Kate Morton: The Past Rippling into the Present

Kate Morton

Kate Morton is the author of six novels, including The Lake House, The Forgotten Garden and The Clockmaker's Daughter. Her books have been published in 42 countries and 34 languages. She lives in Australia with her family and is currently at work on her next book. About joining Mariner Books, she says, "I'm thrilled to be working with Kate Nintzel and the team at Mariner. It's an honor to be published on such a prestigious list."

Your books all deal in some way with the past and its effects on the present. Can you talk about that?

As a writer (and as a person), although I love history, it is the relationship between now and then that interests me. I think a lot about the way time passes and the way objects, ideas and people pass through time. I never tire of exploring the subject in my books.

You've talked about having a mother who was an antiques dealer and imagining the stories behind the objects in her shop. Does that same fascination still influence your writing now?

Absolutely. As a writer, it's very fruitful--ideas are everywhere. As a person, though, I would love to cure myself, because attaching meaning to every object carries a weight. Alas, I suspect it is getting worse over time.

While you don't write "traditional" mystery novels, all your books have a mystery (or several) at the heart of them, often involving family secrets. Can you say more about that?

I began my reading life as a mystery-lover. The Famous Five, The Secret Seven, Trixie Belden... I longed to be part of a child detective squad and to uncover an evil team of neighborhood smugglers. To some degree, I think our ideas about narrative are shaped through childhood reading--there was never a question in my mind when I decided to write my first book that its structure would hinge upon a secret.

You've said: "My novels always contain an historical element, but what interests me more than history itself is the way the past and the present remain tethered." Would you say that's still the case?

Yes. Our human story is a continuum: there are no narratives that belong discretely within a particular period. All actions cause reactions, and the ripples travel along the generations. It's always the unintended consequences that interest me. --Katie Noah Gibson

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