“I write real-life stories about ordinary girls who find themselves faced with extraordinary situations. I’d like my readers to be thinking…what would my life be like if that thing happened to me? I hope my books will befriend and support children facing difficulties in their lives and inspire compassion in those whose lives are great”
Kate Maryon is an author who writes for children aged between around 8-13 years old. She is a hugely warm, caring and down to earth lady who is very much apart of the Bus Stop team, as she is passionate about inspiring the creative genius in all kids. She runs workshops that empower children to trust their creative integrity. As well as craft workshops which include reading from her books and chatting about themes whilst making gorgeous bead bracelets and bookmarks. You can ask your school, local book shop or anyone you meet on the street if they want to book Kate for an event, all they have to do is contact Authors Aloud here.
Tell us a little about you, where you grew up, and where you live now.
I grew up in Teddington, on the outskirts of London. It’s a beautiful part of the country – lots of parks and the river thames – but my childhood was dominated by sadness and terror. My dad was an incredibly violent man. He was tormented in so many ways and my mum, my siblings, our pets and I were the target for his angst. My sister and I were also abused by our uncle and in an attempt to survive it all I became quiet, withdrawn and shut down. Standing amidst the chaos and destruction around me, I made a promise to myself that I would dedicate my life to turning this pattern of abuse around – that I’d work to create a beautiful and safe life for myself and all the people born after me. This is the cornerstone of everything I do. Writing emerged when I was about 2 years old – I started by writing pages and pages of squiggles that eventually became words, it was a way of processing the suppressed feelings that were whirling inside me.
I moved to the Somerset/Wiltshire boarders 18 years ago and haven’t looked back. Several key people in my family died over a two-year period, including my dad, who committed suicide (we had made our peace), my mum and both grannies. At the same time I was completing my Homeopathic training and ending my marriage. It was a seriously intense time. On a whim, I rented a house on the Longleat Estate, picked up my children, 3 bicycles, a mattress, a bag of clothes and a copy of Pippi Longstocking and began a new life. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!
What inspired you to choose your career ?
I didn’t so much choose my career as it chose me. I’ve never not written. Getting published was a wonderful dollop of colourful icing on top of a very big cake!
Do you have a mentor, or role model that you would like to say thanks to today?
I’d like to say thank you to Adam Bradpiece, who, over the past 10 years, has patiently supported me through the unwrapping of my painful past and guided me through the process of waking up to reality, to the truth of who I am. Also, to Mike Edge, who mentors me.
Which are your favourite cultural/ creative places to take visit (and take kids if you are in charge that day)?
If I’m out for a day with or without kids I’m most likely to head to a wild deserted beach. I guess my perfect day would include a trip to the beach followed by a fab film/theatre and dinner.
Which products/ areas of your business are you most excited about at the moment ?
I’m excited about so many things at the moment. I’m about to start a new novel, which is a bit like standing on the edge of a diving board, I’m working on a film idea with a producer and I have some picture books due to be published next year – I’m waiting for the publisher to send me some sample illustrations – I can’t wait to see how my words have been interpreted!
Which talented people or companies are you most impressed with at the moment, and why ?
I see the brilliance in all people and don’t really do the feeling impressed thing – but I love Meg Rosoff’s work and David Almond’s. I love how they play with words.
You’ve won a (paid) year off from work for being a ‘good citizen’ (& school for the kids) where do you take the family ?!
Well, all my kids have grown-up and left home but we still really enjoy spending time together – so… I’d probably head off, with my lovely husband Daniel, on a round the world adventure and we’d fly all the kids out and our little grandson, Freddy, to join us as and when they could. I’d also love a couple of months or so in a cabin by a lake, totally alone, to roam, write and be with myself.
The BIll Gates Foundation is giving you the role of ‘COO of changing the world for a day’ what campaigns/charity do you back ?
Mmmm, interesting – Ones that promote peace and love, ones that support families in relating from a place of love, ones that are all about scrapping the current education system and creating a new way of learning for kids that holds Emotional Intelligence at the centre rather than Academic Intelligence. Ones that work to show people that they’re not who they think they are – they’re not the limited crunched-up egoic self they think themselves to be. In our natural state everyone one of us is an abundant, creative flow of love – and from this place, so many wonderful things can happen.
Which are your favourite shops/ or destinations for birthday treats?
I’m not really into shopping – I don’t disapprove of it or anything like that, it just doesn’t interest me. If I need clothes I mostly shop in Frome where there are two delicious woman’s clothes shops. Birthday treats are as above – beach, film or theatre and dinner with my family.
Where is your favourite spot for a long lunch with family & friends ?
I’m very lucky to be a member of the Soho House group – I love everything about their houses. My favourite Somerset lunch place is Babington House and my London fave is Shoreditch House. Or a lovely beach place in Goa or Vietnam.
Which 3 children’s books are you most fond of ?
How I Live Now (Meg Rosoff) Skellig and My Name is Mina (David Almond)
What was the first record you bought, and what music did you last listen to ?
My first record was ‘Sugar Sugar’ (can’t remember who it was by). I listen to music constantly, we have this digital system in our house, which I find very confusing – so I mostly hit the playlist, which means I can never remember who the tracks are by. My taste is very eclectic – classical, world, electro folk, and on and on.
Can you recommend any friends, colleagues or other talented people who might be willing to share a secret or two ?
Yes, my son, Tim. He’s a young contemporary classical composer, living the dream on a narrow boat in London. http://timothymaryon.com
Thanks for this… it’s been a lovely and very fascinating process!
Love Love Love, Kate xx