"I always knew from when I was young that I could write. I used to write, with a pencil and pad, pages and pages of scribbles.
Kate's father was violent and cruel towards her and her siblings and mum. He'd had a troubled childhood of his own.
"When he met my mum and she got pregnant with me his anger erupted. He burned everything and threw everything out of the house. He would take a puppy or a kitten out and shoot it if it did a wee in the house."
One of Kate's strengths as a writer is her understanding of what makes people tick. And she can see why her father behaved the way he did.
"My father was born after my grandparents lost a three-year-old. He was born into an atmosphere of grief and panic. He was a wild little boy, obsessed with nature and animals. When he was 15 he went into hospital with tuberculosis and didn't come out until he was 20.
"He was full of rage."
|Her first published novel|
Speaking to Kate and looking at her books and the themes they explore, one is struck by her compassion for others and a sense that she is somehow trying to heal those around her.
So it is no surprise to learn that she is a homeopath. Since 1996 when she first qualified, she has worked with thousands of people. "My particular talent is supporting clients in unravelling the emotional and psychological patterns that are keeping them from living the deeper, truer expression of themselves," she says on her website.
She was married young and had her two children when she was 24 and 25. Her writing was put on hold, but she read lots with them. She became a writer once more years later when she had an epiphany driving through Frome, Somerset, where she lives.
She joined a creative writing class.
"It became evident that I could write after a week and the class was very supportive - we read and shared things. As the weeks went on I stopped doing the class homework and started writing a novel. It didn't occur to me it was a children's novel."
She relished the editorial process of working with her editor and Shine was her first book to be published, in 2009, although it wasn't her first written book. Three more novels, Glitter, A Million Angels and A Sea of Stars followed in quick succession.
"I learned something new with each book. My weak spot is plotting. I am very good at emotional content and understanding characters."
On her author website, she explains: "My books are about ordinary girls, like you, who find themselves faced with an extraordinary real life situation. I’d like my characters to take you on a journey, a kind of exploration so you get curious about life, so you end up thinking… How would I feel if this thing happened to me?
|The novel Kate sent to my daughter|
She begins writing when a character "leaps" into her imagination. "I ask them lots of questions about themselves. They will reveal what is going on for them. There's a point where the character starts writing their own story."
She's working on a novel at the moment about a girl living on the streets of Manchester. To help with research, she has been talking to Andy McCullough of homeless charity the Railway Children. "When he was 11 he packed a bag and a teddy and lived on the streets." She said she doesn't want to romanticise homelessness and Andy has busted a few myths for her, such as the idea that homeless people eat out of bins - he told her they don't, they still have pride.
"I do have a mission," she told me. "My mission is to bring about an awareness of how we relate and particularly how parents relate to their kids."
Kate worked in diverse fields before she was a homeopath and author. She's been a nanny and a waitress. She was also a dresser for a West End theatre and at the BBC, where she worked on EastEnders, Breakfast TV and Grange Hill. Perhaps she might find herself back in the world of television with her books, I suggested.
"CBBC looked at Shine for a while. There's that slot around Christmas that Jacqueline Wilson seems to snaffle," she said. Not that she holds a grudge against the Tracy Beaker author. Wilson and Cathy Cassidy are authors she looks up to. If a film or TV series were made of one of her books, she would love to see director Ken Loach behind the camera.
|Kate is happy and fulfilled, despite her traumatic childhood|
A couple of days later a parcel arrived for my daughter. Inside was a copy of A Million Angels with a lovely personal inscription from Kate. My daughter was thrilled.
Kate Maryon truly knows how to touch people.
* My thanks to Kate for speaking to me. Her author website is here. There's loads to read and do there, including joining her fan club. If you are interested in her work as a homeopath, go here.
Her page on her agent's website is here.
If you want to find out more about homeless charity Railway Children and the inspiring work of Andy McCullough, you should click through here.