I was born in Halifax, Yorkshire, in 1956, the youngest of three children. The family moved to Leamington Spa when I was eight, then to Worcester when I was fifteen. My parents were social historians, both writers, and both very active in the peace and anti-nuclear movements during the cold war years. Our house was always full of interesting people, but I probably spent more of my time at the local riding stables and racing yards than I did taking part in conversations.
We had a holiday retreat in Wales where I developed a love of the mountains, and of walking and thinking. This has stayed with me, and I still get great energy from exploring the hills of the Burren, which are on my doorstep here in the West of Ireland.
After I left school I worked with racehorses for several years, in England and in the USA. Although I never tired of horses, I began to feel that I wanted to have more interaction with people, and went to college to study law. It didn’t work out for me, and I left after a year and went travelling to India. I spent the best part of a year there, fell in love with the country and its people and soon returned for a further year. On that second visit I began by doing some voluntary work at an orphanage in Maharashtra, then spent time in Santiniketan, the college that was set up by India’s great poet, Rabindranath Tagore.
Between the two visits to India I moved to Ireland, and I have been officially resident here since 1981. In 1984 I moved to Inagh in Co. Clare with my partner, Conor Minogue, and our two daughters, Cliodhna and Dearbhla, were born there. I ran a small holding for ten years, with goats, poultry and a large vegetable garden. In 1994 we upped stakes and moved to Kinvara, Co. Galway.
From an early age I loved writing stories, and in my teens I wrote poetry and songs. While I was travelling I wrote at length in a succession of journals, and on occasion a story or a poem would emerge, but I didn’t start writing seriously until the late eighties. I joined the North Clare Writers’ Workshop, which met every week in Ennistymon Library, and was soon producing poems and short stories on a regular basis. The workshop was an ideal environment. Although there were established writers in it there was no hierarchy, and the constructive criticism I received there gave me great encouragement and helped me to hone my craft. One of the members of the group was the poet Knute Skinner. He ran a small publishing company in the USA called The Signpost Press, and in 1992 he published a collection of my poems, called There Is Something.
A year or so later I began to write full length novels, both for children and for adults. Switchers was published in Ireland in 1994 by Aran Press, but that company failed, and for a few years I was without a publisher. It took time and tenacity, but eventually I found a wonderful agent, Sophie Hicks of Ed Victor Ltd, and she soon got my publishing career on the move. In 1997 Switchers was published by Random House Children’s Books, and Down Among the Gods was published by Virago. Between then and 2009, I published at least one book every year. In recent years I have turned my attention to restoring and selling vintage instruments. You can see my current endeavours at www.wildgoatfiddles.com
© 2006 Kate Thompson. All rights reserved.