Stories of myth and magic: An interview with Kate Forsyth

Stories of myth and magic: An interview with Kate Forsyth

My very special guest today is Kate Forsyth, named one of Australia’s Favourite 15 Novelists. Kate is the author of 40 books for adults and children. Her most recent works re-imagine loved fairy tales. The Beast’s Garden sets Beauty and the Beast in Nazi Germany. Beauty in Thorns takes Sleeping Beauty into the world of the pre-Raphaelites. But writing is only the beginning. Kate is a storyteller and runs magical writing retreats in the Cotswalds, England. She also co-hosts Word of Mouth TV, a Youtube show that combines food, books and wine.

Kate’s writing is always beautiful and magical so I was excited to see how she would answer my questions. For insight into Kate’s magic, read on…

What is your greatest magical power as a writer?

What a lovely question. I would like to think that my stories cast a spell over the reader, enchanting them and allowing them to see the world with a renewed sense of wonder. And, I hope, my books teach the reader something they never knew before.

Which writer or writers opened your eyes to the magic of storytelling and why?

So many writers! As a child, I loved Enid Blyton, C S Lewis, L.M. Montgomery, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Elizabeth Goudge, Joan Aiken, Diana Wynne Jones, Ursula le Guin, Susan Cooper, Nicholas Stuart Grey, Eleanor Farjeon … as I grew older I discovered the Bronte sisters and Joan Austen and Mary Webb, and writers like Marion Zimmer Bradley and Mary Stewart and Georgette Heyer. I read a lot of fantasy and historical fiction, and began to read books about myths and fairy tales by authors like Marina Warner and Clarissa Estola Pinkes.

Why do you think people need stories in their lives?

Stories and storytelling are an essential element of what it means to be human. We tell stories to amuse and entertain, to affect and explain, to connect and share. Stories help us make sense of the world, and  pass on universal lessons and wisdom.

Which mythic archetype or magical character most resonates with you and why?

For me, ‘Rapunzel’ was always the tale that most haunted my imagination, probably because it resonated with my own personal story so much (I spent a lot of time locked away in a hospital ward as a child due to an accident when I was a baby). I also love the Persephone myth and its fairy-tale child, Sleeping Beauty, and the story of Psyche, which transformed itself into ‘Beauty and the Beast,’  and the story of ‘Six Swans’.

What themes or ideas do you find keep arising in your writing?

Themes of imprisonment and escape, wounding and healing, terror and bravery, cruelty and kindness, betrayal and love …

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To discover more, visit Kate’s website here.   Word of Mouth TV  can be found here.

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