Katie Khan

The author of Hold Back the Stars gives us a tour of her writing space and the objects she keeps around her for inspiration


My Desk

I have a secret penchant for unaffordable, well-made furniture - I'd been stalking this particular desk online for months, fantasising about what it might feel like to write on (which is the ideal procrastination from actually writing). It's designed by Matthew Hilton for Ercol, and the day I received my first ever advance, I bit the bullet. I went straight to John Lewis, only to find the very last desk of this design in the clearance sale. The gods of unaffordable furniture were smiling on me that day!

I write in the bay windows at the front of our house, and the floor-to-ceiling windows mean all my neighbours can see (and wave) when I'm there. My upstairs neighbour, an Italian translator, has planted crocuses in our front garden that open in the day and close at night - which, I fear, is the exact opposite of me. I work during the day so I can only write at night, and my brain gets sharper the later it gets. Some of my favourite scenes - like the final chapter of Hold Back the Stars - were written at three in the morning.

My TBR pile

Living in London, floor space is at a premium, so when I saw some invisible bookshelves for ten pounds online I knew I had to have them. I keep my To Be Read pile close by for inspiration. It's topped by a model of Ripley from Alien, to remind myself that kickass female astronauts are the absolute best. I wanted Carys in Hold Back the Stars to be a mix of Ripley with Meg Ryan's character from When Harry Met Sally, via Katniss and then Emma Morley from One Day. The rest of my books are on shelves at the back of the room, organised by colour because I thought it would look good on Instagram. My boyfriend moans because he can never find anything, but I always remember what colour spine a book has.

My reading chair

I'm never really alone when I write - my little dog is a bit of a cuckoo; he steals my seat the minute I get up to make tea. My parent's dog also spends Sundays with me, watching out of the window while I wrestle a scene into shape.

A very nice lady shipped me the battered old chair from a chateau in France - which makes it sounds very fancy, but it was an eBay bargain and it's totally falling apart! I like to write at the desk then move to the chair; it gives me a fresh perspective on what I've done if I read like a reader, rather than a writer hovering over the text with red pen. I also change the font on whatever I've typed before I read it back . . . anything to help with fresh eyes.

Find out more about the author

Hold Back the Stars

Katie Khan

'A bold new talent' Matt Haig

'The most unique love story I've read in years' Rowan Coleman

Ninety minutes.

A few years from now, not too far in the future, two people meet.

It is a classic story of boy meets girl.

Except that it's not.

When we find them, they have an hour and a half left.

Unless they can save themselves, they won't survive.

The clock is ticking.

Bittersweet and life-affirming, Hold Back the Stars is the love story of the year.

'Prepare to shed tears' Heat

'Original, surprising and romantic' Woman & Home

‘Full of wonder and heart’ Emma Jane Unsworth

'An incredibly imaginative debut' Sunday Mirror

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