Tag Archives: Kate Forrester

Fan fiction – a journey into original creative writing

Kate Forrester holds the distinguished title of fan fiction queen in the Richard Armitage fandom. She has written fan fiction based upon more of Richard’s characters than anyone else we know of. She’s written stories based on Lucas North, Guy, Harry Kennedy, John Porter, John Thornton, and John Standring and a few others. (We interviewed her at The Armitage Authors Network two years ago: here. )

Today she tells us a little about her relationship with fan fiction and how it helped her move into writing her own original stories:

It’s strange, I always thought that my writing fan fiction began when I joined C19 back in 2008 – yes, that long ago. However, in writing this, I was reminded that my first piece of fan fiction was written at school for English composition – a Sherlock Holmes story about a jewel thief. I think the reason I forgot about this little story is that life interceded. I became a nurse, a wife, and a mother — and more than thirty years would pass before I returned to creative writing.

I often ponder what might have happened if a certain tall dark handsome cotton mill owner had not passed through my life. You see, I wouldn’t have joined C19. That wonderful place led me to become aware of a genre of writing called fan fiction. I was a reader first, but all too soon I was taking my first tentative steps in writing one. Mr Thornton, how much I owe you!

Pensive Thornton

It is odd to acknowledge my debt of gratitude to this literary character or at least his television incarnation, because he was the character I had the most trouble writing about. Unlike so many writers in the Richard Armitage (RA) fandom, I couldn’t and didn’t start with a North and South fan fiction. John and Margaret were too perfectly drawn by Mrs Gaskell. What did I have to say that was new about them? For a long time, the answer to that question was nothing. Instead, I followed an old adage and wrote about what I knew – medicine. Luckily for me The Golden Hour was shown about the time I entered the fandom and it was easy to write something based on a different ending to the hostage story.

Much to my utter surprise people enjoyed ‘A New Track’. Having written about one of Mr Armitage’s characters I found myself writing about another and then another. I became the RA fan who would write about most of his characters — that is, until he played Thorin. It seemed I had a new hobby and that is what fan fiction was for me — a hobby.

I get so frustrated when I read articles ridiculing and belittling fan fiction. Have the people out there sneering even read any fan fiction? There is a belief, wrongly held, if my experience is anything to go by, that if fan fiction isn’t written by obsessed teenagers, it must be written by middle-aged oddballs or sex starved housewives. Yet, the people I know who are writing fan fiction are normal folk with homes, jobs, and families. Yes, there is badly written fan fiction out there, I’ve even written some, but there is also some terrible original fiction out there as well. It could be and is argued that a lot of Shakespeare’s work is fan fiction, a retelling of old folk stories or history to suit his own purpose. Steven Moffat reimagines Conan Doyle’s Sherlock to huge critical acclaim while I reimagine Gaskell’s North and South as A Nightingale Sings and am nothing more than a fan fiction writer. The only difference is audience size and money.

nightingale.jpg

This tale takes John and Margaret’s story into WW II

 

I don’t think creating fan fiction made me a writer. Somewhere inside of me a writer always existed. Rather, fan fiction facilitated my development as an author. It helped me develop the confidence not only to write a story but to allow that story to be read because that, for me, is the difference between being a writer and an author – allowing others to read and comment on what I have written.

WhileI was writing my John Porter fiction Absolution, I realized the time had come to write an original novel. What followed was Degrees of Silence.  This was the novel I had to write – it was so personal that at times it hurt me to commit the words to paper (well, the computer screen, but you know what I mean). I think because it is so personal it struck a chord with my readers, maybe they know that the two adult characters are, in a way, both me.

Degrees.jpg

Kate’s first original novel is her most personal work

It occurred to me that my other original fiction could be thought of as fan fiction as well because it is based on a dancing show like Strictly Come Dancing or Dancing with the Stars. I think that The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing is the most commercial thing I have written and the most romantic. It is an example of that other much maligned genre: chick lit. Maligned that is by men, who manage to say ‘chic lit’ in a slightly insulting sort of way. Why is it, I wonder, that Boy’s Own adventures are not nearly as maligned.

best things dancing.jpg

People do wonder why I no longer write fan fiction and I guess the honest answer is that it has served its purpose. I have, to a certain extent, moved on. But I have only written fan fiction based on RA’s characters, and now I cannot watch the shows he is filming. So, you never know … if he re-emerges on British television in a show I love, I may go back down the fan fiction road.

Never say never.

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Interview with the unsurpassable Kate Forrester

If you have spent pleasurable hours diving into Armitage-related fan fiction but haven’t yet run into Kate Forrester (alias Khandy), then you’re in for a wonderful treat! When it comes to Richard’s various roles, Kate is the queen of versatility and volume. She has written stories for at least 8 of his characters, including the good doctor, Alec Track.

Dr Track

Your interest in fan fiction need reviving? Dr Track is here to help.

However, it’s not versatility or volume alone that gives her claim to fan fiction fame. Kate is a gifted storyteller, whose work pulses with real emotions and drama. She’s also proved she can create compelling original work. The Armitage Authors Network is happy to showcase Kate and her talent.

Armitage Authors: You’ve been a fan of Richard’s for a long time. Tell us how you discovered Mr. Armitage.

Kate: My daughter was given a box set of BBC dramas, North and South was one of them, for Christmas in 2006.  We sat down one Sunday afternoon to watch one episode and four hours later we finished having been unable to stop watching. My ovaries didn’t explode but there was a loud thud.

AA: You have written fan fiction for such a wide range of Richard’s characters. Do you have a favorite?

Kate: That’s tough. I like different ones for different reasons. A New Track because it I proved to myself I could write a story. Black Knight’s Redemption because I began to learn about how to construct a plot. The Gruinard Project because I set myself the task of writing a novel length story that would hold the readers interest. I suppose looking back on them all there were two where it all comes together in a way I was really pleased with. The characters, plot, story, the actual writing – all of it, just seemed to gel perfectly in Let Right Be Done and Absolution.  But my own favourite was Redemption of a Haunted Man. I loved writing about Peter MacDuff. Richard had very little screen time but he blew me away and I wanted to explore MacDuff further.

[All the above-mentioned stories can be found on her Wattpad page.]

I have to mention North and South because it so loved. Of all the things I have written A Nightingale Sang was the hardest I think because the characters were so loved I felt this enormous amount of responsibility to the original that I felt a little restricted.

AA: What is it about Richard’s work that is compelling to you?

Kate: It’s his attention to detail. He invests so much in each character and that makes them so compelling. Like Peter Jackson I’m drawn to his stillness. I find it absorbing. It makes his explosions all the more interesting. I also love the breadth of his work. He has played everything from posh boys, poor boys, soldiers, spies, teachers, doctors, real people, fantasy, drug dealers, philanders, murderers, pedophiles, comedy, drama, ancient, modern, lover, husband, and father. He has done all this on stage, small screen and big screen. I guess what I’m saying is I love his versatility

AA: Were you a writer before you discovered Mr Armitage? If not, did writing fanfiction encourage you to write your own original stories?

Kate: No, I wasn’t a writer but, I was a dreamer and so when I discovered fanfiction on C19 I decided to try my hand at it. I feel that fanfiction allowed me to develop the skills to be a writer. It provided not only an audience of readers but, also critics and editors as well. It gave me the courage to publish something of my own.

AA: What was your first published work?

Kate: My first published work is called: Weathering the Storm which I adapted from my fanfiction In the Bleak MidwinterIt tells the story of a lonely Yorkshire farmer and the women who literally crashes into his life. Like all my novels it is available at Amazon.

AA: Tell us about your most recent release.

Kate: My latest novel is called The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing. It is set around a celebrity dance show and tells how shy, gauche, red haired Molly Cole is paired with Oscar winning actor, Adam Elliot. As the couple dance through each chapter, a troubled past is exposed and secrets are laid bared before they find the courage to realise that the best things really do happen while you dance.

Kate's Book

AA: Is there a work of yours that is particularly close to your heart?

Kate: Obviously Degrees of Silence is very close to my heart, as a lot of Sabrina’s experiences as a deaf person are actually my experiences – for example, in the book, there is horrible incident in a shop which is based on something that happened to me.

AA:  What would you like Armitage fans to know about you or your work?

Kate: Most people know that I am deaf but not many know that I was twenty–two years old before it was picked up. I had been through school and nurse training and nobody realised not even my parents.

I’m also colour blind which is very unusual in girls. I never buy clothes on my own because I worry about what they will look like. So two of the hardest things I have to write about are sounds and colour. And my deafness means I cannot really hear Richards voice that well.

My dog Rufus is the hero of Redemption of a Haunted Man

I am a nurse but after A New Track I swore I would not write another medical romance but, my characters do suffer a lot and there is normally a hospital scene in my work somewhere.

I’m working on a new novel:  In the Shadow of the Games a re-working of The Gruinard Project set round the 2012 Olympics. I also have a new project in the planning stage about a detective in WW2 based in Cornwall.