.My visitor today is Cathie Dunn, a very special friend of mine who, despite being a 100% cat-person doesn’t mind the hounds investigating her handbag. (Lily, dear, I don’t think Cathie keeps digestives in there, snout out, please). So, welcome to the Bingergread Cottage, Cathie, first off – what would you like to drink?
Thanks so much for the kind invite, Ailsa. It’s charming here. Cosy and inviting. Oh, I’d love a cup of mulled wine, please. And a slice of that lovely lemon drizzle cake.
Yes, it’s not very tidy but it’s homely. Coming right up. I won’t join you in the mulled wine but I’ve got a lovely spice kit I picked up in Alsace when we went there for a Christmas market. I’m sure you’ll love it. I made the cake yesterday, here, just help yourself.
Let’s start with your books – do you write under just one name or several? How many genres do you cover? How much have you had published including anthologies etc?
I write under one name at the moment. Well, as long as I don’t switch genres, I guess. I write romantic historical adventures, adding my characters to real events.
A change of name may be in the air as I’ve recently started working on a contemporary romance, but I find it strange to have my characters use cars, mobiles or take planes. Not a horse or sword in sight! 🙂 Not sure Cathie approves…
I know what you mean. When I change genres I find I have to change personalities too. How long have you been writing professionally? I imagine that, like all of us, you wrote all your life before “turning pro”.
Pretty much, yes. I started penning romantic stories in my teens, inspired by Georgette Heyer, Victoria Holt, M.M. Kaye and Anne Golon. Since reading their works, my dream has always been to write stories combining a dramatic historical setting with a dash of romance and dangerous suspense. But I only completed my first work after taking a Creative Writing course at Lancaster University, which taught me a lot about the process – and the discipline you need to finish what you started.
Oh yes, that’s the hardest bit of all, isn’t it? And I so agree. My first inspiration was Anya Seyton’s “Katherine”. What was your first published work? Short story, magazine article, poem?
My first published novel was Highland Arms. I was fortunate in it being signed up by The Wild Rose Press. It’s still only available in e-book format, but I’ll never forget the elation, the thrill, of seeing the offer of contract arriving in my mailbox. Hubby and I celebrated with bubbly (the bottle well hidden in a plastic bag!) and cake in Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh. A fantastic feeling.
Yes, wonderful experience, that (scribbles on notebook – find copy of Highland Arms). Fizz in Princes Street Gardens eh? That’s worth a short story! What are your ambitions / hopes for your writing career?
First of all, I’d love to finish my Anarchy Trilogy, but as I love lie-ins, and have a busy work schedule in the daytime, I haven’t gone past the first instalment, Dark Deceit. (Sagittarians are useless at discipline!)
I also want to write a sequel to Highland Arms – I have an idea about a plot set 25 years later, following the ill-fated ’45 rebellion featuring a character who was a child in the original.
Lastly, I’d love to go into teaching creative writing one day. Apart from creating more stories, of course.
Sagittarians aren’t the only ones. We Leos tend to be a bit chaotic too. Now on to you, the author. Where do you live and with whom? Describe a perfect day at home for me. Where else have you lived?
Well, I’ve moved around a bit, and am thinking of upping sticks again for somewhere else soon. I’m originally from Heidelberg in Germany, a most romantic city in tourism terms. Lovely setting. Then I lived in Kent (around the corner from Hever Castle), in rural Aberdeenshire and in Cardiff for a while. Of course, I explored as many castles, ruins and stone circles as I could pack into my time in those places.
For the past 8 years, I’ve lived in a draughty old cottage on the outskirts of Edinburgh, Scotland, with my husband and our two cats, Tiger and our new adoptee, Toby. The wonderful Bob left us recently for higher (cat) spheres.
I could fancy living in Vancouver or in Amsterdam, but even more so in the Black Forest area in south-west Germany. It’s close to the Alps, next door to France and Switzerland; it has good food and drink, and gorgeous scenery. Who knows…
The perfect day at home? Well, the fire should be lit, a nice glass of wine poured and I’m curled up with the boys (the cats, that is) on the sofa, reading. I love history books (nope, I’m not a geek and there’s nothing boring in reading about battles, court intrigues & invasions – of the medieval kind, of course) and historical novels with or without romance. Or a gripping, dark thriller. Hubby would be on his sofa playing PS or doing Crooked Cat stuff, as he can’t ever rest! :p
The perfect day could even include a walkie in the snow.
Ah, so we both suffer from wander-lust, then. I agree, we love the Black Forest region. Do you have a “day job”?
Yes, I do. I work in admin (to pay those dreaded bills), and I’m also a senior editor at Crooked Cat. My jobs run over 7 days and include evenings. So glad cats are independent creatures…
One awfie busy gurl! Outside of writing and any other work, what is your main passion (greatest pleasures?)
I love walking, visiting new places, short city breaks, exploring countrysides. I’m looking forward to a long weekend in the Black Forest in late February (snowshoeing, yayy!), would love to visit Normandy again, and I adored Amsterdam where we went last June. And go back to Canada.
My other passion is pets. I’d love to become a pet behaviourist, but not sure yet. Maybe in a few years’ time.
Yes, animals is a passion we share, I know. Are you sure you’ll have time for another career in amonst all the other jobs? (giggle) So now, tell me two or three interesting facts about you that I haven’t asked.
I did 4 years of Latin at school which still helps me understand when reading medieval documents.
I love snow!
Thank you for hosting me today, Ailsa. It’s been a pleasure, and I hope to return the favour soon. 🙂
The pleasure is entirely mine and yes, I wish I could remember more of the Latin I did at school, it’s so useful (especially reading inscriptions in old churches and cathedrals which is one of my passions)
Finally and most importantly – Bio and links please, so the readers can find you and your works.
Cathie Dunn writes romantic suspense & adventure set in Scotland, England and Normandy. A hobby historian, her focus is on medieval and Jacobite eras.
She has two historical novels published: Highland Arms, a romantic Scottish adventure, and Dark Deceit, the first in The Anarchy Trilogy. In 2012, Cathie self-published Silent Deception, a romantic spooky novella set in Victorian Cornwall. All her books are available on Amazon.
Cathie lives in Scotland with her husband and two cats and currently works on a contemporary romantic suspense set in Idaho, US, and a medieval Scottish romance set on the isle of Mull.