As many of you will know I am a huge Christmas addict so when I recently saw a cover reveal for Catherine Ferguson's debut novel Humbugs & Heartstrings I immediately contacted Catherine to see if she'd like to do a debut spotlight feature to find out a little more about the book.
Catherine Ferguson lives in Northumberland with her teenage son. Humbugs & Heartstrings is her first book and will be published as an eBook on 2nd October...
Sprinkled with lots of Christmas magic, Humbugs & Heartstrings is a fun, romantic tale about love and friendships.
When gorgeous hotelier Charlie steps into the frame, the two women march into battle (quite literally, at one stage, as flying mince pies find their target).
Will they ever be able to resolve their differences and have themselves a merry little Christmas?
When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by books – reading them and writing them. I devoured everything by Enid Blyon as a kid and was always trying to write my own full-length mystery/adventure stories. I suppose I was a bit boring, really. While friends at school were hanging around street corners, talking about exciting things like lads and generally rebelling, I was mostly scribbling away in my bedroom, listening to Donny Osmond and David Cassidy. (I know, I’m showing my age . . . )
At university in Dundee, I studied English then landed a pretty cool job as Fiction Editor on Patches teenage magazine. (Remember Patches and Blue Jeans? Little sisters to the awesome Jackie mag?) After that, I worked as a sub-editor on a couple of newspapers in Scotland before moving to Surrey where – in a complete change of career direction – I established Surrey Organics, delivering fresh organic fruit and veg to people’s homes. (My veggie adventures were the inspiration for my very first attempt at a book, which is still in a drawer!)
I loved having my own business but when my son was born, I moved ‘home’ to Newcastle upon Tyne to be near a variety of babysitters.
Then five years ago, I had a bit of a mid-life crisis/wake-up call. It involved a Big Birthday and the fact that a spell trading the financial markets (yet another career change) was proving stressful and ultimately rather scary. Did I really want to spend my days glued to a computer screen watching financial indices going up and down? Wasn’t it high time I actually got down to business and wrote that book?
So that’s what I did.
How long did it take to write the book and find a publisher?
It was a very lengthy process with lots of false starts; an incredibly steep learning curve. (It takes an unbelievable amount of effort to make writing seem effortless!) In fact, it was three years before I was producing work anywhere near publishable standard. But something kept urging me on and finally I had a 400-page manuscript I was pleased with. Five months after that (after four rejections), I found a brilliant agent, Elly at HHB Agency.
What made you choose the ‘Scrooge’ theme to write about?
I wanted to write a Christmas book. I love Christmas. I don’t even mind the commercialism of it. (Christmas decorations in the shops in October is fine by me.) I also wanted to write something a bit different. So I decided to take the Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol – a wonderfully festive and satisfying tale of love and redemption – and give it a twist. So the Scrooge character is a really horrible female boss who makes the heroine, Bobbie’s life a misery. No ghosts in it – but I hope people will warm to Mrs Cadwalader, extrovert and novice tea leaf reader, as much as I did!