Today I’m delighted to feature international, best-selling novelist, Catherine Miller. Catherine already has six novels under her belt and her seventh is due out in October 2020. She is one eighth of The Romaniacs – a group of writing friends who’ve supported each other since meeting through The Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme.
When Catherine Miller became a mum to twins, she decided her hands weren’t full enough so wrote a novel with every spare moment she managed to find. By the time the twins were two, Catherine had a two-book deal with Carina UK. There is a possibility she aged remarkably in that time. Her debut novel, Waiting For You, came out in March 2016.
Catherine was a NHS physiotherapist, but for health reasons (Uveitis and Sarcoidosis) she retired early from this career. As she loved her physiotherapy job, she decided if she couldn’t do that she would pursue her writing dream. It took a few years and a couple of babies, but in 2015 she won the Katie Fforde bursary, was a finalist in the London Book Fair Write Stuff Competition and highly commended in Woman magazine’s writing competition. Soon afterwards she signed with Carina. Soon after that, she collapsed in a heap and was eventually revived by chocolate.
Over to Catherine
Which 5 pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?
This is a bit of a cheat, but I’m going to opt for the entire soundtrack to the Romeo and Juliet film directed by Baz Luhrmann. I used to listen to this on repeat at University and that was when I got the writing bug.
Mafia by Kelis – This is another song from my University days and it’s another song about love and the lengths someone will go for it.
Falling Slowly by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova from the movie Once. This is a beautiful track that I listened to a lot while writing 99 Days With You. If you haven’t watched the film, I’d recommend it!
Elastic Heart by Sia – I’m beginning to sense a theme here – I was destined to write love stories based on these choices! I love the video for this song and it really shows the capacity of the heart to love and also to recover from love. It’s another song I listen to when writing.
Hooked on a feeling by Blue Swede – This is my love song! It was blasted out a bonfire night we went to last year. Both my partner and I love the opening, but it really breaks down to having found the one and as he recently proposed, it must be true! We’ll play this one when we do get married.
Highlight 5 things (apart from family and friends) you’d find it hard to live without.
With the recent lockdown and being one of those having to shield, I have a more keen knowledge of what those things are.
Tea – this is my caffeine life force and with home schooling twins and continuing with revisions for my October release, it has been essential.
My writing bureau – I work from an old bureau my partner did up and I love it. I’ve written a lot of words at it and I’ve never loved a piece of furniture more.
Books/Kindle – I love reading and have managed to squeeze more in this year. I’ve enjoyed escapism more than ever before this year.
My phone – It’s a key to communication with the outside world at the moment and it’s also how I listen to audio books. I only discovered audio over a year ago and I love getting extra reads in this way. It makes housework far more entertaining.
My new shiny engagement ring – My partner and I don’t live together, but with lockdown he has moved in and it turns out we’re a good match.
Can you offer 5 pieces of advice you’d give to your younger self?
These are things I’d reiterate to myself:
Only you get to decide what you do.
Don’t let other people discourage you.
Try not to doubt yourself.
Small steps get you a long way.
And this is a motto I came up with when I was doing my GCSEs and that I still live by:
Nothing is easy, everything is possible.
Tell us 5 things that most people don’t know about you.
I sang in the Royal Albert Hall when I was a school girl. I’m a reasonable singer (I’ve had someone kneel down at my feet when I’ve sung karaoke), but I don’t have much confidence as a performer. So it’s unlikely I’ll ever get back to the Royal Albert Hall.
My author profile picture on Amazon isn’t completely up-to-date as I currently have blue hair. I do tend to change it at least twice a year!
Before becoming a writer, I was a qualified physiotherapist.
I’m dyslexic. I was writing backwards and upside down as a child and a teacher told my mum I’d never amount to anything. Mum fought with the school to get me specialist teaching and I’m very glad she did. That input changed my life.
I don’t like raw tomatoes, despite my family getting me to try them regularly in my life. I still do every now and then, but those taste buds aren’t changing.
What are the first 5 things you’d have on your bucket list?
One of the parts of 99 Days With You is Emma’s desire to see puffins in the wild and I have to admit that’s something I’d love to do and haven’t yet! All my research was online or from books on that part of the story.
Besides that four other things I’d love to do in my lifetime:
Purchase a place in France to do up. (I’m a huge Escape to the Chateau fan!)
Go travelling round the UK in a campervan with the kids.
See one of my books made into a movie.
Continue writing stories that make people happy for the rest of my days.
Thanks so much for joining us today Catherine and congratulations on your engagement. really pleased to see that lockdown saw some positive benefits for you (though I suspect you’d rather have done without home schooling). I must watch Baz Lurmann’s Romeo and Juliet as somehow I seem to have missed it – I love his other films. I’m of an age to remember and love the 1968 Zeffirelli version. I’m with you on tea, I virtually chain drink the stuff! How great to have sung in the Royal Albert Hall, that’s a claim to fame at any age. I hope you get to achieve your dreams, that French do-er upper sounds great – I’m also an Escape to the Chateau fan – though sadly with none of the practical and creative skills required to get things done.
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The Day that Changed Everything
When you lose the love of your life, how do you find yourself again?
For Tabitha, the day that changed everything started like any other.
She woke up, slid her feet into fluffy slippers, wrapped herself in a dressing gown and tiptoed out of her bedroom, leaving her husband Andy sleeping. Downstairs, she boiled the kettle and enjoyed a cup of tea as the sun rose.
Upstairs, Andy’s alarm sounded, and Tabitha took him a freshly brewed coffee, like every other morning. Except today, the incessant beeping rang out and her husband hadn’t stirred. She called his name, she nudged his shoulder. But Andy wouldn’t wake up.
Three years later Tabitha is trying her hardest to get by in the shadow of her grief. She may have lost the love of her life but she won’t give up on the family they dreamed of. Fostering troublesome teenage girls and a newborn baby is a chance to piece together her broken heart.
But being a mother isn’t easy, and neither is healing the heartache she carries around. After losing everything, could saving these three children help Tabitha save herself too?
99 Days With You
Sometimes the end is the start of forever…
Emma and Nathan couldn’t be more different. But when they meet in a hospital waiting room, to the sound of a ticking clock and surrounded by faded magazines, they are both terrified, nervous and alone. And they have one fatal thing in common…
Emma lives a quiet life. She looks after her disabled mother. She lives vicariously through the well-thumbed pages and cracked spines of her beloved books.
Nathan spends his days fifteen thousand feet above the ground, soaring through the air, stomach somersaulting, as a sky diving instructor. After a lifetime of having a recurring dream that he would die at twenty-seven, he treats every day like it’s his last.
As fate throws Emma and Nathan together, everything is about to change.
Emma has never been kissed, or tasted champagne, or travelled abroad. Nathan has never fallen in love, worn odd socks, or grown a sunflower from a seed.
Emma and Nathan vow never to waste an hour, knowing that goodbye could come all too soon. But as they lose their hearts to one another against all the odds, have they found each other too late?
The Gin Shack on the Beach
You’re never too old to try something new!
When octogenarian Olive Turner is persuaded by her son to move into a retirement home, she congratulates herself on finding the secret to an easy life: no washing up, cooking or cleaning. But Olive isn’t one for mindless bingo with her fellow residents, and before the first day is over she’s already hatching a plan to escape back to her beloved beach hut and indulge in her secret passion for a very good gin & tonic.
Before long Olive’s secret is out and turning into something wonderful and new. Only a select few are invited, but word spreads quickly about the weekly meetings of The Gin Shack Club. Soon everybody on the beach wants to become a gin connoisseur and join Olive on her journey to never being forced to grow older than you feel.
A journey of friendship, defiance and a quest for the perfect G&T.
Christmas at the Gin Shack
Gingle bells, gingle bells, gingle all the way…
Olive Turner might have lived through eighty-four Christmases, but she’ll never get bored of her favourite time of year. And this one’s set to be extra-special. It’s the Gin Shack’s first Christmas – and there’s a gin-themed weekend and a cocktail competition on the cards!
But, beneath the dazzle of fairy lights and the delicious scent of mince-pies, Olive smells a rat. From trespassers in her beloved beach hut to a very unfunny joke played on her friends, it seems that someone is missing a dose of good cheer.
Olive knows she’s getting on a bit – but is she really imagining that someone in the little seaside town is out to steal Christmas? More importantly, can she create the perfect gin cocktail before Christmas Eve – in time to save the day?
All That Is Left of Us
One of my own…
Dawn loves being a mother. No matter how Archie came into her life, or the fact he’s a little different from other children, he is precious and loved. He is hers, after all. Especially because she’s never told anyone who the father of her son is.
So when Dawn’s twin brother David and his wife Rebekah are struggling to have their own child, Dawn agrees to become their surrogate, as it is the one thing she can do to help.
However, creating the perfect family doesn’t always go to plan and when Dawn realises just how much her nephew needs his mother, she begins to wonder if the time has finally come to confront the past she has kept secret for so long.
Waiting for You
You’d never guess that Fliss Chapron doesn’t have it all
All Fliss wants is to see two blue lines telling her she is pregnant with her much longed for second baby. But as the negative tests stack up, dreams of completing her perfect family feel more hopeless every day.
After years of disappointment, Fliss’s husband Ben is spending more time at the office than in their marital bed, and Fliss finds herself wondering who could be responsible for their inability to conceive another child. Yet, where do you lay the blame when it comes to having a child – and can anyone really be at fault…
As Ben becomes increasingly distant, Fliss begins to question whether her desire for a baby is just a sticking plaster to save her marriage. Because in the end, how well can you ever know another person…even the man you’re married to?
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