THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT
Catherine sounds fancy, doesn’t it? My friends call me Cathy. You should, too.
The Short Story
I confess. I didn’t always want to be a writer. I wanted to be Julie Andrews/Mary Poppins but with a charming Southern accent. Apparently, one must have an amazing voice for a career like Julie’s. Lots of life happened in the middle. Eventually, I did develop my voice–in writing. And here I am now, with a debut Southern cozy mystery, SECRETS LAID TO REST, in the Ladies of SPI series. Pretty supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
The Long Story
There’s a great song, “I’ve Been Everywhere,” made popular by Johnny Cash (and a couple of commercials). If you put the song in Georgia, it would be about me, starting when I moved to the Peach State at age 8 years old. I grew up in Savannah, Georgia, where you can’t throw a stick without hitting a ghost. Even when I was a little girl, Savannah was known for its haunted history and I was hooked!
Broadcast Journalism sounded fun, so I studied at Valdosta State University way down in South Georgia where it is the heat and the humidity. I worked in a few radio stations but it was WNEX Radio in Macon that turned out to be life-changing. I met a cute deejay and married him a year later.
We moved above the Gnat Line (Oh, it’s real) to the Atlanta area, where we grew our family to two boys and a girl, and I took a turn in the teaching world. And then whoosh! There I was at the half-century mark thinking what to do? Maybe it was the merlot talking but I thought, “Geez, I’ve been reading mysteries forever. It’s high time I wrote one!” And I did write a mystery; it was awful. (And short. I mean, readers expect 70,000 words? Are you kidding me?)
So I learned my craft. I started with flash fiction, then moved on to short fiction, and won a few awards. I wrote essays that ended up in books like Chicken Soup for the Soul. I penned a few humor columns and continued to freelance. And then one day, I wrote another story that wasn’t exactly novel-length but it wasn’t a short story, either. It was a children’s book.
I joined SCBWI, the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and had a wonderful career in children’s writing, including publishing six books. You can find more on my children’s career here. And I’m still a member of SCBWI Southern Breeze so if you have a hankering to write for children, join SCBWI and say hello!
Life changed unexpectedly when my favorite deejay up and died on me. When at last I wanted to write again, I heard four women of a certain age, each seeking purpose and joy in where they found themselves. Which for them was a small town in Georgia called Sutter. For me, it was here, still in the Atlanta suburbs, revisiting the ghost stories of my youth, and finally getting that mystery written. All 70,000 words of it!
Did I Mention Libby?
Libby Hall, or Libs as I call her, is a miniature dachshund. But mostly what she is, is spoiled. She’s a part of my story and dogs are a part of SECRETS LAID TO REST. It’s funny how you can go almost half your life not really being a dog person and then one enters your life and there you are. A Dog Person.