Coffee Time Romance & More

 

 

 

 

Please welcome Cathi LaMarche here to Coffee Time Romance today to chat with us and answer some questions I have jotted down. Thank you Cathi for taking time out of your busy schedule for me.

Now then, I love the concept for “While the Daffodils Danced”, how did you come up with the storyline for this book and was there much research involved?

First of all, Sheryl, I’d like to thank you along with Coffee Time Romance for allowing me to share my novel with your guests.

The storyline for, “While the Daffodils Danced”, developed from my desire to describe a field of daffodils near my childhood home.  The field became my safe harbor, an escape from life as I knew it.  

My protagonist, Cara Robertson, is an artist who seeks solace in a similar field after placing her baby for adoption.  She creates landscapes rich with color and beauty as she paints over the grief that discolors her world.  Unfortunately, no matter how many coats of paint she uses, her sadness continues to seep through the canvas.

You never know how much research is involved in a novel until you get into the story.  I researched the different species of daffodils, when they bloomed, and how long they bloomed.  An artist helped me with the references to oil painting: what colors would be mixed together for a jonquil or a Poeticus, the details of an art show, and painting techniques.  I took her drawing class to begin to see things through an artist’s eyes.  Many readers have asked me if I’m an artist, so I guess it rings true.  An attorney in Michigan helped me with adoption law.

I loved the emotions throughout “While the daffodils Danced”.  Did you expect that there would be this emotion in the story?

It would be difficult to write a story about adoption without it being very emotional.  My protagonist walks away from the hospital with nothing but her overnight bag and leaves her baby in the care of strangers.  As a mother of two beautiful children, I can appreciate her pain.

As an author, I want the reader to be right there with my characters, to cry when Cara cries, to laugh when she laughs.  It’s hard for readers to forget a scene when they feel as though they lived through it.  

I feel I have to ask this after reading “While the Daffodils Danced” but do you love
flowers?

I love the feelings that flowers elicit.  It’s hard to stay mad at a husband or lover when they present you with a dozen roses. How can you be angry or sad while looking at a field of sunflowers?

My family and I planted 250 daffodil bulbs in our yard last fall and you should’ve seen the excitement on my children’s faces when they popped up this spring.  

Do you have a favorite out of any of the characters you have written, if so who and why?

Cara, my protagonist, is my favorite.  She makes such an incredible transformation.  At the beginning of the story she is a broken woman who needs to be cared for by others.   By the end of the story, she is as strong and hardy as her daffodils, which fight their way up through the frozen ground each spring.  

Now when you start a new book, which aspect comes first, the characters or plot?
And why?

Actually, I start with a setting and my setting becomes a character.  I create a place that my reader gets to know intimately and I work my characters into that environment.  I’d have to say that my stories are more character driven than plot driven, just like most women’s fiction.

Do you have any rituals you do when you begin or while you are writing your books?

I have to have my coffee, several cups.  I also light a candle to remind myself of the sense of smell, which is so important to add throughout a novel.

And between you and me (wink, wink) when I finish the book, I get a tattoo as a good luck thing.  I have three daffodils (location to remain undisclosed) for my first novel.  I figured it would go one of two ways.  If the book didn’t get published it would be a constant reminder, or every time I looked in the mirror I’d see my major accomplishment in life. Kind of gutsy, but it worked out.  I already have the next one in mind.  Now, if I start publishing books left and right, I’ll have to rethink that ritual.

Do you use critique partners or groups when writing” If so, do they influence your writing?

A critique group is invaluable to any writer.  We have seven novelists in our group and we meet weekly.  I learned long ago that my family and friends will tell me my stuff is great because they have to sit across from me at a holiday dinner.  They read as readers, not as writers.  They can tell me that something isn’t working, but can’t tell me why.  They don’t catch point of view shifts, narrative intrusions, when I slip out of voice, or out of character. A critique group will call you on these things.

Our group can be brutally honest, which is good practice for the real life editing process.   I couldn’t have done it without my group, Liars Ink.

What do you think is your greatest achievement in writing and why?

My childhood home didn’t have any books and we never took trips to the library.  Reading was never encouraged, or even discussed.  Besides college papers, this novel was my first attempt at writing.  I’m very proud that I could finish the novel, polish it, and then secure publication.

What is the best advice that you’ve received and what is the worst?

The best advice came from my husband who told me to keep pecking at the keyboard even when I wanted to throw the manuscript in the garbage a thousand times over.  He knew “Daffodils” would be published early on and he was right.

The worst advice was given to me by a woman who shall remain nameless.  She told me this book would never see the light of day and that I couldn’t write and might want to consider a different hobby.  We all have our opinions.

With the worst advice, has any of it given you an incentive to prove the person or persons who gave you the worst advice, wrong?

Obviously, I ignored her advice and continued writing the novel.  I’m not into the “I told you so” scene.  The book speaks for itself and I don’t have to prove anything to anybody.  
I have arrived at a beautiful place in my life and I’ve enjoyed the ride.

Has there been a downside to your success in being a published author?

Other than it consuming my life?  The only downside is having less time for my family when I’m on deadline.  Then it passes and we get back to routine.  My family has been so supportive and I couldn’t have done it without everyone pulling together.

What do you do when you are not writing?  What do you like to do in your relaxation time?

Wow, it’s been so long.  I love to read, and read, and read some more.  I’m a gourmet cook which my husband thoroughly enjoys.  Gardening keeps me busy, now I bet that’s a surprise.  I also enjoy dog shows and bird watching.  Sitting on a beach in Mexico ranks right up there, too.

Are you or do you have any upcoming projects in the works?

I’m working on a second novel, a stand alone, not a sequel to “Daffodils”.  The working title is “Innside Out”.  The novel is set in a B&B in a quaint town in Michigan.  My protagonist, Tess Womack, is a quirky, superstitious woman who turns the place inside out.  I’m enjoying creating all new characters and weaving the story together.

Last question, do you have a website and how can readers contact you if they would like to leave you feedback about your books?

My website is www.cathilamarche.com.

Readers can email me through the website.  They can also read the first chapter of“While the Daffodils Danced.” (go, now, all of you.)  I love getting feedback from readers.  It keeps me going when the question, “Now, why am I doing this?” slips into my mind.

Thank you Cathi for being here at Coffee Time Romance today and answering my questions for me. Also we wish you really good luck on all your upcoming projects.  

It’s been a pleasure, Sheryl.  Thanks again for letting me share my novel with those visiting Coffee Time Romance.

Sheryl
Interviewer
Coffee Time Romance

 

 

 

 

 

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