Join Kate Atkinson to talk about STARTED EARLY, TOOK MY DOG, our June Book of the Month, on Weds 22 June, 8-9pm

(136 Posts)

June's Book of the Month is the latest Number One bestseller from a much-requested Mumsnet favourite, Kate Atkinson. STARTED EARLY, TOOK MY DOG is the fourth novel to feature former private detective Jackson Brodie. The story also introduces security chief Tracy Waterhouse, whose one moment of madness turns her steady world into a nightmare of fear and panic. As the plot dovetails and twists and weaves together, Jackson (who has spent a lifetime looking for missing people) now begins to learn those people don't always wish to be found.

Transworld are offering 50 copies of STARTED EARLY, TOOK MY DOG to Mumsnetters. To bag your copy before they run out, email your name and address to k.green@transworld-publishers.co.uk, and put Mumsnet in the Subject bar.

We're delighted that Kate will be joining us on Wednesday 22 June, 8-9pm, so don't forget to join us to ask Kate about all her books, how she writes, her experiences of motherhood, what inspires her... See you then.

beachholiday Wed 25-May-11 22:06:03

Wow! I was just wishing for Kate Atkinson after the Maggie O'Farrell bookchat and here is Tilly like a fairy godmother. Shall look forward to this. Loads to discuss. Remarkable book.

Threadworm8 Thu 26-May-11 10:03:59

Is that Fountains Abbey on the cover of "Started Early ..."? It looks like it. That is a beautiful set of ruins, and funnily enough it is a great place to take your dog.

munstersmum Thu 26-May-11 10:11:18

This book was the read for our gossip over a glass of wine bookclub last month. A great read leading to some of us going back to read the earlier Brodie books.

Threadworm8 Thu 26-May-11 10:16:00

I've read a couple of Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brodie books and have quite enjoyed them. Not a patch on her Behind the Scenes at a Museum, though.

They strike me as novels that have completely internalised the structure of police television dramas. Odd for one form to take on the mores of another form so completely. It is a bit like the robotic style of streetdancing -- real humans trying to approximate the non-fluidity of machines that are trying to approximate to the fluidity of real human movement.

That is a very entertaining and clever way of dancing, though, I suppose, and her books are enjoyable. I never like her novel's climaxes, though: they can never live up to their build-up, and they seem deliberately silly. Her characters seem worth more than her stories give us.

Threadworm8 Thu 26-May-11 10:24:58

I had the same feeling with the later books in JKRowling's Harry Potter series -- that at some point a switch was turned, and she was writing her image of the films, rather than writing books for their own sake. It is bad enough as a reader having the film adaptation in your head: it must be like an intestinal parasite for the writer. Of course Atkinson is a way way better writer than Rowling though, so the similarity ends there.

munstersmum Thu 26-May-11 11:25:03

The loose threads regarding the child do come across as 'wait for the next instalment'.

Thumbs up to Behind the Scenes definitely.

SixtyFootDoll Thu 26-May-11 19:47:43

Am a huge Kate Atkinson, love the Bordie Jackson series.agree they do seem a bit obviously 'made for TV'

Greenshadow Thu 26-May-11 19:55:15

Read her earlier detective; looking forward to this one.

kitkatya Thu 26-May-11 20:00:22

are you all only saying that because its recently been announced that they are going to be made into a tv series? hmm

I read the first three and loved them but, I was put off opening the last one after what some people on here had said about it. That it wasnt as good as the first three.

QuickLookBusy Thu 26-May-11 21:05:02

Oh I am so excitedgrin

Maggie O'Farrell last night and now Kate Atkinson, you are spoiling us Tilly.

Am going to reread Started Early..

beachholiday Thu 26-May-11 21:14:45

I found it just as good as the first 3 kitkatya, and possibly even sadder. I felt the urge to reread it as soon as I'd finished it.

I dont feel at all that the books are written for TV. For me, its not really about the plots in her books, its the characters and the language. And I think if someone was writing a thriller for TV, plot would be their main consideration. I think a lot of the subtleties of her plots and characters will get lost in translation to TV (but there will be enough left to keep them enjoyable to watch).

Kate Atkinson is fantastic with language, and that facet of her books really sets them apart. If anyone really enjoys her style, and the humour she engages in with her word choices and sentence structuring, "Emotionally Wierd" is a very funny read. Its nothing like the Jackson Brodies or Behind The Scenes in any other way though, not plot-driven, just multi-layered humour in the way she writes the story.

peggotty Thu 26-May-11 21:15:02

Wow what a treat to have Kate Atkinson on here!! I would love to know which writers have inspired/influenced Kate. I've often thought that Angela carter may be an influence, especially in kate's earlier books? Would she agree with this?

Hassled Thu 26-May-11 21:16:15

Yay! And yay again! Will come up with some questions pronto.

SixtyFootDoll Sat 28-May-11 08:08:40

I didn't know they were being made into TV series. Who will play Brodie? Neil morrissey please?

DirtyMartini Tue 31-May-11 16:41:57

Very much looking forward to webchat but, but ... nooooooooo! Not Neil Morrissey!

<quickly gags SixtyFootDoll and bundles her into a van>
<drives away to release her beyond the sphere of influence>

mummyontherun Tue 31-May-11 20:10:16

This book is very special to me as I read it at a real crisis moment in my life - and it touched so many nerves, I felt Kate was looking over my shoulder... One adorable aspect was the rucksack with list of contents - my daughter does exactly the same thing

mummyontherun Tue 31-May-11 20:10:36

This book is very special to me as I read it at a real crisis moment in my life - and it touched so many nerves, I felt Kate was looking over my shoulder... One adorable aspect was the rucksack with list of contents - my daughter does exactly the same thing

sfxmum Tue 31-May-11 20:49:06

I am so happy to see Kate Atkinson here <waves>
hours of fun, and making me laugh like an idiot on public transport, thank you

I love the way you write mothers, unflinching and humane and very funny
BTW I am very happy happy with the choice for telly Brodie, he is fantastic

I will read the book and return for chat

Wheelybug Tue 31-May-11 21:13:35

Can anyone let me know whether it matters if you haven't read all the previous Brodie books. I've read the first, have the next 2 but not sure I'll be able to get through 3 books of the same ilk by 22 June. Can it be a stand alone book or should I get reading ?

KvetaBarry Tue 31-May-11 21:25:31

oh, I have loved all the Jackson Brodie books (although Case Histories will always be my favourite, if only for the sisters. Oh, and Theo, whose story always leaves me in tears.

I adore your books Kate, have been hooked since Behind the scenes, which is one of my go-to books in any times of distress grin

I will re-read Started early, and try to be here for the web chat!

<excited>

SixtyFootDoll Tue 31-May-11 21:41:53

Jason Isaacs is playing Brodie, what do you think to that Kate?
In my minds eye Brodie is much rougher round the edges.

I also like the fact that there are lots of strong female roles .

NewYorkBellini Tue 31-May-11 21:56:48

TV series starts next week, Jason Isaacs as JB. Yum!

Clary Tue 31-May-11 22:37:08

I luurve Kate Atkinson, vague claim to fame re her is that she at one time lived in Whibty and I was working on the newspaper there when she won th Whitbread with Behind the Scenes...

Anyway, excited re TV series which I had missed. Case Histories in partic is one of her best. I think you need to read them all tho as there are refs to solutions of earlier ones in later ones if that makes sense.

Clary Tue 31-May-11 22:37:47

Meant to say I really want to know if Jackson is ever going to find happiness with someone, anyone?

sfxmum Tue 31-May-11 22:39:17

Binky grin

sfxmum Tue 31-May-11 22:40:15

Brilliant. I bought this last week when I was in England. I will read it and post a question.
By the by, I did love behind the scenes at the museum.

saffronwblue Wed 01-Jun-11 11:56:38

I just love the way Kate writes. The plot is always secondary for me- I so enjoy her characters' interior monologues.

Threadworm8 Wed 01-Jun-11 12:17:22

It was years ago that I read Behind the Scenes, but when I am unfairly bad-tempered with my children, unavailable to them and not paying attention to their frustrations, I often think of one particular scene in that book. I forget the details, but the little girl has insisted on taking her toy bike or some such on an outing and she is getting on badly with it. Her mother is very withholding of concern. Too irritable and stressed to be able to care. It sticks in my mind as a symbol of 'not being good enough', and ironically it makes me feel a bit like the little girl as well as the mother: I chose to bring the bike/have children and now I am struggling to keep up.

HugoFirst Wed 01-Jun-11 12:18:29

i liked all the other books. I lost this one and tbh i dont miss it. got halfway through.
just thought the whole THING had got too drawn out. New characters please

JoanofArgos Wed 01-Jun-11 16:29:57

I love all KA's books, especially Behind The Scenes, Human Croquet, and Not The End Of The World.... but I do, pettily, get a bit annoyed with the dodgy topography of York in Behind the Scenes!

Greedygirl Wed 01-Jun-11 21:49:31

SFXmum - noooooo! Julia is all wrong! The rest of the cast look how I imagine them though. Bit scared to watch it, I love the books so much.

Started Early kept me sane at the weekend when all the East Coast train services were cancelled and it took me 5 hours to get home! Few loose ends that I am intrigued/frustrated by.

I will think of a question by and by...

JoanofArgos Thu 02-Jun-11 10:17:49

Julia should be blousier than that!
And Theo is meant to be massively overweight surely?

PamSco Fri 03-Jun-11 09:47:50

I'm not sure I really want to join this Q&A? I've been a fan of Kate since she won the Whitbread for BtSotM. Every book she has ever written has scarily uncanny connections to me. My OH laughs his head off at me freaking out.

For the latest book I'm about a third through and have 7 strong connections, I am getting more paranoid with every book! They are always set in a city I have lived in with people of an age and disposition similar to me or a close family member and same names in some cases. Lovell Park in this latest book features in the first chapter, well I did reading to the blind in a block of flats at Lovell Park on a high floor and I had to walk up the same stairs described. How the hell is she doing this!!!!! One connection is a coincidence 7 is sending me to medication smile

BelleDameSansMerci Fri 03-Jun-11 21:09:01

I love KA's books especially the Jackson Brodies. I just wish she would write more quickly. smile

SixtyFootDoll Sun 05-Jun-11 15:25:09

Just finished started early, a fantastic reasd with brilliant characterisation. What I love about Kates writing is that it is so descriptive, it is visual. I can picture all these people as I read them.
So sad for the children that went 'missing' and no one noticed.

Threadworm8 Sun 05-Jun-11 18:25:09

"Just finished started early" is a confusing thing to say. grin I'll be starting late with starting early, even though I have my free copy now. I'll take my dog.

SixtyFootDoll Sun 05-Jun-11 20:01:09

Yy I could do with some grammar there!

GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 05-Jun-11 20:05:55

Quick reminder that Case Histories is on telly tonight, BBC1 at 9pm smile

SixtyFootDoll Sun 05-Jun-11 20:34:06

Yy I could do with some grammar there!

wheelybug, i've done the same as you - read Case Histories, haven't managed to read the other two yet, but am enjoying this one just as much. I don't feel I've missed anything, or that you have to have read the middle ones.

And quick reminder that anyone can ask Kate about any of her books, not just the crime ones. (Behind the Scenes one of my all-time favourites, so I'm attempting to edit down my questions down to a reasonable number...)

SixtyFootDoll Mon 06-Jun-11 22:41:13

Behind the scenes was such a massive success. How did you cope with the pressure of following it up?
I love all of your books btw.

Wheelybug Tue 07-Jun-11 14:07:46

Thanks Tilly - I am reading hte second one at the moment as I am enjoying the tv adaptation so trying to get through them in book form before seeing them on TV. I might get through them all by 22nd, but otherwise I'll ask questions based on waht I've read so far.

CatIsSleepy Tue 07-Jun-11 16:39:34

I want to ask Kate if Jackson and Louise will ever get together. Properly. Please.

MardyBra Tue 07-Jun-11 18:25:33

Only watched part of the TV series so far (recorded the rest), but I think the casting is superb. Jason Isaacs is a very broody Brodie (broody/Brodie - I'm sure that's no coincidence), and the rest of the cast are just as I imagined them, especially Sylvia Simms as Binky.

Not sure what my question is yet - will have a ponder....

Cremolafoam Wed 08-Jun-11 07:39:38

am loving the TV series- in particular the wee girl playing Marley is just perfect and so funny. Not sure that natasha Little is right tho- Julis was always much more of a dippy hippy in my head - more helena Bonham Carter I think.
Jason Isaacs is a good choice as Jackson.

My question: am I being thick or did lots of hinges regarding the child not get explained? Only read once so not sure. And if not, will they be on a later book BECAUSE I REALLY REALLY WANT TO KNOW and also, did anyone else feel that Left Early was channeling Our Friends In The North?

CathFin Wed 08-Jun-11 11:15:00

Ooh, got my free copy, just read Case Histories then watched it on tv. I quite liked the adaptation, although I preferred the detail of the book. They had to cut out too much for tv.
Looking forward to my new read and thinking of some questions!

gailforce1 Wed 08-Jun-11 13:34:01

Just got my free copy so thanks to Transworld! Have read Case Histories and One Good Turn and started When will there be Good News? and have enjoyed them and recommended to a couple of friends.

Sherbert37 Tue 14-Jun-11 13:43:32

I would like to ask if Kate has a border terrier? Her descriptions of the dog are spot on. My lovely girl is JUST like the first description we have of The Ambassador in the park. Border terriers are so clever and funny - they rock!

Moulesfrites Tue 14-Jun-11 17:05:24

I absolutely adore Kate Atkinson's books, have read them all except Human Croquet which is on my wish list.

I would like to know, as the plots of her crime novels are generally so complex, to what extent she plans and plots them in advance or to what extent they evolve naturally.

Cathfin, I thought the point about the child was that lots of children in the novel disappear and no one really cares? That was my interpretation.

inthesticks Tue 14-Jun-11 19:55:15

Started Early was the first Kate Atkinson book I had read.
The title attracted me. It still does, I don't quite know why but I just love that title.
I hadn't read any of her earlier books because I was put off by the fact that Behind the Scenes won an award. I suspected it would be too literary and worthy for my shallow tastes.

Anyway I loved this book. I found myself re-reading some little passages as they were so well constructed, for example there was one sentence involving Pandora's box, Schrödinger's cat and a can of worms.
I didn't like or get the Tilly character.
I rushed off to get the earlier books and was disappointed with one Good Turn as it was just the same formula but less witty.

Moulesfrites Tue 14-Jun-11 20:08:11

I thought Tilly was a little bit indulgent too inthesticks. I thought it seemed like she was just there as a device, so that she could be at the train station at the end and help to round up all the different threads of the plot iyswim.

I loved One Good Turn (maybe because I love Edinburgh and I thought she captured the atmosphere of the city during the festival beautifully) - although I watched the tv adaptation the other night and I didn't think it did it justice - I think her plots were too complicated to be condensed into 2 hours of tv.

champagnesupernova Wed 15-Jun-11 21:33:41

<averting eyes from thread for spoilers as 60% through but marking place for next week>

GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 17-Jun-11 10:00:22

Hello everyone, Kate's publishers have asked us to post that the free copies have all gone now.

See you next Wed pm. smile

I'm getting a bit confused with the Tilly refs - not used to characters sharing my name...

Any more advance questions for Kate please put them here... I'll be sending to her on Monday.

See you all Weds, looking forward to it

My question has been asked already. I also wanted to know if Kate had a Border terrier or knew one well - she writes the dog so accurately grin

I guessed from the first scene that it must be a Border.

It sounds daft, but my favourite thing about the latest book is Jackson's relationship with the dog.

xiaojooi Fri 17-Jun-11 15:30:34

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

CathFin Sat 18-Jun-11 18:24:19

I'm normally a bit of a skim reader but I have taken more care than usual and I wondered if Kate has made Jackson more of a misogynist in Started Early. I thought his one night stand really put him in a poor light. Bath time, will come back to my question later as I havn't finished!

xiaosww Sun 19-Jun-11 12:22:04

Message deleted

Hassled Mon 20-Jun-11 22:14:49

I've been struggling to come up with a coherant, interesting question for weeks now. I'd be a crap interviewer. All I want to do is fawn - I'm a huge fan. I love the Brodie books, I loved Behind the Scenes and I loved Human Croquet - must dig it out and re-read.

Are you happy with the dramatisations? I must say I thought Reggie was spot on; such a good actress - I hope she does well. Was it hard to see the changes that the BBC made? I'd have thought it must be difficult to see your baby relocated and tweaked and have bits abridged etc.

Threadworm8 Mon 20-Jun-11 22:25:55

Kate, I wondered if you ever think about Daniel Deronda when you are writing Jackson Brodie. Maybe that's daft, but they do remind me of one another. They both seem to draw other people's sadness and need onto themselves in a striking way.

Also: thanks for writing to many strong and warm lovely women. It is nice to see a crime drama on TV in which the female parts aren't all either corpses or female police officers battered into maleness by a male police force (Prime Suspect).

Even Jackson Brodie seems female -- very masculine, but with a whole woman inside him too. Do you think of him as having feminine qualities?

Hassled Mon 20-Jun-11 22:31:45

Threadie - that is exactly the sort of interesting, coherant question I was trying to come up with. Damn you to hell and back.

<Wikis Daniel Deronda>

xiaoqkk Tue 21-Jun-11 12:26:07

Message deleted

peggotty Tue 21-Jun-11 13:09:43

Kate, your characters are often very 'damaged' people with Jackson Brodie being no exception. He's more than a bit battered by life as are all the people he wants to help yet Jackson never seems to get the redemption he wants, despite the 'good' he does. Obviously this is why he is an interesting character but are you ever tempted to give him a 'happy' ending despite the fact that life doesn't work like that?!

BelleEnd Tue 21-Jun-11 17:10:57

Hello Kate Atkinson! I am going to be fawning like a fool here, but every word is heartfelt...
You are my favourite writer of all time. I am an avid reader and I read many different styles and writers from many different periods, but I am yet to find a writer who gets to the root of people like you do. THANK YOU for writing... It really makes a marked difference in people's lives if they're reading a good book.

My question: Did you make a concious effort, after your first three novels, to change the direction and setting of your writing? Did you feel as if you couldn't win, in a way- Write another in the same style and you'd be branded a one-trick-pony, do something different and risk alienating the people who enjoyed your existing work?
I will admit to having been really disappointed when I heard you were writing about a copper... Your writing, however, won me over, and I love your books equally. smile

<<removes head from Kate's bum>> grin

peggotty Tue 21-Jun-11 18:08:13

Oh yes and I'd also like to say what a bloody brilliant writer you are. I will be reading all of your books over and over again until the end of my days. Well, if you can't brown-nose your favourite author when you get the chance ..... grin

ThatllDoPig Tue 21-Jun-11 20:00:26

What BellEnd said.

Thank you so much kate. Love your books. My fave is Human Croquet.
Your clever, funny, quirky, beautiful, brave writing was the perfect escapism at times in my life when I've really needed it.

Are you secretly a little bit in love with Jackson?

CJCregg Tue 21-Jun-11 22:45:51

I am also a huge fan. Can't be here tomorrow night so am posting a question now in the hope that Kate will answer it.

Kate, I have to echo lots of others on here and say you are my absolute favourite writer. Behind the Scenes is my Desert Island Book - I have read and reread it over and over, and love it more every time. I'm also a slave to Jackson Brodie, and was nicely surprised by the tv adaptations, which I was sort of dreading but they were beautifully true to the essence of the books.

My question is a bit nerdy. Do you think Behind the Scenes is filmable? I heard someone was doing an adaptation but then nothing came of it, though that information might be out of date. I think it works brilliantly as a novel, and that the novel is the perfect medium for that story, its many layers and distinctive voice. Would you like to see it on screen?

<tries to stop self saying 'I love you, Kate!'>

<fails>

PS Do you like the West Wing? grin

ThePathanKhansWoman Wed 22-Jun-11 01:49:43

Have so enjoyed reading your latest novel, can you tell us Kate is Courtney a boy?? Will all be revealed?

ThePathanKhansWoman Wed 22-Jun-11 10:49:12

That sounds a bit mad, just thought Courtney might be a boy, was Kelly about to say, "she's not... a girl", then guessed she was one of the missing children
Jackson had seen files on.

Loved the star theme in the book, Courtney singing Twinkle,Twinkle and the title of book, i love Emily Dickinson.

thegrowlygus Wed 22-Jun-11 12:33:17

I am here to fawn a bit too! I love your writing and all your books, although my question is - are you stalking me?
I was living in York when Behind the Scenes at the Museum came out. Then moved to Cambourne near Cambridge (where Jackson's ex lives for a bit) and now in Cambridge itself. I am from West Yorkshire originally so know Leeds really well too. The only place I can't really lay any claim to is Edinburgh (although I do have very close friends there so know it quite well)

Knowing the places well has made the books all the more enjoyable!

WoTmania Wed 22-Jun-11 18:34:05

Oh, Oh, oh - I'm at a preschool commitee meeting tonight from 8 sad Maybe I'll pull a sicky?
I love the characters - they are so well drawn. i waas a little suspicious of case histories as it was a new style but I lvoe and re-read them all.

I'm reading this book as my first Jackson Brodie and intend to read the previous. The first book of yours I read was Behind the Scenes at the Museum which was a fantastic read. Since the last few books seem to have been Jackson Brodie based, are you intending at any point to go back to the stand-alone novels?

WoTmania Wed 22-Jun-11 18:42:26

Will Jackson ever be involved in a normal, functional relationship and be happy with it? I get the impression that he's too much of a Romantic to cope with the mundane realities of relationship and living with some one.

fishie Wed 22-Jun-11 19:24:13

I was so cross at the end of Started Early that it wasn't all resolved, can't bear to leave them in limbo, when is the next book? Don't know about Kate being in love with Jackson, I certainly am. Also loved the dog.

The theme of lost girl children recurs and grows in each book. I wonder where we are going? Can you tell us?

ThatllDoPig Wed 22-Jun-11 19:53:36

Never done this before. Do we just hang about on this thread and wait for Kate to be here?
So excited!

LawrieMarlow Wed 22-Jun-11 19:54:40

Have failed to put children to bed yet.

But have to say how much I love Kate Atkinson's books and really enjoyed the talk at York library recently smile

Evening everyone

I'm thrilled to introduce our immensely talented June Author of the Month, Kate Atkinson. Ever since Bookclub first started, three years ago, armies of Mumsnetters have clamoured for a webchat with Kate, as well as recommending and raving about her consistently excellent novels.

So without further ado (and with much, much pleasure)...

Kate, firstly, thank you very much indeed to taking the time to join us. And congratulations on another bestseller, and on such a gripping, addictive series of books. Perhaps we could kick off with the advance questions from further up the thread? And then we'll aim to get through as many as possible over the next hour.

I'd also like to add two questions:

Which childhood book most inspired you?

What would be the first piece of advice you would give anyone attempting to write fiction?

Just got a message from Kate's publicist to say they are in a hotel room and finding it difficult to get a connection - hopefully we'll have Kate here very soon but there might be a bit of a delay...

KateAtkinson Wed 22-Jun-11 20:13:20

He'll, Kate Atkinson here, sorry for the delay - technology!

KateAtkinson Wed 22-Jun-11 20:19:35

Clary

Meant to say I really want to know if Jackson is ever going to find happiness with someone, anyone?

Hi Clary
I have no idea! I like him best when he's on his own and slightly miserable

bahookie Wed 22-Jun-11 20:19:36

hi kate (hopefully you make it on). i've just recently discovered you as an author - i make the mistake of watching the tv adaptions of the books - i got a bit annoyed when they weren't exactly true to the story. do you have much input to the televised versions? though i do like places i know/travel to every day being used in TV programmes - the back road at bo'ness (where Brodie's car broke down) and all the edinburgh sights.

Hello, just wanted to say Behind the Scenes at the Museum is one of the nest books I have ever read - I am always recommending it to people. Particularly resonant for parents, I think.

Love the Jackson Brodie books although I have not read them all yet. Am very intrigued by Tracy Waterhouse - will we see her again?

best, sorry!

KateAtkinson Wed 22-Jun-11 20:21:18

SixtyFootDoll

Behind the scenes was such a massive success. How did you cope with the pressure of following it up?
I love all of your books btw.

Hi there
I'd already half-finished the second book so it wasn't too bad. You just have to get on and do it really

KateAtkinson Wed 22-Jun-11 20:23:14

Sherbert37

I would like to ask if Kate has a border terrier? Her descriptions of the dog are spot on. My lovely girl is JUST like the first description we have of The Ambassador in the park. Border terriers are so clever and funny - they rock!

Hello, no I don't and I really wish I did! You are so lucky...

concertvirgin Wed 22-Jun-11 20:25:08

Have you met Jason Isaacs, Kate - and is he a dish or, as I suspect, maybe a bit too fond of himself?

KateAtkinson Wed 22-Jun-11 20:26:09

Moulesfrites

I absolutely adore Kate Atkinson's books, have read them all except Human Croquet which is on my wish list.

I would like to know, as the plots of her crime novels are generally so complex, to what extent she plans and plots them in advance or to what extent they evolve naturally.

Cathfin, I thought the point about the child was that lots of children in the novel disappear and no one really cares? That was my interpretation.

I do very little advance plotting, although I often wish I did, as I quoits often get half way through and have to go back and unpick everything

KateAtkinson Wed 22-Jun-11 20:28:31

bahookie

hi kate (hopefully you make it on). i've just recently discovered you as an author - i make the mistake of watching the tv adaptions of the books - i got a bit annoyed when they weren't exactly true to the story. do you have much input to the televised versions? though i do like places i know/travel to every day being used in TV programmes - the back road at bo'ness (where Brodie's car broke down) and all the edinburgh sights.

I think with tv you have to remember that it is a very different animal to the books
And make your peace with that. I thought they made a good attempt and Edinburgh looks lovely - and so does Jason

lateforpickup Wed 22-Jun-11 20:28:48

Hello Kate (and publicist). Were you happy with Case Histories on TV? Were you consulted about the casting?
Thanks

KateAtkinson Wed 22-Jun-11 20:30:25

downbutnotout

Hello, just wanted to say Behind the Scenes at the Museum is one of the nest books I have ever read - I am always recommending it to people. Particularly resonant for parents, I think.

Love the Jackson Brodie books although I have not read them all yet. Am very intrigued by Tracy Waterhouse - will we see her again?

Glad you liked Tracy she is one of my favourite characters, but I think her future must remain mysterious

lateforpickup Wed 22-Jun-11 20:32:35

Can I also ask why you switched to writing crime (do you consider yourself a crime writer)? Which other crime writers do you enjoy reading?

KateAtkinson Wed 22-Jun-11 20:32:37

lateforpickup

Hello Kate (and publicist). Were you happy with Case Histories on TV? Were you consulted about the casting?
Thanks

lateforpickup

Hello Kate (and publicist). Were you happy with Case Histories on TV? Were you consulted about the casting?
Thanks

Hello! I would say I was 80% happy. On the whole yes I was happy with the casting. I still have doubts about one or two but it would be very wrong of me to say who!

KateAtkinson Wed 22-Jun-11 20:34:14

lateforpickup

Can I also ask why you switched to writing crime (do you consider yourself a crime writer)? Which other crime writers do you enjoy reading?

I just think of myself as a writer, but I do enjoy crime. I likePeterTemple,Megan Abbott, Harlan Coben amongst others

daftnan1 Wed 22-Jun-11 20:34:28

Hi Kate, are we going to read more about Tracy Waterhouse? in the future.? She's such a strong female character I became more interested in her story than in Jackson and I've been a big fan of his since the first book.

Just flagging up the questions from threadworm8, peggoty, BelleEnd, Thatlldopig and CJ Cregg further up thread (starting 20 June) - apologies if you're already onto them...

KateAtkinson Wed 22-Jun-11 20:36:03

concertvirgin

Have you met Jason Isaacs, Kate - and is he a dish or, as I suspect, maybe a bit too fond of himself?

No, he's not full of himself, but he is definitely charismatic.

daftnan1 Wed 22-Jun-11 20:38:41

Sorry Kate, just read previous posts and realised you had answered that one!
Please would you tell us how you discipline yourself to write? I keep reading that many writers have set hours in the day when they knuckle down to work but it must be difficult to be creative to order?

KateAtkinson Wed 22-Jun-11 20:38:53

Threadworm8

Is that Fountains Abbey on the cover of "Started Early ..."? It looks like it. That is a beautiful set of ruins, and funnily enough it is a great place to take your dog.

Yes it is fountains, I love Fountains Abbey. I visit often although Rievaulx and Jervaux come close joint second for me - beautiful

helhall Wed 22-Jun-11 20:40:31

Hi Kate. I keep trying to have a go at writing "for fun", I find it quite easy once I start to keep on writing for a while, but all my ideas run out of steam too quickly so I'm struggling to come up with a basic plot to keep me going - any tips?! From what you've said up-thread I'm guessing you tend to allow the plot to lead you, rather than planning it all out in advance?

KateAtkinson Wed 22-Jun-11 20:41:36

peggotty

Wow what a treat to have Kate Atkinson on here!! I would love to know which writers have inspired/influenced Kate. I've often thought that Angela carter may be an influence, especially in kate's earlier books? Would she agree with this?

I do love Carters The Bloody but came to it
Late after I'd writenHuman Croquet
my own"fairy tale" book. Otherwise Jane Austen always inspires.

ThatllDoPig Wed 22-Jun-11 20:41:42

Does your writing generally flow or is it frustrating? How disciplined are you with it?
Have you been on MN before?

Bells58 Wed 22-Jun-11 20:43:43

Hello Kate - I have literally just finished Started Early Took My Dog (5 minutes ago) googled you, got your website, saw you were on Mumsnet and here I am, a british ex pat, recently moved to New Jersey, USA to tell you immediately what an extraordinary book it is, (I love all your stuff) how it's the best yet, how, I couldn't put it down, how I wanted to cheer for Tracy and "KID" all the way through, how your themes of loss and hope are ever present and exquisitely told through such a gripping story and how that Emily Dickinson poem at the end had me in tears (I lost my 15 month old daughter 3 years ago to a cot death and that poem is my talisman of light) Keep up the outstanding work. Come to the USA soon please and in the meantime I am hoping one of my friends will send me the Case Histories DVD! Eleanor xxxx

lateforpickup Wed 22-Jun-11 20:44:37

Ha! I liked Reggie and I liked Jackson (I had thought of Jackson as older when I read the books but it worked). I didn't like Martin so much.

LeninGrad Wed 22-Jun-11 20:45:25

Hello Kate, I like your books, that is all smile

Oh go on then, a question - who else (female) writes like you or is someone you'd recommend to read?

KateAtkinson Wed 22-Jun-11 20:46:56

Threadworm8

Kate, I wondered if you ever think about Daniel Deronda when you are writing Jackson Brodie. Maybe that's daft, but they do remind me of one another. They both seem to draw other people's sadness and need onto themselves in a striking way.

Also: thanks for writing to many strong and warm lovely women. It is nice to see a crime drama on TV in which the female parts aren't all either corpses or female police officers battered into maleness by a male police force (Prime Suspect).

Even Jackson Brodie seems female -- very masculine, but with a whole woman inside him too. Do you think of him as having feminine qualities?

Daniel Deronda -how funny, I wasjusttalking about that book today not a conscious influence but I do love that book perhaps he crept in.
and yes you are right, I think Jackson has a female sensibility. Secretly
He is a woman...

KateAtkinson Wed 22-Jun-11 20:48:43

ThatllDoPig

Does your writing generally flow or is it frustrating? How disciplined are you with it?
Have you been on MN before?

No, I have never been on MN before. Sometimes it flows, sometimes it doesn't. But you have to do it anyway. Sometimes I surprise myself at how disciplined I am!

SixtyFootDoll Wed 22-Jun-11 20:49:49

Is there another Javkson Brodie novel bing written? I do hope so

honeyandsalt Wed 22-Jun-11 20:50:25

Hi Kate, I love your writing!

I was wondering if you feel that male writers, in general, are taken more seriously. And if you've ever been tempted to write under another name!

peggotty Wed 22-Jun-11 20:52:33

Yes, THe Bloody Chamber is one of Carters books that I can return to, along with Wise Children - I thought there was definately a whiff of magic realism in your Not THe End of the World short stories. ( I have a signed copy of that! <proud>)

KateAtkinson Wed 22-Jun-11 20:55:06

[quote BelleEnd]Hello Kate Atkinson! I am going to be fawning like a fool here, but every word is heartfelt...
You are my favourite writer of all time. I am an avid reader and I read many different styles and writers from many different periods, but I am yet to find a writer who gets to the root of people like you do. THANK YOU for writing... It really makes a marked difference in people's lives if they're reading a good book.

Hi

My question: Did you make a concious effort, after your first three novels, to change the direction and setting of your writing? Did you feel as if you couldn't win, in a way- Write another in the same style and you'd be branded a one-trick-pony, do something different and risk alienating the people who enjoyed your existing work?
I will admit to having been really disappointed when I heard you were writing about a copper... Your writing, however, won me over, and I love your books equally. smile

I think as a writer you have to write the book that's in your head, rather than what people want you to write I did consciously change my style and the book I am working on at the moment is very different from the Jackson Brodie books - again a conscious change of style for me. Mainlybecause I get bored!

Just to say there's still time for more questions: Kate has v kindly said she'll carry on till 9.15 to make up for our delayed start...

And if there is time, just another quick reminder that there are a few questions further up the board that would love to be answered..

KateAtkinson Wed 22-Jun-11 20:59:29

helhall

Hi Kate. I keep trying to have a go at writing "for fun", I find it quite easy once I start to keep on writing for a while, but all my ideas run out of steam too quickly so I'm struggling to come up with a basic plot to keep me going - any tips?! From what you've said up-thread I'm guessing you tend to allow the plot to lead you, rather than planning it all out in advance?

Hi! I took a long time to start writing - everything I did to begin with was practice pieces I didn't just jump straight in there. I would alwaysrecommend to start by writing stories - not so much plot!

KateAtkinson Wed 22-Jun-11 21:01:04

SixtyFootDoll

Is there another Javkson Brodie novel bing written? I do hope so

Not at the moment. I am writing something else, but i am sure I will return to him.

Piccalilli2 Wed 22-Jun-11 21:01:08

Just wanted to say that I love, love, love your books, I'm totally in love with Jackson Brodie, and I think it is marvellous that there are so many wonderful, strong female characters in your books.

Q: When will there be good news seemed to me on reading and definitely in the tv adaptation to be much darker and less humorous than the other 3. Were you getting a little bored of being stuck in genre?

KateAtkinson Wed 22-Jun-11 21:02:31

Piccalilli2

Just wanted to say that I love, love, love your books, I'm totally in love with Jackson Brodie, and I think it is marvellous that there are so many wonderful, strong female characters in your books.

Q: When will there be good news seemed to me on reading and definitely in the tv adaptation to be much darker and less humorous than the other 3. Were you getting a little bored of being stuck in genre?

Yes I tthink it is the darkest of the four. I think that was intentional.

KateAtkinson Wed 22-Jun-11 21:03:31

ThatllDoPig

Does your writing generally flow or is it frustrating? How disciplined are you with it?
Have you been on MN before?

Disciplined? Sometimes

peggotty Wed 22-Jun-11 21:04:02

Can you give us a little hint about what the book you are currently writing is like (I'm guessing you might not want to but I have to ask!) Or even when it may be finished?

Topcat11 Wed 22-Jun-11 21:05:57

Will Started early, Took My Dog be on TV sometime?

BelleEnd Wed 22-Jun-11 21:08:34

OMG KATE ATKINSON answered my question! How bloody brilliant is that! grin grin grin

KateAtkinson Wed 22-Jun-11 21:09:22

TillyBookClub

Evening everyone

I'm thrilled to introduce our immensely talented June Author of the Month, Kate Atkinson. Ever since Bookclub first started, three years ago, armies of Mumsnetters have clamoured for a webchat with Kate, as well as recommending and raving about her consistently excellent novels.

So without further ado (and with much, much pleasure)...

Kate, firstly, thank you very much indeed to taking the time to join us. And congratulations on another bestseller, and on such a gripping, addictive series of books. Perhaps we could kick off with the advance questions from further up the thread? And then we'll aim to get through as many as possible over the next hour.

I'd also like to add two questions:

Which childhood book most inspired you?

What would be the first piece of advice you would give anyone attempting to write fiction?

Alice" s Adventures in Wonderland and Just William.

Read everything ever written!

KateAtkinson Wed 22-Jun-11 21:10:14

Topcat11

Will Started early, Took My Dog be on TV sometime?

Topcat11

Will Started early, Took My Dog be on TV sometime?

If we go to second series...

Kate, if we've got time, would love answer to this one:

CJ Cregg: My question is a bit nerdy. Do you think Behind the Scenes is filmable? I heard someone was doing an adaptation but then nothing came of it, though that information might be out of date. I think it works brilliantly as a novel, and that the novel is the perfect medium for that story, its many layers and distinctive voice. Would you like to see it on screen?

and to my two (sorry, elbowing in there, but we're trying to research best children's books recommended by authors and also a creative writing tips-list...)

What childhood book most inspired you

What woudl be your first bit of advice to anyoen attempting to write fiction?

KateAtkinson Wed 22-Jun-11 21:12:08

peggotty

Can you give us a little hint about what the book you are currently writing is like (I'm guessing you might not want to but I have to ask!) Or even when it may be finished?

I keep saying it's about the War - but i have 56000 words and I haven't got to the war yet!

daftnan1 Wed 22-Jun-11 21:12:58

Do you feel that, having seen your work on tv, this will influence your future writing?

KateAtkinson Wed 22-Jun-11 21:14:04

ThatllDoPig

What BellEnd said.

Thank you so much kate. Love your books. My fave is Human Croquet.
Your clever, funny, quirky, beautiful, brave writing was the perfect escapism at times in my life when I've really needed it.

Are you secretly a little bit in love with Jackson?

No! I think he would be rather annoying if he were a real person!

KateAtkinson Wed 22-Jun-11 21:14:44

daftnan1

Do you feel that, having seen your work on tv, this will influence your future writing?

Good question. Ihope not!

Sorry, crossed posts there. Thanks for answering. I can't wait to read Just William to my three boys.

KateAtkinson Wed 22-Jun-11 21:16:04

Thank you everybody for your questions! We could have gone on all night... Bye for now. Kate.

ThatllDoPig Wed 22-Jun-11 21:20:01

Tilly says you'll tell us of your experiences of motherhood! Has it changed your writing?

ThatllDoPig Wed 22-Jun-11 21:20:46

aw, bye and thank you!

I think we'll have to draw to a close there, although I know many of us could easily keep chatting all night. Thanks to everyone for all the questions and many apologies to anyone who wasn't answered.

Kate, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us this evening. It has been such an honour and pleasure to have you here. And thank you too for all the glorious books.

Good luck with the War one, and please come again when it's published... can't wait to read it.

Many thanks again.

CJCregg Wed 22-Jun-11 22:52:14

<weeps, tears clothes>

Kate didn't answer my question sad. Thanks, Tilly, for trying to push it though grin.

Maybe next time ...

groak Thu 23-Jun-11 21:21:38

wow, really in depth answers from kate there grin

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