I’m delighted to welcome romance author, Catherine Tinley to my blog.
|Catherine Tinley - Author|
Hello Catherine – It’s lovely to connect with you via the Romantic Novelists’ Association and I’m so pleased to be able to unearth some of your writing secrets. But before we discover more about your latest release, A Waltz with the Outspoken Governess, here are a few questions which will hopefully give your readers and followers an insight into some of the things that matter to you.
Arabella: You’ve got an idea for a story but it has yet to take shape. Where do you start? Do you concentrate on the location in the story, or developing the characters personalities and conflicts, or are there other key points you might consider?
Catherine: In a romance, conflict is key to everything. There is always a mix of internal and external conflicts to keep things interesting. Internal ones are to do with each character’s motivations, patterns, beliefs, past experiences, and assumptions, while external ones are plot events and devices that drive the story forwards. I usually start with a plot idea – a key external conflict. Then I ponder who the characters will be. Who would react in interesting ways if thrown into this situation? Location for me is a more superficial layer to be added afterwards. I’m primarily driven by an interest in how people interact with each other. So-called ‘minor’ characters are always interesting to me too.
Arabella: In your
latest release, A Waltz with the
Outspoken Governess, what is the overall theme or premise, and what made
you choose this topic?
Catherine: My heroine, Mary, is in crisis when her father is arrested. She takes a job as a governess in the household of Sir Nicholas Denny to get close to the gaol where her father is being held, but has to promise the agency that she will behave in a demure, non-opinionated way. This proves more difficult than Mary anticipates, particularly since she and Sir Nicholas spark off each other in ways that are new to her. As well as trying to sneakily visit her poor Papa, there are interesting family dynamics within the Denny household that Mary must navigate, along with her growing attraction to Sir Nicholas – and the need to bite her tongue and play the part of the dull governess.
I chose the topic because I think most of us have been in situations where we can’t speak freely for whatever reason, and feel frustrated by it. Women in Regency England often were advised to offer no opinions, as many topics were considered the business of men and men only, and some women were forced to hide their intelligence when in company.
Arabella: Roses, Lilies, or another flower of choice?
Catherine: I love flowers, but my favourite garden plant is my gorgeous lavender bush. It smells divine and looks gorgeous in bloom. I always try to add a few flowers into any bouquet I get.
Arabella: You’ve arranged to meet with friends and family for an afternoon of fun. In the present socially restricted climate, where do you go and what do you do?
Catherine: We walk in Narnia. I’m lucky to live near one of the most beautiful places on the planet – Rostrevor, Co Down, in Ireland. Our family walks take us through places with names such as the Meadow, the Fairy Glen, the Old Wood, Fiddler’s Green, Kilbroney Park, and Cloch Mór. CS Lewis, himself a County Down man, famously said the area was his idea of Narnia.
|The Fairy Glen - Rostrevor - County Down|
Arabella: All authors love and need to read. When choosing a book, do you:
a) pick off the shelf?
b) search online?
c) go with friends recommendations?
Catherine: All of the above. Outside historical romance, I enjoy high fantasy – which is also romantic in its own way. I also like contemporary romance and chicklit. My recent reads include The Flat Share (O’Leary), Normal People (Rooney), the Red Queen series (Aveyard), the Pern Dragonriders series (McCaffrey), Grace after Henry (Shortall), and The Queen’s Wing (Thorne). I’d recommend every one of them.
Arabella: The moment we are published, a career path is usually envisaged. Do you have any aspirations or ambitions for yourself and any future novels you might write?
Catherine: I’m currently working on a 1987-set story with the Irish conflict as background, and a supernatural element. It’s fun to write, but too early to say if I have something there. Think the TV show ‘Derry Girls’ - but with romance and pathos, not comedy. I began writing it in the year before Derry Girls came out, and it’s always interesting when things pop up in the zeitgeist.
In the meantime I’m continuing to write Regency Romances for Harlequin Mills & Boon, and still really enjoying it. I’ve signed another two-book contract and my next deadline is at the end of January, so I’m flat out writing the story of Lady Cecily, whom my readers may know from the ‘Runaway Governess’ and ‘Christmas Cinderellas’ tales. I thought it was about time she took centre-stage and got her own story.
Many thanks, Arabella! This was fun!
Catherine - It was lovely having you as a guest on Arabella’s Blog and Chit-Chat, today. And to be sure, place names such as Fairy Glen or Fiddlers’ Green can only be imagined and conjured into reality by the Irish. If I’m ever near County Down, I’ll be sure to call. Look out for me on your walking travels in Narnia.
About Catherine Tinley
|Catherine Tinley and Friend|
writes witty, heartwarming Regency love stories for Harlequin Mills & Boon. She has loved reading and writing since childhood, and has a particular fondness for love, romance, and happy endings. After a career encompassing speech & language therapy, Sure Start, maternity campaigning and being President of a charity, she now manages a maternity hospital. She lives in Ireland with her husband, children, and dog and can be reached at , on facebook here and twitter here.
Website and Social Media Links
Book Blurb: A Waltz with the Outspoken Governess
A quiet governess…
An unruly heart
Sir Nicholas Denny is desperate to find a governess to care for his boisterous nieces and nephews. Demure vicar’s daughter Mary Smith seems ideal—at first. All too soon Nicholas discovers a different side…a beautiful, vivacious woman, even if she infuriates him with her strong opinions! When he waltzes with Mary at a party, he knows he’s in trouble—the spark between them is so tempting, but she challenges everything he thought he wanted in a wife!
Release Date 1st January 2021