Interview: Kathryn R. Lyster

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Kathryn R. Lyster is a debut author about to unleash her baby on the world, after being discovered at the Pitch Perfect competition at the 2012 Byron Bay Writer’s Festival. The book sounds like a huge tear jerker and this interview made me all tingly, hope you love it as much as I do.

Hi Kathryn, congratulations on your debut and thanks for taking the time to talk to us.

Hi Michelle, thank you so much for your interest in my novel and lovely to talk with you…

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Writing has always been my creative expression, and I am happiest when I’m writing. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life, but more and more, being a writer and exploring my own creative process become something that I couldn’t ignore. I feel like writing kind of chased me down and made me commit!

Can you remember where you were when you wrote the first line of The Inevitability of Stars?

Oh I love that question! It’s been such a long journey with this story, I had to really think about this one. I was definitely living in Tamarama in Sydney, in an apartment looking over the ocean. It was summer, I was probably in my sun-filled room, on one of those amazing Bondi days tapping away at my laptop. I wrote some of this story when I lived in Brooklyn, New York too. And of course many thousands of words happened in and around Byron also.

You were discovered at the 2012 Byron Bay Writers’ Festival, can you tell us a little about how it all happened?

I’d just moved to Byron Bay a few months earlier, and I was working on my novel when I found an ad for the competition in the local paper. I sent in a synopsis and a few chapters and made it through to participate in the Pitch Perfect competition at the Byron Writers Festival. It was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done, getting up in front of a live audience and a panel of publishers to pitch my book, my knees were definitely shaking. One of the publishers said she loved what I’d said and wanted to hear more, and I could have run off the stage and hugged her right there and then. That was a magic moment, for sure. I ended up signing a contract with her and the publishers she represented – Harlequin Australia.

Can you tell us a little about the journey from the Festival to publication?

The festival was in August 2012, and my book will be launched at the same festival this year, so it was a pretty short turn-around time. Once I got my head around the idea that it was all really happening, there were months of intense writing, re-writing and editing. It’s been so thrilling. Harlequin really believed in me from day one and that allowed me to expand my vision of the story and really make it as good as it could be. Each person I’ve worked with has been so wonderful, so generous and I just have the best team looking after me.


How did you feel the first time you saw a copy of your book?

I burst into tears! I was at work, and opened my email and it was so surreal to see the cover there on the screen and my name and all the pieces finally pulled together. There were so many times along the way that I completely gave up on being a writer, and even abandoned the story I was writing, but I always found my way back to it. Seeing my own little book really just confirmed for me that anything is possible, that we should all go after our dreams, no matter the obstacles we face, and keep at it until we see it manifest in our lives.

What inspired you to write The Inevitability of Stars?

There were certain yearnings inside me, answers I was searching for about life and death and love and everything, and writing helps me work those things out, so I guess this story was my way of attempting to resolve the uncertainties of life. I was heavily inspired by the healing power of nature, and my love of the idea of finding your other half. I truly believe we are meant to meet each person in our lives, that there are no accidental meetings and this theme made its way into my story.

Can you tell us a bit about your debut novel The Inevitability of Stars?

It’s the story of two young lovers, Rip and Sahara, who are separated. Sahara leaves the idyllic Byron Bay for Sydney, where she meets the entrepreneur Sean Scott. She begins to unravel in the glamour of his world. Rip meanwhile, must explore his own wounds and the ghosts of his past and try to rebuild himself without Sahara. It’s about memories that haunt us, relationships that define us and – ultimately – the resilience of the human heart, how we hurt and break apart but still we keep believing, keep loving and keep living the best we can.

Are there any writing superstitions or habits that you simply must follow?

My writing desk is always, always littered with half-finished cups of tea, glass bottles of water, a coffee cup, maybe a red wine glass from the night before. So there’s that, and certain songs I play on repeat obsessively to loosen up the flow. I light candles every time I write, and if I’m stuck I get off the computer and write by hand, always with a pink pen.

Do you have a favourite time of day or place to write?

Anywhere, everywhere, and any time the inspiration strikes!

What does being a woman mean to you?

It means loving with all my heart, learning who I am and constantly seeking to know this world and how I can contribute to it. It means having an emotional connection to everything, an appreciation for beauty and things that touch my heart, allowing the soft, sensuality of nature and each moment. Women are amazing nurtures, and when we allow that to turn inwards to nurture and love ourselves, it’s a whole different kind ball game.

Thanks for speaking with us Kathryn and I am really looking forward to reading this one.

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