Shove up, Austen!

Today I welcome another new writer with lovely Crooked Cat who publish me too. Coming in on the magic carpet is Cathy Bryant… Cameron would you stop waving your t-shirt like that, you’re getting funny looks!

Welcome, … Now, I know you’re a vegan, we’re veggies, so while Cam puts on his pinny and goes to get you something, you sit here and tell me about your work. Lily will keep you company but if you don’t like dogs just ask her to go away. She’s very obliging like that.

I’m awfully partial to anything vegan. I’ve brought my own soymilk and some star biscuits (little light ginger iscuits in the shape of stars). But I’m sure that Cameron will whip something up – I bet he likes a hefty Danish.

Oooooo ginger bikkies – must try those! Hahahah! Yes he does, the nuttier the better! Oh she is going to fit in very well here! Right. Is this your first published book?

‘Pride and Regicide’ isn’t my first published book, though it is my first published novel. My first book was a poetry collection called ‘Contains Strong Language and Scenes of a Sexual Nature’ (Puppywolf, 2010)and I ended up marrying the publisher. I was that thrilled! *cough* Of course I would have married him anyway. My second collection was called ‘Look at All the Women’ and Mslexia described it as ‘wickedly funny’, so I’d have married them too if it was allowed, and the publisher too (Teika at Mother’s Milk Books is a good friend and lovely, but spoken for).

Myslexia eh? Impressive! How long have you been writing? I presume like all of us you have always been a writer just waiting to launch off into space.

I’ve been writing all my life, but for many years I lacked confidence. Then my best friend made it his new year’s resolution for me to get my poems and stories published – he said that if I didn’t submit them then his year would be a failure and it would be my fault! So I sent a load of pieces off to magazines and anthologies, to prove to him that no one would publish them – and I was delighted to be wrong. I’ve now had over 200 poems and short stories published in litmags and anthologies, and I’ve been lucky enough to win fourteen writing awards. Yes, I have bought my best friend a drink or two.

Yes, my mates ganged up on me to force me to publish or I wouldn’t be here now! What is in the pipeline for you? More of the same genre or are you going to branch out?

I’m so busy at the moment! It’s wonderful. I have a non-fiction book coming out soon – How to Win Writing Competitions (it has been praised by the mighty Sue Barnard, no less).

(crosses self .. Sue Barnard!!!)

I have no more talent than any of my writer friends, but I win lots of writing competitions – so I wrote down everything I know and do that makes that happen. I also run a site called Cathy’s Comps and Calls, where on the first of every month I list calls for submission and writing competitions – all free, with no entry fees or submission fees, and with electronic entry or submission. I wanted to help cash-strapped writers – there are quite a few! Then there’s Pride and Regicide, my Crooked Cat book – a Mary Bennett mystery that is more laughter than murder, with a hint of philosophy and some nifty detective embroidery. I also have sequels planned – Northanger Albi, Sense and Sliceability, Persecution, Manslaughter Park – if anyone has a good one for Emma, let me know!

That is very altruistic of you. I’ll keep an eye out for those, bless you. Now a bit about you. Tell us where you live and what the household is like. Lily wants to know if you have pets. How about “Irma”?

Cathy B 2
The Hon. Keir and his lady wife Cathy

I live in Cheshire with my two beautiful rescue cats, Sacha and Sylvester. They are tuxedos and brothers. Sacha is tiny and clever, and Sylvester is the big dumb henchman who doesn’t understand anything but loves everyone anyway, bless him. Oh, and my husband Keir lives with us too. He’s actually so wonderful that he makes Mr Darcy look like Mr Collins. Together we cook great vegan food, read, write (he’s a professional writer too) and visit Lyme Park – where the 1995 Pride and Prejudice was filmed, and part of the inspiration for Pride and Regicide. We’re also part of a Jane Austen-themed group called The Occasional Austens – we dress up in Regency gear and eat Regency (ish) food and talk about Austen-related maters (and everything else). We have some bonnet-making planned.

Ooo – I made a bonnet once for a re-enactment group. Here’s mine. Thanks, Cam, more Red Bush Tea would be great! What are your dreams/aspirations, Cathy?

Bonnet (featuring mobile phone!)
Bonnet (featuring mobile phone!)

My dream is to make lots of people laugh. When I perform poetry – the audience favourite is my poem ‘Sexual Positions for Those No Longer Young’ – I love it when people laugh their heads off. On my first day of primary school I wrote an essay saying that I wanted to be an ice-cream seller when I grew up, because it makes people happy, and I still think that that’s a noble aspiration! I’ll stick to writing, though.

Thank you very much for having me. It’s been a delight to visit this magical place. Cameron, thank you for your marvellous hospitality. It’s clear that you know your way around a chef’s whites.

You are very welcome, Cathy and I agree, making people laugh is a precious gift. You must come back again and share some of your comedy with us. Strangely enough, I did work as an ice cream seller at the Seal Sanctuary in Gweek! Scowl not, Bro, this lady has your measure beautifully. Finally let us have all your details, book outlets, contact, web page etc. Thanks so much for coming, it’s been a real pleasure. Oh, gallant Bro is going to help you back onto the magic carpet, don’t worry it knows the way. Just say “Go home” when you are safely off. Byeeeee!

16 thoughts on “Shove up, Austen!

  1. Great post, ladies. Though I must confess to being a little worried that you should feel the need to cross yourself at the mention of my name – I didn’t realise I was THAT scary…

    But to be serious for a moment (yes, I am capable of it occasionally), I’m really looking forward to this latest offering. Cathy has been compared to “a cross between Carol Ann Duffy and Spike Milligan.”

    Re the missing title, how about “Dilemma”?

    1. That was reverence, Sue, not fear! Yes, I am dying to read more of Cathy’s humour. Cathy – my bonnet was made to be the “schoolmarm” in a Western re-enactment place and I so wanted to be Calamity Jane!!!

    2. I knew that someone would come up with a great idea! Sue, that’s much better than ‘Immolation’, which was the rather unsavoury one I was thinking of. ‘Dilemma’ is much better.

  2. Fantastic post and great to meet Cathy. I’d love to attend one of her performance. Dilemma is a good suggestion. I haven’t come up with any…

      1. Thank you! I tried to thank you yesterday but the technology got sniffy and told me to comment more slowly. So – *deep voice enunciating very slowly* – thank you.

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