Cathy Bryant/me & vice versa (Part 1)

I’m welcoming an “old” new friend back today. Another from the Crooked Cat basket. She knows the ropes so I won’t bother helping her off the magic carpet and Cameron has a date (!) so I’ll do the catering myself.

Welcome, Cathy (hugs)

Hello! (hugs) How lovely to be here again! That magic carpet is wonderful. Environmentally-friendly, too. I’m sorry to miss Cameron – I was very cheeky to him last time so I promise to be on my best behaviour if we meet again. Let us know how his date goes and whether he’s ready to settle down!

Happy Dance

I will do, he’s all excited because it’s a Dutch guy & he’s had not much luck with French. Quick happy dance!

Every time I read an interview with you, I get an “Oo me too” response. Let’s swap some stories. I hope this won’t turn into a pity-party or misery session but I want to see how much our pasts reflect in our writing.

Your childhood wasn’t very happy, was it? Go on – I’ll share afterwards.

My childhood was one of those religion-and-violence ones, where I was hit a lot and preached at a lot. My father, the source of the violence, was also the headmaster of the strict Catholic school that I attended, so I couldn’t get away from him. He also abused me sexually (he got the same Papal knighthood as Jimmy Saville, though I don’t think that paedophilia is necessarily a criterion). It was obviously horrible and messed me up, though I do think that one of the advantages of an unhappy childhood is that getting older is a joy. I also escaped into reading, writing, and crying into the cat’s fur. Books and animals can save us.

I’m sorry that you’ve suffered too, Ailsa. 😦

Nothing like as bad as yours. How about work? What have your experiences with that been like?

I’ve done so many jobs! My first job was at 13 selling T-shirts in a kiosk on Morecambe promenade, and it was surprisingly lovely – outside but sheltered and sitting down, and with a view of the sea and the sky. Then a shop called Clogs and Wellies, which was an education – we met clog-dancing troupes and sold clogs soled with irons. As for adult jobs, I’ve been a civil servant and a life model, but most of my working life was in childcare. Since my health forced me to give that up I’ve been writing nonstop.

1514984_10154157373055961_8676018959004011678_nRelationships – come on, I’ll be honest too, do the ones in your books reflect your own experiences or your ideals?11258227_10154157368195961_4319807206812475775_o


As if for compensation for my rotten childhood, I’ve been incredibly lucky with partners and friends. My big teen love I met at 18? Well, I was at his 50th birthday party recently and he’s still lovely! My best friend and I fight like a cat and a dog who’ve just discovered an armoury, but we’re solid. My husband Keir is the revelation. I very nearly did the ‘sensible’ thing of settling for someone not right, as I thought that I had to be ‘grown-up’ about it and ‘make it work’. Fortunately he was wildly unfaithful to me before the wedding, so I escaped. Then I met Keir. He’s the best writer of the two of us really, and here’s what he says: “I’m grateful for Cathy. We’re like two weirdly-shaped cogs that happen to mesh together, and watching us spin in motion is kind of magical, but I’m glad we do mesh. Without her I wouldn’t be me.” Who would have thought that calling someone a weirdly-shaped cog could be so romantic?! He isn’t perfect, but he’s perfect for me. One day I’d love to release a book of the love poetry we’ve written each other, but it would probably be unbearably soppy.11696276_10154157376300961_5730265795910438889_o

Yup – that is truly ideal! You said that you also get that reaction so you can ask me some questions now – I love being on the other side of the table and yes, I’ll make some frothy coffee. As this seems to be going on into an all-day interview I’ll get something out of the freezer so you can eat with me and we’ll make this a two-day blog-spot!

10 thoughts on “Cathy Bryant/me & vice versa (Part 1)

  1. Hurrah for Cathy Bryant! and shit abusive childhoods that make getting older a really good thing…and writing and painting and reading…………….xxx

  2. Thank you, Caren (Ailsa – Caren is the only person allowed to spell my name as Kathy – and I call her Caren). Yes – getting older is brilliant. A few wrinkles and dodgy knees? Well, at least I’m free and living my own life!

  3. What a fabulous interview. Very happy to read about Cathy and her great family and friends. Looking forward to your turn, Ailsa.

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