About Kate (and Eva!)
I was born in Lancashire but moved many times as a child. I went to a dozen different schools, in England, Scotland and the Netherlands. No wonder my first novel – Old School Ties – was based around a school reunion. I had more classroom experience than most teachers!
I always loved reading – and writing. My childhood favourites included Roald Dahl, Susan Cooper, Helen Cresswell and especially Noel Streatfeild. When I was eight and nine, I spent quite a lot of time off sick from school and was soon devouring my mum’s Jean Plaidy’s and her She magazines (which taught me an awful lot about life, I can tell you!). My early works were nothing if not ambitious: as well as a fully illustrated rhyming story about a well-travelled rabbit, I had grand plans to write a musical about the history of Britain, and my first thriller was a four-part murder set in Paris…
The shy journalist…
After school, I wanted to find a job that would use my love of writing – though I never dreamed I’d write a novel. It wasn’t the kind of job the careers service could tell me much about. Instead I skipped university and went straight into journalism. First of all, I worked for a news agency, reporting mainly for the national tabloids, then moved to the BBC. I worked as a reporter in regional news in Bristol and Birmingham, before moving behind the camera as a producer on Newsround in London. Later I worked on Panorama and other investigative/consumer shows, using the same secret cameras used in the Secret Shopper books. My final job in TV involved coming up with new ideas for programmes – great fun!
The debut author
Old School Ties was published in 2003 (To find out how I broke out of the slush pile in my Diary of an unpublished author…) and was picked for WH Smith Fresh Talent. In 2007, I left the BBC to write full-time. The Secret Shopper’s Revenge was nominated for the Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance in 2009. My books have been published in a dozen countries, and my young adult trilogy, Soul Beach, is published in the UK, Germany, Netherlands and South Korea! My most recent romantic comedy for adults is A Batch Made in Heaven, a romantic comedy story revolving around baking, match-matching and the recipe for love.
The other identities – Kate Helm and Eva Carter
I also write now as Kate Helm – my thriller The Secrets You Hide is published by Bonnier Zaffre and my second Helm novel The House Share will be out in 2020.
In 2019, I wrote an epic love story, How to Save a Life, under the name Eva Carter. This will be published in 2021.
The accidental diet guru
In 2012, I began trying intermittent fasting to help with weight loss, after watching a BBC Horizon about it. I lost two stone – and kept it off – and after surveying others trying different approaches to fasting, I wrote The 5:2 Diet Book and The Ultimate 5:2 Recipe Book – followed by a book broadening the approach to other parts of life, including relationships, fitness, work and happiness, in 5:2 Your Life and my most recent cookbook, 5:2 Good Food Kitchen, The dedicated site for the 5:2 approach is here.
The broadcaster and writing coach
As well as writing, I love helping new writers, via coaching and online courses. I also love to broadcast and regularly appear on BBC radio and international TV channels talking about diet, mental health and books. Contact me here to talk about media appearances, or if you want help with your writing, find out what I offer.
I’ve also written for national newspapers and magazines including the Telegraph, Mail on Sunday, Red and Cosmopolitan.
The beach bunny
I live in Brighton and Hove and adore running by the sea, walking my border terrier, cooking and – of course – reading. I still can’t believe I get to make up stories for a living. My 10-year-old self would be amazed.