Let me introduce you...
Catherine West is an award-winning author who writes stories of hope and healing from her island home in Bermuda. Her first novel, Yesterday’s Tomorrow, released in 2011 and won the INSPY for Romance, a Silver Medal in the Reader’s Favorite Awards, and was a finalist in the Grace Awards. Catherine’s second novel, Hidden in the Heart, released in September 2012, was long listed in the 2012 INSPY’s and was a finalist in the 2013 Grace Awards.
When she’s not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or tending to her roses and orchids. She and her husband have two grown children. Catherine is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America, and is represented by Rachelle Gardner of Books & Such Literary. Catherine loves to connect with her readers and can be reached at Catherine@catherinejwest.com
INSPY Award-winning author Catherine West writes stories of hope and healing from her island home in Bermuda. When she’s not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or reading books by her favorite authors. She and her husband have two grown children. Catherine’s novel, Bridge of Faith, won the 2015 Grace Award. Catherine’s latest novels are The Things We Knew (July 2016) and The Memory of You (March 2017), Harper Collins Christian Publishing.
Catherine loves to connect with her readers and can be reached at Catherine@catherinejwest.com
Rachel: Welcome to Bookworm Mama Catherine! I am so honored to have you here today!
Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?
Catherine: I can’t remember not enjoying a good book! I was an advanced reader from an early age, and my parents loved to read, so being an only child, reading was kind of our family sport! I loved making up stories and I wrote my first ‘romance’ when I was about twelve, which was probably pretty funny. I think because I read so much, I fell into the whole storytelling thing quite naturally.
Rachel: I am the only "bookish" person in my immediate family. They couldn't understand why I was always reading.
What literary character is most like you? Why?
Catherine: Oh, what a hard question!! I have no idea. I really love Jane Eyre actually. I think she’s had some hard knocks, but she is determined to make the most of what life brings her, she doesn’t give up on people, and she gets the guy in the end, so I kind of like that. 🙂
Rachel: Oh yes I love Jane!
Can you share some something interesting you learned while researching The Memory of You?
Catherine: The Memory of You takes place in Sonoma, California, and the location is a family owned and run winery. There aren’t a ton of references to wine-making or the growing of grapes, but of course this is an integral part of the story, so I did a lot of research on both. I never knew how much work and time was involved in wine-making, from the time you plant the first grape vine until the first bottle of wine is ready to be opened. It’s a very long process, and you don’t use the first harvest of grapes because they’re not mature enough. So you really have to be in it for the long haul, which I found interesting and very relevant to a lot of life’s choices.
Rachel: Yes! I really enjoyed learning more about the process and inner workings of the winery. I found it very interesting for sure!
Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work? What impact have they had on your writing?
Catherine: Definitely Gone With The Wind. It was the first ‘big’ book I read, and I was captured by the first page. I love the classics as well, so anything by Austen, Dickens, the Bronte sisters. I read a lot of romance growing up, and I loved family saga stories, so I think the books I read definitely influenced the genre I would end up writing in.
Rachel: Oh I love this! All of these are so wonderful. And I do love family in books.
Do you have any "secret talents" you can tell us about?
Catherine: LOL. If I told you they wouldn’t be secret, would they? 🙂 I don’t think I actually have many talents outside of writing, but I do love to sing on the worship team at church, and I also enjoy drawing and painting, though I haven’t done that in a while, too many books to write!!
Rachel: Oooooh! An artist with words AND paints! 💗
What are you reading right now? What made you pick it up?
Catherine: I just finished reading A Bridge Across the Ocean, by Susan Meissner. She’s definitely one of my favorite authors, so I read every new book she comes up with. She does the time-slip thing really well. I’ve always been fascinated with books that deal in present day as well as the past. I actually think I’d like to write one. I had a bit of that in The Things We Knew, but it was more flashbacks of the more recent past, whereas this would be a story within the story in a different timeframe entirely.
Rachel: OH! You totally should! I would read that for sure! I have read a couple of Susan's books and I enjoy the dual timelines. Adds a different perspective to the story.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Catherine: I’m not sure how unusual, but I don’t really plot. I’ve tried. I keep trying. It just never works out that way. I will usually settle on a setting first, then the characters arrive and start talking, and then the story begins playing out like a movie in my head. While I’m in the middle of writing, I’ll often get the next chapter or scene while I’m laying awake at 2 in the morning. I don’t get up either, so I have to hope I’ll remember it in the morning, lol, but I generally do!
Rachel: I am impressed! I can never remember things come morning. I HAVE to write it down.
Catherine: Learn the craft. This is the biggest favor you can do for yourself. Take courses, read books, go to conferences, and make connections with other writers who can advise you. Grow a thick skin. Learn how to receive rejection and learn from it, have a teachable spirit, be humble. And be very patient. But if you know you’re following God’s call, trust Him to take your words where He wants them to go.
Rachel: WOW! This can definitely be translated into all aspects of life.
Before I let you go, can you tell us what is up next for you?
Catherine: Well, now that my second book with Harper Collins Christian Publishing has released, I’m going to enjoy the ride! It’s always a busy time when a book comes out, so I will have plenty to keep me busy, but we are expecting our first grandchild around the middle of April, so that’s my primary focus right now. There are a couple of projects in the pipeline as well, but at the moment no looming deadlines, so I’m going to have a little bit of breathing room and just enjoy becoming “Mimi”!
Rachel: Eeeee! That is so exciting! CONGRATULATIONS!!! And enjoy all the baby snuggles!
Thank you so much for joining us today Catherine! I SO enjoyed chatting with you and I loved The Memory of You! My review and purchase links can be found HERE.