Back in 2016, when The Miramichi Reader was barely a year old, I interviewed Kathleen Peacock who was then working as a publicist for New Brunswick’s Goose Lane Editions. It was through her that I would request review copies and book cover images, etc. Fast-forward to 2020 and Kathleen, who is no longer a publicist, has just released a new book You Were Never Here, from HarperTeen. I wanted to catch up with Kathleen to see what has transpired in the four years since we last talked.
Thanks again for agreeing to be interviewed for TMR once again. You are the first person to have that dubious distinction!
Thank you for having me back! I’ve always appreciated how passionate you are about literature and how much you do for the New Brunswick lit scene!
Thank you! Let’s pick up on your life since leaving Goose Lane Editions.
After leaving GLE, I decided to go back to school. I’m currently in my final year of a degree in English literature with a minor in psychology.
When I heard through the social media grapevine that you were working on a new book, I was very interested, particularly since you are an NB author, and have now worked from both sides of the publishing game. Did working as a publicist help you in any way? Do have any tips to share for budding authors out there?
To be honest, I’m not sure working in publishing was much of a help when it came to writing You Were Never Here, my new novel, or getting it published. I’d already had three novels published before working at GLE and YWNH is with the same publisher (albeit with a different imprint and editor).
I do feel that working at GLE gave me more insight into the Canadian publishing industry and the Canadian literature scene—particularly when it comes to smaller and independent presses. I quite appreciate having that insight. I do think working in publishing can help one make valuable connections, but I want to stress that it is perfectly possible to get published without knowing people in the industry—particularly as there seems to be this prevalent idea out there that you have to know someone already to break in. I didn’t have industry connections outside of friendships forged with other hopeful writers when I signed with my agent. I received an offer of representation based on an unsolicited query letter. The best advice I have is to hone your craft and your project, figure out what type of publishing fits your goals (be it self-publishing, trying to get an agent, or going with a smaller press), and then doing your research.
Can you please tell us a little about your book You Were Never Here?
Sure! You Were Never Here is the story of seventeen-year-old Cat Montgomery. After a mysterious incident back home in New York, Cat is exiled to New Brunswick, Canada to spend the summer with her aunt in their foreboding ancestral home in the town of Montgomery Falls. Once there, Cat discovers that her childhood best friend is missing and sets out to figure out what happened to him while someone—or something—preys on other people in town.
Was there any certain event or occurrence that sparked the idea for the book?
I’ve been wanting to write a book set in New Brunswick for a while. You Were Never Here actually began life as a few different projects. I’d been working on a project that dealt with a creepy abandoned island (inspired by Partridge Island near Saint John) and a project about a group of teens who were obsessed with horror movies. Somehow, those two things seemed to combine to form the basis of You Were Never Here. As I got further into the project, I started feeling like I was writing some strange love letter to all those New Brunswick summers I spent reading Stephen King books as a teen.
Finally, tell us an interesting fact about yourself!
I’m actually ridiculously boring, so coming up with interesting facts is difficult. I have never seen the Godfather.
Unbelievable! Thanks, Kathleen, and all the best for your new book and your educational pursuits.
A little about Kathleen: Kathleen Peacock spent most of her teen years writing short stories–all of which contained much angst and none of which survived high school. After working as a graphic designer, unofficial technical writer, and publicist, she returned to school to pursue an undergraduate degree. She lives in New Brunswick–just a few hours from the border with Maine–and is also the author of You Were Never Here (October 20, 2020, from HarperTeen) and the Hemlock trilogy.