Episode 4

Break-up revenge, queer friendships and anti-running propaganda with Laura Kay

Laura Kay is a writer and editor. She has an MA in American History from the University of Sheffield, and now lives in London with her wife and cat. In 2018, Laura was selected as one of the 10 PRH WriteNow mentees. She is based in London and The Split is her first novel.

Our interview starts at 20 minutes.

Mini book club: The Boy from the Mish by Gary Lonesborough

We both adored this funny and heartwarming queer Indigenous YA novel, set in a rural Australian community, about seventeen-year-old Jackson finding the courage to explore who he is, even if it scares him.

In this interview, we chat about:

  • Laura’s debut novel The Split and why she felt it was important to explore a nuanced relationship breakdown
  • Why Laura wanted to write about a close friendship between a queer woman and a queer man as the central relationship of the novel
  • The character of Ally’s dad and why Laura wanted to explore the relationship between a grown-up daughter and her father, especially when they’re thrown into living together again unexpectedly
  • The Sheffield setting of The Split (and no, Michelle did NOT plan to have so many midlands authors on the podcast)
  • Laura’s experience as a ‘reluctant runner’ and how this was incorporated into the book
  • The road to publication and how a Penguin mentoring program helped Laura get her publishing deal
  • How it’s felt publishing in a pandemic and what Laura will be doing to mark the official hardback release date


Books and other things mentioned

  • Memorial by Brian Washington
  • Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo
  • In at the Deep End by Kate Davies
  • Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters
  • The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle by Matt Cain


Follow Laura on Instagram @lauraekay

Follow us on Instagram @betterwordspod

The Split is out 18 March in the UK and 30 March in Australia.

Michelle received a PR copy of The Split from Quercus.

About the Podcast

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Better Words

About your hosts

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Caitlin Toohey

Hi, I'm Caitlin! I've been on bookstagram since 2016, a podcaster since 2017, and worked in publishing since 2019. So books and reading are my entire life. When I'm not reading, I like listening to Taylor Swift, watching sitcoms, and generally being a theatre kid.
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Michelle Gately

Hi, I'm Michelle! I'm an Aussie living in the UK, working as a bookseller at Waterstones. I'm obsessed with storytelling in all its forms – I spend as much time watching TV or listening to podcasts as I do reading. Other hobbies include bouldering, hiking and generally obsessing about my pug Percy.