Hello, dear readers! I’m so excited to welcome Catherine West back to Buzzing About Books! She has graciously answered a few questions about her latest release, The Things We Knew, and is offering a print copy for giveaway. Trust me, this is one you don’t want to miss! Read my review of this compelling story here and purchase a copy here.
CW: How much time do you have? 🙂 While I’ve been previously published with a small press, and then Indie published, my dream has always been to write for a traditional publisher. Even when the Christian publishing world began shrinking, with everyone telling me, just stick with Indie, I knew I had to pursue this dream, crazy as it might be. Fortunately, I have an agent who shares my dreams, and she never gave up on this one. It all came together in God’s perfect timing, and we are both absolutely thrilled!
What is one of the most memorable moments of your writing journey thus far?
CW: Probably getting that email from my agent that Harper Collins was offering a 2 book deal. I was just coming out of a very rough patch, where I’d totally surrendered everything to God, and this was a very surreal moment in my life – almost as though I felt Him reaching down and giving me a hug, and whispering, “Told ya to trust me.” 🙂
I love family dramas, and you portrayed the dynamics of the Carlisle family so well. Who or what inspired this complex family?
CW: I love family dramas too! It had been a goal of mine to write one, so when this story came together, I was super excited. I don’t think there was anything in particular that inspired the story, I just delved into my experiences with family and kind of went from there. If we’re talking author inspiration, then I admit to being heavily inspired by the great authors who do family drama so well – Karen Kingsbury was one of my first CBA authors I ever read, and I loved the Baxter series.
Be sure to check out Cathy’s The Things We Knew Pinterest board!
Did the characters surprise or challenge you in any way as you were writing this story?
CW: I’m always surprised. Lynette went through a lot of changes in the several re-writes of this book. She’s actually a lot stronger now than she was when I first wrote her. In a good way. She’s learned to stand on her own two feet and speak for herself. Gray was the character that kind of took the pen out of my hands, if you will. I didn’t know how much of an impact he was going to have when I first thought him up . . . and I had to really work to tone him down or he would have happily taken over the entire story.
The Things We Knew is beautifully written and the imagery is vivid! Have you spent much time on the island of Nantucket? Do you paint?
CW: I haven’t actually been to Nantucket, although when you post this, I will have! My husband surprised me with a trip and an arranged book signing the day The Things We Knew releases! While I was writing the story though, I spent a lot of time on Google maps, and walked the island as much as I could . . . it was fascinating then of course, but I can’t wait to see it in person!
Do I paint? Not a lot now, but yes, I was quite artistic all through my school years. I dabble now and again, but time is really the big block there. When I am not writing, I want to read. I’m hoping when life calms down some (if!) that I’ll pick up a brush again some day!
You address a number of issues in this novel that I believe will resonate with many readers. Did a particular message or lesson resonate with you as you penned the narrative?
CW: All my books carry the theme of redemption and forgiveness, and I think this particular story points toward those things as well. And hope. Even when things look the bleakest, there is always hope.
Do you have a favorite story moment or scene you would like to share?
CW: Ah, hard. There are so many. But since I mentioned Gray, I really love this scene – it’s a bit from the flashback scene of when he first met Tori:
Gray played a few chords. Scribbled on the sheet music in front of
him and tried again. They’d had their first gig the previous night. A
small bar in LA, but the place was packed out. Neil was ecstatic, already
on the phone booking more gigs. A record producer had been in the
crowd. They were meeting with him later that afternoon.
Neil convinced the hotel manager to give Gray use of the piano in
the ballroom for a couple of hours. They’d made mistakes last night.
That couldn’t happen again.
Gray concentrated on the music and tried not to think about what
might come next.
The sound of someone clearing their throat stilled his fingers
and forced his eyes upward. A young woman stood in the doorway,
Gray blinked as she came into the room. She was short, but
walked with a self-assured air that told him to pay attention. Her jet-black
hair hung straight, rested on slender shoulders, and framed a
pale, perfect face. Luminous eyes the color of caramel looked him up
and down. And then she smiled.
Holy Mother of Wonderful.
Gray sucked in a breath and steadied himself on the bench. “Do
I know you?”
“Not yet.” She came a little closer. “I hear you’re on your way to
becoming the next Springsteen. Thought I’d come see for myself.”
He managed to get a grip as he checked her out. She was hotness
to the tenth degree. Tight jeans, a well-fitting T-shirt,
and Chuck Taylors. A bit too much makeup, but it didn’t matter. She had the most beautiful smile he’d ever seen.
A grin tickled his lips. “You don’t look old enough to know who
Her laugh was even more enticing. “I’m from New Jersey. It’s in
the first grade curriculum.”
What do you hope readers will take away from this story?
CW: A sense of hope, an appreciation for family, and the knowledge that second chances are always possible when we walk in light and commit to seeking truth.
Do you plan to revisit the Carlisle family in future novels? I would love to continue their stories!
CW: Oh, I would love that too. I guess we’ll just have to see what God’s plan is there. 🙂
In your refrigerator? Blueberries and cheese
On your night stand? Water
When writing? Coffee. Coffee. Coffee.
When reading? A cozy blanket in winter, and a cold drink in summer.
When traveling? iPad and laptop. Not one. Both.
What can we look forward to next?
My next novel will release March 2017, and it takes place on a vineyard in Sonoma. Here’s the synopsis:
Thirteen years ago, Natalie lost a part of herself when her twin sister died. Will traveling back to the family winery finally put the memory to rest, or will it completely destroy her?
When Natalie Mitchell learns her beloved grandfather has had a heart attack, she’s forced to return to their family-owned winery in Sonoma, something she never intended to do. She’s avoided her grandparents’ sprawling home and all its memories since the summer her sister died—the awful summer Natalie’s nightmares began. But the winery is failing, and Natalie’s father wants her to shut it down. As the majority shareholder, she has the power to do so.
And Natalie never says no to her father.
Tanner Collins, the vintner on Maoilios, is trying to salvage a bad season and put the Mitchell family’s winery back in business. When Natalie Mitchell shows up, Tanner sees his future about to be crushed. Natalie intends to close the gates, unless he can convince her otherwise. But the Natalie he remembers from childhood is long gone, and he’s not so sure he likes the woman she’s become. Still, the haunted look she wears hints at secrets he wants to unearth. He soon discovers that on the night her sister died, the real Natalie died too. And Tanner must do whatever it takes to resurrect her.
But finding freedom from the past means facing it.
GIVEAWAY DETAILS – (US/CAN mailing addresses only)
One lucky reader will win a print copy of The Things We Knew!
To enter the giveaway:
Leave a comment below, and be sure to include your email address. The giveaway ends Saturday, July 30th at midnight CDT. The winner will announced and emailed on July 31st.
To earn additional entries:
Follow this blog and/or share the giveaway. Be sure to let me know what you’ve done to earn additional entries!
Thank you so much for joining us, Catherine!
Thank you for having me! I love to hear from my readers so if you want to chat about The Things We Knew or anything else, feel free to get in touch via email or FB or any of my other social media haunts! And thank you for reading!