Inspiration #8: Katarina West

I have previously done a collaboration with Katarina West on my old blog, and at the time she has released her other book called “Absolute Truth, For Beginners”. This time around I have done a book review on her latest book: “The Tiny Thousand Miracles of Living Twice” and here I am interviewing her about it. 

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Hi Katarina, thank you for doing this interview with me. You have recently launched a new book called “The Tiny Thousand Miracles of Living Twice” and I’m having a great time reading it. I’ll get back to the book, but tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?

Hi Alanna – it’s great to be here! So yes, about me. I was born in Helsinki and studied in London and Florence. Currently, I live in a poorly heated farmhouse Chianti with my husband, son and two dogs – and a German ghost. (Which means that you might hear German murmured on a dark November night…) Living in the countryside means that when I’m not writing, I’m fully immersed in Tuscan country life, from jam-making and olive-picking to tractor maintenance.

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I am getting so into the book, but for those who don’t know, what is the book about?

OK, so first we’ve got Irene Nylander, a frumpy housewife who’s trapped in an unhappy marriage and lives vicariously through romantic movies. On her fiftieth birthday, she discovers that her husband is having an affair – and yes, with her best friend… (I know, I know. What a friend.) So, Irene prays to die, but up in heaven, a mischievous angel called Aaron hears her prayers. He decides that Irene must change bodies with a stunning Hollywood A-lister, Mimi Kavanough, who’s got the body of a Barbie princess and the iron will of an army sergeant. Suddenly Irene finds herself living a glam life in Italy, whereas Mimi becomes a suburban housewife with a domineering mother-in-law. Yet as body swaps are strictly against heaven’s rules and regulations, the impish angel who made it all happen must become a human being and sort out the mess he created…


What inspired you to write this book?

The idea of a body swap. Being in someone else’s body, and falling in love with a man – and not knowing if he loves you – your soul, so to say – or the new body you’ve got. I mean, haven’t we all experienced something similar in our lives, to a much lesser degree of course? Like, you lose weight and suddenly everyone notices you. And sure, you’re flattered by all that attention, but at the same time you think, yeah thanks, it’s still the same old me.

Who’s your favourite character in the book? Because I am so far loving Mimi!

Know what? My readers seem are so strongly either Mimi fans or Irene fans. But there’s no middle way – if you love Mimi’s boldness, then Irene’s soft and hesitant personality probably gets on your nerves and vice versa. Me, personally… I feel like a surrogate mother to both of them. I’m now writing Book 2 in Angel Aid series, and I can see already now that both women are changing, growing as characters. 

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Is there a favourite spot where you like to sit down and just write?

My study. It’s my sanctuary. There are writers who go to a café or a library to write – I could never do that. For me, it’s enough to step inside my study, and I’m already in my fictional world.

Where can we purchase your books? and – those are the best places.

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Is there anything you’re working on at the moment?     

I’m working on Angel Aid Book 2, and loving every second of it!

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What would you like to achieve in the next year?

OK, so our poorly heated farmhouse needs some renovation… so my number one resolution is to not to lose my mind in all of that chaos! Plus, obviously, there will be the publication of Book 2 in Angel Aid series.

Now let’s have some fun and I’ll ask you 5 random questions.

1. Where would you like to travel next? – To the Italian Alps! We’re going there this summer – and I’m already now planning horribly long hiking trips… It’s my last chance of getting fit one more time…

2. If you could listen to one song for the rest of your life, which one would it be?  – How about listening to silence? Like said, I was born in Finland, and up there, in some God-forsaken forest, you can find absolute silence. (You can’t find it here in Chianti. There’s always a dog barking, a car passing…) And you start to listen to that silence, and it’s the most incredible thing you’ve ever experienced. By the way, talking about The Thousand Tiny Miracles of Living Twice, that was exactly what Mimi found in Lapland…

3. Do you have a middle name and if so, what is it? – I do actually. My middle name is Nanna, who is a goddess in Norse mythology. But her life is a story with a lachrymose ending because poor Nanna dies of grief… Which is just insane, because – she should’ve swapped bodies with someone else instead!

4. Beach or the Pool? – Oh, beach, definitely. Because not only do you get a gorgeous tan – but plenty of writing ideas too! Seaside is a great inspiration for me.

5. Favourite food? – Anything that I didn’t have to cook, tastes divine and is almost calorie free… Does that kind of food exist? Anyone, hints?

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Any advice for people wanting to write a book? Where should they start?

From the first page! No, honestly, it sounds silly, but that’s the truth. You have to write, write, write, write. And your journey as a writer seems long – it looks like you’re never going to make it. And still, you must write, write, write. It’s as simple as that.

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Thank you again for taking the time to do this interview with me, it has been a pleasure!

Likewise, Alanna – thanks to you, and sending you and your readers’ plenty of Tuscan sun! By the way, I’m on Instagram and Facebook – and then there’s my website of course – just in case anyone wants to drop by and say hello. Ciao for now!



INSTAGRAM: @westkatarina

TWITTER: @westkatarina




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