First of all , thanks Cathleen for being on Fly High today and accepting to answer my questions. What about introducing yourself briefly to our readers , before we start our conversation? I’m a thirty-something wife, mother of three amazing children, and writer of women’s fiction hell bent on conquering the world one book at a time. (kidding...kind of)

I’ve found you via twitter, I think, but it is so difficult to remember how and when one gets in contact in this wonderful crowded blogoworld … then I started following your site and reading your on line publication of Everleigh in NY. It’s such great fun to read her adventures. How did you get to create your heroine? Is she anything like you? Thank you. I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed reading ‘Everleigh in NYC’. It’s been such a blast to write. It’s good to know there are folks out there who enjoy reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. Honestly. When I first began writing ‘Everleigh’ she was nothing like she is now. It’s taken countless drafts to get her to where she is now. And I really love her. We do share a lot of the same traits. The biggest being we’re both clumsy as all get out. Ask my husband—he has countless stories of the number of times I ended up wearing more of my dinner instead of eating it. When I think back on it, it’s amazing he asked me out for second date. I still have a hard time leaving the dinner table without having gotten some part of my dinner on me.

Are you going to post the entire story on line? I’ve read on your site that your are going to publish it as a book . When will it be out?
No. I’m only posting the first four chapters, as a bit of a teaser. ‘Everleigh’ is scheduled for release Nov. 2010. So if you want to know how the rest of the story plays out, you’ll have to buy the book.

This story is so amusing …it reminds me of Bridget Jones’ s Diary. It’s beautiful when you can laugh out loud as well as get intrigued in a love story. What do you have in mind for Everleigh? A series?
It’d be nice! Wow! What a huge compliment, reminding you of Bridget Jones’s Diary. Helen Fielding is a master. Thank you so much. *sniffs, wiping tears from eyes*
I’ve never thought of turning ‘Everleigh’ into a series, but I suppose if my legion of fans *clears throat* demand more of her, then I will certainly give it to them. Who am I to deny my people? *wink and a cheesy smile*

(read chapter 1)

Is this your first novel or have you written others?
Yes and no. I’ve written three others, but this version is a complete rewrite of my first novel. So in a way, it’s really my fourth. Did that make sense?

 How does it feel being a published author? Did you always want to be a writer?

 Getting published is such an amazing feeling. It’s nice to know that all the sacrifices I’ve had to make while writing are actually going to result in something tangible. I know I’m going to blubber like a baby when I finally get to hold my book in my hands. There’ll be loads of mascara-laden tears smeared all over the pages. Hell, I think I might blubber now just thinking about it. Actually, I didn’t always know I wanted to be a writer. I’ve always known that I enjoyed it, but as far as writing for a living...never crossed my mind.

How many hours a day do you dedicate to your writing? Have you got a writing routine?
When I’m on a roll I can write for hours on end. Literally all day to the point where I forget to eat. (My waistline SO needs more of those days.) And then there’s those other days where I’d rather do anything BUT write because the words just aren’t there. I need a writing routine. I usually do my best work in the early morning hours. I’m not a night owl. I wish I was, I could get a lot more done. But I’m old, I need all the beauty sleep I can get. Really. You do NOT want to see me with less than 8 hours of sleep. It’s not pretty. I promise. It usually involves a lot of under my breath swearing, bags under my eyes that would rival a suitcase, and there’s not enough caffeine in the world that can bring me around. Trust me, I’ve tried.

What does it take to be a good writer and what, instead, to be a popular writer? What about being both? (I know this can be a hard one! )
This is a hard one. I think to be a good writer, or really just a writer in general, you have to read. Stephen King said in his book ‘On Writing’ that if you don’t have time to read, then you don’t have time to write. It’s so true. I find that when I don’t read regularly, I stall. You know, the whole ‘words in equal words out’ thing. Also, know your genre. Seriously. That would be like me trying to write a believeable sci-fi novel without ever reading a single sci-fi story. Sure, I could write one, but it’d be crap. As for being a popular writer, I think it’s just a matter of taping into something the vast majority can relate to. But usually when that happens, it’s just sheer luck. No one could possibly plan that. It just happens.

You stated somewhere in your blog that you don’t mind if your books are considered ChickLit. What is the reason of your choosing this genre ?
Oh, I SO did not choose this genre. It totally chose me. My passion was in historical fiction. That’s what I wanted to write. But Everleigh had other plans, clearly. I’ve read chick lit off and on for many years, but just devoured historicals so I was a bit surprised when ‘Everleigh in NYC’ not only came to life, but came from me. I love writing this genre, though. It’s really fun, and I get to live vicarously through my characters. They get to live the fabulous life while I’m stuck in the real world doing laundry. Totally unfair now that I think about it.

I know you also wrote/are writing historical fiction? Have you already published anything in that genre? What’s your favourite historical period?
I have two historicals that are works in progress. I haven’t published anything in that genre, and may never. And the middle ages are by far my favorite time period in history. I mean, what’s hotter than a knight mounted on his destrier, or jousting in tournaments? I love it. All of it.

 And what about reading? What are your favourite genres, authors? Have you got a very special book on your bed-side table you love re-reading from time to time?
I love reading. Reading is like breathing. I can’t NOT do it. I have quite a few fave authors. Lindsey Kelk, Sophie Kinsella, JK Rowling, Elizabeth Chadwick, Allison Weir, Stephen King, Ken Follett (Pillars of the earth and World Without End were just plain brilliant). Right now, I’m loving Lindsey Kelk’s ‘I Heart Hollywood’, the follow up to her debut ‘I Heart New York’. I love her work. Seriously. Keep an eye on that one. She’s going places.

My blog is dedicated to my several interests and , among them period movies/drama. Do you like watching films? What about costume films? Have you got any favourite ones?
Oh boy do I love movies. I totally adore period pieces. ‘Sense and Sensibility’ is one of my all-time favorites. I mean, it just doesn’t get any better than that. Another of my faves is ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’. That movie just makes me plain ol’ happy. By the end, I’m ready to pack up, move to Italy, buy a villa and have the muscular descendents of Roman gods help with all the lifting.

I must admit I have a crush on a charming Brit actor who peeps up here and there on my blog. But I remember I noticed a handsome presence on your “about me “ page of your site . So… can you share your not-so-secret- passion with us? Does Robert , the hot guy Everleigh has just met , resemble him anyway?
*dreamy sigh* Hugh Jackman. I’ll talk about him all you want. My husband refers to him as my boyfriend. And he is, he just doesn’t know it. And yes, Hugh Jackman is the whole reason I made the character, Robert Gates, Australian. I must admit though, in the beginning Robert Gates was English, but after seeing the movie ‘Australia’, Hugh was everything I’d imagined Robert to be. So I changed him. And he’s all the better for it. So, if Hugh Jackman happens to read your blog he should know that I will accept no other actor to portray him in the big screen version of ‘Everleigh’.

 Have you got a question you’d like to ask our readers and commenters? I guess how many people would be interested in participating in a book giveaway? (does that sound stupid...I don’t know what to say, really.)

 Thanks Cathleen for being here and sharing with us! We’ll wait for you back when your book is published! Good luck with your writing!
Thanks so much, Maria. This was great fun. I loved your questions.

You can find Cathleen Holst at her site Cathleen's Fiction and ... other ramblings ( where you can read the first 4 chapters of her novel)  and on Twitter. Thanks for reading!


Helena Harper said...

Maria, sorry I'm a bit late, but I finally made it! Very much enjoyed this interview with Cathleen. My writing interests are different to Cathleen's but there are things she mentions that apply to all writers - the joy of finally seeing something you've written in print, the need and love of reading, being oblivious to everything else when you write and are on a roll... I can identify with all these things.

I wish Cathleen much success with all her books!


lunarossa said...

So interesting! It must be wonderful to put the final full stop on the last page of your novel. It must be even more wonderful when that novel has been published an read all over the world. So wonderful. Something I'd have always liked to experience but will never do. Ciao. A.

Cathleen Holst said...

Helena & lunarossa,
Thanks so much for reading and your lovely comments. And lunarossa, I can only hope that my novel will be read all over the world. If that happens you will here a squeal of delight from sea to shining sea.

C xx

RaShelle Workman said...

Okay, so I'm late. Hi Cathleen. Great interview!!! Hi!!!