Several years ago, my twin sister Emily won a competition in school and received a book that very quickly became a favourite of ours: it was called Scarlett by Cathy Cassidy. Emily fell in love with Cathy’s books, building up a collection of every book she’s written. Although Cathy’s books are for younger readers, we both still love reading them even though we’re 21. Last year we went along to a talk and a signing and after meeting her, we both realised how much of a lovely lady Cathy is.
Soon, we both become guest-posters on her website, DREAMCATCHER, and this week I had the pleasure of asking Cathy a few questions for my blog! I’ve also written a post for DREAMCATCHER, which I will link you to when it’s published. There will be a link to Cathy’s latest book, BROKEN HEART CLUB, at the end of this post if you want to find out more about it.
When did you decide that you wanted to become an author?
It has been my dream ever since I can remember. As a teen, I was already working towards that goal, sending hundreds of short stories away to my fave teen mag of the time, Jackie.
Did you like to write when you were in school? What was your favourite subject?
Yes, I loved creative writing but as I got older I loved writing outside the school framework rather than in class… I got more freedom that way! It was good discipline to be able to write outside school time too. My favourite subject… well, I liked English, but only the story-writing bits and not the grammar. I loved history because to me it was all stories, but once exams loomed the stories seemed to vanish and were replaced by lists of dates and treaties and battles, so not quite my favourite either. I was mad about art, but not at school, where my art teacher tried to stifle any sign of creativity by making us draw endless still life pictures of dusty, cobwebby old wine bottles. So… I think I’ll go for Daydreaming. (What do you mean, it wasn’t on the timetable?)
If you could choose one of your books to be made into a film, which one would it be and why?
Ooh… I would love the CHOCOLATE BOX GIRLS to be made in a TV series… that would be so cool! I think it’d be a great series. If it was for an actual film, though, I’d pick DIZZY or SCARLETT as visually they would look amazing!
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
Character always comes first, and the rest follows. I do little or no plotting on paper… my ideas unfurl in daydream form and I write them down. This does sometimes mean you go off at tangents or get sidetracked, but it also allows great freedom and keeps everything fresh. If I plotted a book in detail I’d lose the enthusiasm for actually writing it!
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, how do you overcome it?
Daydreaming is a great cure, or asking ‘what if’ questions. If that doesn’t work, I stop worrying, step away from my desk and take the dogs for a walk or generally do something totally different. That can clear the ‘block’ and often when you least expect it, a solution for whatever the problem was will appear.
What kinds of books do you like to read?
YA fiction is my favourite… my new favourite author is Jandy Nelson, whose books are hauntingly beautiful and very poetic. I read all kinds of stuff though, all kinds of genres and age groups. Books that look at feelings and emotions are always my favourites.
Finally, tell us a bit about your new book…
BROKEN HEART CLUB is a story of five friends, four girls and a boy, whose friendship group is broken apart in a very dramatic way. We join them at the end of Year Eight when the characters are trying to put the pieces of their friendship together again. The idea was inspired by a group of best friends who called themselves the Heart Club, met after a school visit a few years ago…
A couple of years ago I started writing a screenplay for Scarlett and I was quite happy with it. I should really work on it again – how great would it be if I could finish it and it can actually be made into a film?!
Click the images below to read any of the books mentioned in the interview!
Thank you Cathy for answering my questions!