Today on the Debutante Ball, we’re thrilled to welcome a fellow debut Kaite Welsh, from across the pond, to chat about her novel THE WAGES OF SIN!
A “nail-biting debut” [Fabulous magazine] set in 1890s Edinburgh, Kaite Welsh’s THE WAGES OF SIN features a female medical student-turned-detective, and will thrill fans of Sarah Waters and Antonia Hodgson.
Sarah Gilchrist has fled from London to Edinburgh in disgrace and is determined to become a doctor, despite the misgivings of her family and society. As part of the University of Edinburgh’s first intake of female medical students, Sarah comes up against resistance from lecturers, her male contemporaries, and – perhaps worst of all – her fellow women, who will do anything to avoid being associated with a fallen woman…
When one of Sarah’s patients turns up in the university dissecting room as a battered corpse, Sarah finds herself drawn into Edinburgh’s dangerous underworld of bribery, brothels and body snatchers – and a confrontation with her own past.
“A gritty detective story as unflinching as its heroine, rich in well-researched period detail” – Kirkus Reviews
This sounds like a book right up my alley (with a stunning UK cover!), and we hope it’ll be up yours, too. Keep reading for more about Kaite in our interview and don’t forget to enter to win your very own copy, by retweeting on twitter:
— The Debutante Ball (@DebutanteBall) June 10, 2017
You can also enter by sharing our Facebook post! We will select and contact the very lucky winner on Friday, June 16th at noon (US Only).
Now, on to the interview!
Talk about one book that made an impact on you.
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins – I found it misshelved in the YA section of our local library when I was about 13, and I fell in love by the end of the first chapter. It tells the story of Walter Hartwright, a slightly feckless but well-meaning art tutor who is on his way to a new job when he meets Anne Catherick, a woman dressed all in white who turns out to have escaped from the local lunatic asylum. When he arrives at Limmeridge House to meet his new pupils, one of them is Anne’s mirror image and is engaged to the man who had Anne committed. It’s narrated by several different characters, including the glorious Marian Halcombe, a woman with a ferocious wit, buckets of courage and a mustache. Count Fosco is one of the most unnerving fictional villains I’ve ever encountered – I always feel I need a shower after I read his chapters.
I unreservedly love all adaptations of it, no matter how loose they treat the original plot – there’s something fascinating about seeing how someone interprets a novel you know so well. The 2004 Andrew Lloyd Webber musical is terrible in so many, many ways, but how many other musicals have a climactic number where the heroine vows to get revenge on the men who wronged her sister?
Jenni: I haven’t read this one yet, but sounds juicy!
Talk about one thing that’s making you happy right now.
So far, Scotland is having a very rainy summer and I couldn’t be happier. I’m a recent gardening convert, so it’s terribly good for my plants (and means I don’t have to lug watering cans downstairs) but there’s something about the contrast between a grey sky and lush green trees that soothes me. Normally summer is my least favourite season, but every time the skies cloud over my spirits lift.
I have an app on my phone that plays rain sounds when I go to sleep, and when I’m writing I’ll have rainymood.com on in the background with some Bach or Elgar or Chopin on Spotify.
Jenni: My own Scottish skin (from clan Crawford) appreciates some good cloud coverage.
Where do you love to be?
In a coffee shop, with a book or my laptop. There’s a little place in London called Camellia’s Tea House, just off Carnaby Street, and when I lived in the city I’d order crumpets with honey and a pot of Lapsang Souchong and read historical mysteries for hours. Whenever I go away, I’m basically looking for somewhere with a hipster coffee shop that I can camp out in for hours with some magazines or a pile of books – it’s probably tragic that it’s my idea of total relaxation, but I’m not very good at holidays.
Jenni: This sounds completely wonderful to me!
What’s the strangest job you’ve ever had?
I reviewed sex toys for an LGBT women’s lifestyle site. I’d studied sexuality and queer theory for my Masters degree, so it seemed like a good fit. Sadly, my career ended after an incident with a vibrating tongue ring.
Jenni: I’m laughing. That is all 🙂
What’s your next big thing?
The second Sarah Gilchrist book! I’m editing it at the moment and it will be out in hardback next summer. Then I need to get stuck into Book 3, which I’m really excited about. I’m hoping that if the first three sell well then Tinder Press will want more – Sarah has a lot more stories for me to tell! In the meantime, there’s a standalone novel set in Edwardian Yorkshire that I’ve wanted to write for a while, so hopefully I’ll get stuck into that next spring.
I have a dizzying list of books I want to write, and frustratingly only a limited amount of time for me to write them in. I’d quite like a time turner like Hermione in the Harry Potter books – or maybe a TARDIS.
Jenni: All of us at the Deb Ball feel your pain. There’s not enough time to write all the book’s that are clogging up our brains!
Thanks so much for joining us, Kaite! And congratulations again on your debut of THE WAGES OF SIN!
Kaite Welsh is an author and journalist living in Edinburgh. She is a critic, former Daily Telegraph columnist and Literature Officer at Creative Scotland, where she supports the literature and publishing scene across the country. Morbid since childhood, she became obsessed with Victorian medical advances as a teenager and is absolutely useless in a crisis unless it can be treated by laudanum or smelling salts.
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