After being diagnosed with AS (Ankylosing Spondylitis), Cathy was forced to give up work and began writing. She writes both short stories and novels. Her first short – a humorous take on giving up smoking – won a national award and was broadcast on local radio. Her next took second place in the University of Winchester “Reaching Out” competition. You’ll also find her work in the 2009 and 2010 A Writers’ Christmas—anthologies published for charity. Her latest short story success was with Bridge House Publishing’s Crime After Crime anthology, released December 2012
Spurred by the success of her short stories, Cathy turned to writing novels. Her debut novel Where There’s Smoke—published by Fireborn Publishing—was inspired by the bravery of firefighters everywhere, but especially by those who gave so much on 9-11. Cathy has drawn directly upon her family’s experience in the fire brigade in order to bring realism to her story.
At the moment, Cathy is hard at work on her next novel The Hungry Ghost.
What inspires you to write romance books?
Love is what makes the world go round. A book isn’t complete unless it has some element of romance in it – at least to me. Most of my themes are dark – revenge, jealousy, murder – adding a touch of romance stops the book from becoming too bleak.
Tell us about how you write:
I’m a panster all the way. I have tried to plot out the story beforehand, but it never works for me. Usually, I’ll have a first line in mind and a good idea of how the story will end up, but the rest is a mystery.
I’m inclined to jump from scene to scene as they come to me. I use Scrivener to help me keep my chapters and characters under control. It’s a brilliant writing aid. I try to write every day. Sometimes I’m successful, other times…well, I call them ‘Thinking Days’. When the writing isn’t going well, I take the chance to do research or flesh out characters.
Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Of course. Doesn’t every writer? I love the way we’re strangers at the beginning of the book, but by the end, we’ve become good friends. I usually write out a detailed background for my main characters. Most of it is never used, but it’s a good way to get to know them.
What advice would you give other writers?
Write what inspires you and don’t give up. Writing can be hard, it can also be lonely, but there’s no feeling in the world like finally completing the first draft of a novel.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
In the beginning, I wasn’t that bothered about getting the book published, I was just happy to have finished it. It wasn’t until a few beta readers told me how it good it was and that I should definitely try publishing it that I decided to do something about it. Being a total newbie, I started subbing to publishers, having no idea I should try and get an agent first. I had a lot of rejections and a few requests for fulls, which kept me going. When nothing came from the fulls, I shelved the book for a while. Then, last year I decided to start subbing again. I immediately got an offer from Fireborn Publishing.
I've no idea why, after so many rejections, the book finally started to get offers. Maybe it was timing? I am a member of a couple of writing sites, and the writers there helped me craft and refine my query and cover letter until they were the best they could possibly be. That’s the thing about most writers, they’re generous with their time and advice – not many professions can say the same.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think the demand for e-books will rise, as will the demand for shorter novels. People don’t have time anymore to sit down to a huge book. That’s not to say that print books will go out of fashion. A lot of people – myself included – prefer a physical book. There’s just something about the feel and smell of a book that thrills me.
What genres do you write?
Romance, mystery, suspense
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print