Kate Farrell has been a woman of many parts: teacher; traffic warden; farmer’s wife; distressed mother; probation officer; mystic; Victorian maid; secretary; beauty pageant co-ordinator; eccentric neighbour, et cetera. She rowed a boat on Loch Ness, was knocked over by a cow in the Pyrenees and boarded a jumbo jet on Marlborough High Street. She shouted at Jon Pertwee on a school roof, took Jane Lapotaire’s dog for a walk and kept Paul Shane’s hapless clients at bay. She was from Merseyside; Yorkshire; Edinburgh; Mississippi; Wales; Australia; Hereford; Hampshire; the Mid-West and South London. For over thirty years she was an actress and if you trawl IMDB and look for Kate David you can read all about a career that ran the gamut from Chekhov to Chucklevision. After training at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School she worked with the great and the good, and children and animals. Theatre work in London and the provinces, television roles galore and many commercials provided the backbone of her career. Her final stage appearance was as Madame Arcati in ‘Blithe Spirit’ which she chose to play as a Morningside matron. At the dress rehearsal she discovered that Beryl Reid had done something similar, by which time is was too late to change. Nothing is original. Never the lead, always the support and tired of the questions: ’Have you worked with anyone famous?’ and ‘How do you learn the lines?’ she abandoned it all in 2005 and embarked on a course in creative writing. The writing exercises turned into short stories and in time one of the short stories morphed into something altogether bigger: MY NAME IS MARY SUTHERLAND.
Although comparatively late to writing, Kate never felt age to be a barrier. It did Mary Wesley no harm. As for the rejection slips that dogged her initial submissions of MY NAME IS MARY SUTHERLAND, these were mere distractions. When she was an actress rejection was a weekly occurrence. It went with the territory. She entered competitions, won prizes with the now defunct Cooldog Publications, and read her work at Tales of the Decongested, a forum for the short story held at Foyle’s Bookshop. A brace of poems, one sonnet, one haiku, also won awards. A search for a literary agent however proved fruitless.
With some guidance and priceless introductions from Reggie Oliver, the man she now considers to be her writing mentor, Kate gradually began to open doors and eventually she had a short story accepted by Charles Black for his Eighth Black Book of Horror. And the Ninth. And the Tenth. MY NAME IS MARY SUTHERLAND found a publisher at last, PS Publishing. She has completed two other novels, OVER and OR THE CAT GETS IT, which won the Linen Press award for their Beginnings Competition. Her collection of contes cruels and sundry other nasties called AND NOBODY LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER has been published recently by Parallel Universe.
Kate Farrell lives in Edinburgh with her partner, a former diplomat. Books that she wishes she had written include: Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindquist; In The Forest by Edna O’Brien; Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë; In Cold Blood by Truman Capote; What Was Lost by Catherine O’Flynn; Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.