Catherine West is my special guest today. An author, yes, but she mentioned she is also a sidewalker.
Anne – Thanks for dropping by today, Catherine, and congratulations on the release of your debut, inspirational contemporary romance story. Before we get down to business, I’m curious to know exactly what a sidewalker is.
Catherine – I volunteer with Bermuda Riding for the Disabled. I am a sidewalker, which means I walk alongside the horse while someone else leads it, and I help the child on the horse – some just ride, others can ride and do exercises, even trotting! It’s a wonderful experience to see the joy on their little faces when they are up on that horse!
Anne – How wonderful. It must be incredibly satisfying.! Speaking of satisfying tell us about your most recent release.
Catherine - My book is called YESTERDAY’S TOMORROW – an Inspirational Contemporary Romance, through Oak Tara Publishers:
Independent, career-driven journalist Kristin Taylor wants two things: to honor her father's memory by becoming an award-winning overseas correspondent and to keep tabs on her only brother, Teddy, who signed up for the war against their mother's wishes. Brilliant photographer Luke Maddox, silent and brooding, exudes mystery. Kristin is convinced he's hiding something.
Willing to risk it all for what they believe in, Kristin and Luke engage in their own tumultuous battle until, in an unexpected twist, they’re forced to work together. Ambushed by love, they must decide whether or not to set aside their own private agendas for the hope of tomorrow that has captured their hearts.
Anne - Is there a message in YESTERDAY’S TOMORROW you want readers to grasp?
Catherine - The story is really about forgiveness and restoration. I’d love for people to realize that no matter how hard things get, or what horrors you have endured, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. My characters’ faith journey teaches them that God does indeed work all things together for good. I think if we all believed that and trusted God, rather than relying on our own strength a lot of the time, we’d be much better off!
Anne - How long does it take you to write a book?
Catherine - It really depends on the book. Yesterday’s Tomorrow took about nine months. There was a lot of research involved, and I wanted to get it just right. If a story doesn’t require a lot of research, I can probably get through the first draft within a few months, but then comes the never-ending time of editing!
Anne - Do you belong to any writer’s organizations, critique groups, and/or depend on beta readers?
Catherine - I belong to American Christian Fiction Writers, and I can’t say enough about them! This is a wonderful writers group that everyone should take advantage of. The support and teaching I’ve received through ACFW has been invaluable. I’m currently serving as a zone director for our Beyond the Borders group, which is made up of ACFW members who live outside of the
. I’m also a member of a new blog - International Christian Fiction Writers - dedicated to authors whose stories take place in countries other than the United States . It’s worth checking out when you get the chance! Yes, I do have a group of trusted critique partners that I share work with. I can’t imagine writing without their help and guidance. US
Anne - How long did your journey from wannabe writer to published author take?
too long? I’ve been writing for over twenty years, but I suppose I got serious about getting published about ten years ago. I landed my agent, the fabulous Rachelle Gardner, about five years ago, so for me, it’s taken awhile!
Anne - How many rejections did you acquire along the way? What kept you going?
Catherine - I can’t say for sure how many! But I learned through each one, and lately, when I do receive a rejection, the editor has given specific reasons for passing, which has been very helpful.
Anne - If you could just snap your fingers and go, where would you visit, return to, or move? Why?
Catherine - My husband and I visited Sonoma County/Napa Valley, California, for the first time last fall. It was probably one of the best vacations we’ve had. It’s just a beautiful place, and I would love to go back and see more!
is on my list of places to visit, so I’d definitely want to go there too! Italy
Anne - What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Catherine - Getting through the first draft. I’m a seat-of-the-pantser so I really don’t plot. I don’t have much of an idea of where the story is going until it’s done. Once the first draft is finished, then the real work can begin!
Anne - Any words of advice for struggling, unpublished writers?
Catherine - Don’t give up! Writing is not for the faint of heart. Rejection is never pleasant, especially not when you’ve poured your heart and soul into something that you truly love and believe to be great! Do your homework. If you’re really serious about getting published, there are a ton of resources available to point you in the right direction. Join writers groups, join a critique group, take course, go to conferences if you can. You can write a hundred books, but I don’t think you’ll ever stop learning! Networking of course, this is vital in today’s society. You never know what may come as a result of the online connections you make. And, did I say don’t give up? J
Anne – You did! Outside of writing, what accomplishment are you most proud?
Catherine - I am most proud of my two children! That may sound cheesy, but honestly, they are two of the coolest young adults you ever want to meet. And they’re both super-talented too. My daughter Sarah is going into photography, and my son Chris is a musician. With me as the writer and hubby as the doctor in the house, our family has interesting discussions!
Anne – You’ve graciously offered a copy of YESTERDAY’S TOMORROW to one lucky commenter. Do you have a question or topic you’d like them to discuss, Catherine?
Catherine - Hmm. Well, since I write romance, I’d love to know this: What’s the most romantic thing that’s ever happened to you?
Anne - Great question! I'm sure the answers will be equally interesting. Thanks for dropping by, Catherine. Readers can visit her online at her blog.
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