Interview with Cathy Gohlke & GIVEAWAY

Interview with Cathy Gohlke & GIVEAWAY  | The Engrafted WordCathy Gohlke is the two-time Christy Award–winning author of the critically acclaimed novels Secrets She Kept, Saving Amelie, Band of Sisters, Promise Me This (listed by Library Journal as one of the best books of 2012), William Henry Is a Fine Name, and I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires (listed by Library Journal as one of the best books of 2008), which also won the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Book of the Year Award.

Cathy has worked as a school librarian, drama director, and director of children’s and education ministries. When not traipsing the hills and dales of historic sites, she, her husband, and their dog, Reilly, divide their time between Northern Virginia and their home on the Jersey Shore.


Savanna:  Welcome to the blog, Cathy. I’m so happy to have you here! And congratulations on your upcoming release, Secrets She Kept. I’ve already added it to my TBR list! 😉

Interview with Cathy Gohlke & GIVEAWAY  | The Engrafted WordCathy:  Thank you so much for having me, Savanna. I’m delighted to share Secrets She Kept with new readers, and hope you enjoy the book. There are cameo appearances in the novel by Corrie ten Boom, both as a young woman who meets Lieselotte during WWII, and as an older woman who meets her daughter, Hannah, in the 1970s. This is special for me, as Corrie ten Boom was a great influence in my life as a young woman. There is even a new movie releasing called “Return to the Hiding Place,” which shares more information about the Ten Boom family and their rescue work. I’m thrilled that Corrie’s ministry is reaching a new generation.

Savanna:  That’s wonderful, Cathy! Which character from your new novel are you most excited for readers to meet and why?

Cathy:  Choosing one character is like choosing one child over another! So, I opt to choose two: Hannah, the daughter and young woman of the 1970s who longs for a connection with her mother and who, even after her mother’s death, determines to delve into her mysterious past. I love Hannah’s determination, tenacity, and ultimate willingness to face and attempt to take responsibility for her family’s tragic past. I love watching her learn and change from those she encounters on her journey.

Interview with Cathy Gohlke & GIVEAWAY  | The Engrafted WordAnd then there is Lieselotte as a young woman of the 1930s and 1940s who ultimately becomes Hannah’s mother. I love watching Lieselotte grow up, wrestle with the Nazi ideology of her time and place in Germany, see her compassion and grit. I love watching her fall in love and choose a course contrary to her Nazi father’s wishes that she knows will bring her both fulfillment and likely sudden destruction. I love watching her survive, and I love witnessing those who help her. Lieselotte is complex, and though her end choices are not what I want for her, they are realistic. Even that, I love.

Savanna:  Did you have the title before you began writing Secrets She Kept or did you settle on that later in the process?

Cathy:  Titles are rarely easy for me. They either spring with the idea, or come much later. The title for Secrets She Kept was the result of collaboration with Stephanie Broene, my wonderful editor at Tyndale, the Tyndale team, and Natasha Kern, my friend and agent extraordinaire. Titles are important, yet oh so tricky to find just the right words to convey the essence of a book. I love this one—it fits perfectly.

Savanna:  I love the pictures on your website from your travels abroad and the quotes from your books. It adds so much to your stories! What was one of your favorite places to visit?

Lake District of England, Near Windermere

Lake District of England, Near Windermere

Iona--Scotland - Early Center for Christianity in Scotland

Iona–Scotland – Early Center for Christianity in Scotland

Cathy:  My favorite places to visit were England’s breathtaking Lake District and Scotland’s Highlands and Islands. You won’t see these on my website for quite awhile. The trip was research I did last year for the book I’m writing now—a book that is set to release in 2017. Because the beauty of the region meant so much to me I want to share it with you, so here is a sneak peek at a couple of photos. (Lake District of England, near Windermere; and Iona, an island of early Christianity in Scotland).

None of the photos I took of the Highlands captured the wild and rugged beauty I found there. It is a land like no other. I explored England with my friend and sister writer, Carrie Turansky. We were both researching new books—she in the south of England and I in the north. We joined a tour of Scotland’s Highlands and Gardens led by Liz Curtis Higgs—a wonderful spiritual journey, rich in new experiences.


Savanna:  You’ve won multiple writing awards. What has been one of the greatest lessons and fondest memories from participating in these contests?

Interview with Cathy Gohlke & GIVEAWAY  | The Engrafted WordCathy:  Each award has felt like an affirmation from the Lord that I’m on the right path, that I’ve listened for His voice, His direction, and that I should continue in that vein—listening, and writing. Equally important was the lesson I learned over a book I was certain glorified Him the most, had received wide recognition and multiple foreign language translations, but didn’t win an award. I didn’t think I’d expected recognition or an award for anything and was disappointed in myself to realize that I had. It was a lesson in humility and surrender, and was one of the most important lessons of my life. God works in us to bring healing and wholeness in all the ways we need, especially those needs we don’t recognize.

Savanna:  Can you share with us a piece of writing advice that has made a difference in your career?

Cathy:   “What is that in your hand?” It’s the question God asked Moses as he stood, trembling before the burning bush at the base of Mt. Horeb. God had just told Moses to go back to Egypt (where he was wanted for murder) and tell Pharaoh to let His people go.

Interview with Cathy Gohlke & GIVEAWAY  | The Engrafted WordNo way, no how did Moses want that job. He thought of every reason in the book why he wasn’t the person qualified to confront Pharaoh—much as we, as writers, might list our excuses when God calls us to write for Him: I don’t have credentials. I don’t have a Masters in Fine Arts—or even a college degree. Nobody in my family ever did this. I have children, a husband, parents to care for, I work full time—with no time or energy to write, let alone pursue publication. I’m an introvert and can’t possibly talk to agents or editors. God gave me these words—how can I allow some agent or editor to change my story?

Excuses and our to-do lists are endless—because we live in a real world with real fears and real distractions.

But we must decide if we’re going to write or not, and for anyone called by God to write—or do anything—it is a question of obedience, just as it was for Moses.
Once that’s decided, everything else falls into place—not through wishing, and not easily, but by forming a plan and placing one foot in front of the other.
To consider each of these issues and other points of interest for writers, stop by my website and check the tab for writers.

Savanna:  I love that. Thank you, Cathy! Is there anything else you’d like to add? Any upcoming projects you can share with us?

Interview with Cathy Gohlke & GIVEAWAY  | The Engrafted WordCathy:  I think it’s important for new writers to know that sometimes God steps in and changes our writing and life plans. Sometimes there are simply things He knows and sees that we can’t anticipate. I’d just finished writing Secrets She Kept and contracted a new book (the one set in England’s breathtaking Lake District) when I was diagnosed with breast cancer—a complete surprise. Right away surgery was scheduled, and soon after I began chemotherapy with plans for radiation treatments this fall and eventually hormone therapy for five years. Needless to say, surgery and chemo-brain derailed my writing plans. But the things I’ve learned from the Lord in the silence of pain and waiting are lessons I’ll carry into all of life ahead, lessons that will surely show up in anything I write in the future, most definitely in the book I’ll resume writing as soon as I’m able. I share this to say that an interruption in hopes and dreams and plans for a writer is not a dead end. It is a fork in the road less traveled that leads us to new understandings—if we allow it to enrich and not embitter us. Everything in life is material for a writer, every joy and every trial. Let all of life, the good, the bad and the ugly, be the gift it’s meant to be. Seek joy each day, through each experience. We’ll all be better people and better writers for this, we’ll all have more from the Lord to share and more ways to bless one another.

Savanna:  Cathy, your words have blessed me in so many ways. Thank you for sharing God’s grace and joy with us today. Praying He continues to guide you and bless you every day. Sending you a big hug!!


Cathy has graciously offered to give away a copy of Secrets She Kept to one lucky winner. Enter below and it could be YOU! 😉

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for entering! Contest is open only in the U.S. and ends October 6, 2015.  The winner will be notified by email. Happy Reading, everybody!

58 comments on “Interview with Cathy Gohlke & GIVEAWAY
  1. carylkane says:

    Savanna, I loved the interview with Cathy! I enjoyed reading SAVING AMELIE. I am looking forward to reading Secrets She Kept.

  2. Tammy Cordery says:

    Congrats on all the great books you have wrote. I love the book you are giving away I think it will be a great book to read. It sounds interesting.

  3. Joan Arning says:

    Love Scotland and England

  4. Melanie Backus says:

    One of my favorite book titles…Tending Roses.

  5. Deanne Patterson says:

    Savanna, What a wonderful interview with,Cathy. I enjoyed it.
    I have read Band of Secrets and I know I would enjoy reading another winner by, Cathy Gohlke, Secrets She Kept.

  6. bn100 says:

    no fav book title

  7. How wonderful to bring Corrie ten Boom in! I will look forward to this two generation story. Historical fiction is the very best! Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House

  8. Great interview! This books has been on my TBR for a little while now. Would love to win and read it. Thanks for the opportunity to enter the giveaway! 🙂

  9. Veronica says:

    Looking forward to your newest edition/read Corrie ten Boon ages ago and still marvel at what a courageous and strong women she was.

  10. Emilee Douglas says:

    Nice interview!

  11. Beth says:

    What a heartfelt and inspiring interview. Thank you Cathy & Savanna!

  12. kim amundsen says:

    Nice interview.

  13. Bonnie Roof says:

    I truly enjoyed this interesting interview, Cathy and Savanna- thank you!! I loved reading about Cathy’s writing, the pics are beautiful. I have attended numerous speaking events of Liz Curtis Higgs, and would love to be physically able to go on one of her tours – perhaps, one day. Her humor makes the studies of the bible and history so much more enjoyable.

    Having had breast cancer and surgery in 2014, and current health issues also – I am so aware, like Cathy, of how one’s life plans can be changed. Saying a prayer for you, Cathy!! Thanks for the giveaway opportunity – I’d love to read ‘Secrets She Kept’. I love the storyline, and Corrie ten Boom as one of the characters.

    Shared post!!

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      Hi sweet Bonnie! I appreciate you stopping in. Don’t those trips and pictures of Cathy’s sound incredible? I’d love to tag along on one of those someday. 😉

      You’ve been in my thoughts and prayers, friend. I second what Cathy said and I hope you’ll keep me posted. Sending you a big hug!!

      • Bonnie Roof says:

        Yes, the Scotland trip/pics are particularly enticing to me, as I have Scottish ancestors. Thank you so much for your thoughts, prayers – and the hug too, Savanna!! I appreciate them so much, & will send you a message when I get a chance.

  14. Cathy Gohlke says:

    It was such a pleasure to do this interview with you, Savanna!

    How wonderful that so many of you are already familiar with my books–I’m thrilled and truly honored. I hope you’ll all enjoy Secrets She Kept. As Veronica said, Corrie ten Boom was surely a courageous and strong woman–what an example for all of us!

    Thank you, Bonnie, for your prayers. I truly appreciate them. I hope you are doing well in your recovery from breast cancer–what a journey–and that whatever your current health issues are that they will be resolved in a healthy, positive way. I’ll pray for you, too.

    God bless!

    • Bonnie Roof says:

      Thank you so much for your prayers, Cathy!! My recovery from breast cancer has gone well, unfortunately, my surgeon feels I have metastatic kidney cancer – I had a kidney removed due to cancer in 2000. Not feeling I have the strength for the difficult surgery recommended, I’m trying a natural plan of treatment & praying God will heal me through it.


  15. Patty says:

    Thanks for the great interview ladies! I haven’t read any of Cathy’s books, but this one sounds very good.
    So neat that you have been able to do some traveling in preparation for writing a new book.

  16. Stephanie C. says:

    I love this interview! I read Promise Me This earlier this year. This was the first I have read by Cathy and will definitely not be the last. It was so fun “getting to know her” a wee bit in this interview. She has such a heart for God. Thank you for sharing. Cathy, thank you for doing this interview.

    Thank you,
    Stephanie C.

  17. Linda Walker Morgan says:

    Thanks for letting me enter the giveaway – have completed all the entry options. It would be so wonderful to win – today has not been a very good day. Got a disturbing health report today. Would greatly appreciate prayers – I know God’s got this and while it the news wasn’t great, it’s not as bad as it could’ve been. Great interview.

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      Hi Linda! I’m so sorry to hear you received some difficult news recently. I will certainly be lifting you up in prayer. I hope God gives you great peace during this time and strengthens you with fresh mercy every morning. Hugs to you!

  18. Anne Payne says:

    Oh wow! Cathy you got to go to Scotland with Liz Curtis Higgs!!! And Carrie Turansky….love both of these ladies. I’m so excited to be able to possibly win a copy of your book. I’ve heard great things from my friend, Rebecca Maney, about your writing. 🙂

  19. Pam K. says:

    I’m a big fan of Cathy’s books. I’ve read all except Promise Me This and this newest book, but I hope to read both of those too. I’ve also recommended her books to my book club; we discussed Band of Sisters and William Henry is a Fine Name. I like the substance in her books.
    I pray Cathy’s cancer treatments will go well.

  20. Diane says:

    Looking forward to reading a book by Cathy very soon!!!

  21. Edward Arrington says:

    Love to win the book for my wife.

  22. Nancy says:

    Thanks for sharing so much Cathy! I loved your book Saving Amelie. It is almost hard to describe the way it touched me. Such emotions throughout the book I felt. Excellent writing. And yes I would say God has a hand in your writing. Thanks for being obedient. Praying for you as you continue your journey.

  23. Lovely interview. Very inspirational. I’ve read all of Cathy’s books and each carries a part of her heart and passion for the Lord.

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      I can’t think of a better review of another’s ministry and labor for the Lord. Thanks for commenting here, Terri. Good luck to you in the giveaway!

  24. Katrina Epperson says:

    Right now I am reading Denise Hunter books and she is a favorite of mine. This looks like a great book. Thank you for sharing.

  25. angela chesnut says:

    would love to win.

  26. Wonderful interview! I love Cathy and all her books. I’m so glad you’re helping her spread the word about her stories. Blessings to all!

  27. Lucy says:

    This book sounds powerful and I am thankful to have a chance to win a copy. I enjoyed the interview. You are in my prayers, Cathy.

  28. Cathy Gohlke says:

    I’m overwhelmed and so very moved by all these loving comments and assurance of prayers! Thank you to each and every one here. What a blessing you are!

    I’m coming to the end of my radiation treatments soon and looking forward to moving forward. I so appreciate your prayers for my writing journey. That’s something I’m eager to resume in God’s time. God bless you!

  29. Connie Saunders says:

    Cathy, I am sorry to read of your battle and I will pray for you. The feelings you have experienced during this time will enable you to write words that will uplift and encourage your readers. God uses our pain and troubles to increase our empathy and and to give us the ability to reach out to others going through the same pain and troubles. May God bless you!

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