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An Interview with Katharine Freeman, author of What Matters Most

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By my mid-fifties I was living in my twenty-first home. I’d lived in three different countries and seven different towns, so when I began to drown in a deep pool of ‘homesick’ longing, I honestly didn’t know where I was longing for.

Now 60, and living in my twenty-fifth home, I think I finally know.

What inspired you to start writing this book?

Struggling with the problems of ‘generation rent’, yet for me retirement was looming large. I wanted to open peoples minds to the transient nature of renting, the vulnerability and insecurity it brings, and the fact that renting isn’t something that only the younger generation struggle with.

Tell us the story of your book’s current title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

At first, and for a very long time, my focus was on all the many homes I’d lived in, and on my longing for the security of owning a home of my own again, but once I started focussing on all the things that kept me going through my struggles my ‘title ideas’ shifted from home and yearning for a home of my own to focussing on what is most important in life. My title choice was years in the making.

What books are you reading (for research or comfort) as you continue the writing process?

I’ve read so many inspirational books in the creative non-fiction genre while I’ve been in the process of writing, reading the stories of how others have risen out of their trials and misfortunes. Among the many books I’ve loved are Homesick by Catrina Davies, Afloat by Dannie Couchman, The Last Days by Ali Millar, Lowborn by Kerry Hudson, and Walk from the Wild Edge by Jake Tyler.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

I’ve worked as a cleaner, a barmaid and waitress, a healthcare assistant, a doctor’s receptionist, and a medical records clerk, all minimum wage rolls, but I’m a qualified medical secretary. Then six years ago I left the NHS to set up in business as a painter & decorator in the hope that my earnings would be more than the secretarial wages that weren’t stretching far enough to pay my rent and bills. A year later I fell from my ladder, breaking my back, which left me unable to work at all, and that’s when I started to write.

Fully healed and out and about again, I’m now back working as a medical secretary.

Where is your favorite place to write?

I’d love to say I head to a cozy little cafe I know and write there each day, with a coffee and fresh baked pastry, because that’s how I’d like to write…but actually most of my writing takes place in my bed each day, with my morning cuppa by my side, before the demands of my day take over…

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

That we are all capable of so much more than we think we are…and that so many of us are ‘living a lie’, fitting in the best way we know into the mould of life’s expectations, when really it’s okay to say ‘I am who I am, and I am where I am’, without feeling any the lesser for it.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

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Atmosphere Press is a selective hybrid publisher founded in 2015 on the principles of Honesty, Transparency, Professionalism, Kindness, and Making Your Book Awesome. Our books have won dozens of awards and sold tens of thousands of copies. If you’re interested in learning more, or seeking publication for your own work, please explore the links below.