Author Interview: Catherine West, the author of The Memory of You

I'm pretty excited for y'all to meet the FABULOUS Catherine West! She's honest, funny and just an awesome writer! Don't forget to check out her books when you get the chance. First, let's meet her and wish her a Happy Book Birthday!


Catherine West is an award-winning author who writes stories of hope and healing from her island home in Bermuda. Her first novel, Yesterday’s Tomorrow, released in 2011 and won the INSPY for Romance, a Silver Medal in the Reader’s Favorite Awards, and was a finalist in the Grace Awards. Catherine’s second novel, Hidden in the Heart, released in September 2012, was long listed in the 2012 INSPY’s and was a finalist in the 2013 Grace Awards.

When she’s not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or tending to her roses and orchids. She and her husband have two grown children. Catherine is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America, and is represented by Rachelle Gardner of Books & Such Literary. Catherine loves to connect with her readers and can be reached at Catherine@catherinejwest.com 

TO CONNECT WITH CATHERINE: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

Just Commonly  Q&A with Catherine West

1. Hi Cathy, Happy Book Birthday!!! Can you tell us a little about you?
Oh, thank you! Yes, book birthdays are always exciting! About me? Let’s see – I’m an island girl, born and raised and currently residing on the island of Bermuda. It’s small and beautiful and we have the best beaches. 😊 I’ve been married for 30 years to my amazing hubby, who is a pediatrician, and we have two grown kids – our daughter and her husband are about to give birth to their first child, which will make us first time grandparents! They live in Bermuda, so we’ll get lots of baby cuddles! Our son is in Boston, and he and his fiancé are currently planning their summer 2018 wedding! I’m a dog lover, my third child is Noah, our border collie. 😊 I love to read and of course write, and I’m really grateful to be where I am in life, doing what I love.
2. How about a little of the types of books you write? 
I like to say I write ‘reality fiction’. I love family drama, and of course there’s always romance involved, but I love to tackle the hard issues that life often throws at us. I write from a Christian worldview, but I hope my books appeal to all readers, Christian or not. While I will never sugarcoat, I do believe that every story needs to have a redemptive moment, at least a step in the right direction, forgiveness and some restoration, in part or whole. My stories will always shine with the hope we need so desperately.
3. If you need to give 5 words to a first time reader of your books, which five words (or phrase) will you tell them about your latest, The Memory of You?
Ah! Let me think – Family. Forgiveness. Grace. Freedom. Future.
4. I love how "Grace" is in smack in the middle of all the Fs. What would you like readers to get out of reading The Memory of You?
That we’re not bound to the mistakes of the past. Forgiveness is possible. Guilt does not have to control how we live our lives. If we’re willing to explore the hard things, there is always hope to be had.
5. O, that's just awesome! What inspired you to write The Memory of You?
My husband and I visited California for the first time five years ago and spent a week touring various wineries in the Napa/Sonoma area. I fell in love with the beauty of the country and the places we saw, and I knew that I wanted to write a story set there. All the other details came later, but I was set on that location for about a year before I wrote a word.
6. Having lived in San Francisco, I LOVE my trips to the Napa/Sonoma area as well!! The Memory of You, talks about memories, wanting to forget or get rid of them. Is there a memory you would like to forget yourself?
Ha! Plenty. 😊 I’ve often asked God, why do I remember this junk like it happened yesterday when I can’t even remember what I had for breakfast? He hasn’t answered me fully on that yet – but my best guess is that we keep those memories to remind us where we’ve come from. There are things I never want to relive, and I think remembering those hard times, especially looking back now and seeing how God was working, really helps me to keep my focus on the good, and gives me hope for the future.
7. What’s the hardest or best criticism you’ve received, as you were editing, revising, or from readers for feedback? 
Hmm. Not sure I can pinpoint one event. Writers are always learning to deal with criticism, it comes with the job. I do remember a couple of contest scores way back when where one judge wasn’t very nice. And of course there are always those lovely reviews that take apart your entire book, piece by piece, and explain, to the internet, in great detail, why it doesn’t work. Those are special. 😊 And the best advice? Take what you need, ignore the rest.
8. Haha. I love how I feel your smile while saying all that. 😉 Can you share (without spoilers) your favorite scene in The Memory of You?
Not without spoilers. 😊 Gosh, this was such a special book and there are so many great scenes. My very favorite is the last chapter, but I can’t give that away. But here’s a scene I love, where Tanner has to come rescue Natalie after she has ‘car trouble’. 
“I can’t get in the truck, Tanner. I’m afraid.” Big tear-filled eyes stared up at him through the semi-darkness. Reality hit him square in the jaw as he registered the terror on her face. She wasn’t here with him at all. She was on the back roads of Maoilios, in an out of control Jeep she was powerless to stop. Air hissed from his lungs and he tightened his hold around her. 
“It’s okay. I’ve got you. We’ll get you in, and then I’m going to drive you home, okay? Natalie? Take a breath.” 
She did. A soft shuddering sigh that woke her from the trance, but sliced him through. 
Her eyes flashed wide in the darkness. “I’m sorry. I don’t meanto be so much trouble.” 
Oh, she had no idea. Because, God help him, even with the fear in her eyes, the way he felt right now was definitely trouble. Big trouble. The kind he did not need. He should throw her in the truck and floor it home. Instead, he let himself look at her for a long moment. Saw her for who she was and what she’d once meant to him, young as they
had been. Part of him even succumbed to the sensation of having a gorgeous woman in his arms. 
“If you’re contemplating carrying me back to Sonoma, it’s going to be a long night.” A shy smile lifted her lips and sent his pulse racing again.
9. O YES! Great scene to share for sure. Is there a character in The Memory of You that stood out to you like Gray did in The Things We Knew
Not in the same way, but even though we don’t see much of him until the end, I really like Rance Harper. He’s had his knocks, knows he’s not worthy of Tanner’s trust or his kids’, but he hangs in there, and I think what makes him so wonderful is the way he’s able to show grace, because he’s been the recipient of so much of it.
10. 😃 Let's chat more about you. What can we expect from you next? Are you working on something new? 
I’m getting a bit of a break at the moment, yay!! 😊 With the birth of our first grandbaby coming in April, I’m looking forward to just being “Mimi”. My agent has two other novels of mine in her possession, and I think we’ll probably be doing a little more work on those, then we’ll see what happens after that. But I definitely hope to have more books on way for my readers, I just can’t say when at the moment.
11. O yay!! So excited for you!! Craziest fan moment (either fans of yours or you being the fangirl)?
Ha. Well, not a crazy moment, but very sweet. My dear friend Sandie Bricker, who passed unexpectedly last year – she and I had never met in person and when she found out we were both going to ACFW in Nashville, she contacted me to say she wanted to make a ‘date’ so she could ‘fangirl’ over me. 😊 She was amazing and it was so wonderful to get to meet her! Of course I was a huge fan of hers so it was more the other way around.
12. Weirdest place you've ever brought a book with you? (like a play, sporting event, sightseeing....etc)
There really isn’t a weird place to bring a book is there? 😉
13. What was I thinking asking a question like that?! 😉 Coffee or Tea?
Coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon!
14. Chocolate or Vanilla?
Depends what we’re talking – ice cream? Vanilla. Soufle – chocolate with vanilla sauce. 😀
15. Rain or Snow?
I’ll take either as long as I’m inside! But probably rain. It’s not as cold.
16. Print or digital books?
I love print books and my husband and I always hit up Brattle Books in Boston when we’re there – they have the most amazing collection of antique books – so cool! But sadly for reading, because I have quite poor eye sight, I read exclusively digital these days.
17. 5 Random facts about you.
Random?? LOL!
  1. I really do not enjoy flying although I do a lot of it.  (Yea.. I think I'm like that too!)
  2. My most terrifying moment was on Safari in South Africa surrounded by a herd of elephants. (Much wine was consumed that evening).  (Eeek!)
  3. I was adopted from birth, when I was in my early 30’s I searched and found my birth mother and a half sister who never knew I existed. Best thing I ever did, my sister is amazing and I can’t imagine life without her now.  (This makes me warm and fuzzy!)
  4. I have a mental block when it comes to numbers. Seriously. (I totally get it!)
  5. I’m an island girl who hates sand and rarely goes to the beach.  (Now, THAT's surprising!)

18. And let's end with, any fun celebration for the release of The Memory of You, today? 
Yay!! Well, I’ll be hanging out online a lot and talking about the book! And we are holding a Launch Party on Facebook tonight – 8-10 EST where we’ll do the usual shenanigans with giveaways and all kinds of fun! I hope you’ll be able to join us!! 
Click on the image below to take you there!

Cathy, THANK YOU for checking into my blog with this AWESOME interview. Thanks for a great time and we look forward to many many more books from you.  For those that would like to meet Cathy, she's joining us at this summer's Christian Fiction Readers Retreat as one of our participating authors!! Woohoo!! I'm SOOOO looking forward to meeting you in person!!




Title:  The Memory of You
Author: Catherine West
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
Release Date:  March 28, 2017
Genre: Inspirational Contemporary Fiction



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. 

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CONVERSATION

7 comments:

  1. Awesome, thank you!!! Just a quick note - the Launch Party time has changed and we will now start at 8PM Eastern. And if you are on Facebook this afternoon at around 2PM Eastern, I'll be going Live on my Author Page for a hello!!

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  2. Thanks for sharing with us!! I finally got a copy of The Things We Knew, and I can't wait to read it. I'm looking forward to tonight too! 😊

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  3. Happy Book Birthday! I love this author interview, especially the random facts :)

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    1. hahahh. I'll be sure to include that in most of my interviews. ;) But we'll need a fun author like Cathy to give us these tidbits!! *wink wink

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  4. Fabulous interview! Love Cathy's stories! I'm excited to read this one! :)

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