By Claire Harlin
Solana Beach resident Kate Carter Gooch is off to a vibrant start in the literary world with the Oct. 11 release of her first published book, “The Evening Wolves,” but it’s not the first work of fiction she’s penned.
The 33-year resident’s writing career dates back to the 1970s, when she wrote a novel about a witches’ coven that came together at Torrey Pines. The author used to live in La Jolla — that’s where she met her husband, Tarrant — and she said she actually heard stories back then about 13 witches who gathered at 13 paths in the state reserve. The evidence they left behind, she said, was black candle wax.
“Torrey Pines was notorious for the witches’ coven there. Everybody talked about it,” she said. “Torrey Pines was much different then than it is today. It looked like a wasteland back then.”
Although that novel, “The Seventh Daughter,” made the “Hollywood rounds,” she said, it never made it to the shelves — yet, at least — and she attributes that, in part, to some real-life circumstances regarding the subject matter that spooked her into abandoning it.
“It gives me goosebumps thinking about it,” said the red-haired writer, who sports a sincere smile and radiant energy.
She won’t reveal her age, but she’d probably fool the world if she did. Gooch is not only young at heart but she’s in great shape — she plays tennis at the La Jolla Tennis Club several times a week and is nationally ranked in the sport.
Gooch’s origin is evident through her thick British accent. She was born Kathleen M. Gooch in a small town called Ware in Hertfordshire, England. She was the 10th in a family of 11 (the seventh daughter), her father wrote poetry and her oldest brother was a published author.
Her novel, “The Evening Wolves,” is a both a murder mystery and love story — a classic “who done it,” she said — that is centered around World War II and Nazi spies. Her choice of setting is not only inspired from war stories she heard growing up in England, but also shaped with accuracy by her husband, a retired U.S. Navy Commander.
Gooch said much of her writing process consisted of reading pages to her husband on Sundays by the fire, and he would share real insight about military life.
“I’d read about 10 pages or a chapter at a time. He always liked me reading it to him in my voice instead of reading it himself,” she said. “He never knew what was going to happen next. Sometimes I didn’t even know what was going to happen next.”
For Gooch, writing is like having a blank canvas and “the words just come.”
“The book takes on a life of it’s own,” she said. “The characters do things and I think ‘How will I put that in there?’ They are like, ‘You made me; this is what you have to deal with.’”
The characters’ names change constantly, she added, but not as much as the title, which she changed about 50 times. Even more challenging, was finding a publisher and literary agent during a time when the book industry is hurting. But Gooch is happy to work with Tate Publishing & Enterprises, a company she said has been “amazing,” and her book is available at both Barnes & Noble and on Amazon.com.
She said people who have read “The Evening Wolves” can’t put it down and many people have been telling her they want a sequel. She said she already has a completely different story in the works, and she welcomes the challenge of constant revising — as she said she did — all over again.
“I love every frustrating moment of it,” she said.