~ Author spotlight & Interview by the Self Confessed Book Eater~

Spotlight on Author Kate White – Interviewed by the Self Confessed Book Eater

Hi guys,

If you have seen my latest youtube video, i did an unboxing of Kate White’s debut novel ‘Caskets of ice’, a beautiful Caskets of Ice is vivid, unique story concerning dreams and darkness, magic and utter mayhem. With writing prose that has beautiful imagery and illustrations that sucks you into the story. It is obvious Kate White  is a writer who loves the written word and knows how to wield them. 

I decided to do a spotlight on Kate and interview her with a few questions about Caskets of ice. 

What made you want to put the images as accompaniments to your storyline? 

One of the ideas i played around with was to have my book as an illustrated novel, but i always found it hard to find an illustration/one who shares the same vision. I’m happy with how the images played out using their own flair, which brings something a bit different to the characters!

What was the inspiration behind your characters?

I had inspiration for the characters since i was 16. I went to an all girls grammar school so there were no guys there! it really was based on a lot of things i read (I used to be in the library most of the time!) and the character Peter was my ‘ideal’ guy/imaginary friend. The character of the bully Alex was actually a main character up to the latter years of editing and the story took a different day to day approach with conflicts (Less of a fairytale aspect it has now). They all had a log of their own backstories that needed to be modified as the plot took a different, darker course. 

Are there plans for a second book in the series?

I have been encouraged to do a sequel, however, realistically if i do, it would be a prequel based around Alden’s backstory to the present day we meet him. However, the main idea mulling around in my head is to have a series of dark nightmarish short stories that could potentially link to some of the themes, (side characters we come across in Caskets of Ice, the parasol girl’s, Dream Devils and so on). I am open to suggestions!

How long was the idea behind the storyline swirling in your mind? 

Though i tell people it was a lifelong process, as much as this is true – it didn’t actually take me long to write ideas down, once i had them. The written parts on and off in total probably took a course of a few months! The editing process, however, the re-writing, axing…(yes, the abandoning!) dragged it on for years. The blessings and curse of being a writer!

Other than that, i write as the ideas come to me, until they form a cohesive, linear storyline that could work with an over-arching theme or moral to teach the reader. 

Check out the full interview at: https://carolinemasci.com/f/spotlight-on-author-kate-white, and her review of my book on her channel:

IG: @caroline_bookeater

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGNNRVUrRLLOf9FCbtluEkw

My life being a Writer & Teacher- Interviewed by Mimi Wong

Have you ever imagined your life as being a NET teacher and a writer? Miss Kate White, who was a former NET teacher in K S Lo, speaks to Mimi Wong about herself and being a NET teacher and writer.

You have been teaching in Hong Kong for seven years. Why did you want to be a NET teacher?

Initially I wanted to be a writer more than a teacher. However, after I graduated university in UK,  it seemed the natural thing for me to try. (My father was teaching in Hong Kong at the time.) Though it wasn’t something I imagined I would be doing for the next 8 years, I enjoyed the experience greatly, and I learnt a lot!

What do you like about being a teacher?

Being a teacher is an interactive job. It’s not just about facing a computer or having a desk job, but also talking to students. I can laugh and have fun in classes. Teaching is a learning experience as well. A secret is that I don’t care much for public speaking – something I had to do in school morning assembly quite often. But after facing a class every day, it gave me the confidence I needed and speaking in front of a crowd became a lot easier. Yet, one challenge is that it can be unpredictable. You can’t always control other’s behaviour or reaction- even the best lesson planning doesn’t always go your way.

Why do want to become a writer? 

When I was younger, I thought that writing was like a form of escapism. Reading was my main hobby and I borrowed three to four books every Saturday from the public library. Writing provided an opportunity for me to release my negative emotions! I guess it’s also the influence from my parents as they encouraged me to read from an early age. When I was about 15, I had the idea for my book. The characters kept appearing in my head, waiting to be introduced into the world. As a result, it took me many years to publish the book through the intensive editing process- it never seemed good enough; something all writers experience! Even if I encountered many bad things in reality, I can always escape from reality by writing.

Have you faced any challenges when you became a writer?

I would say writers block, and not being able to fulfil the snapshot of random ideas I had in my head. I have edited the novel for many years but nothing new recently. Also, there can be internal struggles and lack of confidence that might hinder or stop you from writing- for example do we write for ourselves or for the reader? A lot of the time it’s to share personal things (as through Caskets of Ice), yet once it’s out in the world, you can’t predict or control how others will react.

These days, I have been quite busy. Finding time to write is a challenging task. Interestingly, I have more inspirations when I am busy, or listening to music that puts me in the mood. When I am bored, I find I cannot come up with many ideas.

Could you tell us about your new book?

The new book is called “Casket of Ice”. It is about reality and the terrors of the dream world. Imagine you can control your dreams in your ‘ideal’ setting, to escape to somewhere far better than the troubles you experience every day. However, there is a dream devil that rules the dream world, plaguing and collecting people’s souls. He may appear your friend at first, but he hides more unsettling secrets of his own. One of the main characters – a secondary school student called Dinah realises she gets more than she bargains for once she enters this new, scarier realm she cannot wake from. Though the story is a bit dark and creepy, it is very realistic to our lives- which is often complicated, and far from pretty or nice. It encourages us to have determination and face our problems with strength and unity.

Did you have any difficulties when publishing your new book?

 Yes. I approached many publishers in the past when I was eighteen. They required me to cut out many parts of the book that weren’t relevant to pushing the storyline along. As a result, the finished form is a lot shorter than what people may expect. Unlike J K Rowling and her extensive Harry Potter series, I find that my writing is a lot different in that it is shorter and focuses on specific snapshots of events. I think it is something we have to find out for ourselves.

Publishing your own novel can be very hard, as you need to find an agent or publisher willing to take on your work, especially to sell commercially. Eventually, I decided to self-publish, after debating on what I wanted as a writer. To self-publish, you have to do everything by yourself include promotion. I uploaded and edited on Amazon. Also, I asked around if anyone was able to design the front cover of my book. Luckily, the illustrator was able to produce my vision in a dramatic and eye-catching way.

Yet, I needed to find a printer in Hong Kong. The hardcover books cost me HK$350 to make each book, as opposed to the paperback book which cost a third of that amount! To be honest I earn little profit from the book because the publishing cost is very high. However, I knew it was about achieving my dream over making this my main source of income!

Why did you want to write a dark fantasy novel (Casket of Ice) instead of other genres?

I think everyone likes a bit of creepiness! It can attract more people to read. Strangely enough, I don’t read a lot of fantasy books or other genres such as sci-fi books. However, I am interested in fantasy movies so this is what attracted me to this genre. A reviewer of my novel said it was “Dracula meets Inception set in a fairytale setting”, which I found quite apt…..you can see for yourself! But otherwise, my book is a combination of everything- mystery, adventure, with some romance. People want to categorise books, and so, I have to say it is a dark fantasy book suitable for teens and adults alike.

What is your plan? Will you write the same genre of books again or write something new?

A lot of people asked me to write a sequel or prequel of my new book. That’s an option. I am thinking about writing a dark fantasy collection. If others can collaborate with me, I can even make a whole novel. From now on, I would like to concentrate on writing poetry, prose poetry or short stories. I have always been attracted to old-style nature poetry written by the romantics such as Keats… When I was stressed in the past, I would write poetry describing the wonderful sights of nature around us, the colour and calmness it inspires. Perhaps it can even turn into a collection or anthology! There are many options, but I hope that I can write more in the future- as well as doing more promotion for my current book.

Original link/post- https://english.kslo.hk/my-life-being-a-writer-and-teacher/

https://english.kslo.hk/

Tuition Services Offered

Kate is a Native English teacher with over 7+ years of experience in enriching the English Learning Environment in Secondary Schools, including Band 1-3. She has a detailed knowledge of the current HK syllabus and can provide one on one exam practice to bump up student’s performance to give them that edge in such a competitive environment. Her expertise is in Literature & Language Arts.

What Services does Kate offer?

Kindergarten & Pre School

  1. Reading aloud and story time
  2. Speaking to improve pronunciation & phonetics
  3. Listening to songs, learning through games and movies

Primary & Secondary

Reading

  1. Tailor made material (comprehension passages & exercises on a range of topics catered to students learning pace and weaknesses)
  2. Vocabulary using real life English
  3. Grammar practice
  4. Language Arts through literary analysis
  5. Examination Skills – reading for content vs specific detail

Speaking

  1. P6 to S1 Interview training 
  2. SBA & HKDSE (Group Discussion & Individual Response)
  3. Debate practice for inter-school competitions
  4. Speech Festivals (Solo Verse)

Writing

  1. Creative Writing & the use of literary devices in Literature
  2. Short to long essay writing (organisation and structure)

Listening

  1. BBC learning websites
  2. Podcasts
  • Kate has also published her own series of Grammar Textbooks “Grammar Practice & Common Mistakes” for S1-S3.
  • Kate offers one to one, group and online tutoring sessions* face to face or through Zoom or Whatsapp. (Min. 15 mins per session.) Message for quotation.

For parents, please send a brief overview of the textbook & what your child is learning so teaching materials can be modified. This can be provided in the main body of your message under ‘Contact Me’.

*due to the current epidemic situation online sessions are the preferred method until further notice.

swirl-divider4

Welcome Friends!

My name is Kate and I’m a writer, teacher and all rounded literature nerd who loves to review, upload book photos and bring the joy of reading!  So what can you expect from my page?

I have created a platform not only to bring my passions together but also to offer my services for proofreading, editing and in time, online tutorials for students who need that extra bit of practice to get their grades up to scratch. (More info will come later!)

It’s so important to have a community willing to share and help each other grow- I am in the process of publishing my novel “Caskets of Ice”. Head over to the “My Novel” tab to have a sneak preview of the front cover design and read the blurb!

Stay tuned for more exciting updates over the coming months, and thanks again for those who follow me and receive updates! If there is anything you would like to contact me about, either to collaborate, offer content suggestions or request services, then don’t hesitate to message me! 🙂

WhatsApp Image 2020-03-31 at 6.03.17 PM

Robin Hood ~ the return of a legend?

I’ve probably analysed all adaptions to death in my previous post, but here’s another update! (This doesn’t help the ‘nerd’ image in the slightest…)

*spoiler alert*

So what comparisons can we make?

This movie takes the darkness of the Russell Crowe version, combined with the humour of the TV show (Marian looks the spitting image of Lucy Griffiths). It delivers the action, the evil, and combines it with a lot of assassins creed. Riding horseback over rooftops, shooting 100 arrows a second, their modern outfits, buildings that look more eastern than medieval 🏰 … we know how unrealistic this is going to be, but that’s also what keeps us riveted to the screen. It isn’t going to be accurate. But we also know that RH didn’t exist in his ‘current form.’ RH is a great bowman, (my jealousy knows no bounds) and if nothing else, it’s good to have a heroic figure to believe in.

John takes over Azeem’s role in ‘Prince of thieves’, that of mentor and companion, Will Scarlet actually becomes the new sheriff (bet you didn’t see that coming!) There is no gang, at least not without a beginning and each has a story to tell. The dynamics have shifted between them, and they’re not the beloved characters you remember them to be.

The concept of RH to me isn’t just the rich robbing to give to the poor. It’s about the idea of justice, of doing what’s right, and caring for those around you. It might seem two dimensional, (he is a killer, and surely has done some terrible things during the crusades. Isn’t stealing from the law equally as deplorable?) But to this day, and what makes it such a popular legend to portray, is that it shares some important qualities~ of staying loyal (Robin & Marian throughout the time he’s at war), of friendship (in this case striking a bond with those you fight/ work alongside and having a common cause), fairness and sacrifice- death seems but a notion, if its fighting for what you believe in/ those you love.

Yes all versions have a bleak view on the corruptness of the church. The crusades were dark, horrific times and nothing is pretty about heads being lopped off, or peppered by a thousand arrows. They fight for a cause directed by another’s hand and it’s only upon his return home does RH realise the corrupt villains at his own door.

So isn’t he justified in taking action? To strike at the root of evil? No matter what face he wears over the years, he represents an ‘idea’, to stand up against tyranny.

All along it seems a tug of war between RH and the sheriff, of deception, both equally dependent on the other. So it’s interesting to see their relationship throughout the process.

For this movie, RH keeps his personae as robin of Loxley (rich Lord of the Manor) as well as his doppelgänger Robin of the hood. His disguise is never doubted and the sheriff trusts him all too easily. Which is what makes it so intriguing. You’re always waiting for that moment when he’ll be found out.

So what if you found a role reversal, with RH as the villain, the sheriff as compassionate, albeit flawed man caught between his duty & personal affairs who isn’t fixated on capturing Robin Hood at all but merely surviving and protecting his family-what then? 🤔

Overall, it did fulfill what I can only describe as the RH ‘criteria’ and pay homage to the essence of what he represents. The true core of it stays the same, no matter how modern or glitzily revamped the adaptations are. It’s easy to be a critic of the movie, but the reason it stays in people’s minds is down to one thing. Whether he existed or not, he’s been turned into a household name that inspires courage and imagination through the years … and that’s the true legend of Robin Hood.

Drifting 5 weeks in a balloon 🎈

Hello again after having vanished for a few years (epic writer’s block there…) I received this lovely Barnes & Nobles edition as a Christmas present so I started reading! (Who could have believed I was such a “Back to the Future”/ lit nerd & not read it…the mysteries of the world

I drifted off to the sound of trickling rivers and gentle harp music only to find myself in the land between imagining if my character Dinah in my own novel ended up stepping through the pages and let herself be swept up in a one so frequent African storm, saved only by Doctor Ferguson’s ingenuity for aeronautics, Joe- ever the optimist lending a helping hand as she traversed the barren desert 🏜 of her own journey , and the intrepid hunter Kennedy cracking jokes and shooting his rifle at the inhabitants and beasts below (as he so often does to protect the balloon). No doubt they would all be in awe of her leather-bound she refused to surrender (because after all, how would she even get back to her own reality without the aid of her Jules Verne collection?) 

She could technically go months if not years page hoping from one story to the next, an entire bookshelf’s worth of novels at her disposal. 

Just like I escaped through the pages of my dreams – and imagined how wonderful it was to be surrounded by constant adventure…

Right now I’m still lost somewhere in a giant hot air balloon suspended in space, barely touching the horizon, resting above the clouds spread out like a furry white throw caught in the rays of the early sun ☀️ there’s no need to come back to reality just yet… 

Everything aside, I found myself laughing out loud at their anecdotes and wondering how amazing it would be to travel (with the right expert to guide you of course) across deserted plains & forests in a hot air balloon avoiding disease, illness, battles & quite frankly~ other people on the ground…

They met many obstacles but otherwise it was smooth sailing watching all the drama unfold below. But just being a quiet observer above, what did they truly miss?  🤔 Kennedy could vouch for that, no hunting for him, but sometimes it’s important to be in the thick of things to really experience all life has to offer…

swirl-divider4

 

Edge of Silence

As we sit on the edge of silence,

gazing down to what has come before,

unrivalled dreams, stained apricot by passing suns,

like rain through our fingers no more,

mirrored strength, as marble hardens around-

our finest inspirations to fill the void,

as seasons flash, eternal;

never abandoned, relentless, never destroyed,

a memory flits by with her wings of silk,

so transparent and pure in the light,

of shadows that once were, carrying their weight,

or so nobly let dreams alight.

swirl-divider4

Copyright © 2016 by Kate W J White (All Rights Reserved)

Le Petit Prince ~ Review

 

I finally found time to watch the film of “The Little Prince” and it really didn’t disappoint. I was intrigued with how it stuck to the original storyline and how they developed the idea of the prince growing up in the real world, how society had affected him and how these characters he had met on the planets were manifested in modern society.

Many of us can relate to the girl in the film, who is pressurised to conform and grow up to be a responsible and hard working adult with good academic achievements. Her neighbour ‘the pilot’ deviates from this and allows her to explore her ‘creative’ and free state of imagination without the constraints, timetables and rigid structure her mother lays out for her.

The animations were captivating, with many touching points that really pull at the heartstrings. No doubt there are many instances where the characters drift apart/must say goodbye to one another. But, it is all part of life.

Some morals I learnt from watching it:

1. Everything lives on in the heart even if you can’t see it anymore

2. It’s okay to deviate from rigid rules, and yet pursue what you want through seeing it in a different light. Never dream too small, and always maintain the childishness and innocence in you. Be brave.

The fox is also pretty darn cute too!

swirl-divider4

Moby Dick ~ Our love/hate relationship

maxresdefault

Moby Dick- this is a chronicle of our love hate relationship. Yes, I first met you during my years at university, and yes somehow I managed to get an ‘A ‘ grade without having properly read you. Yes, I feel bad about this. So, last week I decided to give my many hardbacks a break to attempt to rekindle our rocky relationship. I hope you forgive me for this.

I can’t deny that Moby Dick is great for analysis. The themes touched upon such as the desperation of humanity, of unadulterated revenge, of survival, of kinship, the juxtaposition between light and darkness & good and evil through the representation of the ‘whale’ and the fierce and seaworthy captain Ahab mourning over the loss of his leg. There are so many things you can discuss – making it no doubt one of the enduring pieces of English literature. (Thank you online resources for getting me through this period)

So, why am I finding it so difficult to read?? I endured, I persevered, I rarely gave up, it’s chapter 32 and that’s it- I’m gone. There is humour, there’s great character portrayal of the narrator Ishmael’s anxiety over his meeting with his ‘soon to be’ close brother and companion Queequeg. Even then, it shows the bonds and true friendship that transcends race, situation & religion. The characters know the fragility of life; “I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing.” There are quotes that are absolutely memorable and really help to set the scene;

  • “For there is no folly of the beast of the earth which is not infinitely outdone by the madness of men.” 
  •  “It is not down on any map; true places never are.” 
  •  “Then, there you lie like the one warm spark of an artic crystal”.
  •  “To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme. No great and enduring volume can ever be written on the flea, though many there be who have tried it.” 

That last one is something to think about!

The novel is heavy with words. I would be lying if I said I understood it all, and I have read a fair few literature books in my time. Some chapters tended towards philosophical/religious references to biblical characters & heavy with analogies (even Ishmael, Ahab- many names are carefully chosen for the purpose of contrasting their biblical counterparts) not to mention defined textbook jargon of the anatomy of whales/and the whaling industry. Like many 19th Century literature it undoubtedly takes time and perseverance on the reader’s part to sift through outdated terminology and phrases, yet all I can say, is that the more you read, the quicker- and easier it gets.

moby-e1423396055437

There may be a time, perhaps when I am stranded with nothing but ‘Moby Dick’ as reading material I may endeavor to try and renew my complicated relationship with it. Perhaps I may even reach chapter 60. But for now, I will close your lovely turquoise leaves (the drop cap covers are truly stunning- stunningly bright) and replace you on the bookshelf, just like Matilda at the end of the movie…until next time, friend or foe.

Would I recommend this to others? Probably. Am I crazy? For sure. Because it’s still a great book, and like genres of movies you reach for at HMV, choosing a suitable novel for you is exactly the same thing.

Good luck 🙂

swirl-divider4

 

Oyster

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

swirl-divider4

It is the yolk of a pearlescent oyster,

A Viennese swirl baked to a slow caramelisation;

It hurls itself over the broken edges of peaks, smashed like egg shells, sculpted in marble.

The cracked tiles of the village are doll houses in miniature,

you can cut the clouds with a knife, spread it on the plains like a dollop of thick cream.

Molten metal cannonballs shot in rose gold.

swirl-divider4

Copyright © 2016 by Kate W J White (All Rights Reserved)