Catherine West is an award-winning author who writes stories of hope and healing from her island home in Bermuda. Educated in Bermuda, England, and Canada, she holds a degree in English from the University of Toronto. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America.
When Cathy is not at the computer working on her next story, she is taking long walks with her Border Collie or tending to the roses and orchids in her garden. She and her husband have two college-aged children.
What sparked your writing journey?
I’ve always loved to write. I started writing stories when I was in high school. At first I thought I wanted to be a journalist, but as I got older and couldn’t stop writing fun romantic stories, I eventually let a friend read one, and she encouraged me to pursue publication, and it went from there.
Has God ever provided an unexpected “detour” in your life that turned out to be positive?
Well, I suppose when I decided to search for my birth family—I didn’t actually realize how much of a detour that would be. It was such an emotionally draining time for me that I had to step back from a lot of things, writing included. But I learned so much during those years and drew so much closer to God, that it turned out to be a very positive experience for me.
How does your faith play into your writing?
I suppose because of who I am in Christ, faith will always be prevalent in my writing, whether it is written in an overt way or subtly. It really depends on the storyline as to which style I write, but there will always be an emphasis on faith in all my books. I love to write about redemption and restoration, neither of which are possible without God’s grace.
Let’s talk about your new book, Hidden in the Heart (OakTara Publishing, September 2012). Please tell us about it.
Everything Claire wants seems to be beyond her reach…
After losing her mother to cancer and suffering a miscarriage soon after, Claire Ferguson numbs the pain with alcohol and pills, and wonders if her own life is worth living.
Adopted at birth, Claire is convinced she has some unknown genetic flaw that may have been the cause of her miscarriage. She must find a way to deal with the guilt she harbors. But exoneration will come with a price.
With her marriage in trouble and her father refusing to answer any questions about her adoption, Claire begins the search for her birth mother. For the first time in her life, she really wants to know where she came from. But what if the woman who gave her life doesn’t want to be found?
It wasn’t really my intention to write a book based on my own search and reunion journey, but the more I thought about it and talked to friends about the idea, I was encouraged to do so. It’s my hope that anyone who has been touched by adoption in some way will resonate with Claire’s story. While the book is fiction, and a lot of what happens to Claire did not happen to me, all the emotions she experiences are definitely based on first hand experience!
Besides entertainment, what do you hope readers will take away from it?
I really hope readers will come to understand that in God’s plan there are no coincidences. Everything happens for a reason. Even the things we don’t understand. The things that hurt. I hope they will see that if they’ve been holding back forgiveness toward someone, the time is now. Life is too short to hold onto bitter feelings. God has a plan for our lives and it is good. If we trust Him, all things are possible.
God often uses our stories to teach us when we’re writing them. What did you learn (about life, faith, and/or even yourself) in the process of writing this book?
I learned that healing is a long, slow process. LOL! By the time I sat down to write this story, I thought I’d dealt with all the emotions I went through in my search and reunion journey. Thought I’d made peace with it, and forgiven those who hurt me. Nope. : ) I am still processing those emotions today and I don’t think there will ever be a time when I can think or talk about it without emotion so close to the surface. There are parts of the book I still can’t read without getting choked up. But I have learned that that is okay. God is still working things out and he is still healing me and loving me and I’m just so grateful for the answers I do have.
A few fun questions…
When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?
Chocolate? I wish. Unfortunately, copious amounts of chocolate give me nothing but trouble—a sure migraine trigger. So I go for the cheese. I love cheese, all kinds. If we’re going out to eat, I pretty much always order lamb or tuna steak, and I also love sushi.
This website features musicians as well as writers. Do you have musical, as well as literary, talent?
I do sing on the worship team at church—hubby is the worship leader when he’s not busy being a pediatrician. : ) It’s something we get to do together so I love that. I used to play a bit of classical guitar in high school, but I let that go. My son is the real musician in the family, presently studying guitar and music production at Berklee College of Music in Boston.
If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?
A love song of course! Maybe folk or country. : )
In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?
Ha, great question! I’m probably a combination of the girl next door and the little girl trying to walk in high heels. I like to keep things nice and simple, I don’t particularly like change, and when I’m forced to step out of my comfort zone and do things I’m not real comfortable with (like self-promotion), I get a little freaked out. It’s easy to get all caught up in worrying about how well my books are or aren’t doing, what kind of publicity I’m getting, but I’ve learned that kind of thinking just isn’t healthy, so I’m trying really hard to just take what comes, sit back and enjoy the journey.
I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets, if any, or your favorite pet as a child.
Oh, me too!! I used to have dogs growing up and we’ve always had dogs in our family. Our dog of choice is the Border Collie, and I presently have a rambunctious four year old border called Noah, who is definitely my third child!!
Thanks, Cathy. It’s pleasure to have you as a guest at DivineDetour!
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For more information about Catherine, visit her website at http://www.catherinejwest.com/.
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