Friday, November 11, 2011

Guest Review & Interview with Catherine West, author of Yesterday'sTomorrow

The Story

Vietnam, 1967.

Independent, career-driven journalist Kristin Taylor wants two things: to honor her father's memory by becoming an award-winning overseas correspondent and to keep tabs on her only brother, Teddy, who signed up for the war against their mother's wishes. Brilliant photographer Luke Maddox, silent and brooding, exudes mystery. Kristin is convinced he's hiding something.

Willing to risk it all for what they believe in, Kristin and Luke engage in their own tumultuous battle until, in an unexpected twist, they’re forced to work together. Ambushed by love, they must decide whether or not to set aside their own private agendas for the hope of tomorrow that has captured their hearts.

Author Bio

Educated in Bermuda, England and Canada, Catherine holds a degree in English from the University of Toronto. 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. Catherine and her husband live on the beautiful island of Bermuda, with their two college-aged children. Catherine is a member of Romance Writers of America, and American Christian Fiction Writers, and is a founding member of International Christian Fiction Writers. Catherine’s debut novel Yesterday’s Tomorrow, released in March 2011 through OakTara Publishers. Catherine’s next novel, Hidden in the Heart, will be available in the near future, also through OakTara.


OakTara Website:



Book Review

Yesterday’s Tomorrow

by Catherine West

Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

YESTERDAY’S TOMORROW caught me completely by surprise; it is a fabulous read. Considering that this is Catherine West’s first novel, the depth of its characters and their emotional struggles are equally heartbreaking and triumphant. Even though the story line is heavier on the romance than the intrigue, the future potential for her story lines to balance her characters is definitely there if she continues to write.

Using the Vietnam war as a backdrop, this book delves into the multiple layers of pain and struggle that anyone associated with this war must have experienced. The redemptive power of God’s love, the healing salve of the Holy Spirit’s peace and the magnitude of Christ’s forgiveness make Luke and Kristen’s story unforgettable for the reader. West leaves several characters available for a sequel and I for one, hope that she writes it.
The Interview

Welcome, Cathy!

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

Let’s see – I was born and raised here in Bermuda, where I still live. I attended a boarding school in England for  two years during high school, but hated it so much that I finished my education back home. I went to university  in Canada. I married the first and only love of my life and we’ve raised two wonderful children. We’re empty-  nesters for the first time this year, so I’m adjusting to this new phase in life. Of course I still have my third baby,  my very rambunctious border collie, Noah! When I’m not writing I’m most likely in the garden with my roses or  going for walks with Noah.

Bermuda sounds wonderful! What do you feel is the most challenging aspect in writing?

Everything! For me, since I am not a plotter, it’s more a matter of hit and miss until I have a storyline that makes sense. Then I go back in and edit, revise, edit, revise…this takes a while! Depending on the story, if there is research involved (like there was with Yesterday’s Tomorrow), I often find that quite challenging.

Which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?

It’s a bit of both. I usually get a glimpse of the idea as the characters develop alongside of it. I definitely like knowing who my characters are, what they want and how they think they are going to get it, at the beginning of a story, but it doesn’t always happen this way. Because I tend to do so many re-writes, they develop more slowly and sometimes change on me halfway through a book!

I've read from other authors that sometimes the characters take on a life of their own! Is there a message in your novel you want readers to grasp?

In Yesterday’s Tomorrow, the message is redemption, restoration and forgiveness. I believe God can take even the most horrible of situations and bring good from it. And I believe He can heal the most tortured soul. That’s what I hope came across at the end of the book. Not that healing happens overnight, but that when we allow God access to our pain, we have new hope.

Standing up and shouting Amen! What books have influenced your life most?

I’ve always been a huge reader. I loved Gone With The Wind. That was probably the first romance novel I read! And the copy I had was from my school’s library in England, a massive old hardcover that weighed a ton, but I carried it everywhere until I was finished. I bet it would probably be worth some money today!

I love Rhett & Scarlett! Which part of researching was the  most personally  interesting to you?

I didn’t really know much about the Vietnam War when I started the book. The whole topic was fascinating to  me, but I got completely caught up in the stories of the journalists. I read a lot of firsthand accounts from the  young women who were there on the field. I can’t imagine seeing what they saw, going through everything  they did. Because there was so much information available to me, I think I was able to make Kristin’s story that  much more authentic.

I can't imagine what horrors they saw, either. Just breaks my heart thinking about it. Were there any facts that you would have liked to include, but they just didn't make it into the story?

Yes, there was something called Operation Babylift, that took place at the end of the Vietnam War. The Americans were trying to get as many orphaned children out of Vietnam as possible. This took place after the timeline of Yesterday’s Tomorrow, so I couldn’t include it, but I did research it, and there are some amazing stories concerning that whole time.

Fascinating! I'll have to look that up. Do you have to travel much concerning your book?

No, not yet. :( Unfortunately at the moment you won’t find my book in any US bookstores, so I’m not arranging any book signings overseas. It is available here in Bermuda, so I have done a few signings here.

Hmmm..not in the US stores. That's sad :( Who designed the cover? Did you have any say in how it looked?

My cover was designed by one of OakTara’s designers, Yvonne Parks. ( Yvonne is actually a personal friend, so that made it all the more special. She’d read the book so had a good sense of the kind of feel we were after for the cover. I did have a say in the design, which was great. I love the end result!

It's a great cover and speaks volumes! Who would you pick to play the lead roles if this book was made into a movie? 

Well, believe it or not friends and I have discussed this for quite some time! I think the consensus is Chris Hemsworth (THOR) for Luke, and I recently saw Emma Knight in a movie and I think she could make a good Kristin.

I'm sure with him starring in the movie it would be a box office hit ;)

I couldn't find one of Emma Knight.

Now this next two questions come from the lovely Rebecca Maney who read your book and wrote the above review.

Do you plan to write a sequel to Yesterday's Tomorrow? Perhaps following Teddy or Caroline's life story after returning home from Vietnam?

I wouldn’t say it’s completely out of the question. I’m just not sure of the timing. But yes, I do have some ideas kicking around for a sequel.

I know Rebecca will be happy to hear this! What prompted your use of Vietnam as a backdrop?

I don’t really know. I’ve always been fascinated with the era and when I began researching, it kind of just felt right. As crazy as it sounds, I think I was meant to write this book.

You were definitely meant to write this book. I've read many of the reviews and the readers love it! What makes you pick up a book? Cover, blurb, author?

It’s usually the author. Because I’ve been in the publishing world for a while, I know a lot of authors. I like to support my friends and read their books. After that, I will read books on recommendations. If I happen to be browsing in a bookstore, yes, cover and blurb are obviously going to be factors in whether I purchase that book or not if I don’t know the author. I also like to read reviews, especially by people I know and trust.

Who is your favorite author, and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

I have many favorite authors, I am not sure I could choose just one! I really love the way Susan Meissner writes. She keeps it real and has the ability to suck you right into a story from the get go. Julie Lessman does the same for me, even though I’m not a big historical reader, I really enjoy her books. Jenny B Jones is amazingly creative and I love her women’s fiction books. In CBA we are very blessed to have an abundance of extremely talented authors to chose from! In ABA I love Elizabeth White’s books, Jodi Piccoult, Kristin Hannah…like I said, I read a lot!

That's always a hard question. Give us three facts about you. Be creative. Tell us about your first job, the inspiration for your writing, any fun details! (I stole this question from Nora St. Laurent but I'm sure she won't mind ;) )

I actually thought I would be a journalist once upon a time. I worked a few summers as a junior reporter for our local newspaper and quite enjoyed it. Then I thought I might end up writing for a magazine or something along those lines. As it was, I married young and once we had our first child I became a stay at home mom. And the novelist was born.

I hate to fly. It’s something I only do because I have to. But there’s just something about being on a plane that terrifies me. I’m trying to get over it, because we travel A LOT, but the minute that turbulence starts up, I’m white-knuckled until it’s over!

I’ve had a two-minute conversation with Prince Edward. Bermuda is a British colony so we will often get Royal Visits. Growing up I remember my dad, who was the general manager of the telephone company here, meeting the Queen and Prince Philip on several occasions. I met the Prince when he was here on a visit, I was just standing in the crowd with my daughter who was about a year old at the time, and he stopped to chat, most likely because she was so adorable!!

A junior reporter, huh? No wonder your book is so authentic! Can you give us a sneak peek into what book you are working on right now? When does it release?

My next release is a women’s fiction novel, called Hidden in the Heart. It’s going to be out sometime in the near future I hope, although I’m afraid I don’t have a release date yet. Here’s the blurb.

After losing her mother to cancer and suffering a miscarriage soon after, Claire Ferguson numbs the pain with alcohol and pills, and wonders if her own life is worth living.

Adopted at birth, Claire is convinced she has some unknown genetic flaw that may have been the cause of her miscarriage. She must find a way to deal with the guilt she harbors. But exoneration will come with a price.

With her marriage in trouble and her father refusing to answer any questions about her adoption, Claire begins the search for her birth mother. For the first time in her life, she really wants to know where she came from.

It never occurs to her that the woman who gave her life may not want to be found.

Sounds terrific! I will be anxiously awaiting that release date as I am sure all your fans will be :)

Where can readers find you on the internet? (I love this blog!)

Twitter: @cathwest


Thanks so much, Cathy, for allowing us a glimpse into your writing life!

Y'all be sure and get a copy of her book. Maybe even give one as a gift! Just click here to  order a  paperback copy or here to order a Kindle edition.

Hop on over to her blog and see what else is happening today!

Don't forget to leave a little comment love for this fascinating author!

author and book images used with permission from: Catherine West

all others from Google Images. No copyright infringement intended.


  1. Great interview with Catherine West! Stopping by to let you know that I've awarded you with the "Tell Me About Yourself" Blog Award over at "Gwendolyn Gage ~ Serving Through Words" Congrats! (It's up to you if you want to pass it along or not ;-)

  2. Hey Anne and Cath -- great interview!! It's nice to learn more about you, Cath, ESPECIALLY that you are a Gone With The Wind fan. That right there is all I need to know for a good author! ;)


  3. Hey Julie! I couldn't agree more with your Gone with the Wind philosophy :) Thanks for coming by!


I am so delighted that you've taken time to come by and comment. Blessings for a joy-filled day!

1 Corinthians 1:3 ~ Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.