Shades of Grey: The Book

shades of grey cover

It’s here. The 11 February 2016 has finally arrived and with it the publication of my first book Shades of Grey.

Now I’m not going to wang on and on about it. Actually I am, a little bit. But, hell, you know, it’s a little bit exciting.

I’m not supposed to tell you too much as the book will be on blogtour next week (see details below) and the reviewers will want to share details with those of you who haven’t bought it. YET! Ha! Resistance is futile you know…

SoG poster

It’s been a long time coming this book and this post is a little bit about not giving up on stuff. Only not that preachy because God knows I give up on stuff all the time. Especially the dream of holding the plank position for more than 20 seconds.

Like many journalists we all want to write a book. It’s something to do with the external validation. And, possibly, something to do with the idea of writing something longer than 800 words. Anyway, an early foray into fiction made me realise that that wasn’t for me. I actually can’t make it up. Not with any degree of conviction.

image ©Ryland Peters & Small

That meant I had to draw on real- life experiences. And people. Which looked like a pretty fast route to the libel courts. So the fiction was out.

The next attempt came during my early freelance career when I signed up to an agency writing health features. I was approached by an agent who had found a surgeon who needed a ghost writer. Yes, I though. Ghost writing, that could work.

“What is his speciality,” I enquired casually.

“Vaginal plastic surgery,” came the reply.

image ©Ryland Peters & Small

I kid you not. Reader, I interviewed five thousand words out of this surgeon before admitting defeat and fleeing headlong over to the property department. I haven’t written a health feature since. And I’m not aware of that book being on any best seller list either.

It was a while before I re-entered the book proposal market. A few years later another idea was warmly received about two weeks before the financial crash of 2007 when anyone who wasn’t either a celebrity or an established author was considered to be a high risk and politely rejected.

image ©Ryland Peters & Small

I carried on plugging away at my job. In 2012 The Mad House opened its doors. I wrote in my diary: Blog. Business. Book. In 2014 I launched my interior consulting business. And today, two years later, the book Shades of Grey is in all good bookshops (to coin a phrase).

I hope you will enjoy it and find it useful. There will no doubt be some of you who might have preferred the other book. You’ll have to track that down on your own.

image ©Ryland Peters & Small

As ever, I thank all of you for reading my blog and anyone who does buy the book. I enjoyed writing it. I hope you will enjoy reading it. Or at least looking at the pictures.


Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.


  1. Loved the book – gobbled it up over the weekend having pre-ordered it as a Christmas present for myself. Beautiful and inspiring photographs, warm and engaging writing style, lots of useful information and some great sections (Who murdered magnolia?). A great read all round!

  2. Congrats on the book – my copy arrived this morning from Amazon. I am now pouring over the pages and pages of lovely photos and advice. DO NOT DISTURB until Monday at least.

  3. That’s great, well done!
    I’m a new reader to your blog and enjoying reading it a lot, as I am sure I will do your book.

  4. You sound so excited – couldn’t resist! I just ordered through Amazon to send to me out in Cyprus even though I know it will take ages to convert home owners here. Will have fun trying….

  5. As others have said, well done , congratulations on reaching your goal, it is an inspiration to everyone especially women. Best, Barbara

  6. Congratulations! Very much forward to reading it . I love your blog and this morning’s insight as to how you came to write it – destiny calling! Hope you’ll be suitably celebrating ; )

  7. As soon as I am back in Sweden I will definitely buy your book. I am in my first country , Australia, just now. Can I get it on Amazon? I love the look of it and find your blog very inspiring. Thanks, sandra

  8. Congratulations on your achievement.
    I pre-ordered your book weeks ago and expect delivery this morning – can’t wait!
    Thanks for sharing your expertise with us.

  9. Congratulations! I love your refreshing honesty and, as someone who is currently exploring her own writing style I heartily embrace your ethos of don’t give up!

  10. Another inspirational post – thank you, and massive congrats on the book. Just checked my Amazon account and my pre-ordered copy is shipping today. Can’t wait.

  11. Many congratulations Kate! I bet the book will be fantastically well received and a great read. I’ll be sure to get myself a copy!

  12. Good luck with the book. My copy’s ordered and I eagerly await its arrival. (Might have to start round 2 of painting)

  13. Congrats. The pictures look amazing and I have no doubt all your hard work will shine through. Am off now to track down a copy.

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