Author Interview (and a Giveaway!): Cathy Slusser & The Sea Beneath Us

December 7, 2017 Author Interview, Cathy Slusser, Christian, giveaway, historical 25

As part of the Celebrate Lit blog tour for The Sea Beneath Us I am pleased to welcome Cathy Slusser to the blog today!

Cathy Slusser is a second generation Floridian who grew up in St. Petersburg, but spent holidays and vacations with her grandparents who lived in Manatee County. She moved to Terra Ceia Island in northwest Manatee County in 1979. Cathy fell in love with history upon reading Eugenia Price novels in Middle School. When she traveled to St. Simons Island, Georgia and saw the places those characters lived, she knew that the subject of history could be alive and exciting. Ever since that time, she has made it her goal to share that message with others.

She has a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Furman University and a Master’s Degree in History from the University of South Florida. She has worked for the Manatee County Clerk of Circuit Court’s Office since 1984 and is Chief Historian. In this role, she supervises five historical sites, the Manatee Village Historical Park, the Manatee County Historical Records Library, and the Florida Maritime Museum, the Palmetto Historical Park, and the Manatee County Agricultural Museum.

Cathy has two grown sons, Rob and Tim, a fabulous daughter-in-law, Miranda, and a daughter of the heart, Christina. She has been married to her husband, Glen, a third generation Floridian since 1981. She enjoys dog training, sewing and writing. Cathy is the author of three novels about Manatee County history and the Atzeroth family, first settlers of Terra Ceia Island, published as a trilogy called From A Heavenly Land and a fourth novel, The Sea Beneath Us about her grandmother and great-grandmother. Cathy is passionate about preserving Manatee County’s past and telling its stories to residents and visitors of all ages.

You can connect with Cathy on her website and Facebook.

Her book, The Sea Beneath Us, released June 20, 2017

Etta just wants a home, a safe haven for her family; her daughter Florence wants to make a positive difference in the world.

After suffering tragic loss, Etta walls off her heart. Florence opens hers to love again.

Though they do not understand each other, both understand the struggle with cultural expectations of the day for women. They also grapple with personal insecurity and faith.

Set in the early twentieth century, the stories of Etta and Florence intertwine as each seeks fulfillment. Follow them from Midwest America to the state of New York; from the Isle of Pines, a tropical spot off the coast of Cuba, to the heart of American power, Washington, DC.

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Hi Cathy! Welcome to the blog!

apples or oranges

Cathy: Apples-I am a Florida girl who lives in the middle of citrus groves. Apples are more exotic, especially when I travel to North Georgia and visit the apple orchards.

Carrie: Apples – yum!

winter or summer

Cathy: Winter-I can’t take the heat so stay inside from June to October.  I can’t wait for the first cold front to get outside for gardening, kayaking, bicycling and walking in the winter.

Carrie: See??? I love being outside in the winter too! Umm… i don’t do gardening (i kill plants) or kayaking (it would kill me) or bicycling (ain’t nobody wants to see that) but I do love walking around in the winter. Especially when it snows 😀

dogs or cats

Cathy: Dogs-I like cats, too, but my husband is allergic to them.

Carrie: Cathy, I think you and I would get along fabulously 🙂

coffee or tea

Cathy: Tea-I never developed a taste for coffee.

Carrie: See? That settles it – we are definitely kindred spirits.

Q: Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?

Cathy: Sewing. I am a fast sewer and can create something in an afternoon.

Carrie: Aaaaand you lost me LOL. I’m terrified of threading the bobbin without on-site help haha

Q: Who is your favorite book character from childhood?

Cathy: Penny from The Lion’s Paw by Robb White. She escapes and orphanage with her brother and joins another boy for a trip to the west coast of Florida on a sailboat.  At the beginning of the book, she is timid and scared, but by the end, she is not only courageous, but she finds the key to solving their dilemma and finds a forever home.

Carrie: I am going to need to check this book out!

Q: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever googled while researching a book?

Cathy: Venereal disease. The husband of the character in my first book gives her gonorrhea.  I was researching 19th century cures after work one day and realized it was probably not the best idea to use my work computer for that research.  The IT staff probably think I have a bad problem!

Carrie: oh dear! LOL!

Q: Describe your main characters, and tell me who you would cast in their roles if Hollywood wanted to produce The Sea Beneath Us as a movie!


Etta-Etta is dealt some terrible tragedies in her life so she closes off her heart to any relationships even with her children and decides that the only thing that will never change and that she can trust is her land. To be played by Angelina Jolie

Florence-Though Florence, Etta’s daughter, also experiences tragedy, she chooses to love again, and look for ways to help others and improve the world.  To be played by Emma Watson.

Lou-Etta’s sister, Lou, realizes her life’s dream of being a missionary by serving Etta’s family and teaching them about love, especially the love of God.  To be played by Julie Andrews.

Carrie: Emma Watson & Julie Andrews are two of my favorite actresses so I already want to meet Florence and Lou 🙂

Q: What surprised you about The Sea Beneath Us or your characters as you wrote their story?

Cathy: My book, The Sea Beneath Us, is based upon the lives of real women, but only one out of the three I personally knew.  My grandmother, Florence, left us a handwritten autobiography, but because she was so kind and loving, she left many gaps about her relationship with her mother.  What surprised me most as I wrote was finding an understanding for Etta’s actions.  I did not expect to feel sorry for her. 

Carrie: I love that you have a handwritten autobiography from your grandmother. What a great gift!

Q: What do you most want readers to take away from The Sea Beneath Us?

Cathy: That all of us experience suffering in one way or another, but it is up to us how it will affect us.  We can choose to be bitter or to love with a power that is supernatural.

Carrie: Amen ♥

Thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.

Cathy: I am working on a book, tentatively called, The House Speaks, that will include three novellas all based upon three identical houses on Terra Ceia Island, Florida.  The houses narrate the stories.  The stories are set in three different decades, 1924, 1934, and 1944, but with three contemporary issues, racial prejudice, child abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder.  This is my first book that the characters are all fiction.


To celebrate her tour, Cathy is giving away a grand prize of a special quilt handmade by Cathy!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Click here to view this promotion.
This giveaway is hosted by Celebrate Lit, not RimSP
Follow along with the tour for more chances to win!


25 Responses to “Author Interview (and a Giveaway!): Cathy Slusser & The Sea Beneath Us”

  1. Gloria A

    Very interesting interview. I too love Eugenia Prices’books and fell in love with the coastal areas of Georgia and Florida where her books take place. The coast from north Florida, through Georgia and up to Charleston, South Carolina are beautiful with the marshes and barrier islands. I will check out Cathy’s books.

  2. Perrianne Askew

    Wow! You write and you sew. Those are two very time consuming jobs. Your upcoming book where the houses narrate the story sounds just as interesting as your latest release. Thank you for the giveaway opportunity and Merry Christmas.

  3. Dianne Casey

    I really liked the description of “The Sea Beneath Us”, sounds like a great read.

  4. Kay Garrett

    Thank you for introducing the new to me author Cathy Slusser. I love the storyline ofThe Sea Beneath Us and would very much love to read it. Enjoyed the interview and the giveaway prize is totally AWESOME!

  5. Audrey Stewart

    The quilt is so beautiful. I have to thank this blog for my intro to Cathy and her work. Great job…both of you. I enjoyed this post.

  6. Cathy Slusser

    Thank you so much Carrie! I enjoyed “meeting” you and hopewesomeday share a cup of tea and a winter walk. I could thread your sewing machine for you!

  7. Cathy Slusser

    Thank you so much Carrie! I enjoyed “meeting” you and hope we someday share a cup of tea and a winter walk. I could thread your sewing machine for you!

  8. Vivian Furbay

    Very interesting story! Best wishes to the winner. The quilt is lovely.

  9. Caryl Kane

    Hey Carrie and Cathy! Thank you for the wonderful interview. The Sea Beneath Us sounds like a must read.

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