Quick introduction, please.
I’m Catherine Marshall, born in Birmingham, now living in Lancashire. Author of two romantic novels, many short stories and three psychological thrillers. Married, two grown-up children. Worked largely in education teaching English and Drama.
What first inspired you to start writing?
I’d always written little stories as a child. Then during the summer holidays when I was eleven, I complained to my mum that I was bored. She said, Why don’t you write a book? I did. It was about a family of seven children and called The Ravenscrofts. I illustrated it too. Horrendous. While I was a teenager I wrote short stories to entertain my friends, then while I was at college I began selling short stories to Jackie magazine. It’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do. When I’m writing is the only time I really feel like me. That, and wanting to entertain people with great stories.
Why do you write?
To give voice to the ideas and characters in my head. Because I love telling stories.
Do you only write one specific genre or are you multi-talented?
I never thought I was writing genre fiction. I thought I was just writing books. Then an agent said I was writing ‘suspenseful women’s fiction’, which isn’t much of a leap to psychological thrillers. I have always preferred that genre as a reader/viewer, so it’s a natural progression, I guess.
What does your writing space look like?
The study at home, a huge old office desk usually stacked with my husband’s Open University course material, photos of our children and my scribbled notes.
Do you ever have writer’s block and what do you do then?
Yes. Often. Iron. Or go for a walk. It’s usually because I’m approaching something from the wrong angle, so I need to retrace my steps and try to find the right angle.
Do you write full-time or have a day job and write in your spare time?
The latter. Working in schools has been very useful for all those long holidays!
Are you an Indie or a traditionally published author?
Both. Years ago I published two novels with Robert Hale and short stories with various magazines. Now I have three novels available on Amazon Kindle.
Tell us about your new book.
Still Water is set in a small town in Cornwall and is the story of Jem, who earns her living making jewellery and lives in a cottage on the cliffs with her father Alex, a painter. She becomes entranced by Gil, an attractive and charming visitor to the town, and believes he can save her from her loneliness and grief. She is unaware, however, of Gil’s link to the secrets of her own past or that she is setting in motion a chain of events which will lead to tragedy.
What are you working on now?
A novel called Hurt, about the damage people can do to each other, and how we deal with those who hurt us.
What is the ultimate goal you hope to achieve with your writing?
Publication! A three-book deal would be nice.
What has been your best moment as a writer?
I’m hoping that’s yet to come.
What challenges have you faced in your writing career?
Having two major publishers seriously interested in buying one of my novels and then both of them changing their minds. Although having come so close does keep me going.
Who would you most like to read your work (a hero/idol)?
Probably writers whose work I enjoy – Julia Couch, Erin Kelly – and pray they enjoyed it!
What are your three favourite books including the authors?
Impossible to choose just three, but – Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson, The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O’Farrell and Decade by Jacqueline Briskin.
A bit of triviality now…
What would ‘living the dream’ be to you?
Living in Cornwall, earning a living from writing.
Who would you cast to play the characters in Still Water in a movie?
Well I did have Aidan Turner in mind when I wrote Gil, but that was before he became an international success as Ross Poldark.
What song would you pick to go with your book?
Windmills of my Mind, sung by Alison Moyet.
What makes you laugh?
Playing Articulate with my family, ‘Gavin and Stacey’, my comedy writer and actor friend Eric Potts.
Who would you like to invite for dinner?
Aidan Turner! My grandmother, who encouraged me in everything and who died when I was ten. My good friend and fellow writer Thorne Moore. Billy Connolly. David Tennant. The author Julia Crouch, who I’ve met and is lovely. Thinking about it, that’s quite a bizarre combination.
Tell us one odd thing about you and one really mundane thing.
I have no sense of smell. I hate rice pudding.
How do you balance marketing one book and writing the next? And how much time a day do you spend on social media?
Oh, I don’t know. An hour? Not usually in one sitting though. And I’m not sure I do balance it. I need to crack the whole marketing lark, I think. It’s still early days for me. I did take some leaflets to local bookshops and libraries and gained a lot of interest which I need to follow up. Actually, balancing marketing and writing is not the problem. Balancing marketing, writing and the day job is the problem.
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