My daughter and I absolutely loved this book! We've read the last 4 books Cathy has written and we can't say enough about them! Forevermore incorporates characters from her previous book Fancy Pants. Have you ever flubbed up a saying? Well, we meet Hope in Forevermore and let's just say she has a way with words. She is a character the reader will grow to love. If you'd like to read an excerpt, you can visit Bethany House Publishers online. Here is a description of the story from Bethany House Publishers:
Like a dandelion in the wind, Hope Ladley blows from one farm to the next, helping cook for the field hands during the harvest. Illiterate and often twisting cliches and Bible verses into mind-boggling observations, Hope leaves widower Jakob Stauffer baffled by her unconventional ways. But her sunny disposition and unstinting love make changes of a different kind around the place. His little daughter and the pregnant sister he's shielding from an abusive husband adore Hope, and things are getting accomplished even if Hope's methods are unique.
Now for the blessing of Cathy's interview and chance (for a fund raiser) to name a cat or dog in her next book...
Have you considered writing a story that centers around a character who's a Lamaze teacher?
Truth is stranger than fiction--no one would ever believe what I'd write! (Cathy laughs) There's the daddy who cut a hole in the mattress so his wife could sleep on her tummy, and the mama who brought her sick pygmy hedgehog to class... I suppose this is one of those cases where time is my friend. I write historicals, and Dr. Lamaze didn't come up with his childbirth preparation theories until 1930.
What book(s) have you enjoyed writing the most?
My books are like my babies--I love them all, but in different ways, and for different reasons. Forevermore was touching for me in so many ways because of how the Lord guided me. Just one example is that I pray over my writing and had asked for a verse for that next book. As a bargain hunter/scrounge I went to GoodWill and there was this HUGE oak framed, numbered horse-and-buggy-farm print with a Bible verse matted below it. It was *the perfect verse* and it was only $5.99 and then it was half price. That picture was beside me the whole time I wrote as a reminder of the Lord's faithfulness.
What kind of books do you read? How many books would you say you read a month?
I'm a readaholic. I read mayonnaise jar labels, the book from my purse at the doctor's office, and the emergency pamphlet on airplanes. It's hard to say how many books I read in a month because I read several books at the same time. There's the book I carry in my purse (fiction), the big stack of nonfiction books I'm reading to do research for the book I'm writing, the primary fiction book I'm focusing on in the living room, and another fun sort of book in the ahhhh... "reading room.* When I'm on writing deadline, I barely read at all, when I'm not on deadline, I read voraciously.
Have you always been interested in the Wild West? If you had been around during that time period, what kind of person do you think you would've been – like any of your characters?
I have early childhood memories of my parents taking us through antique stores, showing us odd contraptions and telling us how they were used. They collected fine antiques, and I caught the "bug." If I lived back then, I'd have to say I'd be like Ruth in Letter Perfect. I'm klutzy and don't always say the right thing. My heart's in the right place, but my foot's often in my mouth.
You have a number of books you've coauthored. What's that process like and are you given the choice of who to work with or is it a surprise? Is there an author you haven't written with that you would like to write with?
The books I've "coauthored" have either been novellas that released in anthologies or stand-alone books that were part of a series involving multiple authors. In all but two cases, I was given full choice about whom I worked with, and the process is a blast! After coming up with a core idea, I'd grab one other person and flesh out the idea. Either she and I did the whole thing, or we'd assemble a team and expand the process. We draw up a map of the town, make note of whose dress is blue, whose settee is rose-colored, etc. Keeping track of all the details becomes a game. As for the future--I'm now writing with a different publisher, so the process is different. There are so many authors who'd be a delight to write with. I'm open to whatever the Lord and my editor would lay before me.
Who are some of your favorite authors? What genre do you enjoy reading?
ROMANCE. The Bible is the ultimate romance--Jesus is the prince who overcame the deadly obstacle of sin to rescue me and provide the eternal Happily Ever After. Because of that, I particularly love to read books that have hope and happy endings in them. My bookshelves are full of historicals by Tracie Peterson, Judith Miller, Francine Rivers, Kim Sawyer, Kelly Hake, Deeanne Gist, and Lauraine Snelling. When it comes to contemporary romances/women's fiction, I love Karen Kingsbury, Dee Henderson, and a couple of newer authors, Julie Carobini and Kathryn Cushman.
Are you a history buff? When did you decide that Historical Fiction was the genre you wanted to write for?
I've never been great with numbers. I can't rattle off dates. I can't remember the "address" for verses in the Bible, either. I can recall the facts, the words, the events and verses-- so I'm a history buff without the incredible encyclopedic mind that others have. When I began writing, I tried my hand at both historical and contemporary stories. Historical books require significantly more research. (When were black lisle stockings invented???) But those stories just *sang* to me. I enjoyed writing them so much more, it wasn't hard to see what I ought to focus on.
Do you ever have times as a writer where even though you're in the middle of writing a book, circumstances around you keep you from being able to write? How do you overcome that? Do you go without sleep so that you can keep the momentum going? How do you balance marriage, parenthood, being a Lamaze coach, and a writer, not to mention everything else in life?
Mimi, have you been spying on me? (Cathy laughs) I've had some major health issues that interfered with writing--like the time I shattered my left elbow and had to type one-handed for over a year, and the time more recently that a severe auto accident made it hard for me to sit and type for more than an hour at a time. At times like that, I've had to talk to my editor at delay my deadlines and book releases. Right now I'm on deadline, and a crazy sort of dementia sets in. The book is pretty much done, but suddenly, I think perhaps I ought to go back and tweak something. I'm a night owl, so I'll be up until 5 or 6 am. My husband gets up for work, give me a kiss and I'll finally go sleep awhile. My daughter Kelly is also an author. She and I "cover" for each other by cooking, grocery shopping, doing laundry, etc. during crunch times. Even then it's a comedy around here. Currently I'm on deadline, I have to get ready to go figure out taxes, and one of the dogs just came to me with paint on his tail because my husband is painting the living room!
Did you already have Hope's story planned out in your mind when you were writing Fancy Pants? Will there be any other stories that involve these characters?
Amazingly, no. I now have the next three books planned out, but at that time all I knew was that I'd be writing more books set in that fictional Texas community. Yes--I have plans for other characters in Gooding--so I'll have a chance to see the characters from Fancy Pants and Forevermore again and find out how they're doing.
Do you find it hard to keep up with all of your readers who share how much they've enjoyed your books? From the looks of the Guestbook on your website http://www.cathymariehake.com you have quite the following!
Readers are awesome. It's humbling to think about how busy everyone is, yet they spend their leisure time with me by picking up my book. I'm a technopeasant, so I rely on my husband to do the technical stuff. He's currently looking at email programs and the legalities of online newsletters. Once he figures all that out, I hope to have one up and running.
What are you working on right now? Do you have any other books coming out this year?
Whirlwind is next. I'm importing a new store owner from England to Gooding. It'll come out later this year. The cover features a woman in a gorgeous white dress, holding her hat, standing on the bow of a ship.
In Forevermore, how did you come up with all those cliché's that Hope continually bungled? The way you were able to change the wording to fit the situation was fantastic.
It was so fun to make those up! The real problem was not using some of the ones I dreamed up--In future books where Hope appears, I have plans to slip in one or two more of her unique cliché’s.
Have you considered writing a book that's set in modern times?
I have for two previous publishers. I wouldn't rule out the possibility. Sometimes it's fun to mix things up a bit. My first love is historical, but if God opened doors, I'd willing walk through them.
How long did it take for you to have your first book published? What was that process like for you? Do you have any advice for unpublished authors?
I wrote for ten years. The first five, I wrote alone. Then I found a local writing group that gave excellent guidance. After a year and a half, I submitted a manuscript to an editor and got a "good rejection." I thought the editor was being polite when she invited me to send in anything else I had. Crushed, I didn't submit anything more for four years. Then I submitted a book to a different house. At that point, when I sold, I had so many books written I started signing contract after contract. I have two pieces of advice: Get involved in a group such as American Christian Fiction Writers. Before you put your hands on the keyboard, fold them in prayer.
One last fun thing, Mimi: I'm participating in an online auction to help raise funds to fight juvenile diabetes. I've donated two different "lots." One is the right to name the cat in my next book and to get a bag of cat goodies. The other is the right to name the dog in my next book and to receive a bag of dog goodies. You can go bid on them--the auction will close on May 31. Here are the 2 pages for Cathy's items! Good luck bidding.
I would like to thank Cathy from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to share a bit of herself with us. I definitely wish I were hanging out with her in sunny, warm Cali as opposed to frigid, melting Minnesota!
If you would like to win a copy of one of her books, leave a comment and I will have a drawing on April 17. You can enter until 8pm that night.