Kirsty Capes is the author of Careless, which was published by Orion on 13 May 2021.
Kirsty kindly answered a few of my questions.
1. Tell us a little about Careless.
Careless is a coming-of-age story that follows Bess, who is in foster care and pregnant at fifteen. Bess doesn’t have anyone looking out for her or supporting her apart from her best friend Eshal who is also going through a life-changing experience. The novel follows the two girls as they navigate the perils, pitfalls and joys of being a teenage girl, and overcome the obstacles that are stopping them from realising their dreams. It’s a story of female friendship, and unconditional love, and above all finding your own voice.
2. What inspired the book?
I grew up in foster care, and a lot of my experiences of the system became my inspiration for the book. I think it’s important that we have more stories out there that focus on the realities of the care experience, with all its difficulties and contradictions, but are nevertheless positive and hopeful and aspirational. I also wanted to write a love story that focused on girlhood. Female friendship is such an important and all-encompassing type of bond, and it often doesn’t get the recognition or respect that it deserves.
3. Are you a plan, plan, plan writer or do you sit down and see where the words take you?
I usually try to make a plan to start with – involving a very unwieldy Excel spreadsheet! – but I also give the story and characters the space to take me where they want to. The story that I plan in a spreadsheet at the beginning of the process is rarely very similar to the story I end up with.
4. Is there anything about the process of publishing a book that surprised you?
I work in publishing so I do have a bit of ‘insider knowledge’ so to speak! However what I loved about the publishing process was the opportunity to meet lots of different authors – mainly debut authors like me – and share our experiences and lift one another up. It’s a shame that due to the pandemic that most of this has been done online, but I hope to meet some of them in real life very soon.
5. What do you do when you aren’t writing? What do you do to relax and get away from it all?
I have a six-year-old golden retriever called Dougie who takes up a lot of my free time! I often take him on long walks and adventures when I need some thinking space. Otherwise I play poker or Dungeons and Dragons with my friends (virtually at the moment!). I listen to lots of podcasts, and I am a big Netflix binger, currently obsessed with The Bold Type.
6. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life which book would it be?
This is a very hard question! I have a few books that I come back to time and time again, and one of them is Pride and Prejudice – so maybe that.
7. I like to end my Q&As with the same question so here we go. During all the Q&As and interviews you’ve done what question have you not been asked that you wish had been asked – and what’s the answer?
I have never been asked my opinion on whether pineapple should be allowed on pizza. Of course, the correct answer is ‘yes’.
About the Book
Sometimes it’s easy to fall between the cracks…
At 3.04 p.m. on a hot, sticky day in June, Bess finds out she’s pregnant.
She could tell her social worker Henry, but he’s useless.
She should tell her foster mother, Lisa, but she won’t understand.
She really ought to tell Boy, but she hasn’t spoken to him in weeks.
Bess knows more than anyone that love doesn’t come without conditions.
But this isn’t a love story…
Careless by Kirsty Capes is published by Orion and is out now. You can order your copy here.