Today I am very pleased to welcome Catherine Byrne to my blog.
Catherine very kindly agreed to answer my questions 🙂
For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?
I’ve written four books, one contemporary novella Song for an Eagle, and three full length historical novels in the Raumsey series, Follow the Dove, The broken Horizon and The Road to Nowhere. These begin in Orkney in 1899 and follow the ups and downs of the Reid family. My stories take you to Hell’s Kitchen in Manhattan, to Europe during WW1 and the prairies of Canada. Although they follow each other, each novel is stand alone. Number four Isa’s Daughter, Takes the reader from the island of Raumsey to Glasgow and to Barcelona in the years between the wars, where my characters get involved with the political scene of that time.
Where did/do you get your ideas from?
I was born on the now uninhabited island of Stroma, and always wanted to write something about the island. A factual book had already been done. Then an elderly woman from Canada got in touch with me through Genes Reunited. She was researching her Genealogy and her grandparents came from Stroma. She could find no trace of her Grandfather’s death certificate, or where he was buried. There was no record of him being on the ship that took her grandmother and her children to Canada.
In spite of my best efforts, I could not help her, but the story of Davie Reid and Isa Muirison (not their real names) intrigued me. I had very sketchy details, but, with my Canadian relative’s permission, I developed a story around the facts. I had grown up with tales of the island life of a different generation from my mother and grandmother so was fairly knowledgeable about my subject. That was Follow the Dove. The others followed organically.
Unfortunately, neither the Canadian lady nor my mother lived to see the finished novel.
My novella Song for an Eagle was prompted by a photograph of my granddaughter and an eagle.
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
I do have charismatic but rather evil character in The Broken Horizon, and the picture of him I had in my mind was Cain Dingle from my favourite soap opera, Emmerdale.
How do you pick your characters names?
Since my books are set in the north of Scotland, I chose local names that were popular at that time. Back then, most forenames names were shortened or changed. For instance, my grandmother was Georgina, but she was always known as Mina.
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
I have no set plan. I write when the muse visits me. I edit as I go along. I like to know roughly what my ending will be, and write towards it. However, in Isa’s Daughter, my characters decided to do their own thing, and the ending took me by surprise.
Do you have a favourite author?
My favourite authors change with the years. At the moment it’s Peter May who wrote the Lewis trilogy.
If you could meet any author, who would it be? And what would you ask them?
I don’t read horrors, but I used to many years ago. I think I’d like to meet Stephen King. I’d love to know what goes on in the mind of someone who can come up with that degree of horror. I’d ask him if he sleeps easy at night.
Were you a big reader as a child?
Yes, always. The first book I read was Tom and the Waterbabies.
When did you start to write?
When I was about eight, my teacher told us that, if we knew of any little poems, we could take them to school and recite them for the Christmas Treat. I found a little poem in a book, and I wrote one myself. Tactfully, the teacher said, ‘They’re both nice, but we’ll just use this one.’ Predictably, it wasn’t the one I wrote!
About that time I was making up stories and drawing comic strips complete with the dialogue. In my teens, I wrote song lyrics and rhyming poetry. None of which anyone else ever saw. Then, I’m afraid, life got in the way and my writing took a back seat. In my spare time I indulged in my other passion, painting.
What are you working on right now?
I’ve just finished Isa’s Daughter. I only ever meant to write a trilogy, then try my hand at murder mysteries, but my readers demanded to know what happened next to the Reid family. Once I finished Isa’s Daughter, I missed my characters so much, that I’ve now started number five. My working title is Mary Rosie, but that might change.
When can we look forward to a new release?
Isa’s Daughter is with my editor. I was aiming for a December release, but it might be sooner.
How can readers keep in touch with you?
Web page www.catherinebyrne-author.com
I’m always happy to interact with my readers.
Many thanks to Catherine for joining me on my blog today 🙂
You will find Catherine’s books on her Amazon author page HERE