Today we are delighted to welcome Cathy Mansell to the blog

Thank you Natalie and Elaine for having
me as your guest today. It’s a pleasure to be on the RNA blog again.

In 2013, when Shadow Across the Liffey
became a contender for the Joan Hessayan award, I had no inkling of what was to
come. You know that old saying; you wait ages
for a bus and then three come along at the same time. That’s the best way to
describe what happened next. Two more books followed in quick
concession. Her Father’s Daughter in June 2013, and Shadow Across the Liffey
came out in paperback. Galway Girl was released in May of this year, followed
by paperback of Her Father’s Daughter. Where the Shamrocks Grow, my recent
novel, was released as an eBook this month. All published with Tirgearr
Publishing who have mentioned doing paperbacks of Galway Girl, and Where the
Shamrocks Grow
, next year. If that wasn’t enough excitement, Magna
have taken all four books for library large print and audio. Audio is scheduled
for 2015. This is a dream come true for me, and to say I feel fortunate, is
putting it mildly. These four books went through the new
writers’ scheme where the feedback was invaluable. 
In a past life I edited an anthology of works
funded by Arts Council England. I also appeared on the TV show Food Glorious Food
in 2012. Nowadays, I write novels set in 19th century Ireland, depicting the lifestyle and hardships of families in those days,
together with the emotions of her characters when they become wound up in
intricate criminal plots. 
We asked Cathy a few questions: 

began your writing career with short stories and articles. What made you decide
to move to novel writing?
While writing articles for Woman’s Way, Woman’s Own and Yours
etc., I embarked on writing my life story. Just for my family. It turned out to
be 90,000 words. It was then that I realised I wanted to write novels and
joined the RNA NWS in 2002. I still write
the odd article and short story, but mainly stick to writing novels.
How much did your upbringing in
Ireland help in the setting of your novels?
It helped enormously. Having lived my
childhood and teenage years in Dublin, Ireland during the 1950s/60s, it gave me
plenty of ideas. I write my stories around things and events of the rimes I
remember, without having to do too much research.
Your latest novel, ‘Where the
Shamrock Grows’, has recently been released. Is there another in the 
Oh, yes. I’m writing another
romantic suspense set in the 60s Dublin. I’m half way through writing it, and have
given myself a deadline to finish it by February 2015.         
How good are you at planning your
work? Do you prefer to ‘wing it’?
I’m not that clever. I would never
get away with “winging it!’  I’m a
planner. The story is usually in my head long before I start to write it. I
need to know where I’m going and work out a chapter chart and then I follow it
like a map. It works for me.
Following that, how do you fit your
writing round your family life?
That can be hard at times,
especially with grandchildren. I have quite a few, so birthdays and Christmas
can be expensive. My eldest granddaughter lives in Perth, Australia, and my son
and his family live in New Zealand. Even so, I still have enough grandchildren
here to keep me busy. My husband is amazing and gives me space to write. As a
writer who loves writing stories, I will always find time to do what I love.
Life is too short not to.
Finally, what aspect of your
writing do you most enjoy?
All of it, but I have to admit
there is a certain amount of satisfaction in editing the finished manuscript. I
enjoy researching especially when it takes me over the sea to Ireland. One of
my favourite places in the world.
Where the Shamrocks Grow’ is set against the backdrop of the Irish Civil
War, Jo Kingsley is transported from her turbulent childhood to the
sophisticated life at the beautiful Chateau Colbert. She meets Jean-Pierre,
grandson of her employer Madame Colbert, and discovers the desire of men.
Destiny takes Jo to America where she
experiences more than dreams of becoming a music teacher.




Thank you for joining us today, Cathy
This blog is brought to you by Elaine Everest and Natalie Kleinman. If you would like to write about the craft of writing or perhaps be interviewed about your writing life please contact us at
  1. Author
    June Kearns 4 years ago

    You're an example to a lot of us, Cathy, with that quiet persistence. What a wonderful success story. I love your books – you're an expert plotter!

  2. Author
    Tanya Phillips 4 years ago

    Not read your books but certainly will now. Am putting your name on my birthday book wish list. Fingers crossed x

  3. Author
    Cathy Mansell 4 years ago

    Thanks so much June. I appreciate your support. I wish you all good things with your books. You write the most unusual stories.
    Thanks for finding the time to comment.


  4. Author
    Cathy Mansell 4 years ago

    Hello Tanya – nice of you to make the time to comment.
    It's much appreciated.


  5. Author
    Helen McCabe 4 years ago

    Hi, Cathy,
    I really enjoyed reading about your success and your ongoing writing. I have enjoyed reading your books and look forward to reading many more in the future.

  6. Author
    Anonymous 4 years ago

    You're an inspiration to us all, Cathy,and you forgot to mention your encouragement of other writers. So pleased for you
    Lilian x

  7. Author
    Gwyneth Williams 4 years ago

    So pleased for you Cathy, and feel very privileged to have heard some of these novels at the writing stage!

  8. Author
    Stephen 4 years ago

    It's great to read about your success story Cathy. It's richly deserved after all your hard work. I'm really excited for you over the release of Where the Shamrocks Grow. I'm sure it will be just as popular and successful as your previous excellent books.

  9. Author
    Anonymous 4 years ago

    Love all your books and the new release is no exception. Keep up the good work and I'm eagerly awaiting the next New book from Cathy Mansell.

  10. Author
    cathy mansell 4 years ago

    Hello and thanks to Helen, Gwyneth, Lilian, Stephen
    and to the anonymous commenter

    Your comments are greatly appreciated. It is amazing and encouraging to know that people are actually enjoying my books.


  11. Author
    Margaret Kaine 4 years ago

    Cathy, you are a true storyteller with that page-turning quality. It's wonderful that your persistence has resulted in such amazing success. I'm looking forward to reading more of your novels in the future.

  12. Author
    Cathy Mansell 4 years ago

    Thank you so much Margaret for your on-going encouragement. I appreciate you taking time from your busy day to make th410is comment.

  13. Author
    Joan Fleming 4 years ago

    Interesting blog post, Cathy. Your persistence and your consequent success are an inspiration to us all. I enjoy reading your books, and I'm looking forward to the latest one.

  14. Author
    Mary Byrne 4 years ago

    Great to read about your writing process, Cathy, and the sources of your inspiration. I'm enjoying reading your work. I'm so pleased for all your success.

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