Cathryn Hein has a knack for spinning a yarn, with her latest novel Eddie and The Show Queen a charming rural romance that will make you smile. The tale is set in the fictional town of Levenham and opens with horticulturalist Alice Lindner planning her campaign to win the show queen crown in honour of her late mother. The last person she expects to sign up for the fundraising challenge is Eddie Argyle, a handsome farm boy who broke her heart when she was most vulnerable. The pair go head-to-head for the crown and I had to laugh out loud at the lengths Eddie went to in his plight for success, particularly the unique dares he is roped into in the name of charity. Readers are treated to authentic rural characters, settings and sub-plots. The working dog challenge was so realistic I was immediately reminded of our local Casterton kelpie muster, and I really enjoyed the many funny and touching moments throughout this light-hearted novel.
With thirteen rural romances under her belt, it’s no surprise Cathryn was raised in the country and studied agricultural science. After completing a post-grad diploma of business management and working in the pasture and turf seed industry, Cathryn moved to France. It was there she finished her very first novel and started planning a career in writing. The best-selling author has a fondness for hats, loves baking up a storm in her kitchen and plays golf, although her scorecard rarely reflects her on-course enjoyment of the sport. Cathryn lives in New South Wales and is an avid supporter of the Sydney Swans football team.
Short and sweet questions Current book on your bedside table: The Honourable Thief by Meaghan Wilson Anastasios Where do you do most of your writing? In my home office. I have a large, very messy corner workstation covered with folders, books, notepads and a bazillion sticky notes. Favourite Australian holiday destination: Right now it’s Dunkeld, in far western Victoria at the southernmost tip of the Grampians. The Royal Mail Hotel is foodie heaven. What’s your preferred drop? Wine. Although I love my morning cup of tea followed by coffee during the day. Guilty pleasure? Cold roast potatoes. And cheese. I luuuurve cheese. Oh, and fresh cherries. They’re my favourite fruit. Pet peeve: Currently it’s a cat that keeps pooing on our back lawn. Favourite fictional couple and why? Tatiana and Alexander from The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons. If you could pack two non-essential items for a deserted tropical island, what would they be? A Kindle or Kobo e-reader loaded with thousands of books and a large battery pack to recharge it. Name an emerging author to keep an eye out for: British author Iona Grey. Her books are breathtakingly beautiful. Established authors who inspire you? So many! But three that come to mind are Kate Morton, because her writing is so gorgeous, Stephen King for his storytelling, and Michaelbrent Collings, a horror author I recently discovered whose characterisations are fantastic. Best thing about being a writer? I get to tell stories! And daydream a lot. Worst thing about being a writer? Revisions. I know they’re sometimes necessary but I loathe them. Do you prefer music, podcasts or silence when writing? I have a playlist for most books and will use certain songs as triggers for certain scenes or characters, but I don’t always write to music. Some days silence works, some days music. Right now I’m listening to ‘Slide Away’ by Miley Cyrus on a loop because it suits where I’m at in my work-in-progress. Favourite perfume: It used to be Paris by Yves Saint Laurent but these days I don’t wear any perfume. TV/film crush: Chris Hemsworth as Thor. That man … sigh. I’m also very partial to David Tennant’s Doctor Who. The best non-writing related prize I won was … A weekend for two in a cottage in the middle of a Hunter Valley vineyard. Gorgeous. Top three tips for aspiring authors? Write. The more you write the better you get. And finish the book! Find writer friends. You need people who understand what you’re going through, who can encourage and sympathise, and who are just as gleeful as you are to talk plots, process and anything else to do with this crazy biz. Writing is hard and can smack you around sometimes. Writer friends help keep the joy. Join the Romance Writers of Australia. I doubt I’d be where I am without this wonderful organization. What theme do you hope shines through in your writing? From love comes strength. Proudest author moment? Learning that Santa and the Saddler was a Ruby finalist was pretty cool. But I think holding Promises, my first traditionally published book, was the most special. I kept waltzing around the house with it clutched to my chest and a goofy grin on my face. If anyone gives me flack for writing in the romance genre, I tell them… To be honest, I rarely get flack. Most people are interested. I did have one man look at me incredulously and ask, “There’s money in that?” Oh, my friend, you have no idea… My favourite thing about writing romance is… I get to fall in love a lot! Three fun facts about the author: I’m a golfer! I love it but, sadly, I’m not very good and have even given myself a black eye playing. My childhood family nickname was “Bucket”, apparently because I used to carry a bucket around and sit in it.
I was once runner-up Miss Showgirl at Tantanoola Show. (Note from Maya – Being a born and bred Tantanoola girl, and an avid Miss Showgirl entrant, this makes me smile big time, Cathryn!!)
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