After four rewrites Cathy is ready to launch ‘book of my heart’ – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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After four rewrites Cathy is ready to launch ‘book of my heart’

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When one thinks of Christian fiction, pictures of girls in long flowing dresses, wearing cute little bonnets, looking out over the American prairies often comes to mind, not pictures of Vietnam in the 1960s.

Bermudian writer Cathy West has been attempting to itch the writing bug for much of her life, with scores of story ideas, started stories and even completed manuscrips piling up on her hard drive, but it was really in the last 10 years that she started to take it seriously.

And, finally, on March 15, her debut novel, ‘Yesterday's Tomorrow', will be released by Oak Tara Publishers.

“It was one of my first ideas for a book, back in the early ‘80s,” Mrs West said.

“I wrote the book as a secular book originally . . . It was one of those stories I kept coming back to.”

While working on other projects and maintaining her blog, she happenchanced upon another woman through their mutual blogging. Rachelle Gardner had long been a part of the publishing industry and offered to have a look at it. She was impressed and wanted to represent Cathy as a literary agent, but it did need some work.

“I started fiddling around with it,” Mrs West shared. “I kept my main two characters and changed everything else.”

The hardest part was making the story and setting authentic, and so Mrs West had to start doing research on what life was like for soldiers in Vietnam during the war.

“Even though it was 35 years ago, people still don't want to talk about it.”

She then sent an e-mail out through one of the writers associations she belongs to and got a response from another writer who's husband was a Vietnam veteran. The relationship didn't last very long, but Cathy was able to get some much needed insight into the time.

She also had fellow Christian fiction writer, Deborah Rainey, give it a read.

“She was so enthralled with it, that she started reading through it for me.”

“This has definitely been the book of my heart,” Mrs West said. In all, she's rewritten the book four times, from start to finish, in order for it to be ready for its launch next month.

Cathy and Rachelle started submitting ‘Yesterday's Tomorrow' to all of the big Christian publishers. They all loved the book and thought the writing was excellent, but the bottom-line was it wasn't exactly what they were looking for. The pair decided to put the book on the shelf for a while, while Cathy wrote another book.

Finally, during the summer of 2009, her thoughts started coming back to her book, especially as she began to see a new breed of smaller publishers popping up. By the fall, she had started re-submitting the manuscript to several new publishers, including Oak Tara Publishing.

“Nothing happened for a while, then out of the blue, we got an e-mail from Ramona Tucker, an editor at Oak Tara, saying that they were trying to get a hold of us and asking for the full manuscript.

“At that point, I was trying not to get excited,” Mrs West added.

Anyway, she was in the middle of yet another rewrite on the book, this time with the help of writer, Meredith Efken, author of the books ‘Lucky Baby' and ‘SAHM I Am'. By September, she had completed the final rewrite and sent it off.

“A month later, I got a letter that said, ‘I love ‘Yesterday's Tomorrow'!”

While definitely Christian fiction, Mrs West believes that all readers will enjoy the story of Kristen and Luke.

“I really wanted to make it appealing to both sides,” she explained. “The two characters, Kristin and Luke, are on their own spiritual journey . . . There is a message of God's love and forgiveness . . . it's all in there. I can't not include a spiritual element, because that is who I am.”

‘Yesterday's Tomorrow' will be available for purchase from March 15 at all major online book retailers, as well as in local bookstores. To read an excerpt, visit Cathy West's website, www.catherinejwest.com, and click on books.

Cathy is the wife of paediatrician Dr. Stephen West.

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Published March 02, 2011 at 9:36 am (Updated March 02, 2011 at 9:36 am)

After four rewrites Cathy is ready to launch ‘book of my heart’

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