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 and one beautiful granddaughter. Catherine is the winner of the 2015 Grace Award (Bridge of Faith) and the Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope & Love Reader’s Choice Award (The Things We Knew). Her most recent novel, The Memory of You, released March 2017 and Where Hope Begins releases in May 2018. Catherine loves to connect with her readers and can be reached at Catherine@catherinejwest.com

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Welcome back to the blog, Cathy. I’m so glad to have you here today. And congratulations on your newest release, Where Hope Begins. I LOVE the cover!

What do you hope readers take away from Savannah’s story in Where Hope Begins? (Love her name, by the way! ) 🙂

LOL, yeah, it’s a good name! I don’t know that I could say there’s any one thing I hope readers take away, but I hope they perhaps become more enlightened to the plight of those in the midst of struggles and great heartache. I think so often it’s easy to say “Oh, I’ll pray for you!” and while that’s great, that person may need a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear, or even a safe place to come and sit in silence. Reaching out is hard, on both sides, but I think the more we do it, the easier it becomes, and showing true compassion to those in need can really be life changing.

Yes, that’s so important and so needed.

What will you remember most about writing this book?

Wow, everything. But probably the way it just came to me – almost fully formed, like a movie playing in my head, in the middle of the night, with those first words – My husband is leaving me.

And then how easy it was to write – not emotionally, but the actual writing process. It really flowed from start to finish, and that’s a rarity. Of course the biggest thing I will remember is shared at the end of the book, in my Author Note. I struggled with the topic of adultery and I wasn’t sure why God seemed to have chosen this particular topic to write about. But I knew I had to. And then toward the end of the first draft, I was told that dear friends were splitting up, in a story quite similar to Savannah’s. And a couple months after that, we heard of another couple going through the same thing. So I knew this book was meant to be written, and why. It’s not a fun topic and not one we enjoy discussing, but I believe it’s relevant for today, especially in the church. Marriages are in trouble. It’s time to be more aware of that, and to fight back.

I love seeing how God is already using your story to impact the lives around you. His unending faithfulness to us is such a gift.

Which heroine from a book would you like to be? Why?

Hmm. Tough question. I’ve always loved Scarlett O’Hara. She did have her issues, mind you, but I admire her tenacity. I’m not sure I’d want to be her, but she’s one of my favorites. Same with Anne from Anne of Green Gables.

Great answer! They have their flaws, but they’re such intriguing characters. 🙂

What do you love most about living in Bermuda?

The beauty. I love that everything is green all year round and there is never snow. The warm weather, but I don’t love the humidity. We’re still a relatively quiet community, in that we have no large shopping malls (not one), not chain stores or restaurants (sadly no Starbucks!!), and no-one ever seems in a rush to get from A-B. We’re a very small island, but a short plane ride to the US east coast, so I don’t ever feel isolated. I think there is a quiet calm here, found in walks along the beach, ocean views and the sound of tiny tree frogs serenading you to sleep at night. Like anywhere, we have our own unique issues, but there is a deep sense of pride in being Bermudian, which transcends all walks of life, race and religion.

Ok, you just totally sold me on wanting to visit Bermuda. Sounds amazing!

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

Well, I’ve been doing this a very long time, so I’ve had lots of advice along the way. I suppose the one thing that has stuck with me is the advice to not play the comparison game. It’s really hard as an author, not to look around and try to figure out how other authors are doing so well when you feel like you’re struggling. To think, ‘if only I could write like so-and-so’ is surely a recipe for disaster. First of all, it’s telling yourself you don’t have anything unique to offer your audience that they might like just as much, secondly, you’re not so-and-so, you’re you, and you have your own voice, and your own stories to tell. So I try to step out in faith, don’t worry about what others are doing, and just do my own thing. God’s got this. 🙂

Love it! I know that’s something we all struggle with. Thank you for those great reminders.

We appreciate you sharing with us today, Cathy! Is there anything else you’d like to add? Any upcoming projects you can share with us?

Well, thanks for having me back on the blog! I’m really thrilled to have so much interest in Where Hope Begins! I’m so grateful for all my readers, especially those who take the time to reach out and let me know they’re reading and enjoying my books! I haven’t been doing a whole lot lately, I’ve taken a bit of a break, but I’m now working on a new story that is set in Bermuda, and I’m really excited about it. It’s more family drama, and really about identity and discovering one’s voice. 🙂

Ohhhh, I can’t wait to read it! Thanks again for stopping by. Have a blessed summer, Cathy.

GIVEAWAY!!

Cathy has graciously offered to give away one copy of Where Hope Begins to one lucky winner. Enter below and it could be YOU! ;)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for entering! Contest is open for US residents only. Contest ends May 30, 2018.  The winner will be notified by email. Happy Reading, everybody!