Writing True Stories: A guest post by Kate Baucherel

As your mostly likely aware, on occasion I throw my blog open to guest posts from fellow authors. Normally these only happen in April and October, but when they have something new and exciting out it would be a shame to not let them talk about it here. So here is a little post by my esteemed and occasionally mildly terrifying fellow Harvey Duckman author Kate Baucherel. Who’s wearing her non fiction techno pagan hat today.

One of the joys of being a science fiction writer is the freedom to bend the real world around my plot and follow my subconscious down rabbit holes as characters take on a life of their own. While all the tech in my books is real (or at least, likely to be real based on where we are now) I can generally let my imagination go wild on how and where it is used and the impact it has on my tale.

I also write non-fiction. Up until now that’s been a similar, albeit more structured, process, weaving a compelling narrative around tech which really does exist. In the last few weeks, however, I’ve discovered a whole new discipline. I’ve become the custodian of other people’s stories, and with such power comes great responsibility, as they say.

It all started with an innocent question. “You’re an author, aren’t you?” Suddenly I was pitched headlong into a time-critical project to produce a book on blockchain and cryptocurrency in time for Paris Blockchain Week Summit – which is happening right now (I’m attending a panel on financial services and crypto assets on the other screen as I write). This is my field – I haven’t had to get up to speed on the tech, thank goodness – but I found myself faced with a new brief. I now had not only to interview people for their insights, but to relate their story verbatim and present it in an accurate and compelling way.

If there is one thing I have learned over lockdown with endless rounds of podcasts and interviews, it is that the best interviewers say the least. It’s hard to keep it zipped when you know the subject well, but it’s worth it. Quite apart from anything else, it allows people to express what you might already know from their unique point of view. I discovered nuances I hadn’t appreciated and built on my own expertise, which was fabulous.

The next challenge was to present the raw interviews in a palatable way for a book. Luckily, our favourite editor Gillie Hatton at Sixth Element took us in hand. She gave us the tools we needed to blend a Q&A style with a narrative style and come out with something consistent that let the interviewees speak for themselves while pushing their story along nicely. This was a side of editing I had never experienced, and it was a real education with fantastic results.

Once we had a good manuscript we came to the hardest part. When the things people say end up on paper (even electronic paper), they have more permanence. We sent out proofs of each chapter to the interviewees and asked for any final, factual, material changes. It was tense. Some last-minute changes came back, occasionally contradicting the original recorded transcripts. We scrambled those final edits through with hours to spare. A success! What’s Hot in Blockchain and Crypto made it to launch in time for the conference. We gather it’s rather a good read. “The book is like a fireside chat with the people creating some of the coolest new tech on the planet,” says the first review. I think we can call that a steep learning curve to success!

“What’s Hot in Blockchain and Crypto – Volume 1” by Ash Costello and Kate Baucherel is available on Kindle

About Kate Baucherel (by Mark)

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Kate Baucherel is a digital strategist, a writer of both non-fiction books that explain technology while making you laugh, cyber-crime sci-fi (her third SimCaviler novel is much anticipated this year), and short stories for the Harvey Duckman Presents series (her Christmas tale was particularity compelling). She is also an internationally renown expert on Blockchain, an occasional guest lecturer at universities, as well as a panellist and speaker at technology conferences around the world. More importantly Jackie Carlton once bought her a drink and she has been known to dress up as Han Solo at Halloween (or whenever else she can get away with it probably). If that is not intimidating enough, she is also is a black-belt in several martial arts including Karate, octopus catapults, parenting and the internet …

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