Kate Mosse: 'When taxi drivers see it's not the other Kate Moss, their faces fall'


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The Independent Online

I have been confused with Kate Moss Not if you were to look at me, but before [her award-winning 2005 novel] Labyrinth, journalists would ring up the Orange Prize [which Mosse set up] and say, "Can I speak to Kate, and will she talk about anything at all?" Eventually, after further discussion, they'd say, "But will she talk about Pete Doherty?" I'm absolutely fine with it; it's only really sad for the taxi drivers who come and pick me up – when they see it's me, their little faces fall.

The Orange Prize was initially perceived by some as being anti-men, which I found mystifying I set it up to form a focal point and celebrate the best in women's writing, after the 1991 Booker Prize had an all-male shortlist. No one really noticed until some journalists started pointing out that there were no women on the list. Now, if we conduct a reverse test – that is, if they'd put up an all-women shortlist – every media outlet would have reported on it.

It's better to have success when you're older as it doesn't turn your head By 45, if you're lucky, the things that matter to you are in place. In my case, that was a husband, children, family and friends. And as you know who you are, you're not looking for something transformational. When Labyrinth came out, I remember standing in a supermarket in Bognor Regis and seeing my name at the number-one spot on the shelf and simply thinking: who'd have thought it?

The differences that set us apart are tiny Read Ben Jonson's poetry after his son had died. No one can say his grief was any different to Kipling's over the death of his son, or what a 13th-century father might feel. Even when societal, cultural or political values do shift, the things that really matter about us – our capacity to love, care and nurture – don't really change.

We are all connected through the landscape I've been going to some woods in the Languedoc, in the south-west of France, for more than 20 years, where I see not ghosts, but the presence of all the people who might have stood in the beautiful glades before me – and will do so after I'm gone.

Disappointment changes you more than success If you have something you want dearly and you don't get it, sadly, that can be more transforming.

Live every day as if it's your last I live in a household with my mother, my mother-in-law and, until last year when he died, my father. People from an older generation have a better sense of their own mortality, and it's a brilliant reminder that you should appreciate what you have.

Kate Mosse, 50, is the author of 'Labyrinth' and 'Sepulchre'. 'Citadel', the final part of the trilogy, is published in October. Mosse will be appearing at the 10th Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate on Friday (harrogateinternationalfestivals.com/crime)