Today’s #TenThings comes from Catherine Hokin. She is a Glasgow-based author whose fascination with the medieval period began during a History degree which included studies into witchcraft, women and the role of political propaganda. This sparked an interest in hidden female voices resulting in her debut novel, Blood and Roses which brings a new perspective to the story of Margaret of Anjou (1430-1482, wife of Henry VI) and her pivotal role in the Wars of the Roses. Catherine also writes short stories and blogs monthly for The History Girls. You can order a copy of Blood and Roses online by clicking here.
CATHERINE HOKIN – TEN THINGS
- My surname is American (not me, the OH – it’s a trial but someone has to bear it) and everyone pronounces it with a short o not the long one it should have, making it sound like they’re coughing their lungs up. The OH and I are truly divided by a language, especially as I come from a Scouse/Irish background and have a wealth of sayings involving pit ponies and Preston Guilds that are impenetrable for a Chicago boy. They get their own back – when I spoke in a full Scouse accent over there recently, the OH was asked if I needed special assistance.
- At university I did my hair and face like Robert Smith from The Cure. You’ll still find Marilyn Manson on my playlist and my idol is Nick Cave – off to Dublin to see him in June. It could get messy.
- The best two books I’ve read in the last 6 months are The Mandibles by Lionel Shriver and Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders but my favourite book ever is Wise Children by Angela Carter.
- I hate clowns and bees – apparently I was in a bee swarm as a baby but no one told me until I was in my thirties. Still waiting to hear what the clowns did.
- I own a signed copy of Arthur Rackham’s fairy tales – I would climb over the kids to rescue it in a fire so it’s a good thing they’ve both left home.
- Getting a novel published and seeing it in bookstores and libraries was the best thing I’ve ever done (sorry kids). Getting the second one out there is the hardest. I have an agent now who really believes I’ll do it but my published second may be the fourth or fifth I write. I’m good with that.
- I write all the time which is why I mix short stories with novels and non-fiction pieces, there’s never an excuse for writer’s block. And I really mean all the time – I may be looking at you but there’s a whole different world going on inside.
- The maddest thing I’ve ever done happened in Madrid a few years ago. I was with my daughter (she lived there at the time), coming home pretty late and a mugger decided to have a go. He grabbed her bag but got her hair instead and pulled her to the ground. Apparently I don’t have a flight gene. I punched him hard in the face while screaming a string of, apparently, very inventive obscenities – not bad for 5’2. He ran, pursued by two big Spanish guys who promised to finish the job. When we got home, we discovered I had an extra bag. I’d mugged the mugger.
- My tipple of choice is Jameson Whiskey – this and the above may not be entirely unconnected.
- The best bit of writing advice I’ve ever been given? Submit, all the time or – to paraphrase the divine Mindy Kalling – behave with the entitlement of a tall, blonde, white man. What’s the worst that can happen? Pay competitions a bit extra and you even get feedback. I’ve been published every year since 2014 because I keep working on my short stories and someone caves in and loves them in the end. It’s even starting to pay. Almost enough for a glass of Jameson.
Blood and Roses
Blood and Roses tells the story of Margaret of Anjou (1430-82), wife of Henry VI and a key protagonist in the Wars of the Roses. This is a feminist revision of a woman frequently imagined only as the shadowy figure demonised by Shakespeare – Blood and Roses examines Margaret as a Queen unable to wield the power and authority she is capable of, as a wife trapped in marriage to a man born to be a saint and as a mother whose son meets a terrible fate she has set in motion. It is the story of a woman caught up in the pursuit of power, playing a game ultimately no one can control…
Catch up with Catherine through her social media and web links: