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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A Dollar for a Dream - Interview with Catherine Evans & Giveaway

About Catherine Evans
Catherine Evans is a city-born throwback to country genes. After completing an environmental biology degree, she desperately needed to move to the country. A job in agriculture was the perfect escape. After spending eighteen years in agricultural research and gaining a Masters degree in Agriculture, Cath has a passion for rural life.

Now living on the south coast of NSW, Australia, a large part of her heart belongs across the mountain ranges in the red dust.

If you want to know more, please visit Catherine's website
Twitter: @CathEvansAuthor

1) Could you tell a bit about yourself?
I’m Australian, born in Sydney but I left as soon as I finished university. My dream was to move to the country and own a horse, which I did. I lived in Wagga Wagga, a regional centre in southern NSW with about 45 000 people. Then I moved to Condobolin, which is in the centre of NSW and has about 3 000 people. Now we live in a small coastal village on the south coast of NSW which also has about 3 000 people. I’m married and child-free.
2) The A Dollar for a Dream series is a project you’ve done with two other authors, how did this work?
It worked fantastically!! (There’s a bit of information in this blog post:
Lisa Ireland, Jennie Jones and I had known each other for a while because we’re all part of Romance Writers of Australia. Lisa and I met face-to-face at a workshop, we met Jennie at a conference, although we’d all communicated online before the face-to-face meetings. We live in different parts of Australia, so meeting in person is rare.
We have the same publisher and I asked if they were interested in working together on something. We got pretty excited and threw around a lot of ideas before we came up with the A Dollar For A Dream project. Then we emailed our editor to see what she thought. She loved it, and we went off to make our ideas happen.
We’ve become good friends through this project, even though we’ve only met up face-to-face a couple of times!

3) Where does the idea of the town of Dulili come from?

Lisa picked the location of central-western NSW doing Google and Pinterest searches. It wasn’t too far from where we’d lived, so I was somewhat familiar with the area. I also did a few drives through the area and took heaps of photos (often from the car window as my husband drove) so Jennie and Lisa could see the area.
We didn’t want to use an existing town, so we invented our own. We wanted an Aboriginal word for the town name, and it had to have some significant meaning. We came up with lists of ideas and narrowed it down. We ended up with Dulili, which means ‘together’, which we thought was perfect.

4) What do you like best about small town romance?
I love small towns. I like that people care, they work together to achieve things, and they’re often passionate about their town.
Romance gives you all the feels. It’s happy, anticipatory, exciting, fraught, tense, exhilarating and the guarantee is a happy ending. Sometimes you need that guarantee.
Small town romances can give you the best (and worst) of both. You’ve got a lot of people and stories to draw on, a lot of activities that can help with propelling a story onwards, and there can be a lot go wrong in small towns which can help with conflict in the story. Readers can get to know and love not just the hero and heroine, but other people in the town. It can give a richer story.

5) What’s so wonderful about rural life?
Wow. This is a great question. I love rural life, but working out why isn’t as easy as I thought. Let me see if I can explain what I love.
You’re close to nature. There’s space. Animals abound. There are down to earth people. There’s a freedom to try things because there’s a bit of a “live and let live” attitude. In tough times, people pull together in a way that inspires. There’s some sort of resilience needed for living in rural areas that not only challenges you, but it inspires, strengthens and deepens you.
6) What are your 3 favorite Australian romances?
Such a hard question to answer. Narrowing it down to 3 and only romance is so tough! I’m going to leave out Jennie Jones and Lisa Ireland only because I don’t want you to think I’m biased!

In my teenage years, a neighbour gave me a Lucy Walker romance called Gamma’s Girl. I loved that book at the time. It sent me on a Lucy Walker binge.
Marion Lennox writes beautiful Aussie romances. Christmas at Waratah Bay (published by Tule Publishing as book 1 in their Christmas Around the World series) is a recent favourite.
Fiona Palmer writes rural stories that have a lot of the aspects of rural life that I love. The Saddler Boys is her most recent one.

7) You have a degree in environmental biology, which is quite different from your career as a writer. How did you discover you like writing stories as well?

Enid Blyton was the person I most wanted to be when I was a kid. I’ve always written stories, mostly for myself, but I didn’t ever think of publication. So writing came first, really.
When I was at Wagga Wagga, I met another agriculture student who wrote screenplays as a hobby (and directed, filmed and edited them). We talked a lot about writing and he really encouraged me to seek publication, which I didn’t do for ages.
I got sick in 2005 and that’s when my writing took off. Another friend challenged me to write a romance, and around that time Condobolin hosted a writing festival where I was roped into helping. Things seemed to snowball from there and I was hooked. I worked towards publication.
I’d always written for work, so it was a matter of unlearning my ‘science’ writing and allowing my creative writing to develop to a marketable standard (which makes it sound so easy!).
8) Where do you find inspiration?
Everywhere. A sunset can spark a story, or a stretch of paddock. Watching people interact, or seeing someone staring off in the distance. A horse ride. A town event. Anything and everything inspires me.
I have so many ideas I find it quite difficult to limit myself to one or two themes per book. Sometimes it’s things I’ve done or seen or experienced. Sometimes it’s things I’ve heard about or that have touched me.
I scribble so many little snippets, keeping them in case I need them for something. My notebook collection is rather horrifying!
9) Animals are an important part of your life, what is so special about them? And do you have a favorite animal themed book?

Animals expect nothing but give you so much, I think that’s what I love most. Then there’s the challenge to earn their trust, to understand them, to work together with them. In return you get unconditional love and a bond that so special it’s almost magical. When an animal greets me with pure joy, that’s the best experience in the world.

When I was a kid, I won a book called, A Dog Called Debbie by Lyla Stevens, after watching a Lassie movie. It was about a dog who acted as a surrogate to all sorts of animals. I was probably only 9 or 10, yet that story has stayed with me all this time.
I’ve kept Ride A Wild Pony by James Aldridge, Silver Brumby books (Elyne Mitchell) and a Golden Library of Animal Stories book since childhood. They’re all important to me.
As an adult, Louis de Bernières’ Red Dog has been a favourite, even if it’s heart breaking.
10) What can we expect from you in the future?
Jennie, Lisa and I have talked about another set of Dulili-based stories. A few readers seem to have wanted them too, which is great.
I have a story about drought and families, a horse-mad girl and the boy-next-door who had to grow up too quickly. That will probably be next.
I love rural stories, so agriculture and the environment will always feature in my writing.

One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive kindle copies of all three A Dollar for a Dream books.

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. Please make sure is in your approved contacts list. All of our giveaways are international.


  1. Question to the author: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

    1. Hi Mai,
      I'm not very good with plans, so I write where an idea takes me. Sometimes that can be frustrating because I might go off on a tangent, or get stuck, or have heaps to rewrite. But I tried to plan early on, and the book still isn't written. Once I knew how the story went, I had no desire to write it. So for me, seeing where an idea goes is my method.

      It took a while to work out how I write best, and I have a quote stuck to my wall that says, "Stick to the process and have a little faith." When I start doubting my process, I re-read that. It's something my sporting hero said, but it applies to me, my writing process, and seems to ease my doubts.

      Thanks for the question.

      If you're a writer, I hope you find the process that works best for you!

      Cath xo

  2. Can't wait to read these books! Thanks for the chance.

  3. Sound like a great series. Looking forward to reading them.


  4. Thanks very much for having me visit your blog, Suze. It was a lot of fun.

    Good luck in the draw everyone!

    Cath xo

  5. You are a new author to me, but I think I would really enjoy reading one of your books!

  6. This sounds like a sweet series. I would love to read it! :)

  7. I love reading books like these! Looking forward to reading your work, Catherine :-D

  8. interesting interview

  9. I also love rural life and these sound like great summer reads.

  10. Love your views

  11. Haven't read anything like this before - would love to try x

  12. a new author for me to read - always a good thing, thanks for sharing your writing xx

    1. Hi Ruth,
      Thanks for commenting. It's a pleasure to share things - that's how I learned :)

      Cath xo

  13. The book description sounds intriguing. Thanks for sharing. Enjoyed the interview too.