I want to welcome debut author, Catherine Wallace Hope, to the blog this week. Her novel, Once Again, launches TODAY.
Author Name: Catherine Wallace Hope
Book Title: Once Again
Book Genre: Women’s Speculative Thriller/Suspense
Release Date: October 6, 2020
Publisher: Alcove Press
How would you describe Once Again?
A mashup of myth and sci-fi suspense, Once Again is the story of a young woman’s fight to save her daughter from repeating a deadly fate.
What drew you to the speculative women’s fiction genre?
I think it was probably the peculiar slant of mind I’ve always had, an inclination toward dramatic suspense and a perilous imagination; it’s a way of thinking I can’t really stop. For example, in one of my numerous past jobs, I had to proofread lists of hundreds of names of towns. I came across a place called Dead Horse Drop, Idaho. My mind took that name and ran off with it. In minutes, I was envisioning a woman alone on a ranch miles beyond the town of Dead Horse Drop, the ranch her father left her when he died, the expanse where she sequesters herself in total isolation and earns a paltry living from her watercolor paintings of the spectacular snowy owls that have taken over her barn. After a severe winter storm, she hikes to her mailbox and sees a set of tire tracks that veer off the road, over a snow drift, and down an embankment. She follows the tracks to the bottom of the ravine to where a half-buried car has crashed into the trees. Footprints lead away into the woods. The painter scans the snowy terrain but sees no one. She approaches the passenger side of the car, brushes the snow from the window, and looks in. What she sees is the basis for one of the novels I have in the works.
For you, what challenges do you find in writing?
The hardest thing for me is wrestling with doubt. I’ve taught creativity workshops for many years, and in those workshops I tell a story Joan Didion included in her beautiful memoir, The Year of Magical Thinking. In a notable passage, she describes what happened on her birthday one year. She was at home, spending a snowed-in evening with her husband, John Gregory Dunne. He sat in front of the fireplace, reading aloud to her from one of her own books. It was a section he wanted to re-read to see how she’d pulled off a difficult technique. When he finished reading, he said, “Goddamn,” and closed the book. “Don’t ever tell me again you can’t write,” he said. “That’s my birthday present to you.” This story is a profound moment in the narrative, and it also reveals that even a writer as accomplished as Joan Didion sometimes has doubts and feels that she can’t write.
What do you love most about it?
One of the many things I love about being a writer is that it’s my job to notice things, to be awake and look deeply into life and see what’s there and what’s beneath and what’s hidden. It means my irrepressible curiosity (which is more than simple snoopiness) is part of my skill set. It means it’s in my job description to search endlessly for the reasons we do what we do. It means I’m obligated to raise questions about our struggles.
If you were speaking to someone who hasn’t read your writing before, why should they want to read Once Again?
The reward, I think, for reading Once Again will be a braided experience. There will be the thrill of a suspenseful journey, the satisfaction of the emotional arc, and the intellectual pleasure of finishing the puzzle. That’s what I hope readers will feel. Plus they can get a downloadable recipe and a bookmark. 🙂
What are your interests outside of writing and reading?
I’m intensely concerned about the environment and its future as a habitable place for our children, and I have a great love of photography. These two things are joining up on the Giving page on my website. It’s just a small start right now, but the idea is that for each purchase of my book, I walk for The Nature Conservancy and Girl Up on the Charity Miles app, and I post photos on my website. Here’s a link to see some of the images: https://catherinewallacehope.com/give
Are you working on a new project?
Yes, I am! I have a number of novels in various stages of development, and I’m doing some deep spelunking as I research one of the core elements for the next work in progress. I feel like one of those explorers with a helmet and a headlamp, trying to find my way in the darkness without getting totally lost! This novel will be similar to Once Again, with love at the center, but with nanobots and a Faraday orchard.
Where can readers find you (website, blog, social media, etc.)?
I would love readers to say hi at catherinewallacehope.com, and they can find me @catwallacehope on social media. Virtual events will be posted in all possible places. I hope everyone will join in!
Thank you, Catherine. And congratulations on your release! Once Again is available NOW.
An imaginative, emotional debut novel for fans of Ann Patchett about one woman’s fight to save her daughter from repeating a deadly fate.
What if you had one chance to save someone you lost?
Isolated in the aftermath of tragedy, Erin Fullarton has felt barely alive since the loss of her young daughter, Korrie. She tries to mark the milestones her therapist suggests–like today, the 500th day without Korrie–but moving through grief is like swimming against a dark current.
Her estranged husband, Zac, a brilliant astrophysicist, seems to be coping better. Lost in his work, he’s perfecting his model of a stunning cosmological phenomenon, one he predicts will occur today–an event so rare, it keeps him from being able to acknowledge Erin’s coinciding milestone.
But when Erin receives a phone call from her daughter’s school, the same call she received five hundred days earlier when Korrie was still alive, Erin realizes something is happening. Or happening again. Struggling to understand the sudden shifts in time, she pieces together that the phenomenon Zac is tracking may have presented her with the gift of a lifetime: the chance to save her daughter.
Unable to reach Zac or convince the authorities of what is happening, Erin is forced to find the answer on her own. Erin must battle to keep the past from repeating–or risk losing her daughter for good.
Award-winner Catherine Wallace Hope grew up in Colorado, the setting for her thriller Once Again. She earned her degree in creative writing at the University of Colorado. She also delved into dance in New York and art and psychology in California. When she returned to Colorado, she became an instructor at the renowned Lighthouse Writers Workshop, offering creativity workshops for writers. Currently, she and her family are living on an island in the Pacific Northwest where they serve at the pleasure of two astonishingly spoiled dogs.