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SPS-372: Anyone Can Be an Author – with Kate Pickford

Kate Pickford shares some of the most inspiring and helpful advice for writers. Whether you are working on your first book or your one-hundredth, she shares invaluable insights to help you be more productive, write better stories, and live a better life as a writer.

Show Notes

  • Kate Pickford’s introduction to the indie publishing world after years of writing Hollywood scripts
  • How Kate writes post-apocalyptic fiction that makes six-figures
  • Kate’s inspiring and effective writing process and mindset
  • How to be productive and create more time for writing in your day
  • Launching a romantic comedy series and writing under her own pen name

Resources mentioned in this episode:

SPS LIVE: Get your tickets to the best self-publishing conference in Europe on 20-21 June, 2023.

TIKTOK FOR BOOKS: Learn how to sell your books using the power of TikTok.

NEW BLOG: Read about Finding Your Writing Muse on the SPF Blog.

PATREON: Self Publishing Formula Show’s Patreon page

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT:

SPS-372: Anyone Can Be an Author - with Kate Pickford

Speaker 1: On this edition of the Self-Publishing Show.

Kate Pickford: And then I'm going to put something out under my own name still, and that will be the first time.

James Blatch: Will that still be in Romance? When it goes under your own name?

Kate Pickford: So it's comedy post-apoc, it's under my own name.

James Blatch: Blimey, sounds like a genre defining series.

Kate Pickford: No, it's written from the dog's POV.

Speaker 1: Publishing is changing. No more gatekeepers, no more barriers. No one standing between you and your readers. Do you want to make a living from your writing? Join indie bestseller Mark Dawson and first time author James Blatch as they shine a light on the secrets of self-publishing success. This is the Self-Publishing Show. There's never been a better time to be a writer.

James Blatch: Hello and welcome to The Self-Publishing Show with me, James Blatch

Mark Dawson: And me Mark Dawson.

James Blatch: Suddenly looking around thinking, have I started everything? Because we've been chatting, chit-chatting before we got started. Yes, hello. It is a Friday. It is the Self-Publishing Show. We have an interview today that will leave you raring to get going back onto your career, back onto the keyboard or resuming your career and with a spring in your step. I promise you, it's a guarantee. Today's interview, stay tuned for that in a moment. We've a couple of things to talk about. We have the Self-Publishing Show live coming up this June. Still an opportunity Mark, if people want to split the payments over four equal amounts.

Mark Dawson: Yes. So as we mentioned before, we had some emails from people who wanted to split the payments out. So we managed to find a way to do that. And you can get a ticket if you pay. It's four months, £50 a month and that brings you up to the ticket price in time for the show. And if you want to take advantage of that, I think you've got till the end of February. So 28th of February is the last time that you could fit those payments in before the show. So what's the URL for that? spslive?

James Blatch: Yes it is. So selfpublishingformula.com/spslive.

Mark Dawson: We should also mention that we have, I don't think we've... I get confused, but I don't think we've mentioned the first speaker yet, have we? Have we? I think we have.

James Blatch: I don't think we have. No.

Mark Dawson: I've mentioned it on in an email and in the Facebook group. But we've got... Bella Andre is coming along. So Bella, I've known for good 10 years now. At least I've... I don't know Bella very well. We've had a few emails every now and again and haven't actually met. So looking forward to meeting her and she's going to be coming along and doing at least one, maybe two sessions at the show. And her focus is going to be on how to get your work translated and sold in different languages, because she's... Actually, I'm pretty sure I have mentioned this for the podcast, so I recall this now. But anyway it's-

James Blatch: I don't know. I can't remember.

Mark Dawson: Yeah.

James Blatch: It all blurs into one.

Mark Dawson: I know. But yes, she's doing extremely well in lots and lots of different places. So we are looking forward to her coming on and telling us how to do that. And I would use that as some impetus to look at France and Spain and Italy and places like that, see if I can start looking again at getting the Milton series in those places as well. So yes, Bella will be the first speaker or the first one that we've announced. And we'll start to announce a few more as we go through the weeks up to the show in June.

James Blatch: Yes, looking forward to that. Potentially got quite a big industry player in the shadows, we might be able to announce soon as well, which should be fun. Tease that along. You definitely want to be there. I mean, the main thing about it-

Mark Dawson: The Shadows.

James Blatch: Shadows.

Mark Dawson: Is Cliff coming?

James Blatch: Yes. The main thing about it is the networking for me. I mean, that's what I get out of these conferences each time. And so February is your last chance to split the payments over four. That finishes on the 28th of February, it's literally the last day for that. It's not a leap year, is it? No, it's an odd year, they're never odd years, are they, I don't think?

Mark Dawson: Yeah.

James Blatch: Okay. We have also very happily an announcement to make for our foundation winners for 2023. So we operate a foundation, the SPF Foundation, which has grown over the years, it's administered by Mrs. Dawson, Lucy, Mark's wife. And we have a number of sponsors, so we're up to 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, I think it's eight now. These awards go to authors who need a bit of help to get going, because of background issues. So they get our courses, they get £1500, something like that I think to spend at Reedsy. I should know the figures here. It's not on my briefing, but anyway, I know who's been awarded them. The details are all on our website. But it's a fantastic start and we've had some amazing success stories, really brilliant success stories and you'll know that for your regular listener to the show. People who just needed a little bit of help at the beginning of their career.

So here are the winners for 2023, mystery and cosy genre sponsored by Mark Recklow. Thank you very much indeed, Mark. The winner is Megan Towey, who writes as T.E Harkins. Congratulations Megan. For horror, which is sponsored by Written Word Media, of course, that's Freebooksy, Bargain Booksy and those other brands that they have. That's J.L Murray. Well done, J.L Murray. Fantasy, sponsored by Reedsy. Bree Moore. Well done. Bree. A thriller sponsored also by Reedsy, is Reese Stalba-Smith. Well done, Reese Stalba-Smith. Fantastic to hear this. We have three romance winners, romance genre. So they were from Lucy Score. James Rosone. I thought James did a military, but it says romance here, anyway, okay, I hope this is right. We have Annie Charm, sponsored by Lucy Score. Thank you very much indeed to Lucy, and well done Annie.

We have Marie McKay sponsored by James Rosone. It does say romance here, but I will have to double check that. And we have S. Rodman, maybe Dennis's other half, I don't know. A romance winner sponsored by us here at SPF. And finally in the thriller category, and I saw him on Twitter announcing his win a couple of days ago, Gomery Kimber. Well done, Gomery. Very excited to see what happens over the next few years with your start that the foundation gives you. If you would like to be considered for an SPF Foundation slot and get all those goodies and financial support for your author career, head over to our website, selfpublishingformula.com and you'll see the SPF Foundation as one of the menu options at the top.

Mark Dawson: Yeah, we have had loads of success, people like Elle Thorpe, Britt Andrews who've... We might have an announcement about Britt quite soon as well, but she's done exceptionally well. And yeah, went from basically nearly foreclosing on her house to five figures a month.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Mark Dawson: So obviously you need to be a good writer. And all of these writers were picked mainly on the strength of their writing and we just think they need a bit of a leg up to get them going, so hopefully... And we've had some lovely emails from people thanking us for selecting them and give them a hand. So we would love to be able to say in a year's time that we've got another Britt Andrews or another Elle Thorpe suddenly doing really, really well and making a living from their writing.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Mark Dawson: Always the highlight to see that.

James Blatch: Very exciting, nice legacy for us to have. Okay, right, one more announcement. We have some live training available for you, this is on TikTok. How to learn to use TikTok to sell your books. We're doing that on the 27th of February at 9:00 PM UK time. So a little bit earlier in the day in the US and the next day in the morning down under. To sign up for that webinar, simply head to selfpublishing formula.com/learntiktok, all one word. Thank you.

Mark Dawson: Is this the first time we're using Zoom?

James Blatch: This probably is the first time we're using Zoom. So as we're recording this on a Friday, we're going to be doing some thrash testing of it on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday next week, and then we'll make our decision.

Mark Dawson: Yeah.

James Blatch: But it looks like we are going to be using Zoom, moving away from Go To Webinar.

Mark Dawson: Yeah.

James Blatch: Okay. Time for our interview. I'm very excited about this. It's Katie Pickford, sorry, it's Kate Pickford. For some reason it says Katie here, but it's Kate Pickford. And Kate is a regular speaker at the conferences. And she's one of those speakers who people come up to us and say, "You have to get Kate Pickford on your show." Because they come out walking on air from her sessions. She is brilliant at distilling a lot of things down for authors and very, very good on mindset. I'm not going to do any more of an introduction. Let's just get straight into this interview. Here's Kate.

Speaker 1: This is the Self-Publishing Show. There's never been a better time to be a writer.

James Blatch: Kate Pickford, welcome to the Self-Publishing Show. I think if people are familiar with the conferences, they probably have sat in one of your sessions at some point, because you do talks at a lot of conferences, don't you?

Kate Pickford: I do, yes.

James Blatch: Yeah, and I think that's probably why we've got you on the show, because so many people come out with those sessions saying, "You've got to get Kate Pickford on your show and grill her." So I think broadly we're going to talk about getting our seat on the chair, writing books and being successful, which is what this is all about anyway. But it is obviously easier said than done, and sometimes we are our own worst barricade, in the way. So a bit of self-sabotage we can talk about.

Kate Pickford: Yeah.

James Blatch: But why don't we start with you and your writing career. Give us the lowdown on that, Kate.

Kate Pickford: So I can't remember not writing, I can't remember not writing for other people. I wrote other people's essays at school. I wrote other people's essays at university. I probably shouldn't say some of this out loud now that I think about it. Well, they'll never be able to find me.

James Blatch: Well, it's too late now.

Kate Pickford: So I've written a couple of PhDs for people who are ABD and stuck.

James Blatch: Wow.

Kate Pickford: I wrote a lot of... I know, I know. You'd think it would have been spottable.

James Blatch: Where were you when I was at school?

Kate Pickford: So there wasn't marriage equality back then and my wife and I couldn't live in England or in America, so we went to Japan. And at that time a lot of Japanese businessmen were going to American business schools and they had to write a personal essay. And so I would go and I would interview them and the question they picked, almost invariably, they'd have a choice of questions and they'd almost always pick, who is your hero? And so it would be a Japanese Samurai. "And I love them, because blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah." So I wrote those for money. And then a Japanese publisher picked me up and I wrote children's stories for a Japanese publisher for a while. And I don't want to say how old I am, but I was old enough that my publisher said, "You can live anywhere in the world as long as you have a fax machine."

James Blatch: Oh, okay.

Kate Pickford: Before the internet existed. So my now wife, then girlfriend, was an NYU grad film. And so I went to New York and eventually, I don't know if you know this about America, but you can win your Green Card in a lottery.

James Blatch: Whoa.

Kate Pickford: And I won my Green Card, yeah. So Brits can't actually apply, but I was born in Germany, so I'm a German native, I can't get German nationality-

James Blatch: Right.

Kate Pickford: But I count as German in some way.

James Blatch: Okay.

Kate Pickford: So I won my Green Card so I could stay here permanently. And at that point we were making films, so I was making films and rescuing other people's films, because quite often, quite a lot ends up on the screen that shouldn't be there. So I was a bit of a script doctor for people. And we made a few films and you can win a lot of stuff when you are making films and you just think, "Ah." Because you're in your twenties, you think Hollywood's going to come knocking. And Hollywood doesn't come knocking the crazies come knocking, the crazies come knocking and they say, "Ah, my sister-in-law is blah, blah, blah, big name." I really can't say the big names. "And I want you to write this screenplay for me." And then they go into turnaround.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Kate Pickford: And so we had some very, very successful films. They were so successful, I went to work at a hedge fund. And I accidentally worked at a hedge fund for several years.

James Blatch: Right.

Kate Pickford: And I was still writing other people's books. And I had luckily, made enough to retire at 44. So I retired when I was 44 and I was still ghost-writing. So by then I was ghost-writing other people's novels and I just couldn't write my own. I hired a hypnotherapist. I was truly, truly blocked my own stuff. I would sit down and there would be nothing. And by then I'd written a lot of books, a lot of books and a lot of screenplays. And it took me, I... Oh, you know some of these people. So I worked at Author Accelerator.

James Blatch: Oh, yeah.

Kate Pickford: I was a book coach for Author Accelerator for a while.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Kate Pickford: And I hired a book coach and what I discovered... Oh, and I did a course at UCLA, I did a novel writing course, a nine-month novel writing course. And then at that point, I had a tonne of books under my belt and I was still terrified of my own stuff. I was terrified to put my own stuff on the page.

James Blatch: So what was the block, do you think? Why could you write so easily if you were writing for somebody else and not for yourself?

Kate Pickford: So there's a couple of things. So there is the taught snobbery of if it's not highbrow. I'm with Neil Gaiman on this. I absolutely don't believe in high and lowbrow.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Kate Pickford: I think all of it is genre fiction, everything is genre fiction.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Kate Pickford: But I went to a snooty university and the kind of stuff that I write would never make it, you'd never be invited to sit at high table.

James Blatch: Right. Was UCLA like that, was it?

Kate Pickford: UCLA, they are much more trad focused. And so at that time I was writing sci-f.i and the number of people... I went to Iowa as well, I went to Iowa for a bit to their summer workshops. And people almost invariably start with, "I don't read sci-fi." And they grumble about it. And so I had that built in fear of this isn't real writing. And if I put my name to it, they're all going to judge me and it's going to be... And at that point, I'm making a living, I'm making a good living from my own writing, but I'm just terrified to put my name on anything, absolutely terrified.

And then I don't know how I found Michael Anderle. I don't know how I found him. But I ended up watching his very first talk a few months after he gave that first talk. And I joined the Facebook page for 20Books and I started seeing people who I'd written books for, put their numbers up. And in the early days a lot of people shared their numbers. And I realised that the money that I had been making from ghost-writing, which was a done deal, you get your money no matter what happens to the book when you're ghost-writing.

James Blatch: Yeah. So you get that going for it, but...

Kate Pickford: Yeah. And it's someone else's plot and you don't have to step out of your comfort zone. But Mike Kraus, who runs Muonic Press, a couple of times a year, he opens the doors and interviews for new writers. And my resume is just pants, it just looks so strange. But he had a writing prompt and he took a chance on me. And so I put something out under a pen name and it was the first time I had put something out that was purely mine.

James Blatch: Yours.

Kate Pickford: And by the time book came out that was making five figures, by the time the third book came out. And that's a six figure series. And I'm going to..

James Blatch: And what genre is that?

Kate Pickford: So that's post-apoc.

James Blatch: Post-apoc, yeah.

Kate Pickford: That's post-apocalyptic science fiction.

James Blatch: Yeah, which I'm sure your known for writing now.

Kate Pickford: Yeah.

James Blatch: And you do write under your name now though, don't you?

Kate Pickford: So at the beginning of COVID, I don't know if you know about this yet, but my brother's mother-in-law is being bullied out of her home by a non-blood relative.

James Blatch: Right.

Kate Pickford: And I decided I'm going to do something about it. And I thought, "I'll raise money. I just made tonnes of money on this series." And somebody said, "Yeah, but Kate, there's only one you." And I thought, "Well, maybe I can get other people to work with me." And I put the word out that I was going to put an anthology together, which of course that's a way to make money. And people just showed up. I don't know where they came from. I don't really know how they knew me, but about, I want to say 93 writers for the first anthology showed up.

And proofreaders showed up, and the Coronitas, who they first met in Edinburgh, they are a group of women writers, they all showed up and they did formatting for me and they did all these incredible things. This team just coalesced around this idea. And so those two anthologies are out under my name. And as I switch genres, because I'm about to switch genres and go into steamy rom cons, I'm going to write the first series under a pen name and then I'm going to put something out under my own name. And that will be the first time.

James Blatch: Will that still be in romance, when it goes under your own name?

Kate Pickford: So it's comedy post-apoc, is under my own name.

James Blatch: Blimey, sounds like a genre defining series.

Kate Pickford: No, it's written from the dog's POV.

James Blatch: Okay. All right. That sounds good. Well done on the anthologies.

Kate Pickford: Thank you.

James Blatch: I mean, 93 writers seems like a lot, even for a packed anthology.

Kate Pickford: It was amazing. It was amazing. And it did really, really well, I think. And of course, I thought it was going to do gangbusters, but I think it made around 15 grand.

James Blatch: Okay. Well, that's-

Kate Pickford: Which all went to Irada.

James Blatch: Yeah, right.

Kate Pickford: It all went to her.

James Blatch: Right.

Kate Pickford: And then my publisher said, "Well, because we need to make 70 grand, why don't we do some post-apoc?" And so I put the word out and then over the last two years these teams of writers co-wrote 22 books to raise money for this woman to save her home. And I'm just finishing up the last of those books now. But they all worked for free for two... I think COVID really did me a favour.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Kate Pickford: Because everyone was bored and they wanted to feel good about themselves.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Kate Pickford: And so they joined me. And if we make money after we've made enough money to save her house, then they'll make money. But boy, because I've worked in film, I've written with other people and I'm really used to getting a lot of feedback and having people say, "It doesn't work." And then you bung it out and then you try something else. And I didn't remember in those early days when every word is really precious and you want to save everything that you've ever written down. So there were some interesting moments where, a bit flouncy from some people, but they pulled through and they were amazing.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Kate Pickford: And so we've got these three series out now that are making money for her, which I'm very proud of.

James Blatch: Fantastic. Let me just ask you a few questions about Post-apoc. So generally, I guess, set in the future, is it generally real world, as in earth? And how far into... What are the tropes that define it, that make it not fantasy or not science fiction, I guess?

Kate Pickford: Yeah, not too far in the future. Further in the future is dystopian.

James Blatch: Right.

Kate Pickford: So you actually want... In post-apoc you see the collapse happening.

James Blatch: Okay.

Kate Pickford: And you see people... It's very... Our readership doesn't want superheroes. They don't want any magic. They don't want any handwavium. The science is real if there's any science, and if you get it wrong, they'll come after you. And if you say clip versus magazine, they will come after you. Check your gun facts if you're going to use... And a lot of them do use guns. For our readership... Oh, take a guess... Oh, you might have heard this already, because you might have heard this if you've seen any of the post-apoc panels. What age group do you think reads post-apoc?

James Blatch: So off the top of my head, I would've said, male, 45 plus.

Kate Pickford: Yeah. Women in their sixties.

James Blatch: Wow.

Kate Pickford: Yeah. Women in their sixties, we think it's because it's about hope.

James Blatch: Okay.

Kate Pickford: So the underlying thing about post-apoc is, "I will go to the ends of the earth to save my people." And the biggest trope is people being separated and fighting through all of the things they have to fight through to get back to each other. And every often I think, "Oh, I should really do Clan of the Cave Bear." Do you remember when she went out and lived in a cave and did all the things? I think, "I should go up to Fort Stevens Park and just live in a yurt for a week." And then I think, "There's no showers."

James Blatch: Yeah.

Kate Pickford: I'd last two days.

James Blatch: Electricity and all... Yes.

Kate Pickford: Electricity. Oh, I'm soft, I'm soft.

James Blatch: That's why we write this stuff. We don't have to go method on it.

Kate Pickford: Yeah. Yeah.

James Blatch: Yeah, interesting. Of course, the young generation, Z's and millennials think they're living in an apocalypse, which is perhaps why they don't write it or read it, but anyway.

Kate Pickford: Yeah, maybe.

James Blatch: Well, I just wanted to ask a couple questions. We're not specific to talk about post-apoc, but I think it's really interesting. I want to talk to you a bit about getting out of your own way and what you've learned through that process of being able to write your own novels. Because a lot of people... I mean, I want to say straight away, I've just started drafting my fourth book.

Kate Pickford: Okay.

James Blatch: And I'm reminded once again, how bloody hard it is writing. I'll whiz through the first six, 7,000 words, and now I've hardly written. Well, I've written about 300 words a day for four, five days in a row, because I'm just suddenly I'm full of doubts about the story. And then Mark Dawson today, I've spent a couple of days with him, reminded me that's what it's supposed to feel like. There's no shortcut to it.

And I think a lot of people do get put off by those hurdles that are naturally part of writing and don't ever break through. How many novels get started and stopped? Is that sort of thing that you talk to people about?

Kate Pickford: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So I believe that this is a learnable craft, and I had to study really hard. So I'm aphantasic, I don't see pictures.

James Blatch: Wow.

Kate Pickford: Barry Hutchison's the same. He doesn't see pictures either.

James Blatch: Wow.

Kate Pickford: And so the people who are like, "Oh, it's like a movie in my head and I just write it down." I think many, many swear words, because I don't. So I had to study pretty hard. I had to study the craft to understand what is the inciting incident? And what does an opening hook look like? And what is rising tension? And how do you build those pieces? And some people are really put off with that talk. They really don't like talking about the mechanics of it. But I just bought Joanna Penn's new book, How to Write a Novel, and her writing is so clean and crisp and beautiful, and I really, really enjoy that.

And the other one that I think is fantastic, Libby Hawker, Take Off Your Pants. That is a terrific, terrific look into really, really bare bones about what does the modern story look like? What is the hero's journey? If we're doing that. And that sitting down, making muscle memory, having... Some people use sound, some people use smell, some people light a candle and make it slightly meditative. Not in a woo way, but in a, you are triggering your mind to... This is this space, this is this space that is dedicated to it. And I see people who are using the, I can't remember what they're called, the typewriters that don't let you onto the internet, they're not typewriters, they are computeresque, like platforms.

James Blatch: Yes. Those physical keyboards. Yeah.

Kate Pickford: Yes.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Kate Pickford: And so you can't do the distractable thing. One of the, well, big breakthroughs for me were deadlines. So I hired a coach and the coach, I loved my coach, I absolutely loved my coach, but I didn't learn a lot about writing. I learned a lot about deliverables. I learned about there is a deadline and you must meet it.

James Blatch: Accountability.

Kate Pickford: Accountability, absolutely. A hundred per cent. And so now I have got a sprint group, and we sprint every day, we sprint, some of us sprint for longer than others. I write for eight hours a day.

James Blatch: Wow.

Kate Pickford: Yep. I write eight hours a day. It's my job. And I love my job. I absolutely love my job. But you have to create a space where it's somewhere that you want to go and free up your brain. I currently have a dog who wakes me up every four hours. So I'm a little bit punchy and a little bit, not quite all there. But I think that building that muscle memory a lot like an athlete, a tubby sit in your chair athlete. But anyway, you have to sit down for that time and write. And it really doesn't matter if it's shit. Oh, am I allowed to say that?

James Blatch: You can say that.

Kate Pickford: Oh.

James Blatch: Well, we've just seen your mug, by the way, so the swearing-

Kate Pickford: Oh.

James Blatch: The adult tag went about 10 minutes ago.

Kate Pickford: Oh, oh, oh, oh. Oh, yeah. She's marvellous. She's absolutely wonderful.

James Blatch: A little shout-out to Elaine Bateman, one of the backbones of the indie world.

Kate Pickford: Yes, we love her. We absolutely love her. I met her in Bali. Did you know she brought pork pies to Bali for me?

James Blatch: Did she? Probably illegal.

Kate Pickford: Yes.

James Blatch: But good old Elaine.

Kate Pickford: She shouted... We're sitting down at dinner. Mark Dawson is at the table. I'm too terrified to talk to Mark Dawson. He is just this big, big name.

James Blatch: You don't have to be terrified to talk to Dawson.

Kate Pickford: No, I think the nearest I got to talking to him was like, "Would you like some rum?" I'd taken a bottle of rum with me. So rum night, I snuck... He was talking to Dan Wood and I love Dan Wood and I poured them a rum, ran away. But Elaine Dawson, so she sits down at the table and she shouts in front of all these people, "Oh, you're the pork pie lady." Oh, is that my brand? My brand is I'm the pork pie lady. Yeah, anyway, so we love Elaine.

James Blatch: I've just got this image of Elaine walking through the airport chased by all the sniffer dogs. You've got to vacuum pack them, I guess.

Kate Pickford: I can't even imagine. How daring that was.

James Blatch: We're currently trying to work out how to smuggle saucisson into Seattle for a senior member of the Amazon team who's French and struggles to get good cheese and saucisson in Seattle. But again, I think the dogs are going to have a field day, we'll have to wrap it up tiny. Anyway, sorry, we're getting slightly sidetracked.

Kate Pickford: Yes.

James Blatch: Yeah. So where were we? Gosh, we were talking-

Kate Pickford: We talking about muscle memories.

James Blatch: Yes.

Kate Pickford: And we were talking about-

James Blatch: And I guess that you talk about creating this thinking time to allow your brain to work.

Kate Pickford: Yes.

James Blatch: And some people do that on walks or during exercise or running or whatever.

Kate Pickford: Yes.

James Blatch: But that's okay as well, isn't it? People have their own... As long as they do have some space where they are undistracted by the internet.

Kate Pickford: So there's real science about repetitive action freeing your brain up. So the creative side of your brain, it's always working and you don't necessarily know what's going on. But walking, taking a shower, there's a joke about, "Oh, I have all my best ideas in the shower."

James Blatch: Yeah.

Kate Pickford: It's the repetitive action of doing it.

James Blatch: Gosh, I think it's 100% true.

Kate Pickford: Chopping.

James Blatch: My shower's go on long, because I'm starting to develop ideas.

Kate Pickford: Yes. And that's because you're doing something routine that you've done many times, that you are setting muscle memory in action and you are freeing yourself up. So if you are doing something new, you have to pay attention, really pay attention. And it uses a tonne of ram to do something new. So if you drive somewhere new, you'll be much, much more tired. And it will seem longer than if you drive somewhere that you drive every day, because really you're not pulling up ram. You are going just from muscle memory to do something.

And so this whole other side of your brain has time to sort things out, because it's not doing all the logic stuff that you have to pay really close attention to. So if you are surfing the internet while you are writing, you closing this side down, you're closing it off. If you go for a brisk walk or you go... I love chopping vegetables, it's really violent and wonderful and it frees you up. It just frees you up in this way. If you've got a piece of music that is really super familiar to you and gets you into this alternate state and then you sit down and you give yourself a dedicated time. And it doesn't matter if it's shit, it doesn't matter if you throw it away. The point is to sit down and hammer the keyboards and keep going until... I think you need accountability. I think, what is it? It's not a thousand hours, the 10,000.

James Blatch: 10,000 going, isn't it? Yeah.

Kate Pickford: So 10,000 with somebody who you are accountable to, who is a kind of guru or somebody that you look up to or somebody who knows what they're doing. I think one of the big things, wrong things that people do. Is they get into writing... Because I've been part of writing groups and I always end up in a side room giving classes to people, which is not what I want to do, about... But they go into at the word level and they start futzing with sentences, and that will kill you dead. That will kill you absolutely dead. You want people who understand you are making something that has a particular shape. I mean, you are writing action, right? You are writing action, thrillery, planey things.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Kate Pickford: And that has a certain shape. And if you don't give your readers that shaped thing-

James Blatch: Yeah.

Kate Pickford: They won't know how to tell you, but they will know that it's not quite right. And so finding the right people, even as you are you doing something repetitive, you are doing it on a regular basis, you are doing it as a routine thing, you are creating that zone and freeing up your mind. And then you have got deliverables to somebody who knows what they're doing, who you respect. And whether that is somebody who you swap pages with every week, or you find yourself a book coach or you are in a writing group. The rule is if you are the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Kate Pickford: And my rule for that is just take Yuda with you everywhere. Yuda was in Bali as well. And he's always going to be the smartest person in the room. So just take Yuda with you and then you're not the smartest person.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Kate Pickford: Yeah.

James Blatch: I'd like to say same about having John Dyer with us, but I don't think it quite works like that. Anyway, it's funny, hearing you say all that, Kate, because I can hear none of us are perfect and I'm far from it. And one of the things I've done over the last three days since I've run into some doubt about the story that I thought was good, is I've gone back and started fiddling. And Mark said to me today, he said to me, "Just press on." So you would definitely advise-

Kate Pickford: Yeah, because-

James Blatch: Even if you think this story's not quite working, it's better to press on and draught and write, than to stop and-

Kate Pickford: Absolutely.

James Blatch: Go back and try and fix, especially at an early stage.

Kate Pickford: So if you go back and fix the muscle that you are using, is go back and fix muscle.

James Blatch: Right.

Kate Pickford: That's not writing muscle, it's a different part of your brain. It's the logic part of your brain. And it will actually stop you from getting ideas or the big ideas that you need when you're at that stage of drafting. Drafting shit is way better than... I had to stop myself, because I've got a particular phrase that I use when I'm talking to real people in the real word, because I'm very sweary.

James Blatch: You can swear. You can swear.

Kate Pickford: Oh, I can?

James Blatch: Yes.

Kate Pickford: Okay. So yeah, don't wordfuck your page. So don't go into every single one and futze and fuck with it, because it isn't going to get better. And what's really, really fascinating is the people who read predominantly what they call literary fiction will tell you that, "There's this beautiful sentence that I never forgot." If there is no story there, they won't remember the beautiful sentence, because there was no vehicle that would carry it at all.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Kate Pickford: Hammering it out in the plainest language that you can without worrying about the words that you're using. One of the biggest, most freeing things that I ever learned was XX for something that I had to look up, so that I didn't go and look it up. So I don't really-

James Blatch: Yeah, you can search on that afterwards and see where the XX's are, yeah.

Kate Pickford: Yes. So he's carrying big gun.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Kate Pickford: And then you just do it in caps and move on and just keep those muscles moving.

James Blatch: Wow.

Kate Pickford: And don't go to the, "But if I tweak this a bit, if I tweak..." Because you're going into the wrong part of the brain, you're absolutely going to the wrong part of the brain.

James Blatch: Yeah. This is transformational I'm sure for a lot of people. And I've been so lucky with this podcast over the six years I've been running it. These interviews always come at the right time for me.

Kate Pickford: Yeah.

James Blatch: Because I'm exactly here now and I need a good talking to frankly, to stop pissing about, to use a swear word and fiddling with the first-

Kate Pickford: But aren't you so proud of yourself? Because not only did you take the time that it took you to write your first book, you did that publicly.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Kate Pickford: I would've died a million deaths. I watched you do that, and I was awed by the fact that you were willing to do that in public and take the shit that you took, and people ribbing you about it and about how long it took. And I'm just like, "Shut up and leave him alone. He's doing this thing, this amazing thing."

James Blatch: I've got a lot of support as well, a bit of gentle encouragement, shall we say. I've got a lot of support as well. But yeah, there were dark days during that period when I thought, "This is never going to get done and I can't do it. I'm not capable of doing it."

Kate Pickford: Yes.

James Blatch: So yes, I am proud.

Kate Pickford: Good.

James Blatch: But I'm also somebody who judges themselves by the next thing I'm working on rather than something I've done in the past. So I sometimes should take a second to pick up my print versions of my books and think, "I did that."

Kate Pickford: Yay.

James Blatch: Which is...

Kate Pickford: Look at that, is that the new cover?

James Blatch: This is the new cover of Final Flight, yeah.

Kate Pickford: Yeah.

James Blatch: I love this. I mean, I'm proud of this. And every now and again, the reviews are good, so that's another nice thing to be able to do. Although reviews are just reviews. But anyway, yes. It's not about me. Let's talk a bit more about you.

Kate Pickford: Yeah, no, no. But I think that you are a really, really good example for people who think that they can't do it.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Kate Pickford: Because that-

James Blatch: I promise you I am. Because...

Kate Pickford: Yeah.

James Blatch: I mean, you wrote this in your notes to me before this interview, but it resonates with me, "If I can write a book, I promise you, if you're listening to this, you can write one."

Kate Pickford: A hundred percent. A hundred percent. And the people who say that you've either got it or you don't, they don't... Who is Michael Jordan? Michael Jordan didn't leap out of the womb and slam-dunked something, he practised, practised, practised, practised. Writing-

James Blatch: Yeah, he was a brutal dictator on the court. He was a very, very hard person to live with, because he was absolutely.-

Kate Pickford: Was he?

James Blatch: Oh, a really hard person to live with. But what he got was the most fantastic set of results that's ever been had in basketball.

Kate Pickford: Yeah.

James Blatch: But you are absolutely right, he didn't wander onto the court naturally talented.

Kate Pickford: No.

James Blatch: And I hate that expression, naturally talented.

Kate Pickford: Well, so there are people who have some gifts, there's no doubt about it. But the gift won't write the book.

James Blatch: No.

Kate Pickford: The gift can't write the book. The only thing is sitting down and finding that way to free up that side of your brain to do that thing. And it's a kind of magic, and when it works, when you sit down and there are those flow moments when you get into flow.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Kate Pickford: And if you're interested in breathing exercises, look up box breathing. I myself don't really like breathing, I know that doesn't sound right, does it? No.

James Blatch: You should definitely do some breathing. The required amount of breathing, definitely.

Kate Pickford: The required amount. But so the people who are into learning to be your best and higher self, they do this thing called box breathing. But it takes you into a state of slight panic.

James Blatch: Christ.

Kate Pickford: So it raises more adrenaline.

James Blatch: Right.

Kate Pickford: And for me, that's not a great place to write from.

James Blatch: No.

Kate Pickford: For me, it's much, much better to go and do violence to vegetables on the chopping board. But something repetitive that gets you out of the logic side of your brain.

James Blatch: Yeah. So there's some really good learnings. I hate that word actually, it's very American, learnings from this.

Kate Pickford: That's all right.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Kate Pickford: You can edit out.

James Blatch: Yes. I can. As I say, some very good things for us to learn. Going back to the distraction, the period of allowing the creative side of your brain to work, I mean, are there some practical tips? I talked about running and gym, I'm thinking about parents with young children here, who have incredibly, stressful is probably the right word actually, but they're busy people. And if they're not dealing with the children and thinking about that, then they're probably going to sit down and start to work for a bit and then be distracted onto the television. When do they get this time for the creative side of their brain to work?

Kate Pickford: Yeah, so I don't know if... The year before last, Stephen Higgs, who was doing amazing, amazing things-

James Blatch: Yeah.

Kate Pickford: He stood up and basically it was, "How do you write 300 books in a year, Steven?" And he said, "Don't sleep." And I think that that's one of those, yeah, don't know that I could get by with any less sleep than I do. But when I went to the writing workshop in Iowa, there was somebody who had written her book on her phone. I don't know how, but she had actually written her entire novel and she was a chapter away from being done.

James Blatch: Whoa.

Kate Pickford: And it was a very, very beautiful novel, beautifully written. And she had done it in these tiny 10, 15 minute increments, whenever she got a break. She worked full-time, she had a family. The things that you can do when you start to free up, you can hire someone to come and clean your house when you've got a bit of money.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Kate Pickford: And you can free up different spaces. So when I worked in the hedge fund industry, I worked for a self-made billionaire and I watched. It's really interesting to be around that much power, because all these millionaires, so all the managing directors and millionaires, and they run to the billionaire to give away their power. They just give it away all the time, it's fascinating. But what I learned from him, watching him is that you must do that which only you can do. Somebody else can do the laundry. You can send your laundry out now. There are ways that you can bulk cook your meals and freeze them. I mean, do you want to live like this? You probably don't want to live like this. I've heard you talking to other people on the podcast about balance. And I don't really believe in balance, I believe in going all in.

I believe do everything that you can, because it doesn't matter if there's an afterlife or if you're going to get reincarnated or if there's another chance. This is the only you that you will ever be. This is the only time you will be this you, and so do it all. So if you want to write a book, you're going to give something up. You are going to give up watching television, you are going to give up surfing the internet, you're going to give up that hour that you give to Facebook. And it's designed to keep you scrolling, it is very cleverly designed. TikTok, I don't even dare. I loved your talk by the way.

James Blatch: Oh, thank you.

Kate Pickford: But some of these platforms, I know that I can't go to these platforms, because I have an addictive personality and I will just be like, "Ooh, look, another potato, I can see a potato."

James Blatch: Yes.

Kate Pickford: Whatever it is that is feeding your id, I will go looking for it. And so you have to discipline yourself. You have to find a way to...

James Blatch: Find that.

Kate Pickford: Look at your time, do an inventory of your time and look at where you are giving your time and decide, do you want to give your time to that? Do you want to give your time to Facebook? Do you want to give your time to... Are you happy with the X number of hours you spend in the kitchen? Could you batch that? Could you cook on a Saturday and have meals set up for the week? One of my nephews fell to my care, it's not really my story to tell. Anyway, very, very bad things happened and people went to jail and he fell into my care and he batch cooks for himself every week.

James Blatch: Wow.

Kate Pickford: So he sets up his meals, he's in the Navy now, I'm very, very proud of him. I could just talk about him for hours. But he sets up his meals so that he's got portion control and that he knows what he's taking with him. And he's not spending money. He's 22 and he bought his own house.

James Blatch: Wow.

Kate Pickford: So he has been so disciplined about, how do I spend my time? Where do I spend my time? He did a challenge. I don't know, it depends on whether you're a carrot or a stick person. So if you are a carrot person, decide what the reward is for completing it. If you are a stick person, decide how you're going to punish yourself. I saw some people who did a negative challenge. You either write 50,000... It was around NanoWremo, sorry, NaNoWriMo.

James Blatch: Whichever, I always used to say Remo, but now say Rimo.

Kate Pickford: I do, yeah. And they did a, "If you can get 50,000 words, you get something wonderful. If you miss the mark, you have to give," and they picked a punitive amount, "You have to give $1,000 to a charity that I choose, that you hate."

James Blatch: Wow.

Kate Pickford: I was like, "I'm not doing that. Why would I do that?"

James Blatch: Carrot and stick.

Kate Pickford: Carrot and stick, yeah. So I think that if you do time inventory of how you spend your time and really dig into, "I need to free up half an hour to write. Am I going to get up earlier? Am I going to batch cook? Am I going to send the laundry out? Am I going to hire a cleaner? How am I going to do that without..." You can't really anymore. Put the kids in a little basket by the fire and just have them walk in circles, like you could in the medievally days.

James Blatch: Yeah. Oh, the seventies.

Kate Pickford: So how are you going to do that? Yeah.

James Blatch: When I was brought up. Didn't see my parents for about 15 years.

Kate Pickford: Go out and play, right?

James Blatch: Yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah. What about the mindset, which I see in the groups a bit when we do stuff, that you can see in a comment, somebody always has a little... Sometimes it's very subtle, there's an aside, "The reason you are successful is..." Or, "Well, you are lucky, because right time for you." And I read straight away into that, the sort of person who's going to spend their whole life... Sorry, can you hear me? There we go.

Kate Pickford: No, no.

James Blatch: They're not watching on YouTube. Kate's earphone fell out, it's back in now. What I read straight away into that is someone who's going to spend their whole life thinking that there's a reason other people are successful, and it's all unfair. Even if it's a very subtle thing like, "Oh, well..."

Kate Pickford: Yeah.

James Blatch: I mean, Mark and I both have people who quite regularly attribute any success we have as authors to this podcast, which is ludicrous.

Kate Pickford: Yeah, no, that's really what's done it.

James Blatch: But they say, "Well, lucky for you, you've got a big platform." Well, honestly, these are not the people who buy my books.

Kate Pickford: They're not the people who buy your books. And you built it yourselves.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Kate Pickford: And it's an amazing resource for people. There's a really, really wonderful Russian saying, "Pray for the bus and run like hell." And I think that the English equivalent is, "You make your own luck." So the harder I work, the luckier I get.

James Blatch: Yeah. Gary Player, great quotes, yeah.

Kate Pickford: And I think that put yourself with the people that you want to be and be around those people and keep doing the work. If you don't do the work, if you believe in luck, go and buy a lottery ticket. Or I could sell you the Brooklyn Bridge.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Kate Pickford: I could be that lucky. But I just don't think that it is luck. I mean, I should say I am enormously privileged. I went to the university of my choice and had a great time, and work has always come to me. But I'm a workaholic, I always work. I put myself out there. I do a lot of stuff for free. And what I do for free is me building that muscle, building that writing muscle, because I have always known what I wanted to do. And I have always wanted to be a writer. And it took me, I don't really want to say how old I am, but anyway, it took me until quite recently to pony up and put my name on anything, even though I could do it.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Kate Pickford: Even though I could do it, it took me that long.

James Blatch: And I don't want to, obviously neither of us wants to belittle the difficulties that other people have and the advantages that we have demographically and otherwise. But the point I'm making is you've got to believe, you've got to get out your own way, you started with that.

Kate Pickford: Yes.

James Blatch: And not find excuses for other people's successes. That's just as damaging as you being defeatist about your own abilities.

Kate Pickford: Well, you're sending a message to your subconscious that it's not for you, it's for them.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Kate Pickford: And they were lucky, and I'm not lucky, you're as lucky... Go and read some of the abundance people and what they do around mantras and what they do about creating your own reality. And it's really about where you put your attention. And if you put your attention on the thing that you want rather than this little subtle thing that you are talking about, rather than, "Oh, they got it, because they're lucky." If you don't spend that energy over there and you spend it over here on, "I'm going to... I've got 15 minutes, I'm going to write a hundred words, that's it. That's all I'm going to do. 10 words, 10 of the best words, 10 crappy words. I'm just going to sit down and do it and nothing else." That's where you need to put your brain.

James Blatch: Yeah, yeah. It's the old dress for the job you want. Thank goodness I don't have to dress for jobs anymore.

Kate Pickford: Absolutely.

James Blatch: But it is exactly the mindset. You can see how that works and how a silly thing like that does actually help somebody get to where they want to go. So Kate, you give talks at a conference centre. Have you done any non-fiction writing in this area?

Kate Pickford: I have, yeah. Oh, no, not in this area. I've done lots of non-fiction mostly in science. So I was a ghost-writer. And there are some interesting people out there. There are some really interesting people. So John Evans, who I think he's been on the podcast.

James Blatch: Yes. Yeah. We know John.

Kate Pickford: John has been hounding me to write craft books, and Dan Wood, bless him. So my problem is that a lot of us, my worry is I have nothing new to say. I have nothing original to say, I haven't thought of something new. And Dan Wood said, "Some of us just need to hear it in a different voice."

James Blatch: Yeah. And you're very, very good at telling it, I think.

Kate Pickford: Oh, that's very kind of you.

James Blatch: Which is a reason why if you can be encouraged, I think it would be a very useful thing for us. I mean, Mark Recklow has been on this show as well, writes self-help books. He very openly says, there are no new ideas in his books. But you look at the feedback he gets, readers adore what he's teaching them, because it's being told it. It's an opportunity to being told it in a particular voice that works with them. So I think that's the same with you. I think you've got a gift for this.

Kate Pickford: That's very kind. That's very kind. And now I'm panicking, of course.

James Blatch: You don't have to write this book, but...

Kate Pickford: No, no, no, no. I discovered that the thing that you most want is probably the thing you most fear. And people saying nice things to me makes me just ever so slightly panicky.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Kate Pickford: If the shoe is going to drop, something's going to happen.

James Blatch: Yeah, yeah.

Kate Pickford: But I am thinking about it, because of this move that I'm making to romance, I've been thinking a lot about how romance gets poo-pooed and how it gets scorned. And I'm like, "Really?" You look at Megan Quinn, you look at Lucy Score and you've got anything to say about what they are doing? They are rocking the charts.

James Blatch: Oh, yes.

Kate Pickford: They are absolutely rocking it.

James Blatch: And Lucy's book is brilliant. I've read the one that she's had a big hit in and it's hilarious and brilliant.

Kate Pickford: Yes.

James Blatch: And yeah.

Kate Pickford: Isn't she so funny?

James Blatch: Yes. A very, very funny person. Yeah,

Kate Pickford: She's so funny. And she's lovely. She's very, very lovely.

James Blatch: Well, I wouldn't say that, but yeah, I mean, yes, she's a very good friend and she's lovely and I love her. But yeah, she's a-

Kate Pickford: No, I've been thinking a lot about what we do with that derision and why it's derided, why romance is derided. And I've been thinking about that in craft terms and thinking about... Because I try not to ever give the same talk twice. So I'm thinking about the next talk that I'm going to give. And I think what I'm going to do, is I'm going to invert Maslow's hierarchy of needs, so that the things that we think of as base needs are in fact about self-actualization. And if I can just thread a needle, I haven't quite threaded yet, I think writing a book is about self-actualization. I think it really is one of the highest callings. And I know there are a whole bunch of people who will be like, "No, no, no, no." I've got a really, really good writer friend who refuses to call herself an artist.

James Blatch: Right.

Kate Pickford: She just refuses, absolutely. No, but I think that there's something very wonderful about writing a book. Very wonderful.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Kate Pickford: Sorry, I went off on a tangent there, because I'm thinking about these things. It's not quite coalesced yet, but I'm thinking about them.

James Blatch: Well, that's okay though. We may be able to encourage you. Let's talk a bit about your next venture. Just finish on that area. So you're going to go into rom-com, spicy rom-com, which is actually Lucy Score territory, I think.

Kate Pickford: Yes, it is. Absolutely.

James Blatch: Why the move into that? What's prompted that?

Kate Pickford: So I am a literary omnivore. I read everything I've written. Well, I haven't written everything, because I don't believe that I can write military, although John Evans challenged me on that.

James Blatch: I bet you could.

Kate Pickford: He was like, "You just to know as much as you need to know anything."

James Blatch: Just put lots of X's, then send the manuscript to me and I'll fill that in with general dynamics-

Kate Pickford: Big tanks.

James Blatch: F16. Yes.

Kate Pickford: Big guns.

James Blatch: Abrahams.

Kate Pickford: And I can't write lit RPG, because I've never played a game in my life.

James Blatch: No.

Kate Pickford: And they are really particular and they know what they're doing.

James Blatch: That's a very specific niche, lit RPG, yeah.

Kate Pickford: Yes. And Dakota Krout and James Hunter are doing gangbusters. They're doing great over there. So I looked around and I looked at what I enjoy and I looked at... So the divide between plot and story. Plot is what happens. Story is why it matters to the main protagonist. And I tend to write towards the story end. And romance is very, very much about how people are feeling, how they're reacting, how they process something, how they get out of their own way. It's big on how you get out of your own way. And also it's where the big money is.

And I'm a six figure author who wants to be a seven figure author. And so I decided... I went to my boss, Micah, because I can't add numbers at all. If you give me two numbers, I can give you seven answers. They're all different and they'll all be wrong. So I actually bought the course, I bought Mark Dawson's course, and I saw a spreadsheet. So I write for a publisher and I'm very, very happy to give him 50% of what I earn, because it's so much better than all the trad deals. The trad deals are really, really terrible.

James Blatch: Yes, yeah.

Kate Pickford: So I think these indie houses that are growing are really something, they're really something interesting that's going on at the moment. And I just decided that I want to go for the big money. And I can't remember a book that I didn't finish, I love reading. It has always been my refuge. And I decided that I'm going to write rom-coms. And I love to laugh. I love to laugh, and I think it's revolutionary. I think that it's mostly women, not exclusively, but women writing about women's pleasure is a huge.... It's still a huge deal. I mean, the feminists of the seventies were talking about it. And it's so depressing when I see young women who are talking about exactly the same things as if it's new.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Kate Pickford: I'm like, "Where did that all go? Where did it go?" But I think it's wonderful. And some of the groups, good Lord, I thought that I don't think of myself as particularly vanilla or particularly unadventurous, I didn't know half the stuff.

James Blatch: Oh, yeah.

Kate Pickford: Oh my goodness. Just wonderful. And what's really... So the rule in a lot of these groups in the spicy and the steamy romance groups, is don't yuck on anyone else's yum.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Kate Pickford: So it might not be for you, but don't trash it, don't trash it for anybody else. And let them find their pleasure where they may. And I think John Truby says, "It's the hardest genre to write, because you've got these really strict built in expectations." But I know I'm not allowed to disagree with John Truby, but I just think it's that romance readers and writers know the language of the genre much better than a lot of other genres.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Kate Pickford: But mysteries, if you don't have a dead body in a police procedural, it's probably not a police procedural.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Kate Pickford: And so I think the rules are there, they're just not codified the same way. I think it's a very exciting space. I'm co-writing these at the moment, we've written two books and we'll launch when we've got the third one in the bag. I write about 6,000 words a day.

James Blatch: Wow.

Kate Pickford: That's my sweet spot. I can write more than that, but if I write more than that, I'll crash the next day. I've experimented with that. So my sweet spot is 6,000 words a day. And yeah, so that's what I'm going to do. I'm very excited. I'm very excited.

James Blatch: Well, I'm excited about that as well. And I'm a bit like you. I'm noticed this again as I'm drafting at the moment. I'm story driven and have to work harder on the needs and wants of the character and that arc. So this time I've actually started with that.

Kate Pickford: Yay.

James Blatch: I've gone back to Save the Cat, which is a book I enjoyed, but always read it at the wrong time. And now I'm going back through the book at the right time ahead of it, and I'm making sure I'm getting that right. But I'm probably because of that actually, finding it hard, because I'm second guessing a new version of me. But anyway, it's not about me. It's been about you, Kate, and it's been absolutely brilliant talking to you. I'm so pleased that you've come onto the show. I've loved this chat. I personally feel quite motivated by it all.

Kate Pickford: Great.

James Blatch: And I know that listeners will as well. So yeah, brilliant. Where can people see you this year if they want to see you in the flesh and be in the room with this inspiration?

Kate Pickford: So my wife's about to have surgery.

James Blatch: Got it.

Kate Pickford: If it goes well, I hope to come to London.

James Blatch: Okay.

Kate Pickford: If she's still in recovery, then I will definitely be in Vegas. And I am probably going to NINC, I've signed up for NINC for the last three years and something has happened around then. And it's Florida.

James Blatch: It's a nice bit of Florida, I love NINC.

Kate Pickford: Okay. All right.

James Blatch: The beach and the sun. Although there was a hurricane last year, but...

Kate Pickford: Didn't people get stuck? People had trouble getting home.

James Blatch: Some people did, yeah.

Kate Pickford: Yeah, I remember.

James Blatch: We ended up evacuating on the road, yeah.

Kate Pickford: Wow.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Kate Pickford: Yeah. So NINC, Vegas and if I'm very, very lucky, SPF London.

James Blatch: Yes. Great, okay.

Kate Pickford: But that's going to depend on how the surgery goes.

James Blatch: Oh, well look, fingers crossed for your wife going under the knife.

Kate Pickford: Thank you.

James Blatch: And yeah, we hope to see you around. Hey, thanks again for coming onto the show.

Kate Pickford: Thank you. It's been a pleasure.

Speaker 1: This is the Self-Publishing Show. There's never been a better time to be a writer.

James Blatch: There you go. I really enjoyed chatting to Kate Pickford, motivational all round. I hope you enjoyed that interview as well. We'll have lots more, I'm sure, from Kate over the years. Okay, Mark, I think that's probably it for us today. Had a very lovely day actually. Boo Walker, famous novelist, Boo Walker, came over to London, yesterday's doing some research for his next novel. And he asked me to take him out, not in the thriller way, but I took him to Highgate Cemetery.

Mark Dawson: Oh.

James Blatch: Where I was able to pay homage to...

Mark Dawson: Douglas Adams. Yep.

James Blatch: Douglas Adams, yes.

Mark Dawson: And then Karl Marks.

James Blatch: Not Karl Marks. No, we walked past that one. George Elliot, I think is also there and lots and lots of people are buried. This is like our Arlington, I guess, but it's gothic. And in that cemetery, he saved that moment to quiz me about a murder in his book, which takes place at the turn of the century or late 19th century, and we talked it through, involving the House of Lords and stuff. So we came up with some good turns on that. So it seemed a very appropriate way for two authors to be chatting about a murder. I don't know what the people near us thought.

Mark Dawson: reporters.

James Blatch: But anyway, we ended up in a jazz club at night, so at Ronnie Scotts, I mean, honestly, it sounded like white noise to me, but he loved it, Boo loved it.

Mark Dawson: Ronnie Scott's white noisy, that's interesting. I'm not a massive jazz fan, I have to say, but yeah.

James Blatch: I told John Dyre then and he said, "What? You would've hated it" But he would've loved it.

Mark Dawson: Yeah.

James Blatch: Yeah. We'll take John Dyre out one day to Ronnie Scotts. Okay, that's it, I think. Thank you very much indeed to the team behind the scenes for putting this show together. We will be here next week. We're going to record that in a moment, actually, so you'll see us in the same clothes if you're watching on YouTube. And you'll see my back to front top.

Mark Dawson: Oh yeah, yeah.

James Blatch: And guesses, you'll get a point, if you can guess why I'm wearing a back to front logo on my hoodie. Lateral thinking. Okay, that's it. All the remains that remains for me to say, it's a goodbye from him.

Mark Dawson: And goodbye from me. Goodbye.

James Blatch: Goodbye.

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