A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.

Happy Book Birthday to Kate Kelly!

Hello, everyone! Today I have the enormous pleasure of interviewing Allsort Kate Kelly. Her novel RED ROCK is out today and if you haven’t checked it out already, DO IT.


SANGU: Hi, Kate! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and RED ROCK?

KATE: Red Rock is a SF thriller. When Danni’s aunt is assassinated she entrusts her with a strange small rock, warning her with her dying breath to ‘Tell no-one’. But this rock is so much more than it seems…

As for me – I work as a marine scientist and I’m madly in love with the ocean. I’m married and live in rural Dorset with my family and assorted pets. When I’m not working, or writing, I head for the beach with my kayak.

S: You’re a Marine Scientist! Which is extremely cool, by the way. How did that inspire or shape the book?

K: It certainly shaped the world I created in Red Rock.

The idea for Red Rock first set seed when I was working on an oceanographic survey ship off the coast of Greenland. I started to think about the Greenland ice sheet – and what might be hidden underneath. I watched the ice drifting past, and I wondered how different the world would be when it was gone.

Once I realised that in the Red Rock world the Greenland Ice cap was retreating, revealing what had lain hidden underneath for thousands of years, the scientist in me started to look at how this would affect the world we live in. Not just the effects of sea level rise, but how this would alter our climate as well.

S: What do you think makes Danni unique?

K: That’s a tricky question because in many ways Danni is just your typical 14 year old girl. It’s the circumstances she finds herself in and the way she rises to the challenges that present themselves that makes her special, but she has all the same doubts and fears that we would have in that situation.

S: Seeing ordinary characters rise to astonishing challenges is always brilliant! I’m very excited to get to know Danni. What was your journey to getting published like?

K: The journey to publication is an exciting, yet nerve racking experience. Things happen in bursts – flurries of excitement and activity, but in between are long periods of time when nothing much seems to be happening at all. For instance it’s taken over a year from Curious Fox acquiring Red Rock, to it finally hitting the shelves.

For me the exciting bits were finding my agent – I met Julia when I booked myself in for an agent 1-2-1 surgery at the Frome Festival; getting a book deal – I was out on a bike ride when Julia called with the news and took her call sitting on a grassy bank outside a farmyard watching the swallows skin over the wheat – a moment I’ll never forget; and the current flurry of activity of course – as my book comes out into the world.

S: Do you have any favourite books from 2013?

K: The Universe versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extense has to be the most exciting book I’ve read this year. It made me laugh and it made me cry. It is a beautifully written book and I strongly recommend it.

S: *adds book to ever-lengthening reading list* Quick! You wake up and find yourself in a dangerous and terrifying fantasy world. Which fictional character would you most like as a protector or ally?

K: I would like Dumbledore beside me. He would remain calm and wise, and, being a great wizard would hopefully be able to use his magic to keep us safe.

S: Oooh, Dumbledore would be amazing. Do you have any advice for other writers?

K: Write the book you would most like to read.

Thanks so much, Kate. Happy book birthday!


Kate Kelly was born in Scotland but grew up in Devon. She studied Geology at Dundee University and then Oceanography as a post grad at Southampton. She now works as a Marine Scientist. Her interest in these subjects has inspired many of the themes in her writing.

Kate has written all her life and has had a number of science fiction short stories published in various magazines and anthologies. She is now concentrating on children’s novels and is represented by Julia Churchill of AM Heath. Her debut novel, Red Rock, a SF thriller for the 12-16 age group, is published by Curious Fox.

She keeps a blog at

As well as writing Kate is a keen hill walker and is fascinated by history and archaeology. She lives in Dorset with her husband, two daughters and assorted pets.

About Sangu Mandanna

YA author of THE LOST GIRL and A SPARK OF WHITE FIRE. Also a wife, mum and Netflix addict.

4 comments on “Happy Book Birthday to Kate Kelly!

  1. Laura James
    September 12, 2013

    Great interview. Looking forward to the book launch 🙂

  2. barbarahenderson
    September 12, 2013

    Yay, happy book birthday Kate! Hope it all goes well. Can’t wait to read Red Rock, it sounds fantastic. Hope our paths will cross sometime re. Curious Fox! Bea Davenport

  3. dansmithsbooks
    September 12, 2013

    Congrats, Kate and good luck with the book!

  4. kateormand
    September 12, 2013

    Congratulations, Kate! x

Comments are closed.


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