Zoë's Book Blog

Interview with Cathy Cassidy

Saturday 12th September 2009 at Kitty’s Tea Shop in the New Galloway hills.

It was a gorgeous sunny day when we arrived at Kitty’s.  It was a real treat; we have lived here for nearly 4 years and had always wanted to visit this lovely tea shop.  We had heard reports of sumptuous cake and lush teacakes and we were not disappointed.  I had a teacake and some old fashioned lemonade, my mum had earl grey tea and a cake called ‘Angel Wings’ (meringue with cream) and Cathy had lapsang souchong tea with a cake called ‘Sophie’s Sin’ ( a lush choc sponge soaked in amaretto) yummy!

I started the interview with 5 of my own questions

Zoe:    If your books hadn’t been published, what would you be doing now?

Cathy:    I would still be an art teacher and an agony aunt for Shout magazine and still be dreaming of being an author.  I loved my job and doing what I’m doing now brings all those things I love, together: writing about things I really care about, using my skills as an artist and helping young people to grow.

Zoe:     What was the best piece of advice you’ve been given since becoming a published author?

Cathy:    I met another very famous author called Martina Cole at a book signing and she said “Just be yourself!”.  You can’t ever pretend to be someone else and this is true, not just as a writer, but in other parts of your life.  You can spend time trying to change yourself so that you fit in with others at school, or try to be what you think other people want you to be.  But the best thing is to always just be you.

Zoe:    Describe your dream home

Cathy:    If you asked me a month ago, I would have said my ramshackle cottage in the Galloway Hills, with a writing shed, dog and tepee in the garden.  But since I’ve been researching my new series of books, I have been daydreaming about a big rambling house by the sea in Somerset.  It would be a lovely house on a hill with a turret overlooking the water and surrounded by trees.

Zoe:      Which famous person would you like to meet?

Cathy:    My fun answer would be either:  Johnny Depp or Robert Smith, the lead singer with my fave band The Cure.  My sensible answer would be: Barack Obama or Nelson Mandela.

Zoe:    What would you like to be writing about in ten year’s time?

Cathy:    I would still like to be writing children’s books for 9 – 14 year olds.  I would still be writing about feelings, emotions and growing up.  My next series of books is going to keep me busy for the next four years or so and is going to be about things that really matter to kids.  Y’know, the really important stuff.

10 quick fire questions to find out a little more about Cathy…

1.    Tea or coffee?                                                     Coffee
2.    PC or Mac                                                            Mac
3.    Chocolate or cake                                            Both together (chocolate cake)
4.    Strictly or X Factor                                         X Factor (don’t really watch reality tv)
5.    Quorn or tofu                                                     Quorn
6.    Shower or bath                                                  Bath
7.    Kandinsky or Andy Warhol                         Warhol
8.    Indian or Chinese                                             Indian
9.    Banana or strawberry                                     Strawberry
10.    Donny Osmond or David Cassidy            Both

Now here are 6 Questions sent in by my friends:

Question 1 comes from Emma (11):  “What was the book you enjoyed the most to write?”

Cathy:    That’s an easy question to answer; it would have to be Dizzy because that was the only book I have written that didn’t have a deadline.  It was my first book so nobody told me when it had to be finished.

Question 2 from Rebecca (12): “How do you feel when you have finished writing a book?

Cathy:    Huge overwhelming relief combined with terror that it won’t be good enough.  Once the publishers (Puffin) say it’s good I can start to breathe again.  As it gets closer to becoming a real book, then it starts to get exciting.

Question 3 comes from Katy (11) & Lucy (11) “We both love horses and we really liked that you wrote about them in Scarlet, are you ever going to write about horses again?”

Cathy:    Lots of my readers enjoy horses and it’s something I’ve been thinking about for my new series of books.  So, watch this space, there maybe a horse or two, we’ll just have to see how it develops.

Question 4 is from Jenna (12) “Hi Cathy, if you had all the money in the world what would you buy?”

Cathy:    I don’t really want all the money in the world.  I can’t really buy the things I want with money, not the really important stuff, like friendship and family.  If I had millions like the Queen or JK Rowling I think I would give a lot of it away to good causes.  If I was being selfish I would love to start a magazine and get kids involved in writing it.  Or I would buy 2 lamas and a paddock to put them in!

Questions 5 and 6 come from Joanna (12) and Kari (12) and are very similar, so we put them together “My favourite book is Indigo Blue, where did you get your ideas for it?”  And “Where do you get your inspiration from?

Cathy:    A lot of my ideas come from real life.  I watch what goes on around me and a little sprig of real life can become the jumping off point for a story.  I take an idea and see where it leads me.

The idea for Indigo Blue came from seeing a friend going through something similar in the past and I wondered what it might be like for a child in that situation.  I saw it from their viewpoint. I wanted to write about the feelings and emotions.  It’s important that I write about things that you care about.

Another bit of inspiration for the book came one afternoon as I was leaving school and there was a little girl waiting on the wall.  I went over to see if she was OK and she said she was waiting for mum and that she had to stay there until mum came to get her.

As I walked away, I started to think shall I phone her mum?  Is she going to be OK?  As I drove home I was thinking about what would happen if her mum didn’t come for her and that thought was my jumping off point for the story.

Thank you Cathy for a fab interview and a wonderful treat that we will remember forever, love from Zoe xx