Catherine Brakefield is a published author of two non-fictional history books, and two inspirational historical romances, The Wind of Destiny and Wilted Dandelions. She has free-lanced for numerous newspapers and magazine publications. She has had many short stories published. A few are: CrossRiver’s The Benefit Package and God’s Promises scheduled for fall 2016 publication. Revell’s The Dog Next Door, and The Horse of my Heart scheduled for early October, 2015.
Catherine lives in Michigan with her husband, Edward, of forty years and her Arabian horses. Her children are grown and married. She and Edward are blessed with three grandchildren.
Welcome back, Cathy. What do you consider the best resources for historical research?
My grandmother lived with my family for twelve years and during that time, I learned that our grandparents are a walking history book! During my journalist years, I carried that knowledge with me, and was able to create friendships that would later give my regional history books credence and authenticity with their treasured family pictures of American history.
Though I love the internet and Google, I find that people who had parents and grandparents in that era, supply the best resources and the very best facts and, of course, folklore. I felt privileged when they would share with me old history books pasted down from generations to generations and tell me stories about their growing-up years. These conversations always sparked my imagination and became the bases of my history books, and historical novels.
What or who inspired you to write inspirational fiction?
I always liked to read, and I always wanted to write my own novel. But, honestly, I think the whole writing thing grew when I knelt down before the television set one evening after listening to a Billy Graham telecast. I, like Rachael, had always gone to church. I was a catechism teacher for a couple of years.
Yet, that night, when I knelt before my television set and repeated Billy Graham’s words, I have to admit, something stirred me. That confession did something inside of me. I know that because I began looking forward to reading the Bible every day. Everything took on a new meaning for me. I even got re-baptized! The submersion kind! I loved it. I loved anything that was Christ related.
Then my grandmother needed a place to stay, and I felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit to welcome her into my household. My husband was receptive to the idea, and so she joined us and our two-month-old daughter. That’s when the idea to write inspirational fiction took hold. My grandmother inspired my first inspirational romance novel, The Wind of Destiny.
How does that keep you plodding ahead with your writing each day?
I try to commit my writing and my words as if writing for Jesus. I always start out telling him, especially when I’ve received another rejection letter or e-mail, “Well, Lord, are you sure you want me to write? I really want to know Your will. If you do, please be my guide and don’t let this rejection upset me for long.
If it is Your will that I do write, I don’t want to play god with my characters, I want you to use me as Your instrument. Make my characters real and tell me how, Lord. Show me what you want my readers to learn through my characters. In thy name I pray, that thy will be done. Amen!
What helps you maintain productivity as a writer? And what do you find most challenging about the business of being an author?
Working at a 9 to 5 job every day for forty years helped me to become regimented. I usually get up at 6 a.m. Do my outside chores, then try to get back into house by 10 and start working.
The absolutely most challenging part of being a writer is juggling more than just writing. On some days, I am doing laundry, or cooking while writing. Oftentimes because you do not receive a weekly paycheck, it doesn’t feel like a “job” and I want to think of it as a pastime.
There is also “social media” to do. That has been taking more and more of my time lately and I have yet to figure out how to do this without taking away from my creative time. So I’m not sure if I am qualified to answer that correctly because I’m a work in progress.
Do you feel you are more of a character driven or plot driven writer? How do you think it comes across in your writing?
I start out with a great plot and become totally character driven. In Wilted Dandelions, I knew where I wanted to start the story, end the story and what my plan of action would be to get my characters to their destination.
However, Rachael and Jonathan early on decided to deviate from their roles. When I picture a character in my head, first they start out in a skeleton form, then they grow, developing more characteristics and their personalities develop. My characters become real to me and before you know it, my story takes a few twists and turns to portray what Rachael and Jonathan wants to reveal to their readers. I hope and pray this is God-directed. I’m leaving it up to my readers to say.
Would you like to share about what you are working on now?
I am excited about my next project that is taking form in leaps and bounds, and inspired by my first book that is now out of print. I am writing a trilogy of Inspirational Historical Romance novels pertaining to one family through three generations. It starts out in Kentucky, they move to Colorado and then to Detroit. The first novel will begin during the Spanish American War and the Gibson Era, The second novel will cover, World War I and The Great Depression, and the third novel will cover World War II.
Do you have any last words of wisdom to share with aspiring authors?
If you believe in your heart that God is prompting you to write. Don’t give up!
What happened to Rachael and Jonathan in Wilted Dandelions will happen to Jesus’ faithful followers. Those who are brave enough to follow Jesus will, during their discipleship, wilt. As Jesus tells Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
Christian authors may never attain the notoriety of their counterparts; may never have the physical attainment of riches and acceptability of their peers. But those who “having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience …” will attain the highest acclamation from their heavenly Father: “Well done good and faithful servant!”
Always remember, “…there will be more joy over the sinner who repents than over the ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.” Luke 15:7 your story just might change that one person needing repentance.
May God bless each and every one of you in fulfilling Gods purpose in your life. Thank you so much for having me at Novel PASTimes. May our Good Lord richly bless you in everything you do until He takes us home to be with Him!
Thank you, Cathy, for joining us at Novel PASTimes. It has been a privilege to interview you.
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