called, if it wasn’t called what it is now?

You know, there was never another working title for this book – it was always Waking Romeo. Everything worked back from the idea of waking that one boy, including the plot and the themes … so it’s really hard for me to imagine another title. But if I had to re-name it, I think I’d call it Deadenders, because the metaphor behind that word fits with the characters and the story.

Can you share your fave line of poetry with us?

Anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you” by David Whyte. Not just beautiful poetry, but words to live by. Whether or not something (or someone) brings me alive is my ultimate benchmark.

Kathryn Barker, thank you!

And thank you all for reading this month’s author interview – see you soon for the discussion post on FB for WAKING ROMEO.


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