Kate Griffin’s new book The Minority Council is out this month. Kate, of course, is actually Catherine Webb, whose first book was published when she was 15.
And how scary was that. First of all, I didn’t want an editor who would publish the book apologetically: “Here’s a book by a 15-year-old but actually it’s really good.” Happily, when I was telling Tim Holman of Little, Brown about the book, he was horrified at that idea, and said if it were his, he’d publish it on its own merits.
So I had Kate in, resisting the usual impulse to give an author a glass of wine, and providing tea and chocolate biscuits instead. The next issue was to work out whether the book was actually her own work, without too much help from Mum (also an author) and Dad (a publisher). When she said she was working on her next book by making a list of 10 things that had to happen, and why, I began to relax.
We went along to meet Tim; Kate in her school uniform. He didn’t remotely patronise her, but got her into a conversation about politics. Afterwards, when we met her mum in a coffee shop round the corner, I broke the news that the offer Tim had made was about enough to buy a decent sports car. It’s very easy to like someone if they’re offering you money, and I wanted to get a sense of whether she liked him genuinely.
A fair few books later, Kate’s now in her mid-20s and – after doing a History degree at the LSE and then one in Technical Theatre at RADA – she’s a lighting designer and technician as well as writing. Impossibly cheerful, good-looking and brainy, she describes her style as ‘headlong’. She writes urban fantasy, and is writing some excellent stage plays as well.
There’s a rave for her new book here:
The publishers’ announcement is here: