Chatting with Bermudan Cathy West today about Canada, the unfuzziness of nectarines, and the surprising Rance Harper from her latest release, The Memory of You.
Please describe yourself in three words (ask your best friend or family if you are struggling!)
Introvert, SlightlySnarky (yes I’m cheating :)), Dreamer
What’s your favourite season, and why?
Oh, I love Fall! Of course, living in Bermuda I don’t experience it, but when I lived in Canada it was definitely my favorite season! I love the cooler temperatures after a hot summer, the sunsets are amazing, the changing leaves, first fires of the season, apple picking and the approach of winter . . . which means Christmas!!
What is the best part of your day?
That first cup of coffee, my quiet time, spending time reflecting on what I hope to accomplish that day, connecting on social media. Then it all goes downhill from there! LOL!
What do you miss most about your childhood?
Ooo, tough question! Being taken care of. I think sometimes, especially when I am under the weather, wouldn’t it be nice if Mom was still here to make dinner and clean up around the house!! Poor Mom. But now that I am one, I know I took all that for granted! Of course I also think as children, we live in far more freedom than we do as adults, because we don’t have all the pressures that bear down on us once we’re out in the world.
Ellen! I think she’s hilarious and we’d just laugh the whole time.
You are at a fruit market – what do you reach for first?
Chocolate? Oh, fruit, right. Um. A nectarine. I love peaches but I hate the fuzz, so nectarines fill the gap there.
What was the first Christian Fiction novel you read?
I actually know this answer!! A Vow to Cherish, by Deborah Raney!! I remember sitting in awe after I’d finished, thinking, so that’s what Christian Fiction is. I want to write those kinds of books. At the time I never imagined that Deb would become a mentor and friend, so you never know what God has in store!
What is one author and/or book you always recommend?
Hmm. Can I answer this in parts? Does it have to be one? For the aspiring author – anything by James Scott Bell and Donald Maass. For non-fiction – C.S. Lewis
Fiction – now we’re getting into tough territory! Favorite ABA author – Liane Moriarty. CBA – too many amazing authors to choose just one! Everyone wins! The most recent book that made me both laugh and cry (which doesn’t happen often) was Can’t Help Falling by Kara Isaac.
What book character has stuck in your mind from a book you have read this year?
Haha, well it’s early in the year as I’m answering this so . . . I’m reading Mary Weber’s Storm Siren series at the moment, and I think Eoghan is going to be hard to forget.
Thirteen years ago, Natalie lost a part of herself when her twin sister died. Will traveling back to the family winery finally put the memory to rest, or will it completely destroy her?
When Natalie Mitchell learns her beloved grandfather has had a heart attack, she’s forced to return to their family-owned winery in Sonoma, something she never intended to do. She’s avoided her grandparents’ sprawling home and all its memories since the summer her sister died—the awful summer Natalie’s nightmares began. But the winery is failing, and Natalie’s father wants her to shut it down. As the majority shareholder, she has the power to do so.
And Natalie never says no to her father.
Tanner Collins, the vintner on Maoilios, is trying to salvage a bad season and put the Mitchell family’s winery back in business. When Natalie Mitchell shows up, Tanner sees his future about to be crushed. Natalie intends to close the gates, unless he can convince her otherwise. But the Natalie he remembers from childhood is long gone, and he’s not so sure he likes the woman she’s become. Still, the haunted look she wears hints at secrets he wants to unearth. He soon discovers that on the night her sister died, the real Natalie died too. And Tanner must do whatever it takes to resurrect her.
But finding freedom from the past means facing it.
What was the working title?
The working title was First Harvest. I think the consensus was that it had a very Amish feel to it, which of course is not the genre I write. So we changed it to The Memory of You. Much better.
Describe your book in 5 adjectives
Goodness, you ask hard questions!!
Amazing. LOL! Okay –um – Insightful. Emotional. Romantic. Relational. Haunting.
Which character took you by surprise?
Actually, a secondary character – Rance Harper. There was a lot more to him than I originally intended, and he ended up being an integral part of the story.
What was the latest you stayed up working on this story?
Okay, funny story. When I was in the middle of edits on this book, my laptop crashed. Well, not so funny I suppose. I had worked about two weeks on it already and I thought I’d lost everything! It was the most sickening feeling. I cried. A lot. And then I got on skype with my son in Boston, and he kept sending me advice and links with things to try to retrieve it, until eventually I found the document, fully intact!! I think I finally got to bed around 2 in the morning.
Which character’s name was the hardest to choose? Why?
Actually, I really have a hard time picking names for all of my characters! Very rarely do they just click. Especially my male characters. They seem to be far more picky about what they’re called. So I’ll have to go with Tanner Collins. I had settled on the last name, but Tanner didn’t fit for a while. Although it’s a bit like giving birth because I can’t remember now what other names I was thinking of for him!
What’s something that didn’t make it into the final copy?
Um. Actually, I don’t think anything! I added a couple of extra scenes, but I don’t think there were any chapters that we cut completely. It was a miracle!!