My First Time...with Kate Leaver
Kate Leaver is a journalist and author who writes articulately and insightfully about everything from women and travel to pop culture for titles including Glamour, Stylist, The Pool and Cosmopolitan. Given her talent it's amazing that she's only just now published her first book, The Friendship Cure. The first of many to come, we feel.
Kate is reading at The Riff Raff on Thursday 10th May and if you haven't got your tickets yet...what are you waiting for?
Here's the blurb for The Friendship Cure...
'Our best friends, gal-pals, bromances, Twitter followers, Facebook friends, long- distance buddies and WhatsApp threads define us in ways we rarely acknowledge. There is so much about friendship we either don't know or don't articulate: why do some friendships last a lifetime, while others are only temporary? How do you break up with a toxic friend? And maybe the most important question: how can we live in the most interconnected age and still find ourselves stuck in the greatest loneliness epidemic of our time? It's killing us, making us miserable and causing a public health crisis. What if meaningful friendships are the solution, not a distraction. In The Friendship Cure, Kate Leaver's much anticipated manifesto brings to light what modern friendship means, how it can survive, why we need it and what we can do to get the most from it. From behavioural scientists to best mates, Kate finds extraordinary stories and research, drawing on her own experiences to create a fascinating blend of accessible smart thinking , investigative journalism, pop culture and memoir.'
Describe the exact moment you decided to write your book?
I was sitting in Hyde Park on an unseasonably warm London day when I read an article in The Atlantic that said we lose friends when we get married and have kids. I was alarmed enough to essentially research and write an 83,000 word reply.
What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before starting to write your book?
That you have to give yourself permission to have bad days – days where you do not reach word count, not even close. Days when you stay in your pyjamas and have a tantrum in front of the telly. Setting a weekly word target is sensible for this very reason – to cater for the empty days, the sullen days, the tantrum days.
What’s your go-to procrastination method?
Twitter. My dog. Netflix.
What was the biggest tantrum you had while writing it?
Ha! If I didn’t value my laptop quite so much, I would’ve thrown it across the room on several occasions. But my biggest tantrum has to be when I tried to get out of writing an entire chapter – I decided my chapter on work friendships was a terrible idea and really tried to wrangle my way out of it altogether.
Best thing about writing your book?
Good god, finishing it. What a feeling! And the worst?
For me, it was the days when I lost confidence in the whole project. Writing is such a solitary activity, it can be extremely easy to lose motivation and sight of the fact that you found the book worthy of writing in the first place. I also happened to be going through an intense depressive episode while I wrote this book, which made things, shall we say, harder.
Go-to writing snacks?
Fantastic question, could talk about snacks forever. Popcorn is my go-to, partly because I think I associate the gesture of putting it on my tongue with going to the movies, so there’s a little thrill in the act. Also green apples, yoghurt with blueberries and chocolate digestives.
Who or what inspires you to write?
To be honest, a lot of the time writing a book I didn’t rely on inspiration; it was too unreliable. I relied on tenacity and determination. But when I do feel inspired, it’s often by the writing of Jon Ronson. Also, rather sweetly, the thought of how proud my papa (my mum’s dad) would be of me – he taught me to love the English language. Apart from that, it’s just a compulsion that comes with its own momentum.
The book that changed you?
Oh, so many. The book that changed my approach to writing would have to be The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson. To me, it’s the perfect non-fiction. It’s approachable, funny, diligently researched, brimming with humanity, warm, informative, insightful – all those wondrous things. It’s what I aspire to.
Your pump up song?
'Sign of the Times' by Harry Styles
If you could share a bottle of wine with one writer, who would it be?
J.K. Rowling. Can’t resist.
One piece of advice you’d give first time writers hoping to get a book published?
Try to get an agent you adore. It is just invaluable to have someone fighting in your corner who believes in you, who knows the industry and who can do the business side of things while you concentrate on the writing.