Drop everything! I’m so excited to welcome Catherine West today where we talk about her latest release: Where Hope Begins.
I had some burning questions, seriously, had to know some stuff. Like, these things were keeping me up at night! Anyway, Catherine dishes on some things and it was hard ya’ll because we had to do it without spoilers.
“Emotionally gripping and stunningly honest, Where Hope Begins is a moving story that breaks the heart, then masterfully puts it back together, somehow fuller than it was before. Have a box of tissues on hand, readers, and well done, Catherine West!”
—Katie Ganshert, award-winning author of No One Ever Asked
The cover is so beautiful! And be warned, when you read this book, have some kleenex handy, a couple of boxes should do you….and there are happy tears as well as other ones.
Q: Catherine, I love the title Where Hope Begins. Was this always going to be the title or did you have some others you played around with?
Catherine: The working title was Winter’s Edge, based on the very first scene of the novel. But since the publication date ended up being late Spring, we didn’t want to tie the story to winter. We played around with a few options, but I kept coming back to one of my favorite quotes by Anne Lamott – ‘hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come.’ Eventually, we circled back to hope, and Where Hope Begins seemed to fit.
Q: What role does the greenhouse play in this book (without giving away too much)?
Catherine: The greenhouse was actually a fun surprise. Because I’m a pantser, I really don’t have much of an idea of where the story is going or what’s going to happen until I’m writing it. So the setting, and Clarice’s greenhouse just sort of evolved naturally, but of course going back in during my re-writing and editing process, I saw just what an important part this place would play in Savannah’s healing. It not only gives her something do to, but it also becomes a refuge and opens the door for her to build her faith and trust. It was probably one of the coolest things I’ve written in my writing career to date. I could go on, but you’re right, it might give too much away!
Q: Who is your favorite character in this story?
Catherine: This is such a tough question because I love all the characters. Well, maybe not Janice. But really, they all bring their own issues to the table, and it was fun to see how they’d interact on their journey. Of course, I love Brock. Who doesn’t? But really, my favorite character turned out to be his great-aunt, Clarice. I can just picture her kind face, and hear her soft voice imparting all that great wisdom. She is the one character who truly does seem to have it all together, and Brock and Savannah need her more than they know. She has lived through her own dark times, and she knows the power of prayer and what it means to wait on God. She speaks the truth without harshness, but she’s not afraid to say what’s needed. I think we can all learn from Clarice. Plus, she has a parrot, and she serves tea at 4 on the dot every day!
Q: Did any of your characters surprise you along the way?
Catherine: They always do. In this book, I guess both Brock and Kevin surprised me. I wasn’t a hundred percent sure what I was going to do with Kevin at the beginning of this story. He certainly didn’t seem like he’d be redeemable. But he surprised me. And at the end, I liked him a lot more than I did at the beginning! And of course, Brock’s story was a surprise. I really can’t say too much without giving things away, but I can say it was a very difficult storyline to write, and again, I contemplated different ways that it could go, but in the end, I felt very convicted to write what we see as the final copy now. It wasn’t easy, but I’m very satisfied with how things turned out.
Q: Which scene was your favorite? ( I bet it was the puppy scene? Was it?)
Catherine: Oh, I do love the puppy scene. But I don’t know – I have a few favorite scenes, it’s kind of hard to narrow it down! Savannah’s first visit to the greenhouse. All the scenes with Brock in them. (See what I mean?). But if I have to pick just one – it’s got to be the Epilogue. Hands down. And yes, I cried, and I still cry.
Thank you so much Catherine for answering all my burning questions!
If you have read the book, comment below and let us know your thoughts.
Melony Teague is a freelance writer who believes everyone has a story to tell and each story is unique and sometimes wilder than fiction. She loves to uncover the good news in society and writes human interest and community pieces. As co-author of As the Ink Flows, she loves to inspire and motivate others through her written words. In her spare time, she reviews books and interviews authors. These reviews can be found right here on her website. She also teaches seniors in her local community to write their own personal story. Melony Teague was born in South Africa and immigrated to Canada. She now lives in Toronto with her husband and their two children and two cats. Check out her recent publications here.