Sure! I’ve been writing longer than I can remember and I can’t imagine doing anything else. I was born and raised on the beautiful island of Bermuda, which is about 700 miles off the coast of North Carolina, in the Atlantic. We’re a British colony, so I’ve always had a yen for all things British and I went to boarding school in the UK. My pediatrician husband and I have been married for 27 years and we have two grown children and a wonderful son-in-law.
When did you first discover that you loved writing?
Probably in primary school, when we first began to write short stories. Mine were always read out in class.
Why do you write the type of books that you do?
My tagline is “Stories that Resonate” and that’s the goal with my writing. I write contemporary romance and women’s fiction, and I believe in keeping things real. I write about characters with real struggles, real-life issues that everyone can relate to, and I don’t sugarcoat. I don’t think we can hope to point people to the cross without revealing why we need it. Sin and temptation are all around us, and nobody is immune, not even Christians. Especially not Christians, actually. While I hope my stories entertain, I also want readers to come away feeling changed and challenged in some way. And I always want to leave them with hope. Because even when things seem impossible, we must hold onto hope.
What was your greatest obstacle in writing and how did you overcome it?
Probably really believing in myself. That I could do this. That I’m good enough to do this. It’s hard to keep going in the face of rejection, and the publishing world is pretty crazy right now. It’s difficult to get new contracts, and for authors like myself who don’t have a huge fan base yet, it’s discouraging. I keep going though because I believe this is the path God has me on, and I trust him to take my writing to the places and people that need it most.
From a craft aspect, the greatest obstacle is always finishing the story. I tend to get to the middle and seem to get stuck. But somehow I muddle through and I’m usually quite pleased with the end result.
Has writing changed your life in any way?
I’ve made a lot of great friends through my writing, so in that regard, yes, my life is all the better for being part of the writing community! I’m constantly challenged to step out of my comfort zone, go deeper and stretch myself as a writer. I love that. I’ve been at this so long that I can’t say it’s really changed my life per se, but rather challenged me.
What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most?
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
I’ve had to hold onto that verse, claim it for myself and truly believe that God will work things out. No matter what the struggles are, I know He’s in the middle, holding onto me, and going before me to smooth the waters. Sometimes it’s not easy to believe that, but God has proven faithful too many times for me to doubt that He will ever not come through.
Is there a book you’ve read that has been truly spectacular?
Hmm. I can’t say spectacular. A lot of books have stayed with me over the years, particularly the classics like Dickens and Austen. Lately I’ve read a lot of Jojo Moyes, and I love her writing. I also enjoy big family saga type stories. Those are the kind of books I love to write, but haven’t found a lot of them in the CBA market yet.
What’s the funniest/quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?
I’m not sure. I’m a bit of a scatterbrain so I’m always doing silly things. I can’t think of one particular thing that stands out unfortunately.
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Please tell us about the featured book.
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.
Can you please give us the first page?
Didn’t they know they were shouting so loud the neighbors could
Twelve year-old Kristin Taylor huddled in bed, drew her knees to her
Twelve year-old Kristin Taylor huddled in bed, drew her knees to her
chest and clapped her hands over her ears. Through the thin wall she heard Daddy’s voice rise and Mom burst into tears. It was past ten o’clock. She was supposed to be asleep, but they’d woken her. Kristin gritted her teeth and began to hum her favorite song, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
A moment of peace settled over the brownstone apartment. Kristin smiled and wiped her eyes. It worked every time, even if she couldn’t hit the high notes.
Dad started yelling again.
Something smashed against the other side of her wall and shattered. More yells. No way to sleep with this racket going on. She sat up and turned on her bedside table lamp.
Kristin hopped off her bed and pushed her arms through the sleeves of her thick flannel robe. Cold air chased her as she quick-stepped across the faded rug to her dresser. She ran her fingers along the stack of books squashed between two hand-carved wooden bookends The frayed bindings of Heidi, Jane Eyre, Great Expectations and Pride and Prejudice and the Bible she’d received at her confirmation shared space with all the Agatha Christie novels Kristin could get her hands on. Every once in a while Mom came in to clean, found them, and threatened to throw them out in favor of books she felt more appropriate, but Daddy wouldn’t let her.
“The child has an inquisitive mind, Val. We should encourage that.”
Where can readers learn more information about 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
Website – http://www.catherinejwest.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/CatherineJWest
Twitter - https://twitter.com/cathwest
Pinterest - http://www.pinterest.com/cathwest/
(This giveaway is only open to followers of Christian Book Review Blog, so be sure you are a follower!)
Catherine has generously offered to giveaway a print copy of Yesterday's Tomorrow! Print giveaway is available to U.S residents only. Giveaway ends on Saturday September 20, 2014 at midnight (Eastern time). Thanks for coming by to enter!