Let’s welcome Catherine McGreevy to the Sunday interview today.
Here’s a bit about Catherine:
Because my father was a diplomat, I grew up in several countries including France, Spain, and Morocco, and attended twelve different schools, including four international schools (two of them French-speaking). Throughout all those moves, one thing remained constant: my love for books. My favorite authors were Mary Stewart, Elizabeth Peters, Phyllis Whitney, and Alistair MacLean.
Now I live in Northern California’s Gold Country, where I write clean and patriotic romantic suspense novels and historicals. Four of my books are available on Amazon: three historicals (The Gardener’s Tale, Chance’s Bluff, and the just-released New Hope) and a small-town mystery, The Jewelry Case. I’ve also written three historical screen-plays, one of them dealing with the California Gold Rush.
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t a bookworm. During home leaves my family visited the library every Saturday, and I was never happier than when exploring its shelves. Like many of my generation, I started with the Bobbsey Twins and the Happy Hollisters, moved up to Nancy Drew, and branched out to adult books when I was in fifth or sixth grade because I’d read everything in the children’s section.
I read less while raising my children, but have recently started reading about a book a day since then. My favorite books are in my genre, but I love virtually everything: mystery, thriller, biography, histories, women’s fiction, and really good romantic suspense (with the emphasis on the suspense). I like literary fiction too, as long as it’s a really good story and not too depressing (as so much of it is).
I am currently self-published although I have received positive feedback recently from an editor and may end up traditionally publishing at least one or two of my books. The trend really is toward self-publishing, though. Several successful authors whose careers I have been following, such as Catherine Coulter, Cindy Sample, and others, have left traditional publishing for various reasons. I have not decided whether to remain self-published or become what’s known as a “hybrid,” who does both.
I love so many kinds of books that it is hard to limit myself to writing just one genre. I kind of miss the old days, when genres were less rigidly defined. Most of my books are historicals, but I have written one mystery and have plans for several romantic suspense novels. I’m also working on a couple of Young Adult fantasies, so we’ll see how that goes!
My background has given me a bit of an outsider’s view of America and a strong awareness of how different countries influence each other. That perspective shows in my first historical, The Gardener’s Tale, in which an English servant’s life changes after he comes to the United States as an indentured servant just after the Revolutionary War.
For me, the hardest part of the writing process is resisting Facebook. I didn’t have a Facebook account until a few years ago, when I was told I needed one in order to reach readers. I can’t believe how many hours of precious writing time have been stolen since then by cat videos and funny anecdotes on tickld.com. I’m ashamed of myself!
The best part of being an author is actually sitting down to write, and dreaming up scenes and conversations. It’s like being in a movie I make up myself! My characters seem real to me at such times, and I love seeing how they interact. The worst part is figuring out how they’re going to get out of the problems I write them into. They have to be smarter than me, and that’s pretty hard to pull off!
In my “real life” when not writing books, I have been a reporter, an editor, a middle-school / high-school English teacher, and a substitute teacher. I loved all those jobs, but the best was being a substitute teacher because it gave me more time to write–which is exactly what I wanted! Not only that, but the students gave me all kinds of ideas for plots and characters and conflicts, because they are so full of life and energy, and busy learning who they are, what they want from life, and how to interact with others. It was the perfect creative environment!
My latest book is New Hope, which is now available as an e-book but will soon be available as a paperback. It’s an inspirational historical about a young English heiress whose mysterious origins inspire her to establish a Utopian community in mid-1800s England. To do this, Letty Leighton must marry free-thinking Patrick Marlowe, who proves as hard to control as the inhabitants of New Hope. Together, the new couple must confront an unknown enemy who seeks to destroy both New Hope and Patrick’s rising political career.