Transcript: Byron Writers Festival Author Interview


As requested, this week in my Friday blog post I am posting a text transcript of my interview with Roz Hopkins at the Byron Writers Festival.

Roz Hopkins: First you could tell us a little bit about your path as a writer, because I know you’ve got three books, so lets start  from the beginning to where we are today.

Kate Kelsen: Well, I’ve been a storyteller for as long as I can remember, telling stories sinec I was two years old. I started with drawing at a very young age, which eventually evolved into pictures with a little bit of words, and then throughout primary school and high school and into adulthood I transitioned into writing text only.

Roz Hopkins: So you’ve got three books…

Kate Kelsen: Yes, so my first book is The Wilted Rose, which is actually a fictionalized account of my own family’s story. My grandmother suffered from Bipolar Disorder during the 1960s and ’70s, so it was about hers and my mother’s experiences during that time.

And then my short story book is called The New Neighbors. Alot of those stories I began writing in high school, they’ve obviously been revised since then. I released that book in February this year.
And Paid To Dance was released on Friday 5th August 2016.

Roz Hopkins: We’re going to talk about your publishing process, because I know the way you’ve approached that is really interesting, but before we do that we’ll talk about Paid To Dance. So can you tell us a little bit about this book? The inspiration for this book, what it is about and how you went about putting it together?

Kate Kelsen: It’s an interesting story. I started working on this book in 2013. I had to come to know a little about the stripping industry and the people that were involved in it. I thought this was going to be a really interesting story, because I have read a lot of books similar to this about women who have worked as exotic dancers, but most of them are written by women who are working in America and other parts of the world. There haven’t been any books that have been written about this subject in Australia.

Also, a lot of other books talk more about the lifestyle and glamour associated with stripping. I wanted to give a more holistic view of this industry. There’s fourteen stories from different women who have worked in the industry…

Roz Hopkins: So they’re in the first person?

Kate Kelsen: Yes, they’re written in the first person. At the start of the book there is a history of the industry of exotic dance. Many countries around the world have had exotic dance as part of their culture throughout history, so that is at the start of the book. I also did an interview with a club manager up in Queensland, and a customer from one of the clubs, a partner and a parent.

Click HERE to view and purchase Kate Kelsen’s books

The Wilted Rose Book Cover PaintThe New Neighbors

Cover Image Book 1 Edited



Author Talk Videos from Byron Writers Festival

Parts One and Two of my author talk at the Byron Writers Festival on Sunday 7th August 2016, speaking with Roz Hopkins from local publishing company Captain Honey, talking about my publishing journey and my new book, Paid To Dance: Stripping Past & Present.

Unfortunately there was an issue with the filming of the second video and there is no footage of the talk until 1.40, however the audio is there throughout. Enjoy!


Cover Image Book 1 Edited

Paid To Dance: Stripping Past & Present is NOW AVAILABLE in paperback and Kindle Ebook from Amazon. Click HERE to purchase your copy


Reflections On My First Writers Festival Part Two

Part Two: Festival Day

Already sleep deprived from a month of preparation, I had not a wink of sleep the night before my festival appearance. When I got out of bed at 6.30am, it was pure adrenaline that kick started me into the day. I left my friend Sonia’s house at Lennox Head, and drove the short distance north to Byron Bay. I stomached half a toasted sandwich and a skinny chai latte before heading up the road to the festival site, an open area of land behind the Elements of Byron resort. I arrived at nine o’clock, half an hour before my allotted time.

There had been a significant amount of rain in Byron Bay over the weekend, so the ground in the car park was uneven and muddy. The trolley I had bought to carry my boxes of books proved essential for transporting my stock safely to the Self Published Marquee. Once inside the festival site, I located the Marquee and began to set up my book display on my allocated trestle table. I propped my newest release, Paid To Dance, up on shoeboxes, and laid out my handouts and mailing list sign-up sheet.

My display table at the Self Published Marquee, Byron Writers Festival 2016


The author set up next to me had written a book about climate change, and at the table on the opposite side of the tent, a lady with a book of poetry and a man with a book about spirituality. Quite an eclectic mix of titles indeed!

I had been allocated a two hour period between 9.30-11.30am to sell and promote my books to the public. A handful of festival goers stopped by my table, and I was able to talk to them about my books and myself as an author, and my experience publishing my books through CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing. I was sure to keep my cash float close at all times.

Presenting my books at the Self Published Marquee

The coordinators present at the Marquee had decided to conduct some spontaneous author talks during our two hour session, and this was perhaps the highlight of the experience. It was also a wonderful surprise to have my Aunty Karen surprise me at my table, having driven all the way from Redcliffe in Queensland to support me at my first festival appearance!


Author Talks at the Self Published Marquee, Byron Writers Festival

After my session at the Self Published Marquee concluded at 11.30, I packed up my table and took my stock back to my car. I met up with my Aunty Karen at Main Beach in Byron for a lunch of fish and chips, before heading back to Lennox Head, where I spent the night at the home of Sonia’s friend in a cool beach shack style house. This was also my first experience using AirBnB!

Views over Seven Mile Beach from the Pat Morton lookout, Lennox Head, New South Wales


Seven Mile Beach, Lennox Head

Out of the thirty-eight book copies I had with me, I sold three, two copies of Paid To Dance and one of The New Neighbors. Of the hundred odd handouts I had printed, I had handed out only a handful. I was also slightly devastated to discover that I had not sold a single copy from there over the entire three days of the festival. But, all the more for my readers at home!


Taking part in the Byron Writers Festival was an valuable learning experience for me as an author. Although my sales were disappointing, being able to talk to the public about my books was fantastic, even better being able to get up on stage for a proper author talk! I have promotional material in the form of photos and videos, and I can now add this appearance to my resume.

Being selected to appear at the Self Published Marquee at the Byron Writers Festival 2016 was a milestone in my career as an author so far. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to have been able to take part in Australia’s largest regional writers festival. There is no other opportunity like the Self Published Marquee at any other writers festival in Australia or internationally that I am yet aware of, so I would also like to take this opportunity to applaud the Byron Writers Festival for creating this wonderful platform for independent authors.

Next on the agenda is my application to the Newcastle Writers Festival, to be held in Newcastle, New South Wales, in April 2017. I am hoping to present a workshop on how to publish books using Amazon’s free publishing tools.

Thank-you Byron Bay for helping me to launch Paid To Dance: Stripping Past & Present!

Click HERE to view and purchase Kate’s books