My Writing Journey

Interview with Cathleen Townsend #BlogBattle “Cave” Winner

Cathleen TCathleen Townsend has arrived from her own blog, The Beauty of Words. I’m so pleased to have her as our guest today. Did you know she won last week’s #BlogBattle?

The word was CAVE, and hers was a finicky one! 🙂 Cave Rendezvous is her winning tale, so be sure to check it out in a bit. But first, hang out here while we get to know our friend, Cathleen!

Welcome to the old blog-a-rooni. Congrats on the win last week, Cathleen. Your cave has inspired all sorts of dreaming and wondering about caves, not to mention their possible attitude toward visitors. 🙂

I only have a few questions for you, but we’re looking forward to your answers! Let’s get started.

1) Once you set your mind to it you have become a prolific writer, Cathleen! Seven novels written in eighteen months is astounding! What do you think finally clicked for you and made it possible to dive in?

Let me emphasize that I drafted seven novels in eighteen months. That’s writing the silly things and smoothing down the obvious rough edges. And then once they were done, I looked at them and realized I had no idea how to edit them.

I’ve spent the last eighteen months learning how to edit the things doing peer critique online and exchanging beta reads. I paid for a content edit, and I’ve really studied grammar and punctuation. And even then, I’ve still got two novels that I haven’t yet touched since I wrote them over a year ago.

I’d say it’s improving my editing skills that’s giving me the courage to share my stories. As to writing them in the first place…I always wanted to. My life (like that of so many others) has been a struggle to survive, and telling stories always got pushed off. And then I realized that if I let it, writing would always be set aside. There would always be things that were more urgent. And my books would never be written.

Once I realized this, I sat down to write. And I didn’t really put my head up until I’d written seven novels. I was afraid to stop–if I did, it might go away. It was such a great gift that I was finally doing it.

 It might sound weird, but I’m so proud of you for your hard work and accomplishment. No matter how much editing and smoothing they may need, you did that! You poured out your heart and soul in those months and you continue to do so through the rest of the process.

I think it stands to remind us all how important it is to do the things we must but not to forget the things we love. Your story is inspiring, my friend!

2) Family and your history is obviously important to you. What would you say is the most rewarding part of spending time with loved ones?

The most important part to me was building memories. They don’t even have to be the type of thing that’s particularly memorable. Playing games together in the evening in front of the fire in the woodstove. Doing homework together in the car. Cleaning the house and gardening. We planted hundreds of daffodil bulbs and irises together. We planted trees that are huge now. We rode horses and swam in the local rivers and played in the snow. All of that was part of the fabric of our lives.

With my older relatives, it was enormously satisfying sitting down with them and writing their life story. Most people have a story to tell, and many of them have no idea how to tell it. It really mattered to them, that we were writing down what they’d done, their thoughts and reactions to history as it was being made (a lot of it revolved around World War II). And that someone cared enough to do this with them. It’s something I highly recommend for anyone–sitting down with your older relatives and a digital recorder. They know a lot of the things that never make it into history books, but they’re just the details you need to tell a good story.

My first trilogy of novels was set in the Thirties, after a year of doing oral history interviews. Much of the research was already done. It was meant as an homage to those of the Greatest Generation, who fought in World War II.

See, Cathleen, you just keep inspiring me. I bet I’m not the only one. Can I get a ‘heck yeah’ from the rest of you? 🙂

It’s just too easy to take the little things in life for granted, to miss out on the joy of those moments. Those very times are truly the fabric of our lives, woven together in a tapestry unique and masterful.

You’ve also reminded me of my grandma who has been writing down her memoirs of late. Her life is beautiful and her memories are a part of me. I love that you have written a trilogy honoring the Greatest Generation. 🙂

3) If a nice and kindly alien visited you and offered to give you the ability to jump-walk so you could get places faster in exchange for your ability to speak, would you take it?
Hmm, could we put a time limit on it? Could I try it for a month or two? As long as I could write, it would be a hoot. Super-traveling skills could really come in handy. I’ve always wanted to see the world. Just think how easy it would make your setting research. 🙂
Usually these trades are permanent, but maybe he’d work out a deal with you? It couldn’t hurt to ask! 🙂 It would be a ton of fun to gather all that traveling experience for writing. 🙂 Who needs the ability to speak when you have the ability to write? Hmmmm. I might miss my voice, though.

Cathleen, it was truly a pleasure to have you on the blog today. You are an inspiring and encouraging woman. Congrats on the win with Cave Rendezvous!

Thanks everyone for coming by today and spending some time with Cathleen and me. We had a great time. Enjoy your week!

12 thoughts on “Interview with Cathleen Townsend #BlogBattle “Cave” Winner”

  1. Heck yeah! 😀 That’s an amazing amount of work and such a wonderful project. I am reminded of my father, and grandfather, who I never really got the chance to sit down and talk to like that. I wish I had, but time wasn’t on our side. I bet their stories would have been amazing, ans both were alive during WWII. Anyway, I digress, wonderful interview, nice to know more about writing Cathleen. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on The Beauty of Words and commented:
    My first interview–for winning Blog Battle. The competition is fierce, and this is my first win. I’m glad everyone liked this–I was rather proud of it when I’d finished. And it was a story where the idea was all mine. Even batting it around with my husband and posting it for online critique didn’t essentially change the story I wrote. I absolutely love it when that happens.

    Liked by 4 people

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