Irrepressible, boisterous, mischievous and curious. All words which could equally describe the fictional character Rosie Potter and her creator, Sligo author Kate Winter.
However, as the full title of Kate’s debut novel reveals, one rather big difference (aside from being fictional) separates both ladies – “The Happy Ever Afterlife of Rosie Potter (RIP)”.
Yes, Rosie, the titular character of this charming novel, which emerges in paperback form today, Thursday, May 21, is no longer of this earth, but it doesn’t stop her wreaking havoc, helping friends and healing wounds from beyond the grave.
For Kate Winter, seeing her first published novel on bookshelves will be another milestone along a very twisty path. A path which began with the seed of an idea planted on a beach on the other side of the world.
Kate had moved to Australia and while down under she began to write her novel, initially called “Haunting Jack Harper”. Pleased with the result, she was determined it would not go unread.
Her return home to Ireland sparked her into action.
“Originally, after I finished the book, I looked in the artist’s yearbook and cherry-picked 10 agents in the UK and Ireland.
“It costs a lot of money to post the pages of the first three chapters of your book, plus a synopsis, plus a cover letter to agents around the UK and Ireland. I was skint at the time. I had just come back from Australia. I was unemployed for a year and I actually couldn’t afford to send it out to all the publishers.”
The rejection letters came in from some, others didn’t even bother responding, but two showed an interest.
“I then sent the whole manuscript to an agency in London and one in Dublin. Dublin turned it down, but in London, a woman called Ida was very keen on it. She got turned down by them [her bosses].
“She came back to me and said ‘We can’t take a risk on this because it’s no particular genre. We don’t know where to peg it because its a supernatural, romantic, black-humoured, Irish comedy’.”
Kate continues “After that I did start a blog and I did publish chapters. I let a few people read it and then I kind of forgot about it. I moved on to other stuff.”
At the behest of a friend, she went down the route of self publishing on Kindle. She said she was delighted that the book “was downloaded a couple of thousand times”.
“Then, three years later almost to the day, I got a phone call in bed while I was writing. It was Ida. She said ‘Hi Kate. It’s Ida. I can’t stop thinking about your book!’”
What followed was a concerted effort by Ida to find Kate a publishing deal, which she did with the well respected UK publishing house Little Brown, home to, among others, James Patterson, Edna O’Brien and John le Carre.
With many new authors trying to break into the market, few publishing houses are willing to risk the cost of printing a new book, and with the advent of e-books, they now don’t have to.
And so, on August 18, 2014, “The Happy Ever Afterlife of Rosie Potter (RIP)” was published online as an e-book, for people to download and enjoy for the price of your average latte.
“My book has been £1.99 or €2.49 online since last August, which is a key marketing strategy,” explains Kate. “When the paper edition comes out, the e-book price will rise in line with it.”
The length of time between Kate’s book going online and it being published in paperback format has allowed plenty of very positive reviews to be garnered from the reading public.
The Amazon e-book page for this novel is littered with five-star reviews and Kate has been left euphoric by the response.
“The reviews are incredible. People glow about it. Reading a good review is better for me than falling in love, better for me than being on the best date of my life. Everytime I get an amazing review, I glow from the inside out.
“One woman wrote ‘I cried at the end of this book and I cried again when I realised Kate Winter hasn’t written any more yet. Please hurry up and write another one!’”
You can judge for yourself how this “supernatural, romantic, black-humoured, Irish comedy” stacks up by buying a copy right now.
The book is available in all good bookstores. See separate panel (left) to find out where you can meet Katie and get her to autograph your copy this weekend.
Join Kate Winter at the paperback launch of her debut novel “The Happy Ever Afterlife of Rosie Potter (RIP)” this Friday and Saturday. On Friday, May 22 from 12noon-5pm Kate will be in Liber Bookshop to sign copies of her new book and talk to members of the public. Then, on Saturday, May 23 from 12noon-5pm she will be in Shells Seaside Cafe in Strandhill to sign copies and celebrate the book’s launch.