Have you ever sat and pondered the blessings of friendship? For a writer, we keep a pretty tight circle of friends because, well, we live in our heads and tend to be introverts with fragile worlds we create. Therefore, having other writer friends are treasures to be sure. This month’s featured Author Highlight is my dear friend, multi-award-winning and bestselling author, Cathy Gohlke. And if you haven’t already heard, she was recently inducted into the prestigious, Christy Award Hall of Fame.
Here’s a short bio: Four-time Christy and two-time Carol and INSPY Award–winning author Cathy Gohlke writes novels steeped with inspirational lessons from history. Her stories reveal how people break the chains that bind them and triumph over adversity through faith. When not traveling to historic sites for research, she and her husband, Dan, divide their time between northern Virginia and the Jersey Shore, enjoying time with their grown children and grandchildren.
A bit of trivia, Cathy was my first featured author in my YouTube Author Highlight & Giveaway. She was a real trooper. So, I know Cathy, and maybe you’re familiar with her books, but here are some interesting insights into this amazing woman of God and author.
Cathy, do you have any strange writing habits/quirks?
I love to write before a crackling fire in the fireplace or while looking out a window. Those things calm, inspire, and transport me. I also have a thinking wall in my study—my bookcases and pictures line three walls, but from my comfy writing chair the wall I face is blank above a small credenza. It is my blank page, my unfettered screen—my thinking wall.
I know that fireplace. By the way, readers, the fire will burn even in the summer. The blank wall idea is interesting. I don’t know that I have a blank wall.
What is the story behind A Hundred Crickets Singing?
I loved the characters developed in my last book, Night Bird Calling, and didn’t want to leave them. The inhabitants of No Creek demonstrated a microcosm of our country. I wanted to better understand the past of those characters and I wondered what exploring their past might say about our own present and future.
The similarities to our national narrative on race — which exploded at the time of this book’s research and writing. I needed to understand more about race in our country’s past in order to make sense of the present and garner realistic hope for the future.
A History Gap
In history classes there’s long been an information gap between the abolition of slavery in the 1860s and the march for civil rights in the 1960s, let alone why we are where we are today. So, I knew I needed to begin with the Civil War and go forward.
Researching the evolution of the period of Reconstruction after the Civil War, the hope it originally gave and yet how it was forced to fail because of:
- the rise of the Lost Cause Myth,
- far-reaching societal influence from the 1915 silent film, Birth of a Nation,
- why returning Black GIs were often unable to benefit from the GI Bill
- which ultimately pushed many American families into the middle class, color codes, red-lining, and
- the vital importance of landownership and the remarkable benefits of inherited wealth was eye-opening.
There were so many things I’d never understood, and I realized that if I didn’t understand those things, if I didn’t even know about them, chances are many people don’t. I wanted to bring some of those things to light through story.
Why a time-split novel?
For these reasons I wrote this as a time split novel, in some part a mystery—half of the story set during WWII and the other half set during the American Civil War. The two stories are connected by a wrong committed during the Civil War that in the 1940s still needs to be set right. The injustice was covered up, pushed down through lives lost and lives threatened, the truth relegated to the stuff of myths . . . until 14-year-old Celia Percy’s discovery in Garden Gate’s attic when a storm sends an old oak crashing through the attic roof to reveal a hidden room, and a trunk full of secrets.
Cathy, your revelations about our country’s past and how it relates to our present should be shouted from the rooftops! Our shameful ability to turn a blind eye has come back to bite us in the proverbial behind. This is why fiction is so important. Our stories can carry a message that challenges us. Your books are known to be eye-openers within beautifully written and page-turning stories.
What are you working on now?
I’m in the editing stages of a book called, Ladies of the Lake, which will release July 2023. It is a story set between 1905 and 1935, in Connecticut and Nova Scotia. It is a tale of four women, close friends from girlhood, and illustrates the vital importance of strong friendships between women, as well as how easily trust can be broken, lives devastated, and how difficult but worthwhile it is to restore those precious relationships.
Can’t wait to read this story!
What is the best writing tip you ever received? How was it helpful?
An editor of a small newspaper I wrote for once told me to watch the world and national news, determine the vital stories of the day, then search out those issues/stories on a local level and report on them. In writing fiction I’ve translated that into—search out world and national headlines that grieve the heart of God, make me pound the table and weep, then develop fiction and parables inspired by those.
That explains so much. That bit of advice helped you develop such a passionate and become such a relevant voice for the oppressed who have no voice.
A friend once asked me (uhm, we know who that friend is, right?), “What are you passionate about? So passionate that you cry out and pound your fist on the table?” What is your pound-on-the-table passion?
I’m passionate about battling oppression and injustice through the freedom found in Christ Jesus. We need to wear and bear the full armor of God (Ephesians 6) to enter those battles in the hope of victory.
The June’s Author Highlight Giveaway!
Cathy and Tyndale Publishing have given not one, not two, but THREE COPIES of A HUNDRED CRICKETS SINGING! That means, this month we will have THREE WINNERS! How? Leave a comment below and share this blog and if you haven’t already, please subscribe to this newsletter and receive two free gifts from me.
NOTE: WANT TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING THIS INCREDIBLE GIVEAWAY?
Check out my YouTube Author Highlight interview with Cathy. Because, in the video interview she will answer different questions–including some insights into her debut novel. Plus you don’t want to miss one very exciting little known fact about Cathy. By Liking and Commenting on the video episode, you will have one more entry. Sharing the video, another entry. Subscribe, and you have TWO entries for a chance to win.
The Deadline is June 9th!
That means, my friends, if you comment and subscribe -– or are already a subscriber -– to my blog, then watch the video and LIKE, SHARE, and COMMENT on the VIDEO, then Subscribe to my YouTube Channel, your name will be entered SIX TIMES!
Be sure to tell your friends! See you there!
Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed getting to know Cathy!
Next month’s Author Highlight is one prolific writer of romance and beautiful reads that thousands have fallen in love with, she is the bestselling author, Toni Shiloh!
Thanks for stopping by! God bless and KEEP READING!