My Series of Author & Poet Interviews #author #poet Narberth Book Fair#BookFair. Today with Catherine Marshall #MondayBlogs

Titleband for Narberth Book Fair

Throughout this months I ’ll be posting interviews with the authors and poets who will be taking part in our Book Fair:

There are forty authors, so, obviously, there are many genres for both adults and children. There will be talks an writing and books, creative writing workshops for adults  workshops & talks and fun workshops for children, activities for the children  Children’s Page and a fun book trail through Narberth, the gorgeous little market town in Pembrokeshire.  Location.

All free!!

And, of course, there will be the chance to chat with all the authors and to pick their brains on all aspects of writing. Even to buy their books and have them personally signed.

And, as usual, there will also be the writing competition: this year is a poetry competition:  competition . Submit a poem, in any form, of 20 lines or less, on the subject of : –


Having outgrown our previous venue we have been lucky to hire the Queens Hall: who have been very generous in their support of the event.

Although, five years ago,  I started organising the book fairs on my own I was soon joined by Alex Martin:  and Thorne Moore: Unfortunately Alex has moved on to pastures new  (although is still a great supporter), so Thorne and I have been joined by Elizabeth Sleight. Elizabeth is involved in the charity we are supporting through our raffle; The Harriet Davis Seaside Holiday Trust For Disabled Children: . 

Our author today is  Catherine Marshall

Catherine Marshall


Hi Catherine. Could youe start by telling us what the ultimate goal you hope to achieve with your writing is, please?

To engage and entertain readers, and to be published and to make enough of a living not to have to do anything else.

Are your characters based on real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

Some of the characters in Excluded were based on real people, or at least composites, because the school was based on a very real place, but everyone else is imaginary.  They also, of course, all have some element of me in them.  Which is a little bit worrying.

Have you always wanted to be an author?

Yes.  Never wanted to be anything else.  Well, except an actress, from when I was about seven until I went to college, did a degree in Drama, and realised I was much better at writing it than performing it.

What do you think makes a good story?

An intriguing plot, believable characters and a sense of suspense, whatever the genre.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?

I was eleven.  I was bored during the summer holidays and my mother suggested I write a book.  I called it The Ravenscrofts.  It was a story about a family with seven children (think The Waltons transferred to a 1970s Birmingham suburb).  I illustrated it as well.  We unearthed it from my parents’ loft a few years ago and I laughed and cringed in equal measure.

What genre do you consider your books? Have you considered writing in another genre?

I didn’t consider them to be any genre, until an agent told me she was going to try to sell them as psychological thrillers.  I would say psychological dramas, but then again there is generally a crime in them somewhere.

What was the inspiration behind Still Water?

I wanted to look at how far we will go if we’re pushed, and what it takes to push us to that extreme.  Still Water is about betrayal, and I think that’s a pretty good incentive.  (That and revenge, which is going to be the theme of my next book.)  And St Ives in Cornwall is its hugely inspiring setting, just because I love it so much.

Still Water


Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book and why it is a must-read?

Still Water is the story of Jem, who lives with her father Alex in a Cornish seaside town, and who is in search of a hero to help her through a recent trauma.  It’s also the story of Gil, who is charming and attractive but as it turns out the most flawed of heroes, and of Cecily, who links them in an entirely unexpected way.  I hope it’s a must read due to the strength of the characters and the twists and turns of the plot.  It’s hard to say more without spoilers!

In three words, can you describe your latest book?

Emotional suspense drama

Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reins of the story?

A bit of both, really.  I start telling them what to do and as the story develops they tell me what they’re going to do.  And from then on it’s a dual enterprise.


Do you have any hidden or uncommon talents?

I can walk on my toes for quite a distance.  I walked that way all the time when I was a small child.  Everyone thought I was going to be a ballerina.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

Most if it happens in my head when I’m ironing.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Read!  Watch tv drama, go to the theatre, plan interior design projects.

What is the most amusing thing that has ever happened to you? Not particularly to do with your writing.

I was twenty, on holiday with my friend in what was then Yugoslavia.  We were sitting outside on the terrace of a restaurant, enjoying the April sunshine and the sea view.  I went to the loo, which meant going back across the terrace and through the depths of the dark and crowded restaurant.  The key broke off in my cubicle door.  The only voices outside were those of German tourists.  So I shouted in German, Help!  The door is locked!  which made no sense because of course the door was locked, so I banged on it and rattled the handle in a panicky manner.  After a torrent of words I couldn’t understand, a few minutes later a hefty German guy came hurtling over the top of the cubicle, landed almost on top of me and proceeded to break the door down from the inside.  I walked back out to applause from the entire dark and crowded restaurant and onto to the sunny terrace to my friend, who had been completely oblivious throughout.

Give us a random fact about yourself.

I have no sense of smell.

Catherine’s links:




Rosie's Book Review team 1

My review of Last Child by Terry Tyler

 My rating 5 out of 5 stars 


aa last child

I love being part of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team #RBRT. I wish I had more time to read the books. I wish I wasn’t such a slow reader. I wish I’d discovered Terry Tyler’s books sooner. I wonder why she hasn’t got an agent (she doesn’t need one, probably doesn’t want one – still, I wonder why hasn’t she been snapped up?) I want to shout out, to ask why my local library hasn’t shelves displaying her brilliant covers. Am I being too effusive? Yes, but that doesn’t stop me; I am a huge fan of her work.

Last Child is both a brilliant stand-alone novel, and a sequel. I would advise anyone to read the first of (what I hope) is a trilogy. No pressure on the author there then! I would suggest reading Kings and Queens initially because, if you don’t you will not only miss out on a brilliant read but you won’t discover the wonderful beginnings of this cast of characters.

Told you I can go over the top when I’m enthusiastic.

Now I’ve got that off my chest – the serious stuff:

The plot follows the lives of the Lanchester family in much the same way that history records the (almost) parallel lives of Henry VIII and his wives and family (no chopping off of heads here though – but still plenty of intrigue). This contemporary take is hugely enjoyable and a balanced page- turner from the beginning.

The characters continue to evolve in a style that is unique to this author. They are rounded, they change, they grow, they are revealed – sometimes slowly, sometimes more subtly. But in the end I felt I knew each and every one of them as they share their own viewpoints to the narrative. And both the internal voices and the dialogue (so well written, I think), is individualistic to each of them.

I’ll mention just a few of the characters: Will: An understated character but one threaded throughout both novels, giving his own insight to the others and the lives they lead. Erin: (a contemporary Elizabeth I), energetic, determined to do the right thing, a little flawed but loyal. Isabella: (portrayed as a modern day Mary), vulnerable, yet embittered to such a degree her decisions are underlined with an unstable revenge. Jaz, Harry’s son, complex as any teenager, with an ability to evolve into an equally complex adult but…  Hannah, the nanny and short- time lover of Harry Lanchester, the founder of this dynasty; shown as the sustaining carer of this younger generation, competent, motherly, non- judgemental. Then there’s Jim Dudley, ruthless yet ultimately helpless; Raine Grey with her own devastating story; the dependable Robert Dudley, and his shallow wife, Amy.

I could go on and on – but I won’t. I think it only fair for readers to discover the characters and the story for themselves. Suffice it to say, all of them run the gamut of trials and tribulations that is life – with so much more than most of us, thankfully, avoid.

The settings, the fashion, the attitudes, the domestic lives and the world of business provide a solid backdrop to this book and truly reflect the epochs the novel is set in.

All in all a brilliant family saga, brilliantly written. I can’t recommend Terry Tyler’s work highly enough. Looking forward to the next book.

Find a copy here: