Today is a very special day for all Australians, Anzac Day. I am so very proud of the men that fought for our country and feel extremely blessed to be living in such a free and agriculturally rich country. It brings tears to my eye each and every time I here the Last Post. Lest we forget.
Welcome to this weeks Awesome Aussie Authors segment and my guest today is the kind-hearted and wonderfully talented Cathryn Hein. Cathryn is a fellow Penguin author who writes from the heart,her stories captivating and her characters three dimensional. Her debut rural romance novel, Promises, had me turning the pages with anticipation, the ending taking my breath away in a long contented sigh. Heart of the Valley, Cathryn's second rural romance, is out tomorrow! Off to the book shop for me it will be! I admire her natural ability to be able to draw you into her written world and take you on a romantic adventure that will leave you begging for more. Cathryn truly is an amazing author!
Hi Cathryn! It's wonderful to have you here chatting with me today.
Where were you born, raised, schooled and what was the most mischievous thing you did when you were a child?
I was born in Mount Gambier, a moderately sized service town in South Australia’s rural south east famous for its spectacular crater lake and sinkholes. The Blue Lake is really something to see in the summer when, in contrast to its winter raincloud grey, it transforms into a stunning electric blue. My childhood was pretty idyllic – lots of horse riding and endless baking summers spent at our beach shack. As for mischievous things, hmm, perhaps you should ask my parents, but I do remember sneaking away to a secret, spider-infested hidey-hole in the garage roof to spy on people. But really, the only things I really cared about were animals that neighed!
How long did it take you to get published and how did you feel when you were told you had a contract?
After years of false starts, I started writing seriously with the goal of becoming published in 2005. However, I didn’t start submitting my work until around 2008 when I was finally confident that it was up to standard. Mainly I wrote rural-set romances, which I adore, but I also dabbled in other genres, and it was with a fantasy that I first sold to a digital publisher in 2009. I earned another contract in 2010 with a different digital publisher before selling Promises to Penguin the same year. Ecstatic doesn’t even begin to describe that moment, but I also felt proud. I’d worked incredibly hard for that moment and finally it had arrived.
What time of the day/night do you prefer to write and where do you like to write?
I’m a morning person. The earlier I’m at it the faster the words flow. I have a dedicated office and mostly write there, but I do write occasionally by hand in the special notebooks I keep for all my manuscripts, aka my “bibles”. Often these hand written scenes turn out to be the best because they’re written after a great blast of inspiration, typically right when I get out of the shower!
Can you tell us a little bit about your upcoming book? And what date it will be released?
Heart of the Valley is a very special book and not only because the Hunter Valley, where the story is set, is such an important place for me. The characters are so alive and vibrant that, even though the book is finished and it’s time to move on, it’s still hard to let them go.
Brooke Kingston is smart, capable and strongwilled some might even say stubborn and lives in the beautiful Hunter Valley on her family property. More at home on horseback than in heels, her life revolves around her beloved ‘boys’ showjumpers Poddy, Oddy and Sod. Then a tragic accident leaves Brooke a mess. Newcomer Lachie Cambridge is hired to manage the farm, and Brooke finds herself out of a job and out of luck. But she won't go without a fight. What she doesn’t expect is Lachie himself -a handsome, gentle giant with a will to match her own. But with every day that Lachie stays, Brooke’s future on the farm is more uncertain. Will she be forced to choose between her home and the man she’s falling for?
You can read the first chapter here.
Where do you find inspiration for your stories?
Oh, gawd, EVERYWHERE! I get quite a few ideas from reading newspapers and magazines, and I keep a large file of snipped-out articles with notes scribbled down the column sides or sticky notes spattered all over them. But sometimes inspiration can come from an overheard conversation, a movie, or a piece of music. It could be a painting or sculpture, a wonderful experience, or a sight I’ve seen. Perhaps even a dream or scrap of gossip someone’s shared. Anything can set it off. Then my mind starts whirling and I start thinking what if...
What is your favourite meal?
One spent with people I love. Naff but true.
Who is your favourite Australian?
I know it’s a cop-out but there are so many great Australians that it’s hard to choose. Given I’m reading both his memoir and Les Carlyon’s biography of the great trainer, right now I’d probably say Bart Cummings. That man is indeed the master and a real gentleman. It also goes without saying that my own darling man rates up there on the favourite scale pretty highly!
What is your favourite Aussie saying?
She’ll be right. It usually is.
Where would be your ideal place to holiday?
Right now I’m rather desperate to visit Greece, and doing quite a bit of nagging about the subject. Perhaps an odd choice given the country’s current woes, but I’ve always wanted to go and I adore its history and culture. As for the food, don’t get me started. I adore Greek cuisine. Fortunately there are plenty of excellent Greek restaurants where I’m currently living.
Thanks so much for inviting me on Awesome Aussie Authors, Mandy. It’s been great fun!
Thanks for visiting, Cathryn. I loved having you here today. I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy of Heart of the Valley.
If you’d like to know more about Cathryn you can visit her website, or connect via her blog, Twitter and on Facebook.
Thought for this week
"Don't look back. You're not going that way."
Only 4 weeks from today and Jacaranda will be hitting the shelves!! How exciting! I love this part of the writing journey, when I get to meet the readers whilst I am out on the road. I will be posting tour dates very soon so stay tuned. Hope to meet you along the way!
Until next week, keep dreaming and smiling
Mandy :) xx