|A Touch of Relaxation|
Welcome to the Coffee Corner, Catherine. I’m so glad you could join us today. Texas is heating up. We’ve had temps in the 90’s and thunderstorms galore around Waco. I think summer’s has arrived. How’s life in your area?
It’s getting warm here in Ohio, too. We’ve had a lot of rain this year, and the garden weeds are growing like mad. I’m dying to be done with book edits and get out there and pull weeds.
I’d probably melt. I love the outdoors but heat’s not my thing, although I love my flower bed. Speaking of books, I loved your book, The Nun and the Narc. Can you tell us a little bit about the story and its road to publication?
The Nun and the Narc is about a novice who goes to Mexico on a house building mission trip and gets kidnapped by the local drug lord when she tries to stop a drug deal. Sister Margaret Mary risks losing her life, her vocation, and her heart when she falls for undercover DEA agent Jed Bond who is imprisoned with her. Nuns shouldn’t look, talk, act, or kiss like Sister Margaret Mary. Jed knows she’s off limits, but his heart can’t help wanting this woman who’s been promised to God.
Because the book is a bit outside the box for traditional inspirational romance, I had a hard time selling it. Publishers didn’t know what to do with a non-evangelical character. After writing the book, which placed second in its first contest I entered and was a finalist in the ACFW Genesis Contest, it took me nearly ten years to find it a home with Soul Mate Publishing.
Ten years? What a struggle… and we all know life doesn’t fit inside a perfect square box. Even though I’m sorry for your trials, I’m grateful for the result. Your characters have such depth. I won’t beg you to reveal your secrets. Well, maybe just a little?
Thanks for that compliment, Renee. I guess I’d have to attribute it to years of honing the craft. Characters need to have faults and secrets, too. When I was acting, the drama coach said we should always give our character a secret, even if the secret was never revealed on stage. She said it gave our characters depth and gave us a backstory that showed in our actions. I’ve tried to do that with my characters.
Acting coach! (You are full of secrets yourself, milady.) She had a good idea, by the way. I know the readers would love to see what we’re talking about. Do you think we can have a little peek of your story?
Here’s one of my favorite excerpts from the book. I think it shows Sister Margaret Mary’s foibles.
Margaret inched forward, hoping to hear what they were saying. A mariachi band nearby blared out a tune, the polka-like melody destroying any hope of eavesdropping. The shriek of off-key brass sent chills up her spine. She covered her ears and moved closer to Rafael and the stranger.
After a couple of minutes of conversation, the man removed an envelope from his jacket and pulled out a handful of bills. He folded them in half and then slipped them into Rafael’s extended hand. With a furtive glance around, Rafael moved closer to the man, blocking Margaret’s direct view, and handed something to the stranger.
A wave of apprehension swept over Margaret. The chapulines she’d snacked on earlier that morning threatened to see the light of day.
A drug deal! Of all the things Rafael could do, this was the worst.
Esperanza had fought so hard to keep her son away from bad influences. Now he appeared to be involved in the very thing she’d hated most. Margaret imagined Esperanza banging on the gates of purgatory, trying to get out and rescue her son.
She hesitated for a moment, hearing Mother Superior’s admonishment. Stay out of trouble while you are in Mexico, Sister.
Silencing the nagging voice in her head, Margaret charged forward, protective instincts in full swing.
Stopping Rafael and talking to him about the dangers of drugs surely wouldn’t qualify as trouble. Bluntness, maybe, but not trouble. It was more like saving. Yes, that’s it. I’m saving him.
Margaret grabbed Rafael by the shirt. “I’ve been searching for you, young man.” She faced the stranger, giving him her best withering stare. “You should be ashamed of yourself.”
The man stuffed the plastic bag into his jacket pocket. “Who is this?”
“Some crazy gringa.” Rafael shrugged, hard, trying to escape her grasp.
The plastic bag contained something white. Heroin? Cocaine? Margaret tightened her hold and drew Rafael closer. She would save him whether he wanted to be saved or not.
“Get out of here,” Rafael snarled.
“What would your mother say if she saw this?”
Rafael’s expression darkened. “Leave my mother out of this!” He wrenched out of Margaret’s grip and spun around to face her. His expression morphed from anger to fear.
“¡Madre de Dios!”
The man’s head jerked around. “Get down!” he shouted.
Rafael took off running down the street as the top row of pottery in the stand exploded like popcorn.
Margaret jumped at the loud noise and whirled around searching for the source. The man removed a gun from his jacket, swung around, and scanned the area.
Margaret’s knees buckled at the sight of the handgun. Her body tensed, her gaze frozen on his weapon. He fired off a couple of shots. Heart thumping like a jackhammer, she ran for cover behind the open car door. The window glass shattered as bullets whizzed over her head. She scrambled into the car and crouched on the floorboard. Another row of pottery shattered, sending fragments into the car like tiny projectile rockets. Sending up a quick prayer, she covered her head.
Slamming the door shut as he passed, the man leapt over the trunk. He jerked open the driver’s door then jumped behind the wheel. Jamming the car into gear, he roared out into the market street. Shoppers and vendors screamed, leaping out of the car’s path.
Margaret scrambled into the passenger seat. “Stop this car immediately!”
“Keep down,” he ordered, “unless you want to get shot.”
The rear window glass erupted into the car’s interior, punctuating his words. The man fired at the attackers through the shattered back window.
“Shot?” Her voice rose an octave. “Oh, dear Lord in Heaven, what have I gotten into?”
“Trouble, Lady.” He fired off another round. “Big trouble.”
Oh, I love it. Thank you for sharing that piece with us. How did you become an author, Catherine?
I began my writing career as a self-taught journalist for the local weekly newspaper. I decided one day that I could write as well as the paper’s staffer and the contributors (yes, I realize it was a bit nervy of me to think so), and so I set out to get myself an assignment. After writing a couple of gratis articles about our church’s building project, I finally mustered up enough courage to ask the editor what other kind of articles she’d like to see from contributors. She invited me to come down to the office and sign a contract. While working at the paper, part-time, I covered a local romance writer’s conference, and decided I wanted to try my hand at fiction (which I’d written as a teen—not very good writing, but I had done it.) I got hooked on fiction after that, and the rest, as they say, is history.
I’m so grateful you covered that conference. The Lord is so good. What’s your greatest dream for your writing?
I’d like to write books which entertain and that non-Christians, as well as Christians, will want to pick up and read. Books that show them about the Lord without preaching to them. Books that present Christians as real people, with real problems, and believable solutions that share God’s love, and our faith, in non-threatening ways to those who don’t know the Lord. One of my favorite reviews for The Nun and the Narc indicates I’ve managed to do it with this book. Here’s a snippet of that review.
This review is from Amazon: The Nun and the Narc
I loved this book. To be honest, I didn't expect to, especially because in the forward, the author mentions trying to get it published as "Christian romance." I'm not Christian and don't enjoy books that preach to me. However, the premise was too intriguing not to give it a try… So, does the book preach? Surprisingly - shockingly, actually - it really doesn't. It shares Margaret's deep faith and her hilarious need to pray and confess even when bullets are flying, but it never seems too preachy or sanctimonious, even when Jed starts turning more and more toward Margaret's God.
Yep, I’d say you did it. A great accomplishment, Catherine. I’m so happy for you. Even with your success as an author, if you had one thing to do over again, what would it be? Why?
I’d start pursuing writing as a career sooner. I wasted a lot of years thinking writing was only a hobby, when it could have been so much more for me.
I have to agree with you there. It was a hobby for me for years. How many gifts does the Lord give us we brush off or ignore when we can use them for His work?
Thank you so much for coming today. One last question … what’s the next project on the horizon?
I’m currently working on a sweet romantic comedy I’ve given the working title of A Bride For Mama.
Catherine will be giving away an ebook copy of The Nun and the Narc to one person who leaves a comment about her interview. Do you have a question or tidbit to share?
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About the Book:
Where novice Sister Margaret Mary goes, trouble follows. When she barges into a drug deal the local Mexican drug lord captures her. To escape she must depend on undercover DEA agent Jed Bond. Jed’s attitude toward her is exasperating, but when she finds herself inexplicable attracted to him he becomes more dangerous than the men who have captured them, because he is making her doubt her decision to take her final vows. Escape back to the nunnery is imperative, but life at the convent, if she can still take her final vows, will never be the same.
Nuns shouldn’t look, talk, act, or kiss like Sister Margaret Mary O’Connor—at least that’s what Jed Bond thinks. She hampers his escape plans with her compulsiveness and compassion and in the process makes Jed question his own beliefs. After years of walling up his emotions in an attempt to become the best agent possible, Sister Margaret is crumbling Jed’s defenses and opening his heart. To lure her away from the church would be unforgivable—to lose her unbearable.
READ MY REVIEW OF THE NUN AND THE NARC HERE
READ MY REVIEW OF THE NUN AND THE NARC HERE
About the Author:
Award winning author Catherine Castle has been writing all her life. Before beginning her career as a romance writer she worked part-time as a freelance writer. She has over 600 articles and photographs to her credit, under her real name, in the Christian and secular market. Besides writing, Catherine loves traveling with her husband, singing, and attending theatre. In the winter she loves to quilt and has a lot of UFOs (unfinished objects) in her sewing case. In the summer her favorite place to be is in her garden. She’s passionate about gardening and even won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club.
Her debut inspiration romantic suspense, The Nun and the Narc, from Soul Mate Publishing is an ACFW Genesis Finalist, a 2014 Beverly Hills Book Award Winner, a 2014 EPIC finalist, a 2014 RONE finalist and a Carolyn Readers Choice Award finalist.
Lead photo credit: HalasiZsolt via photopin cc
Lead photo credit: HalasiZsolt via photopin cc