Cathy Gohlke: The Writer & her Book (with giveaway)

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Cathy Gohlke is a such a delight and so very, very talented. If you have read any of her wonderful novels, you will know exactly what I’m talking about. They are always excellent choices for book clubs – mine has discussed a number of them and they generated excellent discussion. I hope you enjoy getting to know a little more about Cathy today and this interview inspires you to add Until We Find Home to your wishlists and TBRs. Be sure to enter the giveaway below.

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The Writer

Why do you tell stories?

I tell stories based on the concerns God burns into my heart. People ask me if my stories are character driven or plot driven. I think they’re purpose driven, and the characters rise to the occasion. Plots present themselves out of the questions my characters face in confronting their heart-wrenching conflicts. I tell stories because Jesus did, and that’s how He helped us understand His love. I hope my stories help readers understand God’s great love for us.

Your favourite place to read

I love a comfy chair to read in. When my children were babies, my in-laws gave us a wonderful big blue recliner so I could comfortably nurse them. That chair became the “Reading Chair.” For all their childhoods, and now the childhoods of my grandchildren, we read stories there. It’s a bit threadbare and dilapidated, but still my favorite reading spot.

Best meal of the day

Breakfast—hands down. I’m an early morning riser and look forward to a hot breakfast and even hotter coffee.

Most beloved childhood book

There are so many! So I’ll limit my answer to three: Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott; A Child’s Garden of Verses, by Robert Louis Stevenson; and The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett. In the first, Jo March, my kindred spirit, cemented my passion to write, love of children, and desire for family. In the second, I learned the beauty, the cadence and rhythm of words. I can still hear my grandmother reading those poems to me. I memorized several—even as a child. And The Secret Garden is the perfect romantic story for a child: an orphaned girl sent to live on the lonesome moors in a dark but grand estate—excruciatingly lonely, but restored through a nearly magical garden and the friendship of two very different boys. Even now I sigh over the satisfaction of that book.

If your life was a TV show, what would it be?

Definitely The Waltons. I live in a three-generational house with lots of drama and lots of love, despite our many unique personalities. I’ve aged from “Olivia” to “Grandma”—almost—and truly love being “Grandma” to two precious granddaughters.

Whose music inspires you?

I love the music of Dave Kurtz. He can do things with a piano or guitar that turn the world over.

What ice-cream flavour would you be?

Mint chocolate-chip—a little surprising and a little sweet.

The most recent novel you read

I just read Heidi Chiavaroli’s The Hidden Side for endorsement. It’s a brilliant time-split novel. The emotions are real and raw. I was fascinated by its Revolutionary War timeline, but emotionally laid bare by its contemporary timeline. I don’t want to give too much away, but she openly confronts what I believe is my worst modern-day nightmare, and she does it with great authenticity and grace. Look for it in May of 2018.

What’s your current book recommendation?

I love the devotionals of Lucinda Secrest McDowell. Right now I’m reading her new Ordinary Graces, but I have to mention last year’s Dwelling Places—I absolutely loved it. I’d also highly recommend an older book of hers: Role of a Lifetime: Your Part in God’s Story. It’s brilliant, and one I wish I’d written for the sake of readers and especially writers. Sorry I can’t pick just one!

Name a book character you can’t forget

Anne of Green Gables—she stole my heart.

Dream travel destination

Ireland. I’ve always wanted to go—the music, the lilt of the language spoken . . . I’d love to set an entire book there. Pictures of the Cliffs of Moher and the green fells covered in spring lambs set my heart to racing—oh, my—let’s go!

Her Book

Until We Find Home

For American Claire Stewart, joining the French Resistance sounded as romantic as the storylines she hopes will one day grace the novels she wants to write. But when she finds herself stranded on English shores, with five French Jewish children she smuggled across the channel before Nazis stormed Paris, reality feels more akin to fear.

With nowhere to go, Claire throws herself on the mercy of an estranged aunt, begging Lady Miranda Langford to take the children into her magnificent estate. Heavily weighted with grief of her own, Miranda reluctantly agrees . . . if Claire will stay to help. Though desperate to return to France and the man she loves, Claire has few options. But her tumultuous upbringing—spent in the refuge of novels with fictional friends—has ill-prepared her for the daily dramas of raising children, or for the way David Campbell, a fellow American boarder, challenges her notions of love. Nor could she foresee how the tentacles of war will invade their quiet haven, threatening all who have come to call Bluebell Wood home and risking the only family she’s ever known.

Set in England’s lush and storied Lake District in the early days of World War II, and featuring cameos from beloved literary icons Beatrix Potter and C. S. Lewis, Until We Find Home is an unforgettable portrait of life on the British home front, challenging us to remember that bravery and family come in many forms.

What was the working title?

Working titles are not my strength. I simply called it Windermere Novel, named for the town in England’s Lake District near where the story is set—and because I think the word Windermere sounds so romantic. Thankfully, after much brainstorming, my editor Stephanie Broene chose Until We Find Home.

Describe your book in 5 adjectives

Heart-wrenching, winsome, suspenseful, unforgettable, warm

Which character did you enjoy writing most?

Perhaps Aunt Miranda. I’m closer to her age and understood her present journey through grief and cancer very well.

Which character gave you the most grief?

Claire! She’s far too much like me—in younger days.

What emotions do you think your story will generate in readers?

Hope, longing, mirth, surprise

What emotions did you experience while writing this story?

Hope, joy, pleasure over happy memories and imaginations fostered long ago. Sometimes memories on which I based things brought sadness, a sense of grief, and a sense of longing.

How do you choose your characters’ names?

My granddaughter became inspiration for the young character, Aimee, in U...

Cathy’s granddaughter, Aimee

Some of the names I chose because of the children’s nationalities, and some because of the meaning of a name or the sound—how it seemed to fit the character. Other names given were family names, including naming the youngest child, Aimee, after my granddaughter. I used that granddaughter’s middle name, Claire, for the main character. I included a MacDonald and a Campbell because of the centuries-old Scottish feud between the two clans. I’d visited Glencoe, home of the Campbells’ massacre of the MacDonalds, with Liz Curtis Higgs in 2014 and learned their tragic story.

Thanks so much for having me, Rel!

Always a pleasure, Cathy

Relz Reviewz Extras
All Things Gohlke @ Relz Reviewz
Visit Cathy’s website and journal
Buy at Amazon: Until We Find Home or Koorong

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78 Responses to Cathy Gohlke: The Writer & her Book (with giveaway)

  1. I would love to win a copy of Cathy’s new book!

  2. When I visited her fb pg per the rafflecoptor, it went to Laura Frantz’s…
    I have 4 young kids so usually my favorite reading spot is somewhere they can’t find me 😁💜

    • Mandi, you gave me such a chuckle with your answer about your favorite reading spot being “somewhere they (4 young kids) can’t find me.” I so remember those days when I had to “steal away” to read or write. Now, living with grandchildren, the cycle repeats itself. The moment I sit down in the Reading Chair, my granddaughter thinks it’s time I read to her! : )

  3. My favorite reading spot is, like Cathy, a comfy recliner. Otherwise, I love going up to bed early and reading there every night too. :) Thank you so much for the chance to win. I would love to read this book!

    • Jeanne, I’m so glad we share favorite reading spots! I’ve loved to read in bed at night, too. As a child, my mother had to confiscate my flashlight and book from beneath the covers more times than I can count! I hope you enjoy Until We Find Home!

  4. I have loved to read all my life. It is my chance to go to places I’ve never been and get away from my siblings when I was younger and away from stresses. When my siblings (6) wanted me they would holler out or sing Help me Rhonda song. Little did they know I was up in the tree, clear to the top, reading my book! Lol They never found me!😊 I would love to read your newest book Cathy. Someday I will. Love your books.

  5. My favorite reading spot is my comfy living room tevlinrr with my sweet Poo-Shih furbaby, Cupcake, sleeping in my lap.

  6. Wherever I am reading that place is my favorite reading spot! I do love Cathy’s detailed historical novels and am looking forward to this one.

  7. Oh goodness- I’d have to say my favorit Spot is my big beautiful comfy golden chair in my living room with a soft blanket and a warm cup of coffee or tea is my favorite spot to read. The only drawback is my cat Millie like to follow me there and then scratch on my big beautiful golden chair. Haha- she’s a little disruptive to my reading time. Until we Find Home looks truly wonderful and I look forward to reading it soon! Thank you for the wonderful interview- Rel does such a nice job and Cathy you shar d your heart so well- loved it!!

    • Cheryl, that sounds like the perfect reading place! No wonder Millie likes to follow you there. ; )
      Yes, Rel does an outstanding job with interviews. You simply can’t resist sharing your heart when she asks such insightful questions. I hope you enjoy Until We Find Home! God bless!

  8. Favorite spot (generally) to read would be in my chair, with a hot cup of something. All time was this spot under a tree facing a lake. It was so tranquil and just sitting on the bench, with a light breeze. It was perfect.

  9. On my couch or sometimes bed with comfy clothes on, loads of pillows and a soft quilt or blanket.

    Hist fic is my fave and WW2 period is a special interest, so TBR list for this book. I sometimes post about WW2 books at https://www.facebook.com/TheBletchleyCircleWatchers/

    Lara @ #tbcw https://www.facebook.com/TheBletchleyCircleWatchers/

  10. I love reading in my bed under piles of blankets. It’s the perfect spot.

  11. My favorite place to read is kicked back in my love seat recliner with my kitty curled up on my lap and my poodle curled up by my side. We three can spend hours all happily contented that way. :) “Until We Find Home” sounds like it’s going to be another story hard to put down until it’s finished, so perfect for that! :)

  12. Lynne M Feuerstein

    Thank you for this wonderful interview! I love Cathy’s books,she always gets to the heart of her stories! Can’t wait to read this one!! As for the blog question I would say the corner of the couch in my living room is my favorite reading spot.It’s a nice place to cuddle with a good book and my kitties. :)

  13. I have read several of Cathy’s books and greatly enjoyed them. My time to read is usually after cleaning up the kitchen from dinner, at which time I usually stretch out on the bed with many comfortable pillows at my back.

  14. Hi Rel and Cathy, I already have my copy of Until We Find Home and I loved the story! But I just wanted to pop in and say hello and thank you for sharing this lovely interview! Blessings to you both.

  15. I guess my favorite reading spot would be on a corner of the couch with a cup of hot cocoa next to me on the end table. I wish I had a big comfy oversized chair and ottoman, but our living rooms have always been too tiny for that, lol.

  16. congratulations. this is a great review. I too loved Ann of Green Gables. Right now we are watching a remake. “Anne With an E” It is very interesting and follows along a lot of the same lines but with a few twists. We are enjoying it. We have a recliner that I love to sit in and read with either some hot tea or iced tea and my cat on my lap or above my head

    • Lori, I’m picturing your cat happily snuggled above your head–a fun picture! I’ve so enjoyed all the movies made about Anne, but haven’t seen the one you mentioned. I need to check it out. Happy reading!

  17. I actually do not have a favorite reading spot. I love reading wherever and whenever I have time!

    • Marissa, I understand. I imagine you keep a book in your car and/or one in your purse. Reading at odd moments and wherever I can has been part of my mode of transportation for years. Enjoy that reading journey!

  18. Hello Rel and Cathy! Loved the interview!

    My favorite reading spot is quiet and cozy. I’m looking forward to reading UNTIL WE FIND HOME!

  19. My favorite reading spot is my recliner in the living room. In the summer I love to read outside on the porch.

    • Merry, so nice to meet you here. There’s just something about reading on a porch in summer that is beyond compare. My brother and his wife have the most wonderful porches on their house–screened in the back and open in the front. At different times of the day each one is perfect. If I ever move again, I hope to find a house with those kinds of porches. Happy reading!

  20. I so enjoyed this interview! Thank you both for the chance to win this highly anticipated novel!

    Oh, Little Women and The Secret Garden remain two of my most favorite books. I re-read them every few years.

    As far as a reading spot, I love to read all propped up in bed, until my eyes grow heavy, and I must sleep (only when I don’t have to be up for work the next morning). Since that doesn’t happen too often, my next favorite is perched on the end of the couch closest to the lamp and handy side table, where my books and coffee are within easy reach.

    • Beth, I love rereading those favorites from childhood and young adulthood, too. One of the most fun parts of my research for Until We Find Home was rereading the classics I’d either read or that someone had read to me as a child. Research is the best excuse I know for indulging in grand adventures–either in person or through the pages of books! Happy reading!

  21. My La-z-boy chair, w/ a fleece afghan & the 6# dog on my lap! :)

  22. I love that Cathy tells stories “that God burns on her heart” !! My favorite place to read is in bed at night when everything is quiet. But I read anywhere I can grab a few minutes, so I carry my kindle with me, and sometimes a print book.

    • Becky, I truly relate to having a favorite place to read but also keeping a good back handy to read whenever, wherever there is a free moment. What a pleasure it is to read, and how many worlds it opens for us!

      Thank you for stopping by!

  23. Thanks for the fun interview, Rel and Cathy! I loved finding out more about Cathy and her books. My favorite reading spots are in the rocking chair in my bedroom, on the sofa in front of the fireplace in the winter, and my porch swing in the summer.

    • Winnie, I can just picture those cozy, relaxing places with a good book. There’s something wonderful about porches and swings in summer, and fireplaces and cozy chairs in winter . . . always comforting and always inviting. Enjoy those blessed moments! Thank you for stopping by!

  24. I have always been able to read almost anywhere. Lately, I read in my recliner in the den with my 2 dogs on my lap snuggled under a throw. I haven’t read any of
    Cathy’s books yet, but they sound very interesting. Thanks for entering my name in your drawing.

  25. My favorite reading place is in my comfortable recliner near the fireplace, especially on a snowy day like today! This sounds like a wonderful book, and I would love to read it. Thanks for the giveaway. 😊

  26. So, Cathy, we now know your favorite reading spot. Do you have a favorite writing spot, as well?

    • Rendy, I especially like to write in a comfy chair or sitting on the end of my sofa when at home. There is also a local coffee shop where I love to write. Even there I have a favorite comfy chair!

  27. My favorite reading spot is stretched out on my love seat. This time of year I’m covered with a comfy blanket to keep warm. I also like to read in bed just before I go to sleep.

  28. It’s not the same spot every time, but I love it when we go camping and I can sit outside in the breeze reading a great book. My house is near a busy road so there’s always traffic, but at the campground – just the sounds of families and nature. Love it!

  29. I love to read in my Lazy boy recliner in my bedroom or in bed at night and in the morning.

  30. My favorite reading spot is my big, cozy round chair in my home office/library. I can’t wait to read this book!

  31. danielle hammelef

    I do have a favorite reading spot. I have a chair and foot rest and cozy Sherpa blanket. I also have purple fairy lights that set a relaxing atmosphere in my bedroom.

    • Danielle, I love the image of purple fairy lights! I have some soft white lights woven through a silk flower arrangement that creates a relaxing atmosphere, so I know just what you mean. Happy reading!

  32. My favorite reading spot is where ever
    I happen to be. I always carry a book with me.
    By book, I mean a “real” book.
    Thanks for entering me in your giveaway.

  33. I love to sit in my easy chair and read; however, I never leave home without a book so that I can always have something to read, even when standing in line at the store, bank, etc.

  34. My favorite reading spot is in my comfy chair by the window snuggled in a blanket and hopefully with one of my cats on my lap.

  35. If I can crawl in bed a few minutes early and just read, it is a good day.

  36. I have a few favorite reading spots. When the weather is nice, I prefer the side porch.
    If it’s warm but raining, I enjoy the enclosed porch.
    During the winter I have a comfy, overstuffed chair that I spend my time reading.
    Of course, I always read in bed before going to sleep.
    Thank you so much for the opportunity to win a copy of Until We Find Home. I’ve read everything that Cathy’s written so far, and am anxiously awaiting this one.

    P.S. The link in the rafflecopter goes to Laura Frantz’s page, not Cathy’s.

  37. I usually read sitting on my bed. After I do my morning Bible study and in the evening after I do my evening devotion, I sit and read. If I have extra time, I sit in my glider in the living room and read there, but that doesn’t happen very often.

  38. Not entering the giveaway because I bought this book a week or so ago and completely loved it! I have already told my daughter about it who loves WW2 novels and is in grad school for children’s ministry – I knew she would love the combo of the setting and the kids. I’m going to make her come home Spring Break so she’ll get it! LOL

  39. I absolutely loved “Promise Me This.” I look forward to reading more books by Cathy Gohlke. (I just haven’t had the chance yet–too long of a TBR list.) In the summer, I love to read in a lounge chair in the sun on our back deck. In the winter, I love sitting on the register in my bedroom that blows the heat up from our wood furnace. Along with providing wonderful warmth on cold winter days of negative degree temps, the blower running also provides a little white noise to block out some distractions and allows me to better focus on the book I’m reading.

  40. My favorite reading spot is usually stretched out on a couch, or soaking in the tub (although that is a bit more risky for my books, but I have yet to ruin one that way)!

  41. My favorite reading spot is in the hammock at camp in the summertime!

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