Monday, June 10, 2013


Cathy Mansell

A gripping story of how family secrets can wreak havoc on the present.

In 60’s Ireland life is hard for widow, Oona Quinn, grief-stricken by the tragic deaths of her husband and five-year-old daughter. Struggling to survive, she meets charismatic Jack Walsh at the Shipping Office.

Vinnie Kelly, her son's biological father, just out of jail, sets out to destroy Oona and all she holds dear. Haunted by her past, she has to fight for her future and the safety of her son, Sean. But Vinnie has revenge on his mind . ..

The sun had just come out, and McNally cursed the task ahead of him. The child’s death had touched him deeply. At the station, he had seen tears in grown men’s eyes. This was, by far, the hardest thing he had ever had to do.

He parked the car outside the house with the shiny green door and well-maintained garden, and walked slowly up the path. He hesitated. From inside he heard laughter and music, and it pained him to be the bearer of such shocking news. A lump formed in his throat. He removed his hat and held it in front of him, before knocking on the door.

‘Mrs Quinn?’

Oona stared at the uniformed man on her doorstep. ‘That... that’s me.’ She clutched the door. ‘Has, has something happened?’

‘I’m Sergeant McNally. There’s been an accident. May I come in?’

Connie joined her in the hall, the smile slipping from her face.

‘Are you a relative?’ he asked.

‘We’re sisters. What is it?’

He thought Oona was going to faint but her sister’s hand guided her towards the living room.

A moment later, the two women sat on the sofa clutching hands.

‘May I sit down?’

Oona nodded. She was trembling. McNally could see a glimmer of hope in her big brown eyes.

‘I’m afraid your husband’s been in a serious accident, Mrs Quinn.’ He saw all her fears encapsulated in that one terrible moment as he delivered the news.

‘Please, tell me he’s not dead.’

Cathy Mansell, Author

Member of Leicester Writers’ Club, Just Write workshop, Life President of Lutterworth Writers’ Group, Member NAWG, Member Romantic Novelist Association and past president of Riverside Speakers club.
Cathy is an experienced writer of romantic fiction. Her early work was competition short stories and articles published in national magazines. She was Editor in Chief of the Leicestershire Anthology, TAKING OFF, a book promoted and supported by Arts Council UK.

In recent times, Cathy has turned to writing full-length novels that are set in Ireland/England. Her debut book SHADOW ACROSS THE LIFFEY was published on 7th February 2013 by Tirgearr Publishing.  She was a recent contestant on the TV show "Food Glorious Food" broadcast on 27th February 2013.

Buy links:

And now let’s hear what Cathy has to share with us:

Caroline: Where did you grow up?

Cathy: I grew up in the small neighbourhood of Ballsbridge/Donnybrook on the south side of Dublin city. I wouldn’t have called myself a bookworm back then.  However, I always had stories going round inside my head.  My first husband, Jim, died shortly after I gave birth to our second child. It left me devastated.  But I’ve since re-married to Dennis and we live in Leicestershire, England.  We have three grownup children eight grandchildren and a special needs Beagle.

Caroline: Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?

Cathy: The late Maeve Binchy, Elaine Crowley, Mary Ryan, Lesley Pearce. Rosie Goodwin, Lynda Page and Margaret Kaine, local authors. I love historicals, romantic suspense books and the odd crime book.

Caroline: Isn’t it sad that Maeve Binchy passed away? What’s your favorite way to relax and recharge?

Cathy: When I’m not writing, which is most of the time, I find time to read some of the best selling novels on Amazon.  I like walking in the countryside and playing and having fun with my grandchildren.

Caroline: Do you have a favorite quote that sums up how you feel about life?

Cathy: Yes, I have two. Good health is the best wealth and the next is writing. If you are lucky enough to have good health, you can do almost anything.

Caroline: How true, but my health is not so good. How long have you been writing?

Cathy: I’ve been writing stories and articles for more than twenty years, and getting published in national magazines. And in recent times I’ve turned to novel writing, with four now under my belt.

Caroline Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude?

Cathy: I have to say I prefer solitude and I’m lucky to have a wonderful writing space. My husband converted our loft into an office and it is a great place to hide away and write.  I love music, but rarely ever have music on when I’m being creative.  I like the quietness when I’m creating characters.

Caroline: I love my office, too. We’re lucky, aren’t we? Are you a plotter or a panzer?

Cathy: I’m definitely a plotter.  I feel that the plot is essential to a good story and I’ll often know my plot even before I begin to think about my characters.

Caroline: Do You use real events or persons in your stories or as an inspiration for stories?

Cathy: I usually work from my own experiences of life. I’m often inspired by stories I hear or read about. SHADOW ACROSS THE LIFFEY was inspired by my own experience of widowhood and bringing up two children as a lone parent. The accident at the beginning of the book was also inspired by someone I once knew who had lost a child in a road accident.

Caroline: Being a single mom is tough. I really admire all the women who manage to raise children alone. Do you set daily writing goals?

Cathy: Yes, I write every day.  But since becoming a published author it has got more difficult.   As all writers know, it is almost as important to promote your work these days. I’ve finally devised a way of doing both.  I read only important emails from publishers then get on to writing and towards the end of the day I promote in every way I know how. It appears to be working better.  But, there again it is down to being disciplined.

Caroline: Promotion steals a lot of writing time, it’s true. What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

Cathy: I’d like them to feel a touch of Nostalgia. I hope that readers of SHADOW ACROSS THE LIFFEY and HER FATHER’S DAUGHTER, will enjoy the story.  That readers familiar with the period with say, Wow!  That brings back memories.

Caroline: What long-term plans do you have for your career?

This year I’ve had two acceptances, one for SHADOW ACROSS THE LIFFEY and another for HER FATHER’S DAUGHTER.  I’m hoping that my career is just beginning and that more contracts will follow.

Caroline: Wonderful, Cathy, and I hope your career takes off like a rocket. Would you like to tell us what you’re working on now?

Cathy: My current book is an historical set back in 1900.  The story takes the heroine from Galway Bay to Covent Garden in London.  Gypsy girl, Tamara, escapes an arranged marriage to a rich landowner by stowing away on a ship with dire consequences.

Caroline: Sounds intriguing. What advice would you give to unpublished authors?

Cathy: Never give up on your dream to become a published author.  Keep going and above all
believe in what you are doing, because if you don’t know one else will.

Caroline: Great advice. What’s a fun fact readers wouldn’t know about you?

Cathy: I play the melodeon and the harmonica when we have family gatherings.  I make a fool of myself by bounce on the trampoline with my grandchildren and do Irish dancing with them.

Caroline: That sounds wonderful. What’s something about you that that would surprise or shock readers?

Cathy: A few years ago, I was almost killed by a falling tree when it crashed down just inches from my car.  Then the overhead electric cables came down sizzling across the bonnet.  I foolishly got out of the car and removed them while they were still sparking and lived to tell the tale.

Caroline: How frightening! Are your books a series?

Cathy: No, SHADOW ACROSS THE LIFFEY nor HER FATHER’S DAUGHTER are stand alone books. They might be considered, by some, to be a family sagas, but, personally, I would say they are definitely romantic suspense.

Caroline: Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about you?

Cathy: I’m a dedicated writer in my genre.  One more thing would make be very happy is to know that American readers were reading and enjoying my books.

Thanks for stopping by!


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting

Unknown said...

I'm delighted to be here as a guest of Caroline's today. Thank you for having me Caroline.

I'm looking forward to hearing from some of your readers.


MomJane said...

This story sounds really suspenseful. I feel so badly for the woman who lost her husband and child;

I also loved Maeve Binchy.

Lizzie Lamb said...

Hi Cathy, great to read more about you on this fabulous blog. You are working so hard to promote your books and deserve all the success that comes your way. I know that you write from the heart and that shines through in your novels. Good luck to you, can't wait to read HER FATHER'S DAUGHTER.

Unknown said...

Thanks for leaving a comment here Lizzie. It's all hard work but so
enjoyable meeting and chatting with
lovely people.


Unknown said...

Hi again Jane,
Lovely to see you commenting on
Thanks for finding time to do this.
It makes such a difference to have
readers come on and comment.

Thanks Jane.

June Kearns said...

Hello Cathy - it's great to hear about your writing tips and practices. Such interesting questions from Caroline. I loved Shadow Across the Liffy - such heartwarming Irish storytelling. Looking forward to Her Father's Daughter!

Anonymous said...

Great blurb. Insightful Q&A.


Rita Wray said...

Nice interview, thank you.


Unknown said...

Thank you June, Ingebord and Jenny for your comments.

They are much appreciated.


Mary Preston said...

A wonderful interview thank you. I enjoyed learning more here today.


Unknown said...

Thanks for the great interview. Your current book sounds really interesting as well

fencingromein at hotmail dot com

Unknown said...

Thank for all the comments. I have enjoyed reading and answering them.

Thanks so much to Caroline for
hosting me here this last two days.


Unknown said...

Will chose a winner for the 2nd
$5 tomorrow.


Unknown said...


Thanks for your comments.