I’m very excited to welcome Kate Belle to my blog series on Totally Awesome Women. Kate is the author of the recently released Being Jade, a novel causing a sensation amongst readers and writers and within the publishing arena. Read on to discover why this particular woman is so totally awesome. But first, this offering from Kate:
‘Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.’ – Albert Camus
‘In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.’ – Albert Camus
KL: You’re a totally awesome woman, Kate. You’ve achieved great things in your life and you seem to juggle a load of roles: writer, networker, scientist, student, astrologer, environmentalist, volunteer, justice warrior, wife, lover, mother and I bet you’re a whizz in the kitchen too. Can you tell us, what made you think you could do/be all those things?
As a kid I remember feeling on the outer socially. I was perpetually anxious about not fitting in but as I matured I realised this gave me a lot of freedom. I learned early that conforming was hard work and not very satisfying. I soon realised life was a lot more fun if you followed your heart. Once I accepted and embraced my own ‘oddness’ and stopped trying to be what other people expected me to be, I had permission to pursue whatever goal took my fancy.
My feisty (some would say oppositionally defiant) and determined nature has probably helped. I think I might have an innate sense of over-confidence (or entitlement?). Many times I’ve heard loved ones cry in frustration: ‘Do what you want! You always do!’ And I have. Without guilt.
KL: Was there an early influence? Mother, father, sibling?
Both my parents and my maternal grandmother modelled the work and determination you need to achieve goals. My parents left school at a young age, but that didn’t stop them from returning to study later in life. My dad was ambitious in his work and kept pursuing new goals and learning and trying new things. I grew up in the 70’s with my mother sprouting feminist views and telling me just because I was girl it didn’t mean I couldn’t do all the things boys could. My grandmother was intelligent and articulate and wouldn’t allow prevailing social attitudes to limit her choices too much. She ran her own business in a country town while raising four children at a time when women who worked were frowned upon. I guess I grew up taking it for granted there would be no barriers. No one told me I couldn’t, so I believed I could.
KL: Who do you think is a totally awesome woman and why?
Most women I meet are totally awesome, but the ones who impress me the most are single parents. These women work so hard and sacrifice so much to keep their families safe, healthy and happy. The single parents I know travel, camp, drive boats, take whatever work they can, juggle their finances, their time, their love so that everyone gets enough. And they still find time to volunteer for reading at school or to run the footy club canteen or raise money for a cause they believe in.
I think there are a lot of politicians who don’t have a flying clue about the circumstances of these women and so they patronise them and don’t provide sufficient support for them. Fact is these women would run rings around those self-important men in suits. Women are just so resilient, far more than most men I know. Survival seems to be hard wired into their brains.
KL: Who else do you admire?
If we are talking women with a public profile, I admire those who stand up against powerful social, political and economic forces to speak out on tough issues. Tara Moss, Malala Yousafzai, Sekai Holland who won the 2012 Sydney Peace Prize, Hilary Clinton, are all wonderful advocates and role models for women because they rise above pettiness and push for real change. Some of our own very outspoken Aboriginal women inspire me too, like Yvonne Margarula, Mum Shirl Smith, Marg Tucker (all departed), Deborah Mailman, Cathy Freeman, Marcia Langton, Anita Heiss and so many more whom you would never hear of but never give up the fight for justice for their communities. There’s a lot to admire in our own backyard if we take the time to look.
KL: What message do you have for young women today?
Stand strong in your self-belief. People will tell you you can’t, and sometimes they might be right, but you will never know until you try for yourself. Value your failures and mistakes. They will teach you strength, resilience and self-respect. Don’t give in to your doubts or other people’s ideas of who you should be. Hold your nerve, be determined, be yourself and do what you want.
KL: Anything else you’d like to add?
Women need to be a lot nicer to each other. There are times when we let our bitchiness or envy stand in the way of supporting our sisters to achieve what they set out to do. And while we are publically at each other’s throats we are reinforcing old stereotypes and allowing the boys to maintain the status quo, which suits them. We need to stop arguing amongst ourselves about stupid things like what’s beautiful and what’s the right weight and just get on with changing the world into a better place for everyone.
KL: Kate, I’m applauding and cheering. Thank you for being part of this blog series, and thank you especially for just being Kate.
Kate Belle is a multi-published author of dark, sensual love stories that will mess with your head. Her interests include talking to strangers, collecting unread books, and ranting about the world’s many injustices. She writes regularly about women, relationships, sexuality and books on her blog, The Ecstasy Files. She is also the creator of the Eros in Action writing sex workshop.
Kate lives, writes and loves in Melbourne with her small family and very annoying pets. The Yearning was released in 2013 to rave reviews. Being Jade is her second novel.
Find Kate here:
Twitter: @ecstasyfiles https://twitter.com/ecstasyfiles
The Reading Room: http://www.thereadingroom.com/kate-belle/ap/2394119
About Being Jade
A tragic death. A family divided. One truth can set them free.
Banjo Murphy is killed on the night he finally musters the courage to walk away from his wife Jade after twenty five years of repeated infidelities. In the aftermath, Banjo is bewildered to discover he still exists, but death has placed an invisible wall between him and his beloved family. In despair he watches Jade collapse into deep depression and his daughters, Lissy and Cassandra, struggle with their unexpected loss.
Lissy is tortured by guilt and the mysteries surrounding her father’s death. What compelled Banjo to leave the night he died? Why won’t Jade speak about what happened? In spite of their volatile relationship, Lissy believes her parents’ love to be enduring, but sensible Cassandra sees things differently. When Cassy discovers a sketch book chronicling Jade’s extra-marital affairs, the truth of their parents’ relationship begins to unfold and Lissy’s loyalties are divided.
Searching for answers, Lissy contacts Jade’s ex-lovers, unaware her father’s spirit watches as they visit. Unable to let go of his one true love, he aches to know that Jade loved him above all others. Banjo is taken on a journey of discovery through Jade’s memories as the lovers unveil long hidden secrets about her affairs. But the mystery remains, frustrating Banjo and Lissy, until Lissy’s questioning leads her to an explosive truth. One that will finally set her family free.
Buy Being Jade here:
READ FIRST CHAPTER HERE.
My Review of Being Jade
The pages of Kate Belle’s new novel, Being Jade, contain magic. Compelling magic that forces the turning of the next one. Magic that haunts you between reading sessions, and long after the covers have been closed and the book assigned its spot on your shelves.
Kate’s prose is as intelligent and poetic as any literary novel, but equally it has a down-to-earth rawness that draws you in, unlaces your boots and sits you down with a good, strong cuppa. It seems strange to say that about an erotic story but while the sex scenes are magnificently drawn, they meld so seamlessly into the narration they’re almost invisible, as explicit as they are.
I loved Kate’s first novel, The Yearning, and expected more of the same. But while Being Jade has similar strength to it, it’s different. Better. It’s like Kate has found her feet in the literary arena and if this is a sign of things to come, I cannot wait for more.