Friday, January 7, 2011

My Journey to Publication by Catherine West

Welcome to 2011’s first Fortifying Friday! Author Catherine West is here to help us dive into the new year. Her debut novel, Yesterday’s Tomorrow, is being released in March, and she’s sharing her journey to publication with us today. Her story is a great example of God’s timing and what it means to not give up.

My Journey to Publication
by Catherine West

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~ William Wordsworth

Writers share a love of words, of story, of seeing our thoughts come alive on the page. Some make great sacrifices to write. Many have day jobs and write in the wee hours of the morning or late at night. Others have small children and snatch writing time during naps or play-dates. Some are successful, and have the luxury of calling writing their career.

Why do you write?

My initial answer was easy. I wrote because I loved it! Having a story take shape in my mind, then unfold before my eyes was a fascinating pastime—a hobby I was content to enjoy when time allowed. But then a well-meaning family member asked another question.

Why don’t you try to get published?

The terrifying thought wouldn’t go away. And so, armed with a word processor and a brand-spanking new copy of The Writer’s Market 1990, my journey began.

Twenty years later, I am about to embark on the next stage of that journey. This year, I will see my dream come true as I celebrate the publication of my debut novel, Yesterday’s Tomorrow.

But wait, you say…twenty years? Twenty? Really?
Yes, really.

During those first years, my writing was extremely sporadic. I had two babies, I wrote when I could. I had no idea what POV or head-hopping meant, and plot was a place you buried people. I thought my stories were good, but they certainly weren’t publishable, not by any stretch of the imagination!

And so I gave up…

Writing is not for the faint of heart. I learned this pretty quickly once I really got serious about pursuing publication. When the Internet came along, I had a wealth of knowledge at my fingertips. I joined writer’s groups, got into a critique group, and discovered to my utmost horror that…I…Knew…Nothing. I was, for lack of a better descriptive tag, a really bad writer.

After a few stinging rejections combined with some personal issues I was experiencing at the time, I decided I really didn’t love writing enough to keep going. I gave in to self-pity and believed the voice in my head that told me I’d never make it.

Five years later, the urge to sit down and tell a story reawakened. But this time I was living life differently. This time I wanted to do it for God. The Christian market had grown and I knew I wanted to be a part of it. I asked if this was really what He wanted for me.

The answer was yes.

I knew I had my work cut out for me, but I was ready and willing to learn. It wasn’t easy. There were many more rejections, but slowly, doors began to open. I started to see God’s hand in it all, and there were many times I still wanted to give up, but I’m so glad I didn’t. Today I can tell you this—if you believe you were born to write, then write. Sometimes the only one standing in the way of your dreams is you.

Educated in Bermuda, England and Canada, Catherine West holds a degree in English from the University of Toronto. When she’s not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or tending to her roses and orchids. Catherine and her husband live on the beautiful island of Bermuda, with their two college-aged children. Catherine is a member of Romance Writers of America, and American Christian Fiction Writers, and is a founding member of International Christian Fiction Writers. Catherine’s debut novel Yesterday’s Tomorrow, will release in 2011, through Oak Tara Publishers.

To learn more please visit:
Catherine’s Website at
Oak Tara Website at


  1. Cathy, I'm so glad you didn't let your dream die. You wouldn't have your debut novel coming out soon, and I wouldn't have met you. I wish you well as you prepare for your release day.

  2. Congratulations, Cathy! Yours is a beautiful story of faith and perseverance.

  3. Cathy,
    Great story. Like Keli said, i'm glad you didn't let you dream die. When we are called to write, we find ourselves doing it no matter what. The stories are in us and they have to get out.


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