Catherine E. Chapman
This week it is my pleasure to interview Catherine E. Chapman. Would you please introduce yourself to my readers, Catherine and tell us a bit about yourself.

Hello everyone and many thanks, Rita, for the opportunity to be your guest author. I am a UK-based writer of women’s fiction and romance. I self-publish via Amazon and Smashwords.

When did you write your first book and how did it come about?

I wanted to write throughout my teens but just didn’t know how or where to start. I began work on ‘The Beacon Singer,’ my first novel, as a student but scrapped the manuscript as I felt so embarrassed by it! About ten years later, I started to write in earnest and it was that same story that re-emerged.

Do you always write in the same genre or do you mix it up?

All my books could broadly be described as being within the genres of women’s fiction and romance. Some adhere more to the conventions of romance than others and I write both contemporary and historical romance. Some of my longer works are better categorised as women’s fiction and, of these, some have been said by readers to be ‘off-beat.’

When you write, do you start with an idea and sit down and let it evolve, or do you make notes and collect ideas on paper beforehand?

Most of the planning goes on in my head beforehand but plots can evolve and change as characters develop. If I’m writing historical romance, there’s more to research – thank goodness for Wikipedia!

Who is your favourite character and why?

I seem to quite naturally create non-sympathetic heroines and have to check myself to avoid doing this! Jane Lake, main character in ‘The Beacon Singer,’ my first and (to date) longest novel, is an absolute horror. But she is also, in many ways, my favourite character because the things she says and does are so outrageous. It was very liberating to write her! Her lines of dialogue leapt onto the page effortlessly.

Which of your books gave you the most pleasure to write?

I’ve enjoyed writing all my books and wouldn’t have persevered with any of them if they hadn’t been fun and / or fulfilling to write. Writing the earlier books was very exciting, as the process of writing was new to me – I guess I was learning to write, or finding my way of writing, anyway. Now, it’s less thrilling but each book (or story) has its own charm. It’s the engagement with the world of the book that’s enjoyable as well as the craft of writing – the escape from the real world.

What is the best marketing tip you have received?

I like Mark Coker, Smashwords’ founder’s, advice that you shouldn’t invest money in your books until you’ve earned money from them. But I think that, based on how competitive the self-publishing market now is, I would add to that by saying that, once you do have royalties coming from your books, you should re-invest them into your promotion campaigns in order to increase your reach to readers.

What do you do when you are not writing or reading?

I like to walk, garden and swim.

If you could holiday anywhere in the world, where would you choose and why?

I’m not particularly well-travelled and there are many places I’d like to visit. I guess it would have to be a location beside the sea or on an island; somewhere where the water’s warm enough to swim in the sea but without getting bitten or stung by anything!

Do you have your own website?

I have a blog: http://romanceornotromance.wordpress.com/ The name of the blog came about due to my agonies over the correct categorisation of my books in my early days of publishing! I’m not the most committed blogger, but I do post new releases and promotions there, and occasionally posts about the writing or self-publishing process.

Are you working on a new book at the moment?

I am about to start work on what I hope will be a full-length historical fiction novel – I envisage that it will be somewhere between women’s fiction and romance but we’ll see how it turns out! Over the last couple of years my time to write has been limited so I’ve written a few shorter-length romances, which has been great fun. But now I’m itching to get on with something a bit more substantial.

Do you have any events or book promotions coming up that you would like to tell us about?

I’ve recently published, ‘The Fight for Dolores,’ a short, contemporary romance, set in rural Ireland, on Amazon:

The book is 99c in the US and free on Kindle Unlimited.

FREE from 25-29 May