Happy Monday! Starting today and continuing through Saturday (culminating with a list of winners), I have the privilege of sharing mini interviews with nearly all of the 2019 ACFW Carol Award Finalists! Today I’m covering the contemporary category, including Catherine West and her nominated book Where Hope Begins! You can check out a list of all the finalists HERE.
FYI – There will be several posts per day, and a week-long giveaway, so make sure you catch them all!
Catherine West is an award-winning author of contemporary women’s fiction. When she’s not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or reading books by her favorite authors. She and her husband reside in Bermuda, and have two adult children and two beautiful granddaughters. Catherine is the winner of the 2015 Grace Award (Bridge of Faith) and a two-time winner of Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope & Love Reader’s Choice Award (The Things We Knew, 2017 and Where Hope Begins, 2019, and a Carol Award Finalist for Where Hope Begins. Her latest novel, As the Light Fades, released September 2019.
WHERE HOPE BEGINS
GENRE: Inspirational Contemporary Fiction
PUBLISHER: Thomas Nelson
RELEASE DATE: May 22, 2018
In the aftermath of her husband’s act of adultery and abandonment, Savannah must finally face the ghosts that haunt her and discover for herself whether authentic faith, grace, and ultimate healing really do exist.
When her husband of twenty-one years leaves her, Savannah Barrington believes she’s lost almost everything she’s ever loved. With her daughter in college and her son in boarding school, Savannah retreats to her parents’ lake house in the Berkshires, where hope and healing come in the form of an old woman’s wisdom, a little girl’s laughter, a touch of magic, and a handsome man who’s willing to risk his own heart to prove she’s still worth loving.
But when her husband asks to reconcile, Savannah is faced with the hardest challenge of all: Forgiving the unforgivable. Somehow she must find freedom from the chains of their past and move forward, or face an unknown future without him.
Hi, sweet friend! Welcome back to the blog!
Q: Why do you write fiction? And, why specifically Christian fiction?
Catherine: I’ve always been fascinated by the power of story – to transport, explore, and evoke emotion within the reader. Storytelling is something that came easily for me, even at a young age, so I think I always knew I wanted to write fiction. It wasn’t until I was older, in my twenties, that I discovered Christian fiction. I thought how amazing it would be to not only be able to tell a story, but also include a message of hope, grace and mercy, and point people toward God’s amazing love!
Carrie: … and you do it so well ♥
Q: Other than the Bible, what are a couple of your most cherished books and why?
Catherine: Oh, what a hard question! Well, I don’t know about ‘cherished’, but I have to say one of the books that will always stick with me is Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind. I read it for the first time when I was about fourteen, away in England at boarding school, and it transported me! I devoured every word! It was a huge book, and I think our librarian was a bit impressed that I read it, but I credit it for sparking that desire to become an author, so it will always be one of my cherished books. Another book that I adore is of course, Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen. I’ve always been amazed by this story, and of course the romantic in me simply swoons every time, but as an author, it’s so inspiring to me. That a woman in that day and age would set out to write such a beautiful romance, and that it was actually published!
Carrie: Jane Austen is a true heroine in her own story! I confess to not liking Gone With the Wind, though… but we can still be friends 😉
Q: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever Googled while researching a book?
Catherine: I don’t know if it’s weird, but I’ve researched everything from brain tumors to dancing goats! And yes, I will admit to spending an entire morning watching videos of goats. Because. Goats.
Q: If I asked your characters to describe YOU as an author, what would they say?
Catherine: Ha. Do I want to know?! Hmm. Probably that I’m slow to catch on. They try to tell me all sorts of things and I usually don’t listen at first. And then I’ll have this moment of clarity, where suddenly everything makes complete sense and the entire book just falls into place. And I always feel like they’re sitting back with a smug smile, and maybe an eye-roll, thinking, “Yes. It’s about time.”
Carrie: I can totally see Gray doing that. Just because I wanted to bring him up. 😀
Q: Which of your main characters (either in Where Hope Begins or over all you’ve written) is most like you?
Catherine: I suppose I would have to say Savannah in Where Hope Begins, because she’s probably the oldest female main character I’ve written. And I loved that! I could definitely relate to her angst about getting older, worries about raising her children, and her restlessness in wondering what she was going to do with the rest of her life, and wanting to live it well.
Carrie: I love Savannah! She’s such a layered character who I could also relate to, even though we’re in different seasons of life.
Q: What is something God taught you while you wrote Where Hope Begins?
Catherine: Where Hope Begins is all about relationship. I had to go deep within myself to a dark place, and ask, what would I do in this situation? How would I feel? How would I respond? It was not an easy book to write, because nobody wants to find themselves in the situations Savannah did. I think I certainly came away with a greater understanding of marriage. And a lot more compassion for those couples who are struggling to get through insurmountable loss, and betrayal.
Carrie: I felt the same way after reading it… while digging out from my copious piles of tissues from ugly crying through the whole last half LOL
Q: What is one of your favorite quotes from Where Hope Begins & why do you love it?
Catherine: “God doesn’t give up, dear. People do.” Clarice, the wise old woman who lives next door to Savannah, tells her this. I love Clarice for a lot of reasons, but most of all for her wisdom. And I think this is so true. When you’re in that hard place and you can’t see a way out, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking God’s given up on you. And if that’s true, then why even bother? I think we’ve all been there at one point. I certainly have. But then God sends someone or something to turn the lights back on, and you realize that you’ve believed a lie. Because God will never leave us or forsake us. He never gives up.
Carrie: Clarice is just the best! And amen & amen – so thankful He never leaves.
I am offering one reader any TWO books (print copies) that finaled in the 2019 Carol Awards! (open internationally as long as Book Depository ships to your address) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What interests you most from Catherine West’s Q&A or the contemporary Carol Award finalist Where Hope Begins?