Growing up in North Wales in a house for which the foundations were originally laid in the 14th century, Catherine Bilson's interest in history was inevitable, but she despised the 20th century geopolitics which passed for history at school. Instead, she devoured every historical novel she could lay her hands on before eventually starting to write her own.
Marrying an Australian, she moved to Queensland in 2001, far from the history she had grown up with. She has two future romance heroes in her sons, a brainless husky and a grumpy old cat.
Catherine also writes contemporary romance under the pen name Caitlyn Lynch.
An Interview with Catherine Bilson
Where did you grow up, and where do you live now? Tell us something a lot of people don’t know about your home town.
I grew up in North Wales, with a view of the mountains from my bedroom window. I spent most of my teenage years on horseback, since the local riding school was literally just across the road from our house and I worked there during weekend and holidays.
In 2001 I emigrated to Australia with my now-husband (an Australian) and we settled on beautiful Bribie Island, an hour north of Brisbane. We live on a three-quarter acre block in an area which is famous for strawberry production – but sadly, I’m allergic to them!
What is your favorite part of writing Sweet Romance/ Cozy Mysteries?
Exploring the character growth of two people who are often coming from very different places in life, but find home and safety in each other.
Who or what inspired you to become an author?
I’ve been writing stories since I was four. My mother claims I used to read books, decide they weren’t long enough, pick up a pencil and start adding to the story!
If you weren’t an author, what would you be doing?
I’d be a full-time jewellery maker. I’m technically only a hobbyist because I didn’t go to jewellery school, but I’ll take on jobs professionals won’t, probably because I don’t know that conventional wisdom says it can’t be done. Consequently, I have a lot of very loyal clients who believe I can do anything! I turn down a lot of commissions because I just don’t have the time.
Do you have any pets? Please tell us about them!
Jericho is our 17-year-old Tonkinese cat. He’s a Grumpy Old Man these days, but it doesn’t stop him touring the house at night and purring the whole family to sleep in turn – including climbing up into my sons’ bunk beds! We also have a 2-year-old husky called Axl who is a lovable goofball.
Have you found your own real life happily ever after?
Yes. I took one look across a crowded London pub and spotted Nick, my very own tall, dark and handsome. We’ve been married for 15 years and have two beautiful sons, Kieran and Connor.
What is one book that impacted or changed your life that you think everybody should read? Tell us about it.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Mr Darcy really is the perfect romance hero. He makes major mistakes at the beginning but recognizes his own faults after Elizabeth rather sternly takes him to task and then, most importantly, he makes a conscious decision to do better, to BE better. Too many romances which explore the enemies-to-lovers trope fail to give a proper redemption arc to a hero who behaved like an absolute horse’s ass at the start of the story.
Writing Pride and Prejudice fanfic which was well-received is what gave me the courage to take the leap into publishing. (Since Austen’s work is out of copyright, fanfic of her works is totally legal). I have 4 Austen-inspired books out and quite a following for my writing!