Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Punch by Kate North! My thanks to Karen Bultiauw for the invitation to join! Author Kate North visits my blog today to talk about short stories but first, here is what Punch is all about.
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
Punch is a collection of stories exploring the uncanny, the uncomfortable and the surreal in the everyday, at home and abroad.
Whether its a man with a growth on his hand, a couple trying for a baby, a woman finishing a book, a pope with penis envy, or a bullied girl, characters throughout the collection assess their surroundings and are often forced to reassess themselves.
Punch offers the reader a humorous and disturbing take on life in the twenty-first century.
| GUEST POST |
Hi, I’m Kate North and I’m absolutely thrilled that Eva has handed over the blog spot to me today for the blog tour of my short story collection Punch.
I love writing short stories. I think they are the perfect vehicle for diving into action just before the crux of things. They also allow you to get out when you have given the reader just enough so they can imagine what might happen next for themselves. I like short stories that stay with me, stories that unsettle or calm me in some way. I enjoy working out how and why later. Writers like Anna Kavan and Ali Smith are really excellent at doing this. When I was younger I enjoyed the TV shows Tales of the Unexpected and The Twilight Zone for the same reasons.
The stories in Punch are set in a number of places throughout the UK and across various European countries. They are told from a range of perspectives, young through to old, male and female. What they all have in common is the fact that they explore the weird and how it exists in and amongst the everyday. I am fascinated by the strange and the un-nerving, how the uncanny can emerge in the most average of settings. Those moments when you do a double take and say to yourself, ‘did I really just see that?’, the times when you are thinking ‘am I the only person in the room who thinks this is odd?’. In these instances you can find yourself questioning your own sanity and even facts you know to be true. These are scenarios that I explore in my stories. I write about how characters respond, whether on a first date or having just moved into a new home.
My stories have characters who are surprised and encounter the unexpected in some way or other. How they react to a given situation depends upon personality and background, but also on the environment in which they find themselves. The title story of the collection follows a girl being relentlessly bullied at school, but it isn’t until she finds herself outside of the school that she feels able to respond to her tormentors.
I also write poetry and I think that may be another reason I am drawn to the short story. The poem and the short story have a lot in common. The intense and the lyrical are at home in a short narrative. You don’t necessarily want or need the expanse of a novel to think about why a character makes a specific decision or how they may react in a particular place. I think that commuters may like these stories, they are the ideal size for a train or bus trip. They are short, sharp tales that pack a punch, they are written to make you think. I’m really looking forward to people reading them.
Thanks so much for stopping by, Kate! I’m always quite impressed at how much information an author can pack into a short story.
| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |
Kate North’s first novel, Eva Shell, was published by Cinnamon Press in 2008 and her poetry collection, Bistro, in 2012. She writes and edits for a number of journals and publications.
She has a PhD in Creative and Critical Writing from Cardiff University and an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. She lives and teaches in Cardiff.