Interview with Catherine Anderson on her latest release, LUCKY PENNY

Hello all, Katy Lee here.  New York Times bestselling author, Catherine Anderson has stopped by for some tea and cookies.

Catherine, thank you so much for stopping in! Grab a cookie and let’s chat. Many of our viewers are writers looking for writing secrets. Being the success you are, I know you will inspire them.

The Doubt Monster is a common topic around the Scribes. We define him as: the nagging feeling while writing, that your prose is terrible, your plot is silly, your characters are insipid and no-one in their right mind would read this drivel, let alone buy it. Tell us, how do you battle the Doubt Monster?

I think every author has gone through moments of doubt.  Okay, make that hours, days, maybe even weeks of doubt!  I always wonder if a new book will be a success with readers.  Launching a book is a bit like having a baby!

But as for the day-to-day doubts when it’s two in the morning and the words won’t come and sweat is running down my face and I want to take a hatchet to both the computer and the story line, I have a guardian angel.  My wonderful husband Sid is both a master plotter and an experienced Stressed Writer Comforter.  He can blend both comforting an upset wife with skillfully encouraging a doubting author.  He’s rescued more books than I care to remember. 

Awwww, I love this! What a great guy you have! Such a blessing. He’s like your own personal Whack-a-Doubt-Monster standing guard, keeping that pesky Doubt Monster at bay. Go Sid!

All right, have another cookie and tell me if you have ever thought about writing something that is completely different for you?  Perhaps writing in a new genre or just taking a story someplace that you haven’t done before.

 I have not only thought about it, I’m starting the process right now.  My next book will be a significant departure from any of my previous work, but I hope and believe readers will embrace it.  It’s a combination of tried-and-true and uncharted territory, and I’m very excited about the possibilities.  Readers, you’ll find out what I’m talking about in 2013!
What?! Sorry I just spit my tea at you, but you can’t do that to me! 2013 is a long time to wait! BUT I guess I know it will be worth it, so, okay, I’ll wait.
Now, as much as I hate to ask this next question, because just the idea of it makes me cry, but if you couldn’t be a writer any longer what would you do?
This question gives my wonderful husband the cold shudders because he knows what I would do unless he could stop me.  I am a lifelong animal lover who wants to adopt all of the unwanted, unloved, hurt, abandoned pets in the world.  I would probably buy some property and start a shelter to do just that.  I would love to be Mommy to hundreds of dogs and cats! 

Of course, I should have guessed. And you would be a wonderful Mommy to them. But, you know you don’t have to stop writing to do that…sorry, Sid!

I’ll stop there and ask you the question…a question writers need to know. How do you come up with your shtick?  The thing that tells the reader this story belongs to Catherine Anderson.

 I have had countless readers contact me and tell me that they love my characters because they seem so real.  I believe this might be because my characters are all flawed.  Some have physical problems.  Others have mental and emotional hang-ups.  Some just plain have character flaws that evolve during the course of the story.  Writing about a 36-24-36 drop-dead gorgeous woman with an IQ of 200 who can run rings around Steve Jobs when it comes to the corporate world and who can consume chocolate mousse by the ton and never gain an ounce just is not my style.  I feel that readers look for strong, believable characters when they pick up one of my novels, and they identify with those characters more strongly as they progress through the book.     
And your belief would be correct. Your characters become my best friends, for sure. And I revisit with them often. In fact, we have tea and cookies just like this and chat it up.
Okay, so what was your biggest misstep in your writing career so far?

That one’s easy.  I didn’t have adequate backup on the new computer I bought last year.  I thought I did…but I was wrong.  The thing crashed and I irretrievably lost a great deal of “Lucky Penny.”  Believe me, I had to do some very fast writing to meet that deadline! 

How horrible! I have to wonder if I would be able to rewrite something and have it feel and look the same. I’m glad you were able to.

Other than my cookies, what is your junk food of choice?

I don’t know if you would term it junk food, but I usually try to eat a very healthy diet.  When I feel like sinning, I call my personal assistant, who lives about an hour away, and drop hints that one of her fabulous spice cakes would be welcome.  My mother used to make spice cake as a special treat when I was young, and I’ve never forgotten that wonderful homemade taste.  The first time my PA brought it over, I ate almost all of it myself while my young grandson goggled at me in amazement.

Yum, spice cake. I’ll have to remember that the next time we chat. And because I can barely stand it any longer, start spilling it about LUCKY PENNY!

 “Lucky Penny” was released January 31 and it’s getting terrific reviews from professionals, readers, and critiquers!  It is the next-to-last book in my Kendrick/Coulter/Harrigan series. 

The hero is David Paxton, the younger half-brother of gunslinger Ace Keegan, whom you may remember from “Keegan’s Lady” and “Summer Breeze.”  David is a lawman who walks the straight and narrow and doesn’t take kindly to deviations or deceptions.  When a packet of old letters, misplaced for years, is delivered to him, it sets him on a quest to track down the writer.  The woman claims to be his wife and the mother of his child. The catch is that David has never been married, and he’s sure never heard of this nutty woman.   

Who is this petite auburn-haired lady named Brianna who makes it clear when he shows up that he’s about as welcome as a case of cholera?   She acts like her favored method of transportation is to throw her leg over a broomstick, and he suspects the first thing she does upon waking is to sharpen her tongue.  He’s dead certain he’s never clapped eyes on the woman before in his life…but then who is the little golden-haired girl who calls Brianna “Mama,” carries his family birthmark, and has been taught that David is her papa?   And if Brianna somehow is his wife, how come she wants nothing to do with him, especially when he’s offering escape from her desperate financial circumstances and a stable home for her and the little girl, Daphne?   

There’s a mystery here, and the virago with fiery tresses probably has the answers, but cooperation is a virtue that was left out of her makeup.  The woman can spit out more lies than the Colorado River has curves.  Stubborn, determined David isn’t about to leave until he’s straightened things out.  For her own very good reasons, Brianna, equally resolute, isn’t about to stick around town while he tries.  

I fell in love with David while writing his story, and I adore the tale of these two strong-willed people and the little girl they both love so dearly.  I hope you will, too.   I never take the success of a book for granted.  Every time, it’s a little like giving birth.  Will readers like the characters?  Can they root for the heroine and fall in love with the hero?  Will they enjoy the story line?  After all, it’s you, my readers, for whom I write.  I wish I could dedicate my book to every one of you.

And let me just say, readers will love it. It’s such an intriguing story, and as always, beautifully written.

Thank you, Catherine for chatting with us today. Let’s lift our pinky fingers and raise our tea cups to Lucky Penny!

Readers can keep in touch with Catherine at her website: or her FB page:!/catherineandersonbooks

Lucky Penny is now available for purchase!



28 thoughts on “Interview with Catherine Anderson on her latest release, LUCKY PENNY”

  1. Catherine, thanks for visiting. I can’t believe you had to rewrite and meet a deadline besides. I bet you keep hard copies now. It is a good reminder that computers are not trustworthy. But, that delicious looking spice cake softened the blow for me. I am amazed that you like both cats and dogs. That’s is almost the same as liking the Bronx and Brooklyn. You gotta pick, those things are not the same. “Lucky Penny” sounds intriguing.

    1. I was assured by the dealer that my (several) backups would be adequate for any problem and that it was “virtually impossible” for all of them to go down at once. You should have seen my face when it happened! If you’d like the spice cake recipe you can contact me directly at and I will be glad to send it to you. It’s incredibly good!

  2. Welcome, Catherine! I love the description of your book and how your voice comes through even in that brief synopsis. You have a down-to-earth writing style that comes through in your writing and your stories and makes us fall in love with not only your characters, but the story and the author. Thanks you for all the wonderful and entertaining books.

    Great interview, Katy. Sorry I missed out on the tea and cookies.

    1. It means a great deal to me when I read comments like yours…that you fall in love with my characters. They are all intensely real to me. I empathize with them, root for them, despair with them, and am always joyful when things work out right in the end and I know they will live “happily ever after.”

  3. Welcome, Catherine, to the Scribes! We are so excited to have you! I want to tell everyone, I finished Lucky Penny in two days. Just wonderful! After I finish one of your stories, I feel so blessed that you share your amazing talent with us all. Thank you, thank you!

    But, then, I’ll be honest, I start to wonder if I will ever write books like that. So, I have to ask you, when you first started writing did you question your own work? Or did you know without a doubt that you had something special?

    1. Did I ever question my own work? You want a brief answer here? Honey, I could write a BOOK on this subject! I don’t think any prospective author has ever sat down at a word processor (or, in ancient times, a typewriter), looked at a blank screen, and thought, I know I will be rich, fanous and successful. I certainly did no such thing. I sat down and looked at the screen and wondered if I was nuts to even think about writing a book. I had strong backup and encouragement from my wonderful mother and equally wonderful husband. I loved reading romance, and I firmly believed in happy endings. I knew what sorts of stories I wanted to write. But did that mean I could write books that would have broad appeal, rather than just to me, personally, my very partisan family, and my loyal critique group members? The thought chilled the blood. I gained confidence as my stories progressed, but even now when a new book is released, I wonder if it will be embraced by readers and fans. I suspect this is common with many authors — whether or not they admit it.

  4. Hi Catherine! Welcome to the Scribes. It’s great having you with us today. I have to say “ditto” to Katy’s comment about doubt. The theme of doubting yourself, your work. . . .everything . . . is repeated over and over again in the many chats we’ve had with authors. I’m starting to get better about not letting doubt stalk my every move while I’m writing. But I often wonder if my completed work is any good or if anyone will enjoy it. How do you divorce yourself, while writing, from reader’s expectations? And do you let those expectations color your work?

    1. Casey, write the book for you. Write the sort of book that you would love to read, about people you deeply care for and identify with. Write about something you are passionate about…for example, the issue of the ban on mini-guide horses, which happened during the writing of “Here To Stay.” (The DOJ reversed its ruling shortly after the book was released, having been inundated with letters, calls, and e-mails from my fabulous readers.) If you love your plot line, love your characters, and love the book as a whole, it will be far more real and readable than if you try to write a book to some formula or plot it with respect to what you think readers might want to read.

  5. Welcome, Catherine! It’s so exciting to have you here with us today. First, let me say that you had me at spice cake. Spice cake with cream cheese frosting is the birthday cake my mom always makes for me when we’re together for the big day (not nearly as often as I’d like anymore, since we live a couple of states apart). Second, I’ve seen your books everywhere, but have never picked one up for one reason or another. Based on that description of Lucky Penny, I’m now kicking myself for not getting to know you sooner! I’m moving Lucky Penny up to the top of my TBR list.

    1. Susannah, if you want that spice cake recipe, e-mail me direct at and I will be glad to send it to you. Your mom sounds like mine!

      If you enjoy “Lucky Penny,” well, there are a whole lot of books in that series! You can find a complete list of my work, with publication dates and plot outlines, on my website at Go to the Bookshelf and you will find the information there.

      I also run monthly contests for autographed books, with details on the website, and there’s a terrific recipe swap section, as well. The contributor of the most popular recipe every month also wins an autographed book!

  6. Can’t comment. Eating spice cake. And checking into downloading some Catherine Andersen books to Kindle.

    P.S. Catherine, we’ve met — we were seated together at the Literacy Book Signing due to alphabetical order three or four years ago. Perhaps that will happen again some time, and I’ll say “hello”. And maybe smuggle in some spice cupcakes…

  7. Fabulous interview, Katy and Catherine! I love the whack-a-doubt monster. We all need one of those. 🙂
    The book description sure has me hooked. How ironic a title when your computer crashed in the middle of writing, thought–every author’s worst nightmare!

    But Katy, you have to stop with all the food this early in the day. How’s a girl supposed to concentrate on writing now with thoughts of cookies and spice cake dancing through her thoughts?!

    1. I will admit to a few highly unladylike words, Sandra…I lost nearly half of the book! Fortunately, a lot of it was lodged in my head, and even more fortunately my PA still had some of the lost chapters on her computer! Still, it was traumatic. My husband got the computer dealer on the phone and nearly blistered his ears off, because we’d been guaranteed that this could never, would never, happen!

    1. Thank you, Marian. I’m so proud that “Lucky Penny” is currently in the #4 position on the New York Times Mass Market Paperback Bestseller List!

      I am currently hard at work on the last book in this series, and have many other books planned for the future.

      1. I’m pretty excited, yes, Katy! The great response to the book is both thrilling and humbling…because while I enjoy great reviews as much as anyone, it’s my readers for whom I truly write, and their praise is what means the world to me.

  8. Hi Catherine and Katy. I didn’t think I’d be around today but have a few minutes to stop and say HI. I am almost finished with LUCKY PENNY (I think I am dragging my feet as I don’t want it to end!) and I am loving it! All of your ‘friends’ (as I know they stay life long friends after you create them) are so real to me…as are all the others. I love that you have brought back the family too. I can’t wait to see what you have going next, but it scares me as I love so much how and what you write now…but I guess what ever it is I’ll still love it!
    Katy this has been a great interview, and good luck to you in the future too. I spent a few hours with our old friend ‘Tinker Barb’ a few weeks back and she speaks so highly of your writing.

    1. Lynda, I’m so glad you got a chance to drop by!

      Quincy’s book is going to be different…but the basics will be the same. Strong characters, deep relationships, and a story that I hope will catch, and hold, the hearts of everyone who picks up the book.

      As for future projects, I have so many in mind that it will take me decades to get them all written. I have so many characters in my head, all wanting their stories told right now, that it will be hard to select the next one. So no one needs to worry about me running out of inspiration, or retiring, in the next several years. Too much to do!

    1. That’s okay, Julia…I’ll take your word for it. I am so thrilled that readers and reviewers alike are enjoying the book so much. I hope you like it if you get a chance to read it. I have a soft spot for David, and I was pulling for Brianna all the way. 😉

    1. Jamie, I’ve had a lot of readers tell me they loved my books, but you are the first one who’s told me she hugged it! I love it! Thank you so much for that terrific compliment…it’s one I will remember and cherish for a long time to come.

  9. I’m really looking forward to this one. It wasn’t until very recently that I read my first book by you Catherine. Annie’s Song was such a sweet story, sad at times but wholy satsifying. I can’t wait to get my hands on your others books.

    1. You can find a complete list of all of my books on the Bookshelf at my website, which is Included are publication dates and plot outlines, which can assist readers in choosing titles that particularly appeal to them. If they aren’t available locally, most can be ordered online, and almost all are available in electronic format. Happy reading!

    1. Lynn, I’ve gotten ideas for bestselling books when I was scrambling eggs for brunch…trying to decide between two brands of cleanser in the grocery store…sitting in a rowboat watching my grandson cleaning a fish…and in the middle of the night when I’ve bolted awake and scared my patient husband to death. Sometimes the book plots itself immediately…at others, it takes thought, a lot of “what if,” and some changes before I have it the way I like it. Some of my books have begun with an idea…others, with a character whose story I didn’t know but wanted to discover and share. Right now, I have so many ideas and characters crowding the “writing” section of my brains that it will take me the next twenty years — at least — to get them all told, so you can see that retirement does not loom large in my immediate future!

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