WHO: Kate Monro
BLOG: The Virginity Project
TYPEPAD MEMBER SINCE: 2007
WHY WE THINK THE VIRGINITY PROJECT ROCKS: Compelling, often funny, sometimes heartbreaking, this sensitive subject is always approached by Kate in a brilliant way.
Kate Monro is the blogger behind the popular blog The Virginity Project, and she is also the author of the brand new book The First Time: True Tales of Virginity Lost and Found (including my own), which is out today. Instead of giving you a short paragraph on what the blog is about, we asked Kate to do a bit of an interview with us so that we can find out more about the project and what it means to her. The First Time is out now in the UK, Europe and Australia, and can be purchased from UK Amazon, Waterstones, WH Smith and other retailers.
Follow Kate on TypePad, Facebook, and Twitter, and read on for what was a truly compelling conversation about the subject of virginity loss, taking writing from blog to book form, and how blogging can change your life.
Hi Kate! Congratulations on your book, we're very excited about it. Can you tell us a bit about yourself for our readers who may not be familiar with your blog?
Hi Melanie – thank you so much, I am VERY excited about the impending release of my book. My name is Kate Monro and five years ago, I started to research and write a book of virginity loss stories. I quickly followed that up by deciding to blog about it as I realized I would have more material than I could ever fit in a book. Plus it’s a pretty strange pastime to go around asking people to share such a private moment with you. I needed an outlet for my ‘interesting’ adventures. But it was surprisingly easy to find people who would talk and best of all, once I started blogging, I got sent stories from all around the world. All anonymous I hasten to add.
What initially made you decide to tackle the subject of virginity loss?
It came out of a conversation with a friend. We were telling each other our respective stories on a beach one afternoon. It struck me there and then that this would be a brilliant area to pursue because almost everyone you encounter has got a story to tell about virginity loss. That set the tone for the entire project as I decided to spread the net as wide as I could. There are stories in my book from 1940’s Britain right up to the present day. They take into account as many different types of people as I could find – gay, straight, religious, non-religious, people with disabilities. Everybody has their say about this once only experience.
What was the process of taking your subject matter from blog to book form like for you? How were you approached, and how long did the project take?
I wrote the book and the blog at the same time as each other and they turned out to be the perfect complement. Whereas in ‘real life’, I found it difficult to find young people to interview, in the blogosphere, they felt more comfortable about approaching me in their own time. I had some really poignant and touching emails from young men, particularly from those who were still virgins. Of course by this point, I had a really great archive of stories so I was able to point them in the direction of similar tales with successful outcomes. So I guess I morphed into something of an agony aunt along the way too.
I finally got the deal on my book that I wanted after an article about my blog appeared in The Guardian newspaper. Icon Books got in touch the next day and the rest, as they say, is history.
What is the most significant thing that has happened in your life as the result of your blog?
That is a brilliant question. I would say that I discovered a tenacity that I did not know I had, after all, it took me over 3 years to get a publishing deal. But more than that, I found a voice that I also didn’t know I had. And it is blogging that dragged that voice out of me. I could barely bring myself to press the send button when I first started writing posts, I was so terrified of someone actually hearing me speak. But I really felt I had something to say and once people started responding to the content, I couldn’t stop. You only really learn through the act of ‘doing’ (not dissimilar to losing virginity now I come to think about it) so I threw myself in at the deep end and it changed my life.
Any parting words?
What strikes me most about the modern age is its irony. That we live in an age where we can communicate across so many different platforms – twittering, emailing, Skyping and yet, there are still so many things that we cannot say in person. People that I have never met have told me the most amazing things via email. But in the end, I have come to conclusion that this is entirely normal and very much part and parcel of being human. I don’t expect that to change. And on a selfish level, I hope it doesn’t as I don’t want to stop receiving these wonderful stories!