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
Savanna: Welcome to The Engrafted Word, Cathy! I was so excited to discover your book and have the opportunity to interview you for my blog. Can you tell us what was your favorite thing about writing Yesterday’s Tomorrow? And what was the hardest part about writing it?
Catherine: I really enjoyed the development of the relationships between characters. I think Kristin and Luke just played off each other from the get go and their dialogue flowed naturally, which is always a bonus for an author when that happens. The hardest thing was probably the research that went into the writing of Yesterday’s Tomorrow, as I wanted the reader to really experience Vietnam the way the characters would, so that took some time to create the authenticity needed for a story like this one. It was not easy to read accounts of the Vietnam war…but I found it all-consuming. At one point I actually dreamt about jumping out of helicopters! There was a moment where I did have to take a break from it, as I felt I was stepping on holy ground in a way, and I really wanted to make sure I handled that aspect of the novel with respect and integrity. I believe God allowed me to do that, and I certainly gained a greater understanding and huge respect for the military through the writing of Yesterday’s Tomorrow.
Savanna: Which character in this story do you most relate to and why?
Catherine: I think I’d have to say Kristin. While I’m not nearly as independent and adventurous as she is, I do relate to her struggles of the heart. She really has a hard time believing in a God who would allow tragedy, she reacts to things that have happened in her life by getting mad at God for letting them happen… I think we’ve all been there on some level. At some point in our lives, we need to make the decision to just trust, no matter what. Once we do that, we open the door to deeper faith and I think this allows us to enjoy relationships with others around us more fully. This is certainly how Kristin grew throughout the novel, so I hope her journey is an encouragement to readers.
Savanna: I loved reading on your website your Thoughts on Yesterday’s Tomorrow and what you learned in Vietnam. If readers could only take away one lesson from this story, what do you hope it would be?
Catherine: Ah. Tough question. 🙂 I think there are so many takeaways here. The biggest one for me is forgiveness. There were a lot of circumstances in the novel that the characters had to work through and find a way to forgive each other. Guilt played a huge role, especially for Kristin, and made it difficult for her to truly move on with her life. The biggest lesson really is learning to let go. Once we put our whole faith in God and trust Him for those hard decisions, things like grace and mercy and forgiveness will follow. Not saying it’ll be easy, but that’s the place to start. All things are possible with God.
Savanna: A beautiful premise – and message – to a novel, I must say. 😉
Many readers enjoy picking their favorite quotes from novels. Do YOU have a particular favorite quote from Yesterday’s Tomorrow that you can share with us?
Catherine: One of my favorite scenes in this story is when Kristin finally meets up with her brother Teddy, who’s in Vietnam as a combat medic. And this is actually where the title comes from. 🙂
“Don’t you think she should have waited, Teddy? Until we were home?”
Teddy sobered and shook his head. “No. We’re living in uncertain times, Kris. We’re lucky to have had yesterday, and only God knows if we’re getting tomorrow. The only day that really matters is today. It’s yesterday’s tomorrow.”
Kristin smiled at the proclamation. Teddy the Profound. “Yesterday’s tomorrow. I like that.”
Savanna: What would you say is the easiest part about being a writer and what is the hardest part?
Catherine: Is there an easy part? I’m not sure. 🙂 When the story is flowing and the characters cooperating, then it’s easy. The hardest part is once the book is finished, going back in and editing, making sure the plot makes sense, the timeline is correct and all the little things your eye missed the first time around. I tend to edit as I go, so this process isn’t as difficult. But really, I think the hardest part is trusting that what you’ve created is good enough to let go. Pressing that send button to send a completed manuscript off to my agent is always the hardest part for me. And then of course the waiting… you have to have a lot of patience to survive in the publishing industry, and sadly, I don’t have nearly enough.
Savanna: What is one of your most unforgettable moments from your writing career to date?
Catherine: I think it would have to be finding out that Yesterday’s Tomorrow won the INSPY in the romance category. That was back in 2011 when the book was first released. I was so thrilled that readers really loved it and voted for it. I’m hoping new readers will discover this story and be just as excited about it.
Savanna: I’m excited for new readers to discover it too, Cathy. I’m in the middle of reading it right now myself and can hardly put it down! Thanks so much for being with us today. Many blessings on your writing!
Readers, be watching for my review of Yesterday’s Tomorrow on Friday. 😉 And be sure to connect with Catherine through her sites below:
Website – http://www.catherinejwest.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/CatherineJWest
Twitter – https://twitter.com/cathwest
GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4715219.Catherine_West
Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/cathwest/
Google + – https://plus.google.com/u/0/108781711729974539211/posts
Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Catherine-West/e/B004RWZUHK/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
Catherine has graciously offered one copy – ebook or paperback – of YESTERDAY’S TOMORROW to one lucky winner!
–Leave your name and email in the comments below. (You MUST include your email to be qualified)
GET EXTRA ENTRIES:
(Be sure to tell me in the comments below)
-Subscribe to The Engrafted Word
-Like my Author Page on Facebook
-Follow me on Twitter
-Share this Giveaway on Social Media
Thanks for entering! Contest is open only in the U.S. and ends October 14, 2014.
Winner will be notified by email.