Cathy lives in south-west Scotland with her husband Liam, two children, three cats, two rabbits, and a skinny, hairy dog named Kelpie, who was the model for Leggit in Dizzy. She still teaches art two days a week and writes the problem page for a British teen magazine. You can find out more about Cathy by checking out her website and watch out for her next book, Indigo Blue.
PLACE & DATE OF BIRTH:Coventry, 13/6/62 (eek!)
FAVOURITE BOOK:I Don’t Know You by David Klass; Junk by Melvin Burgess; Goodnight Mr Tom by Michelle Magorian; The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger.
FAVOURITE SONG:‘Waterloo Sunset’ by the Kinks; ‘Up the Junction’ by Squeeze; ‘Catch’ by The Cure.
FAVOURITE FILM:Captain Corelli’s Mandolin; I Capture the Castle; Chocolat.
MOST TREASURED POSSESSION:A 1954 green Morris Minor saloon car, now living in retirement in my garden with a climbing rose trained over it.
When did you start writing?When I was about eight I made a picture book for my little brother about a very tall sunflower. When I was about eleven, I wrote adventure stories inspired by Swallows and Amazons, and as a teenager I sent dozens and dozens of stories to a magazine called Jackie. They sent back dozens and dozens of very polite rejection letters. At 16, I had a story published by a magazine called Look Now. I can’t remember it well, but I think it was very slushy and sad.
Where do you get your ideas and inspiration from?Everywhere! Sad things, strange things, funny things, weird things. I love to people-watch, and I love to daydream. I store away fragments of dreams, things that happen, things I see or hear that make me smile. Some of them surface later in my stories.
Can you give your top 3 tips to becoming a successful author1. Don’t listen to the people who say you can’t do it – if you want to do something badly enough, you can. When I was 15, I was asked in a French Oral exam what I wanted to be when I grew up. I said I wanted to be a writer and an artist. The examiner laughed out loud. Don’t listen to negative people – go for your dream!2. Live life to the full – have adventures, have fun, be happy, be sad. Never be afraid of your feelings. Write about what you care about, what moves you – put your feelings into your work.3. Read like crazy, and write – every day, if you can. These are the best ways to learn your trade. Hopefully, one day other people will be reading your work!
Favourite memoryWearing sticky-out 50’s frocks in Liverpool when I was an art student; the fireworks, the Toblerones and the chocolate wedding cake when Liam and I got married; seeing my babies for the first time.
Favourite place in the world and why?The Bay at the Back of the Ocean on the Isle of Iona, because it feels like you’re on the edge of the world; the Fairy Glen on the Isle of Skye because it makes you believe in magic; and my cottage in Galloway, because it’s full of the people, animals and things that I love best.
What are your hobbies?Walking my gangly lurcher-dog; swimming; eating chocolate; reading; drawing; collecting old toys, books and clothes; trying to control my unruly garden.If you hadn’t been a writer what do you think you would have been?I also work as an Agony Aunt for the pre-teen mag Shout and as a visiting art teacher for six rural primary schools in Galloway. So, I’d keep on doing those jobs – and maybe try a few more! I’d like to run an animal sanctuary or sit in an attic weaving big, romantic tapestries or make appliqué pictures out of old dresses. The list is endless!
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