Monday, March 29, 2010

Interview with Cathy Gohlke

The Grand Finale of my Blogoversary Month features an interview with Christy Award winning author Cathy Gohlke. Cathy is a wonderful writer, and I am so pleased to share her thoughts with you. 

Cathy has also agreed to share the Blogoversary fun by providing a copy of two of her books for a special giveaway. Click on the titles in the first question to read my reviews of these great books.

Interview, Part One:

Karen: Cathy, thank you so much for sharing this interview with my blog gang and I. Congratulations on winning the Christy Award for your books, William Henry is a Fine Name and I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires. You must have been so excited!

Cathy: Thank you for inviting me, Karen, and for your kind words. Writing has been an exciting and blessed journey.  I’m very, very thankful for the opportunity to do the thing I love for the One I love most.

Karen: How long have you been writing? Have you always wanted to write historical fiction?
Cathy: I’ve wanted to write stories since I was five years old and learned, from my grandmother, that books do not appear by magic, but that “real people write books.”  --a huge revelation to a five-year-old!
As a child and teen I experimented with all sorts of writing.  In my twenties I did technical writing; in my thirties and forties I wrote for local newspapers, wrote plays and skits for local performances, essays and poetry as contributions for larger works, and short stories for public readings.  I was in my forties when I began writing William Henry is a Fine Name, and signed my first book contract on my fiftieth birthday.
Although I’ve always loved reading historical fiction, I had imagined that I would write mysteries—especially current day mysteries with historical twists.  Life is full of surprises!

Karen: What inspired you to write William Henry is a Fine Name?
Cathy: I was born on a farm in the North Carolina Piedmont.  My family’s very old farm house was believed, by my grandaunt, to have been a hiding place for runaway slaves before the Civil War.  I don’t know if that was true, but it made a great story, and sparked my lifelong fascination with the Underground Railroad. I knew that my first novel would have something to do with that topic.  I had expected to write a current day mystery having to do with secret passageways, caves or tunnels, and diaries or records of some sort from that era.  

But when I got the voices of two boys in my head, one black and one white, best friends, both confronting the issues of slavery in their own way—my story was off and running.  The “movie” played through my mind and I could not—did not want to—rein it in.
I loved the historical research—and had a difficult time knowing when to stop!  Bits of story and characters emerged from my research.  I allowed those characters to have their way in the time period in which they lived.  Often I felt that I was recording their story rather than creating.  It was that vivid.
Understanding the way in which people thought and responded to life in their own time period is a fascinating study all its own. For a story to ring true we need to understand, as best we can, their world and challenges from their viewpoint. I loved stepping into the 1850s world of my characters.  My love for writing historical fiction was born—naturally and unexpectedly.
Karen: How about I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires?  

Cathy: I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires is a sequel to William Henry is a Fine Name.  It came naturally as “the rest of the story.”  The time frame required that my characters confront the Civil War.  That provided an opportunity to explore the reasons people go to war and the variety of ways they respond to war—a topic that we deal with today.
History repeats itself with astonishing regularity, so finding a “historical frame” for a modern question is not difficult.  Historical fiction can provide distance for our difficult questions, and sometimes a greater perspective.

Be sure and visit on Thursday for the conclusion of the interview with Cathy

Giveaway Details:

Cathy has generously offered to send a copy of William Henry is a Fine Name and I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires to the winner of this final Blogoversary Month Giveaway. To enter, kindly follow these simple steps.

1) Leave a comment. Include your email address. Entries without email address will not be eligible.

2) Receive an extra entry by becoming a follower, or by reminding me that you already follow.

3) Receive a bonus entry by posting about this giveaway on your Facebook page. Please leave a comment telling me so.

4) Receive a bonus entry by posting this giveaway on your blog. Please leave a comment with the link.

*Entry deadline is Thursday, April 1, 2010 at midnight. Winner will be notified on Friday and will have 48 hours to respond, otherwise a new winner will be chosen. 

Thanks for sharing in the fun! Happy reading and writing:)

 *Open only to residents of the United States. My apologies to my overseas followers.


  1. Hello Karen, I really enjoyed reading this interview. It was as if I was there watching.

    I am going to find myself this book! Have a blessed day!

    I so enjoy your visits and comments. Take care. xxx

  2. Great interview, Karen. Thanks so much for posting it. My email is Hope you have a great Monday! Sincerely, Susan

  3. Hey Karen,
    Put my name in the hat.
    cjalex44 at gmail dot com.
    I'm already a follower.

  4. Inspiring interview. I am always encouraged to read authors' stories. Congrats again on the excllent blogoversary! I'm a follower already, but here's my email:
    srdietze at sbcglobal dot net

  5. I always admire writers who really get into research. That takes a lot of time. Great interview.
    And yes, I am a follower!...although the funny thing is I thought I've been a follower for a long time now, but it turns out I'd never actually clicked the button (smacks forhead). ;)

  6. Thanks to all who stopped by; glad you enjoyed the interview. Cathy is fabulous. :)

    Thanks also to those who left condolences about the passing of my Mom. We're both sad and happy at the same time, for we will see her again.

    Thanks and blessings,

  7. This was great! Happy blogoversary!

  8. Hi Karen & Cathy -

    Great interview! I love behind-the-scenes looks at the writing process. :)

    I've read and recommended both of these books. You don't want to miss these gems.


    On my semi-vacation, I just read, at my agent Natasha's request, "William Henry is a Fine Name."

    On Wednesday, I am posting about Cathy Golke being a fine writer. No, more than fine. What a blessing it was to read a page turner, feel the presence of God, wander back through history, and have my life changed by the young protagonist, who must choose between his mother's and father's values and ways of life.

    DO rush out and buy this book--and then if you win Karen's drawing, give this proudly as a gift!

    Thanks ever so much, Kathy, for your work, Karen, for your blog!!!

    P.S. Condolences over the loss of your mom.

  10. It must be a lot of fun for you to interview other writers.

  11. Oh dear, forgive me. I did not see the post underneath this one until now.

    My mother died unexpectedly when I was 30. I am so sorry to hear about this and I do understand the depth of loss you must be feeling.

    May God comfort you and keep you, and your family.

  12. What a fun interview! Good luck to whoever wins Cathy's book!


Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Have a blessed day!