My favourite subject in school was English. I loved reading and losing myself in fictional worlds and I always enjoyed writing stories and poems. I thought I’d grow up to be a journalist but life had other plans and I ended up as an English teacher.
Over the years, I was kept busy by my job and young family, but I still wrote, just not as often as I’d have liked. In 2007 I tried penning a medical romance novel, but when it was rejected, I gave up for a while and thought that being an author was something that would only ever be a dream. A few years later, I was discussing my dreams with my husband and he told me to try again. He said I was so enthusiastic about reading and writing that he believed I could do it. Many rejections followed, and each time, I’d have a good cry and swear I was giving up. However, I didn’t. Instead, I took heed of any advice I was given in the rejection letters. Sometimes the comments really stung but I tried not to take them personally. After all, the editors didn’t know me, and they were being generous enough to share their knowledge and experience, so I absorbed it all and applied it to my writing.
My debut novel as Darcie Boleyn was published by Carina UK in 2015, and I now have eleven books published under that pseudonym. Since then I have also self-published as Rachel Griffiths, had a novel published with Orion as Megan Attley and I’m now signed with Zaffre Books as Cathy Lake. I have worked with some wonderful editors and publishers and I feel incredibly lucky. It’s been a very busy and wonderful five years.
I’m a devoted dog mum and have two British bulldogs and one rescue greyhound. I usually put dogs, especially rescue dogs, in my books. I support the charities Greyhound Rescue Wales and Hope Rescue, and regularly make donations of signed books for auctions and raffles. I believe that animals, especially dogs, have the ability to help us to make the most of life. They live very much in the moment, whereas with our busy lives, we can lose perspective and rush from one task to the next. This isn’t good for our physical or mental health, but having a dog can make us slow down, focus on the here and now, and be more mindful. My husband and I walk our dogs every day and getting out like that is incredibly therapeutic. When I left teaching in 2016, I was quite unwell with anxiety, but my family, our dogs and writing helped me through. I’m lucky enough to write full-time now and often use our dogs as sounding boards for plot lines and dialogue, and, of course, they’re a source of inspiration.
The Country Village Christmas Show is about a woman in her mid-forties who has reached a crossroads in life. Her marriage ended recently, her son is away at university and the family home has been sold. Not knowing what to do and feeling a bit lost, she returns to the pretty village where she grew up to stay with her mother. They’ve never been close, and she knows it will be a challenge, but she hopes it will be a positive thing for them both. Her mother has a rescue Great Dane called Goliath and Claire finds herself becoming very fond of him, enjoying taking him on long walks in the beautiful countryside and snuggling on the sofa with him.
As the weeks pass, she also finds herself involved in village life in ways she’d never imagined. She has the chance to see a new future for herself filled with exciting opportunities and challenges, and with the support of her friends and loved ones, she knows that she’s strong enough to deal with whatever comes her way.
Many people will find themselves in a similar situation in that they come to a crossroads and wonder what’s next, whether it’s because of a relationship breakdown, children leaving home or losing loved ones. I wanted to show through this story that there’s hope to be found, that relationships can be healed and new ones formed. Life isn’t easy for anyone but having friends and family (whatever form that family takes) can help us to deal with the challenges we face. I hope that readers will find The Country Village Christmas Show warm, funny and uplifting, that it will make them laugh, feel hope and, of course, feel festive.
I wrote the first draft of the book in eight weeks. I focus on writing the story first and only edit after the first draft is done. If I tried to edit as I write, I’d never reach the end, so instead I make lots of notes in red within the manuscript and on a notepad that I keep with me at all times. I also print out a calendar for the timespan of the book and write on it in different colour pens so I know what happens and when. This is immensely helpful during edits, especially if I’m already writing another story.
The basis of the idea for The Country Village Christmas Showcame from my own experience as a woman who changed career in her forties. It wasn’t easy and there were risks involved, but it meant that I’ve found the job fulfilment I always dreamt of. I turned forty-five in August, but I feel that life is just beginning and I’m excited to see where my writing takes me next!
(c) Cathy Lake
About The Country Village Christmas Show by Cathy Lake
Recently divorced, the family home sold and her son all grown-up, Clare is at a crossroads. She’s dedicated her whole adult life to her family, and now it’s time she did something for herself.
In the lead up to Christmas, Clare decides that a bit of time in the countryside might be just what she needs, so she moves back to Little Bramble, the village she grew up in. But living with her mum for the first time in years – and not to mention Goliath the Great Dane – can be challenging.
When Clare finds herself running the village Christmas show, it feels like she has purpose in her life again. Bringing together people from all sides of the community, and all walks of life, will Clare manage to pull off a festive feat like no other? And will she find the new start in life – and possibly love – that she’s been looking for?
The Country Village Christmas Show is the perfect romantic read to get cosy with this winter.
Order your copy online here.