Keli Gwyn
Visit with Author Catherine West

It’s my pleasure to host Catherine West, my agency mate and friend. Her latest novel, Hidden in the Heart, was released by Oak Tara Publishing in September. The story deals with adoption and the search for one’s birth parents and has already received a number of glowing reviews.

Cathy is an island girl who hates sand. But she loves living in beautiful Bermuda with her two college-aged kids—when they’re home, her pediatrician husband and rambunctious Border collie. Educated in Bermuda, England and Canada, she holds a BA in English from the University of Toronto.

When she’s not writing or reading, you’ll find her in the garden with her roses or tending her orchids. Catherine volunteers with Bermuda Riding for the Disabled. She loves to shop and takes frequent trips to the US to satisfy the craving and fuel her Starbucks addiction.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s learn a little more about Cathy. . .

We’ll start with an easy one:
What’s your beverage of choice at Starbucks?

Haha! Well, since we don’t have Starbucks in Bermuda, I beeline for it as soon as I get off the plane wherever I am! I am partial to Caramel Macchiatos, and I also love Pike’s Peak.

I’ve noticed on Facebook that you travel a good deal. Do you travel light, or are you a pack-everything-you can-possibly-squeeze-in type of person?

Yes, we seem to be traveling a good deal this year! Unfortunately I do not have the ‘pack light’ dna anywhere in my body. I wish I did! I always end up bringing far too much wherever we are going. I try, but I think it’s a lost cause. And then of course if I do any shopping, I have more to pack!!

I see that you’re a dog person. What’s the most amusing thing that beautiful Border collie of yours has done?

Ah…he’s pretty amusing, that’s for sure! Let’s see…when he wants a treat, he’ll just launch himself into doing every trick he knows, one after the other – it’s pretty funny to watch! He is also a little OCD – we have outdoor fans on our patio and he loves to run back and forth after them if they’re on. They don’t even need to be on, we just have to say “Get the fan!” and he goes nuts!

Your story deals with the search for a birth parent and is based on your own experience. When did you embark on your search for your birth mother, and what were the most rewarding aspects of it?

Yes, the book is loosely based on my own experiences. I learned a lot about myself during that time. I discovered I had a lot of unresolved feelings, and emotions I didn’t even know I had, surrounding my being adopted. Finally finding peace in who I am and where I came from was the most rewarding thing, but more importantly, the process made me draw closer to God and I realized that while it is good to know my biological history, who I am in Him is what’s going to matter in eternity.

And now to end with a glimpse into your world. If we were to look around your living room, what would we learn about you?

I like color! Deep greens, butter yellows – I love art and pottery and glass, and we have a lot of it all over the house! My living room is actually the one room that’s pretty much always tidy, so that’s great! Look into my study and that’s a different story!!

Cathy’s Question for You

During my search and reunion journey, I was faced with many difficult situations, and sometimes it was all I could do to cry out to God to help me keep going. He came through in a big way for me and provided me with miracles I could not even have imagined. Have you ever had a time where you cried out to Him in desperation? What happened?

Win an Autographed Copy of Hidden in the Heart

To enter the drawing, leave a comment by Sunday, October 21st. Be sure to leave your email address when prompted so I can contact you if you win.

I’ll post the winner’s name here and in a comment.

Congratulations to Joanne Bischof, winner of Cathy’s book!

No purchase necessary.
Offer void where prohibited.
Odds of winning vary due to number of entrants.
Prizes will be mailed to U.S. or Canadian addresses only.

Learn About Hidden in the Heart

Everything Claire wants seems to be beyond her reach… After losing her mother to cancer and suffering a miscarriage soon after, Claire Ferguson numbs the pain with alcohol and pills, and wonders if her own life is worth living.

Adopted at birth, Claire is convinced she has some unknown genetic flaw that may have been the cause of her miscarriage. She must find a way to deal with the guilt she harbors. But exoneration will come with a price.

With her marriage in trouble and her father refusing to answer any questions about her adoption, Claire begins the search for her birth mother. For the first time in her life, she really wants to know where she came from. But what if the woman who gave her life doesn’t want to be found?

• • •

To learn more about Cathy and her books, visit http://www.catherinejwest.com.

 

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Keli Gwyn
Writer Wednesday: Meet Debut Novelist Catherine West

It’s my pleasure to host Catherine West, my agency mate and friend. Her debut novel, Yesterday’s Tomorrow, was released by Oak Tara Publishing in March. Since it deals with the Vietnam War, which was waged during my childhood, I thought it an appropriate book to highlight as we approach Veteran’s Day. I’ve read Yesterday’s Tomorrow and recommend it as a poignant, realistic, and yet tasteful depiction of that tumultuous era.

Cathy is an island girl who hates sand! But she loves living in beautiful Bermuda with her two college-aged kids—when they’re home, her pediatrician husband and rambunctious Border collie. Educated in Bermuda, England and Canada, she holds a BA in English from the University of Toronto.

When she’s not writing or reading, you’ll find her in the garden with her roses or tending her orchids. Catherine volunteers with Bermuda Riding for the Disabled. She loves to shop and takes frequent trips to the US to satisfy the craving and fuel her Starbucks addiction.

OK, now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s learn a little more about Cathy. . .

You live in Bermuda but don’t like sand? Wow! That must make life interesting. What are your favorite things about your island home?

Bermuda is a beautiful island. Very small, with a few hills, but rather flat over all. What I love is the color of the ocean—it’s a turquoise expanse of sparkling waves that entice you in for a dip at almost every turn. Our roads are narrow and busy, but framed in beautiful hibiscus hedges and pink oleander. There’s always something pretty to look at whether you’re walking or driving in Bermuda, but if you’re driving, pay attention! I do love the beach but to be honest, much prefer the privacy of my own pool. And I love the fact that Bermuda is only an hour and a half by plane from New York and Boston and two hours from Toronto!

You raise roses and orchids. For someone like me with brown thumbs, I find that impressive. What drew you to those particular flowers, and how many varieties would a visitor find in your yard?

My mother gave me her love of gardening. She was an avid rosarian and won many awards for her roses. I tend to prefer modern roses, especially those with strong scent. At the moment I have over ten different varieties, including a couple of Old Bermuda roses, which run along the lines of the tea rose, and smell beautiful! My orchids are an ongoing project. I have some outside in my slathouse, but the more delicate ones I have been keeping indoors. I have one in bloom at the moment. My dendrobiums usually bloom in March or April.

Shopping is fun. I have a hunch your choices in Bermuda are limited, though, so I can understand your trips to the U.S. What are your favorite shopping destinations? Are you a Mall of America gal, or are the stores in New York City or Los Angeles more your style?

Yes, we have quite a limited selection of things here compared to your average American shopping mall. I have only been to the Mall of America once, and found it a bit overwhelming. I tend to enjoy Boston and of course my annual Thanksgiving trip to my sister’s in Connecticut. We tend to do a lot of shopping that weekend!

I think it’s way cool that you volunteer with Riding for the Disabled? What led you to this organization? Are you a big horse person, or is your primary interest helping those with disabilities?

I’ve always loved horses. I rode as a teenager, but mainly for pleasure. I didn’t really enjoy show-jumping and never got into that. My daughter also rode for a few years.

When a friend talked to me about her involvement with Riding for the Disabled, I thought I would check it out. That was about five years ago. I’m a side-walker, which means I’m dealing with the rider, not the horse. We have children from about five to twelve that come to the lessons I help with. It’s an amazing experience to watch a wheelchair-bound child atop a horse. It’s like you’ve given them the world.

Your debut novel deals with the Vietnam War. Obviously you have a heart for veterans. Do you have family members who served in the military to whom you’ll be paying tribute on Veteran’s Day, which I believe you in Bermuda call Remembrance Day?

I believe my grandfather may have served in WWII. I know some of my mother’s relatives flew planes in that war. Yes, in Bermuda we do call it Remembrance Day, but the idea is the same, honor the Vets.

I have to admit that prior to writing Yesterday’s Tomorrow I never paid all that much attention. Now I have a new perspective on those who put their lives on the line for our freedom. I think they are amazing men and women and definitely need to be recognized for what they do for us, both those who have lost their lives and those who still serve their country today.

Cathy’s Question for You

Since writing my book, I’ve come to look at our Veterans in a new light. How do you see the military? Are there military members in your family whose service you’ll be remembering on 11/11/2011?

Win an Autographed Copy of Yesterday’s Tomorrow

To enter the drawing, leave a comment by Thursday, November 10th. Be sure to leave your email address when prompted so I can contact you if you win.

I’ll post the winner’s name here and in a comment on November 11th.

Congratulations to Erica Vetsch, winner of the drawing!

No purchase necessary.
Offer void where prohibited.
Odds of winning vary due to number of entrants.
Prizes will be mailed to U.S. or Canadian addresses only.

Learn About Yesterday’s Tomorrow

It’s 1967, and Kristin Taylor wants to go to Vietnam to report on the war and honor her father’s memory by becoming an award-winning journalist like he was. But no editor will send her. So she strikes out on her own and steps into a world more terrifying than she’d imagined.

As she encounters the horrors of war, Kristin struggles to report the truth while desperately trying to keep tabs on her only brother who enlisted some time ago, but both tasks seem impossible.

When she meets photographer Luke Maddox, Kristin knows she’s found a story. The mystery beneath his brooding eyes triggers her curiosity. She’s convinced he’s hiding something and determines to discover his secrets. The only trouble is, he won’t let her within three feet of him.

In an unexpected twist, Kristin and Luke are forced to work together. With war raging all around them, they engage in their own tumultuous battle of emotions. Headstrong and willing to risk it all for what they believe in, they’ll do whatever it takes to fulfill their own private agendas. Kristin is after a story that might get her the Pulitzer. Luke wants retribution from the enemy that took away his family. In the face of death, Kristin and Luke must decide if they’re willing to set aside selfish ambition for the love that seems to have ambushed them and captured their hearts.

View the Book Trailer for Yesterday’s Tomorrow

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVQUMRlYhkM&w=560&h=315]

My review of Yesterday’s Tomorrow

Catherine West tackled a tough subject in Yesterday’s Tomorrow. For those of us who can remember the Vietnam War, there are sure to be strong feelings associated with it. Cathy doesn’t dance around them; she explores them with compassion and understanding.

Through the eyes of journalist Kristin Taylor and photographer Luke Maddox, the reader witnesses the realities of that war as well as the aftermath. While Cathy captures the essence of the experience in tastefully crafted scenes, the story is much more than a snapshot of battles fought. Feelings, choices, and consequences come into play as Kristin and Luke meet in the midst of a turbulent time in history. Although the story takes place in the middle of a war, their relationship is at the forefront. I found myself laughing and crying with them as their friendship deepened into so much more.

Yesterday’s Tomorrow is a moving tale of love and triumph over adversity, one that pays tribute to the brave men and women who served in Vietnam and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. If you enjoy a story with page-turning action, vivid imagery, engaging characters, and a lot of heart, I recommend Yesterday’s Tomorrow.

• • •

To learn more about Cathy and her books, visit http://www.catherinejwest.com.

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Keli Gwyn

 
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