Catherine West is an award-winning author who writes stories of hope and healing from her island home in Bermuda. Educated in Bermuda, England and Canada, Catherine holds a degree in English from the University of Toronto. 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 college-aged 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
Why do you write the kind of books you do?
I love to read romance, so it stands to reason that I love to write books with romantic storylines! I also love to deal with issues of forgiveness, redemption, healing, and restoration. My books will always have those themes running through them because I believe you just can’t get enough of God’s grace!
Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
Wow. Tough question. I have had so many wonderful moments in my life. I think I’d have to say it’s a tie between my wedding day and the safe deliveries of my two amazing children.
How has being published changed your life?
I wouldn’t say my life has really changed, but being published has helped get me organized and more focused. I’m writing with more of a purpose now, knowing the books I’m writing are getting published. I’m also more mindful of how I spend my time, and careful to balance my day so that I have enough time for writing, marketing, and personal time for exercise and fun!
What are you reading right now?
I haven’t started anything new recently, but the last book I finished was Seahorse in the Thames, by Susan Meissner. A great read!
What is your current work in progress?
The book I’m working on now is a Contemporary Romance called
. It’s a story of coming home,
lost love, and second chances. I’m totally in love with my characters, Reid and
Julia, and I’m hoping all works out well for them. J Bridge of Faith
What would be your dream vacation?
Oh, this is easy! I have always wanted to go to Italy. I’m looking forward to that day, not that it’s in the works, but one of these years my husband and I will do that. Actually my daughter is getting married next summer, and she and her fiancé will be going to Italy for their honeymoon, so we’ve been planning that with them and getting all sorts of ideas!
How do you choose your settings for each book?
I’m not sure that I do. They tend to choose themselves. I may play around with a few ideas for settings, and eventually settle on one that feels right. Of course the exception to this was Vietnam in my book Yesterday’s Tomorrow. I knew I wanted to write about a female journalist who went to Vietnam, and the story progressed from there. In Hidden in the Heart, the setting of
just seemed right for that story. I’ve never been there, but I imagine it to be
a very peaceful place.
If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
I’d love to meet Barbara Walters. I think she’s interviewed so many amazing people – it would be really cool to sit down and chat with her for a while. I’m sure she’d have lots of interesting things to say!
What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I love to watch movies, but lately it has been hard to find good ones. One thing my family and I enjoy is finding television series we haven’t seen when they aired, buying the series DVDs and catching up on those shows. My current favorite is Army Wives. We’re also big Downton Abbey fans, but of course that’s still running. I love gardening, going for walks with my dog, and taking photographs. I used to crochet but I haven’t done that for a while.
I had totally missed Downton Abbey, and only heard about it after the end of the second season. So I ordered the DVDs of seasons one and two, and James watched all of them over about a three-week period. We loved them.What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
I’m a seat of the pants writer, so I’ll often barrel along without much rhyme or reason to what I’m doing until I get a good sense of where the story is going. I tend to edit as I go and I find this can be quite an obstacle because I need to go back, often to the first chapter, to go over everything again before I start a new section. I’m trying to just take the plunge and pick up the story from the last sentence I wrote, but it’s hard for me to do that.
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Run for the hills! Just kidding. Writing IS a difficult occupation, but if it’s truly your passion, then you know you’re in it for the long haul. Don’t take any connection for granted. Network, make friends, be genuine and reach out to others. If you can get to writing conferences, fantastic. If not, try to glean what you can online, join a critique group, take some writing courses, read widely, not only in your genre, get to know which agents and editors lean toward what you write, and most importantly, never, ever, ever give up!
Tell us about the featured book.
Hidden in the Heart
Everything Claire wants seems to be beyond her reach…
After losing her mother to cancer and suffering a miscarriage soon after, Claire Ferguson numbs the pain with alcohol and pills, and wonders if her own life is worth living.
Adopted at birth, Claire is convinced she has some unknown genetic flaw that may have been the cause of her miscarriage. She must find a way to deal with the guilt she harbors. But exoneration will come with a price.
With her marriage in trouble and her father refusing to answer any questions about her adoption, Claire begins the search for her birth mother. For the first time in her life, she really wants to know where she came from. But what if the woman who gave her life doesn’t want to be found?
For all those who have loved, experienced loss, and lived life’s roller-coaster
Please give us the first page of the book.
Claire Ferguson stood outside Baby Gap, unable to look away from the Christmas display. Red velvet dresses and miniature-sized plaid waistcoats. Tiny suede boots, tiny patent leather shoes, tiny colorful striped hats and scarves. Everything was tiny.
Claire stared at a little red dress, her eyes filling as she imagined and wished for the impossible. People filed in and out of the store, smiling, laughing. Happy. An ordinary day filled with ordinary tasks and lists of things that must be accomplished. She had no such list—just an overwhelming need to pass time quickly on this day that was not so ordinary.
Claire steadied herself and glanced at her watch. Late afternoon. Shoppers jostled by, oblivious to her pain, all in a hurry to get their purchases and conquer the next store in the mall. If only she had a reason to hurry.
“Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” crooned from the mall loudspeakers. Claire bit her lip and cursed Bing. Christmas would be merry when it was over.
Claire tightened her grip around the numerous bags she carried and slowly moved forward. Her heel slipped on a slick patch of tile. She regained her balance before falling, but the effort shook her and sent her pulse racing. After walking a bit, her arms began to burn. Her overflowing shopping bags were heavy but gave a sense of accomplishment. She’d gotten out of bed and had the purchases to prove it.
“Claire? Hey…yoo-hoo!” A woman’s greeting floated above the noise of the crowd.
Claire lowered her head and rummaged through her purse. She popped a few breath mints into her mouth and chewed as she weighed her options.
Pretend she didn’t hear. Pretend to be someone else. Or turn and face the owner of the vaguely familiar voice still calling out her name. Curiosity won out and Claire turned.
“Hi, Claire! I thought that was you.” The woman waved and hurried over. Platinum blonde hair swooshed around her shoulders. “Long time no see. You do remember me, don’t you?”
How can readers find you on the Internet?
OakTara Website: http://www.oaktara.comBlog: http://www.thisisablogaboutbooks.wordpress.com
Thank you, Cathy, for sharing this new book with us.
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