Q&A with Australian author, Kate Forsyth

I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with Australian novelist, Kate Forsyth who has dropped by to chat about her latest release with Random House, The Wild Girl.

kateWelcome Kate. How would you describe The Wild Girl in five words?

Dramatic, romantic, heart-breaking, compelling, unexpected.

What inspired you to write a story about the Grimm brothers?

I stumbled about the beautiful untold love story of Wilhelm Grimm and Dortchen Wild while I was researching ‘Bitter Greens’ and I knew at once I had to write a novel based on their romance. I have always loved fairy tales, and I am also very drawn to telling stories about women who have been forgotten by history. Dortchen Wild told Wilhelm Grimm almost a quarter of all their tales – and yet her name is virtually unknown. Wilhelm and Dortchen also lived through a very bloody and turbulent time in history – the Napoleonic wars – and I felt this would make a very dramatic setting for a novel.

What do you love about writing history and fairy tales?

I have always loved reading books full of history and mystery and magic, and so that is what I liked to write. Some of my books – like ‘The Wild Girl’ – are really straight historical fiction. Some – like ‘Bitter Greens’ – are historical fantasy, while others – like ‘Dragonclaw’ and ‘The Starthorn Tree’ – are good old-fashioned heroic fantasy. Each book needs its own shape and structure, and part of the creative process is discovering what that is meant to be.

You write in both the adult and children’s genre, what do you like especially about creating a novel for adults?

I love writing both and would hate to have to choose between them. Writing for adults allows me to write bigger, deeper, darker, sexier stories – and I really love that. Writing for children allows me to be more playful, and to hone my craft – the limitations on length and content means it is a little like writing within the confines of a sonnet – every word counts.

What’s are you currently working on?

I am writing a five-book series of fantasy adventure novels for children aged 9+. The series is called ‘The Impossible Quest’and I’ve already written the first (called ‘Escape from Wolfhaven Castle’ and am just beginning the second which I think will be called ‘The Wild Man of the Witchwood.’

What one piece of advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Have courage, have faith in yourself and your vocation, and be humble enough to accept advice and criticism and learn from it. And read. A lot.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

When I’m not writing, I’m kept busy looking after my three children and doing all the things that mums do – cooking, cleaning, shopping, helping with homework, making last minute dashes to the $2 shop for a project that’s due tomorrow …. when they’re all thankfully in bed, I read.

And just for fun, when writing do you prefer…

Coffee, tea or hot chocolate? Tea.

Plotting, pantsing or both? Both. I plot fairly comprehensively, but then leave room for new discoveries and great imaginative leaps.

Quiet solitude or background noise? Quiet! Definitely prefer quiet. Though I can write with a football team rumbling in the next room if I have to.

A warm, sunny day or a rainy day? I write every day, rain, shine, storms – it makes no difference.

Typing or pen and notepad? Both. I type straight into the computer, but have a very well-used notebook for each novel as well.

Thank you so much for stopping by Kate.

You can find out more about Kate at her website.

The Wild Girl can be purchased from Fishpond and other leading ebook retailers.


Dortchen Wild fell in love with Wilhelm Grimm the first time she saw him.

Growing up in the small German kingdom of Hessen-Cassel in early Nineteenth century, Dortchen Wild is irresistibly drawn to the boy next door, the young and handsome fairy tale scholar Wilhelm Grimm. 

It is a time of War, tyranny and terror.  Napoleon Bonaparte wants to conquer all of Europe, and Hessen-Cassel is one of the first kingdoms to fall.  Forced to live under oppressive French rule, the Grimm brothers decide to save old tales that had once been told by the firesides of houses grand and small all over the land.

Dortchen knows many beautiful old stories, such as ‘Hansel and Gretel’, ‘The Frog King’ and ‘Six Swans’.  As she tells them to Wilhelm, their love blossoms.  Yet the Grimm family is desperately poor, and Dortchen’s father has other plans for his daughter.  Marriage is an impossible dream.

Dortchen can only hope that happy endings are not just the stuff of fairy tales.



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