The next foray into different Genres is with Catherine Mcarthy, she grew up in the industrial valleys of South Wales where she went on to teach in primary education for almost three decades.
Having been ‘shown the light’ by her mother, who had the tradition of oral story-telling down to a fine art, she quickly developed an insatiable appetite for all things literary.
Her first published novel, The Gatekeeper’s Apprentice, is a fantasy, magical adventure for middle grade readers. Still in love with some of the characters from this novel, she has since woven them into her adult fiction, and also has spellbinding plans for them in the future.
Her second novel, Hope Cottage, is a dark and mysterious family saga of triumph over adversity, reconciliation and, well…hope! Hope Cottage is a deviation from her preferred genre and was penned as a cathartic means of coming to terms with the loss of her own mother. Royalties received during the first year of publication are donated to thebraintumourcharity.org.
Her most recent publication is a collection of ten portal stories for adults, entitled Door and Other Twisted Tales. This work explores the darker side of supernatural fantasy, a sprinkle of mythology, and a twist of good old-fashioned horror.
Her current work in progress is a novel entitled The Wolf and the Favour, a dark low-fantasy tale, of how a young girl with learning disabilities strives to overcome life’s obstacles and find her own way in the world.
Having traded the challenges and rewards of teaching for the hurdles and merits of writing, Catherine McCarthy now lives with her illustrator husband in a two hundred year old cottage in West Wales amidst spectacular, story-inspiring countryside.
When she is not writing, you may find her sewing in her ‘Garden Beehive,’ or wandering the coast path, complete with picnic, sun-cream and just enough money for ice-cream.
Here is what Catherine says about what she writes and why.
“Why I write dark fantasy and horror
Supernatural horror, myths and legends, and dark, fantastical tales have always drawn me like a magnet. Fascinated by the workings of the mind, writing in these genres provides a positive focus for excess mental energy which might otherwise turn inwards.
Probably one of the questions I most frequently get asked is, ‘Where do your ideas come from?’ The answer is, everywhere! Some stories begin from seemingly random experiences; it’s simply a matter of not letting them go once they sprout forth.
Let me share with you some of the itches that tickled me into writing stories…
Firstly, The Gatekeeper’s Apprentice…
Whilst walking along a riverbank, I came upon a strange tree. It had been struck by lightning, and, on closer inspection, I could see the face of a hag-like woman riding a great beast in the burned wood. This led to the thought that she may once have been a great warrior, now turned dark and evil by her lust for power. Hence Corinta, Gatekeeper of Quodium, was born.
The secret to developing a story is all to do with holding on to something unusual – not letting it slip away. Instead, jot it down, even if you do nothing with it for some time.
The idea for the first story in Door and Other Twisted Tales was sprung during a long car journey. The road I travelled passed a barren wasteland, where stood a derelict building surrounded by a barbed wire fence. The location brought to mind a secret, government complex, and I began to wonder what tales might be hidden behind its benign but sturdy looking door – and it all started from there really.
The short story, Plague, on the other hand, came about whilst sitting in a remote woodland near the Aveyron in France one evening. Despite the fact that there were no visible buildings, or in fact any other sign of life, I heard the sound of a flute drifting through the trees. It made me think of a magical way to enchant someone, thus stemmed the story. Eventually I discovered the source of the sound, but I won’t spoil the moment.
The inspiration for the novel I’m currently writing, entitled The Wolf and the Favour, is actually very close to home – so close in fact that I see it every day. At the rear of my old cottage is a narrow lane which climbs through woodland and eventually leads to a farm. A century or more ago it was used to transport milk churns from the farm to the roadside and has long-since been disused, thus it has become overgrown. It’s a magical place though – full of wild flowers and overgrown trees and bushes where owls hoot at night and kites and hawks hunt during the day. If you stand at the bottom and look ahead it’s quite atmospheric. I imagined how it might appear to a child, a vulnerable but imaginative child, and this was how my idea for the character of Hannah came about.
So you see – ideas stem from all kinds of places, even dreams. I keep a little note-book in my bedside cabinet, so that when I have such a dream it’s to hand. I recently wrote a very short story entitled, Robin Thumb from one such dream.
So, if you want to find your own inspiration to begin writing, my advice to you is to hold on to all those little, seemingly-insignificant moments in life. Don’t let go of them. Instead, nurture them, sit awhile beside them, either at a computer or with a notepad and pen, and turn them into tales!”
If you would like to know more about Catherine her book links and social platform links can be seen here.
- Twitter – https://twitter.com/serialsemantic
- Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/authorcatherinemccarthy/?modal=admin_todo_tour
- Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19258532.Catherine_McCarthy
- Youtube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmuypTAKuZbPvgtJr3IMQ7w