Thank you so much for stopping by. I cannot wait to share my review of The Memory of You by Catherine West. I know you're going to love it. Also, she was gracious enough to answer some questions.
Let's get started!
About the Book
When Natalie Mitchell learns her beloved grandfather has had a heart attack, she’s forced to return to their family-owned winery in Sonoma, something she never intended to do. She’s avoided her grandparents’ sprawling home and all its memories since the summer her sister died—the awful summer Natalie’s nightmares began. But the winery is failing, and Natalie’s father wants her to shut it down. As the majority shareholder, she has the power to do so.
And Natalie never says no to her father.
Tanner Collins, the vintner on Maoilios, is trying to salvage a bad season and put the Mitchell family’s winery back in business. When Natalie Mitchell shows up, Tanner sees his future about to be crushed. Natalie intends to close the gates, unless he can convince her otherwise. But the Natalie he remembers from childhood is long gone, and he’s not so sure he likes the woman she’s become. Still, the haunted look she wears hints at secrets he wants to unearth. He soon discovers that on the night her sister died, the real Natalie died too. And Tanner must do whatever it takes to resurrect her.
But finding freedom from the past means facing it."
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Natalie and Tanner's story is absolutely perfect. And it's not because their lives are perfect, far from it actually. Natalie lost her twin at thirteen years old. Y'all, I remember that age and having to deal with the issues it brings. I cannot imagine dealing with a death, not just an ordinary death, but probably the closet person you could lose, a twin. It shapes Natalie, creates a host of problems that have you reaching for tissues and watching your tears appear on the page.
And Tanner. I so get Tanner. I've dealt with similar issues. Recognize the underlying hurt that coats your actions whether you think it does or not. Their pain -- though created in a fantastic fictional world -- is very real. It touches on real issues, which is what Ms. West is famous for. Add the special ingredient of God's love and you have a 5-star read.
Watching Natalie and Tanner navigate their relationship in the midst of life's pain created some laugh-out-loud moments, cheek-splitting-grin moments, and swoon-worthy-sigh moments. This book has it all and it won't disappoint. Move it to the top of your TBR pile and enjoy the ride.
*I give this 5 out of 5 stars.
**I received an ARC through Netgalley. This review is my honest opinion.
My husband and I took our first trip to California to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. I fell in love with the Napa/Sonoma area and we saw so many beautiful spots and wonderful wineries. By the time we returned home I knew I wanted to write a story set there. The plot and characters didn’t come along until about a year later, but that’s when I first got the idea.
I have yet to visit Napa, but it's on my wish list! And I guess this next question is answered, but I'll ask anyway. :) Did you go to Napa for research or did you have to live vicariously through research materials?
Luckily, we took lots of photos on that trip! I did have to do a lot of research about winemaking though, but that was fun! I wish I could have returned to that area, though we did make two subsequent trips to California after that one, but we were in the Monterey area.
Oh, Monterey! I lived there a little over a year. It's goregous!
This is your fifth published book. Has the thrill of it warn off or does it still feel like your very first release?
I don’t think the thrill ever wears off! At least I hope it won’t. Each book is different, but the actual accomplishment of seeing your baby in print is always pretty amazing! And I have to say I LOVE the cover for The Memory of You so much!!!
It's wonderful! Makes you want to curl up with a blanket and drift off to another place. Now, I would consider you a successful author. Your published by Thomas Nelson and have quite a Facebook following. But what does literary success look like to you?
Oh, thank you! Great question! I think you could say that great reviews and praise are deemed as ‘literary success’, and don’t get me wrong, they’re fun and I’m always honored, but the longer I’m on this path, the more I feel that it’s more about making connection. When I write the words of my heart, and am lucky enough to see them become a book to share with others, the thing that blesses me most is to hear from readers that the story has moved them in some way. Gave them a new perspective. Gave them hope. That’s really the definition of success for me. To touch another soul with the words God has given me to share.
And isn't that what matters the most? The people? The connection?! Y'all (reader friends) be sure and let Ms. West know how much her writing means to you. It's balm to our souls on difficult writing days.
Okay, I think I digressed a little there. :) How about some quick questions?
How many hours a day do you write?
It really depends on the day and what I’m working on – but on a ‘good’ day I would aim to write at least 4-5 hours. Longer if I write at night, but I don’t tend to do a lot of that anymore.
Tea or coffee?
Both! Coffee in the morning and tea in the afternoon!
Sweet or sour?
Hmm. Sweet. :)
Chocolate or candy?
Chocolate. But unfortunately only in small doses and never at night, it gives me migraines. :)
That's awful! Chocolate is supposed to be our friend! Last but not least, do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Lots!! I’ll try to keep it short. Study the market and weigh your options. It’s increasingly difficult to break into publishing, especially in the Christian market now that there are less houses to pitch to. If you’re going the traditional route, know your craft. Go to conferences if you can or take online courses. You can never stop learning. Hone that manuscript until it sparkles! Get an agent, there are many more doors open to you that way. If you’re considering Indie publishing, don’t go it alone. Hire a professional editor (ideally someone who has had experience working in actual publishing houses), yes this will cost you money. Hire a professional cover designer. Yes, this will cost you money. Learn all you can about marketing. Get online and find your tribe. Let them help you. Be approachable, be humble and kind. Oh wait, that’s a song . . . :) But so true. And if you truly know that this is your calling, don’t give it up. Ever.
Love this ^^^!! Thank you so much for talking with me. Praying you success on your writing journey!
About the Author
When she’s not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or tending to her roses and orchids. She and her husband have two grown children. Catherine is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America, and is represented by Rachelle Gardner of Books & Such Literary. Catherine loves to connect with her readers and can be reached at Catherine@catherinejwest.com.
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