She is the senior manager of a management consultancy firm, wife, and mother of three children under five. She is thorough, determined and when it comes to human suffering whether it’s anger, deceit, violence or love she is utterly fearless and relentlessly curious. She comes alive between midnight and four in the morning new worlds are created. This was Catrin Collier in the nineteen eighties.
‘The management job was more than a nine to five and so was the family of course, but I had to write.’ She states simply.
After seventeen unpublished books, a number of short stories, articles and plays; three of them which were professionally performed, Catrin finally had a book published in 1989. It was a crime novel. Killing the hero in the first chapter she brought on police officers that were too fat, too thin, too non PC – the title was Without Trace and written under the name Katherine John (the name of her Welsh grand mother).‘I’d received advice from Alex Cordell, I changed the way I wrote and everyone wanted more.’ She recalls.
Catrin went on to write and has published one crime and one historical novel a year.
It was her dream to become a full-time writer and live these stories in her head. But while her husband was one hundred percent supportive and even re-mortgaged the house to buy her first computer, the children now fourteen, thirteen and nine were less sympathetic to Catrin’s need to write.
‘My children knew exactly how and when to wind me up during those years. They’d come in when I was in the middle of a chapter and ask for pocket-money or tell me I cared more for my books than them.’ She laughs.
‘I noticed though, they didn’t mind ‘helping’ with my research whenever I visited fairgrounds and theatres or toured the Rhondda Valleys.’ She adds.
The need to write started at a young age, in fact as soon as she could form words on paper and it has never left Catrin since. Even while in the last two years coping with her fathers Alzheimer’s and mothers Vascular Dementia she ghosted two books and a novelization of a new horror film. ‘I can’t imagine a day without writing – but then I’ve never had one. Perhaps my husband is right, it really is a disease.’
Back again, she is … writing! She’s sitting in the study she calls her ‘cupboard’ with a strong black coffee, spilling the contents of her dreams onto paper as fast as she can. Characters are coming alive on the page as she enters their world completely. ‘The characters are walking around, they are real to me.’ She admits.
The advice Alex Cordell gave her so many years ago was to write what you know. It turned Catrin into a successful author with books translated into Czech, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Polish and Spanish.
I ask her how her stories relate to her real life.
‘The most personal pieces I have ever written are probably in my books.’ She replies and goes on to admit relationships can be difficult to write about. ‘ If someone really annoyed me I might kill them off in a book and that will be the end of it.’ She adds playfully.
Catrin Colliers favorite reads: H H Munro -Saki, Isabel Allende -House of the Spirits and The Sum of our Days, Cruz Smith -Gorki Park, Kellerman -The Butchers Theatre
And here is a list of her books.
As Catrin Collier 21 books: (Historical sagas set in Wales) A Silver Lining (Orion, 1996) All that Glitters (Arrow Books, 1996) Past Remembering (Arrow Books, 1997) Such Sweet Sorrow (Arrow Books, 1997) Broken Rainbows (Arrow Books,1998) Spoils of War (Orion, 2000) One Blue Moon (Arrow Books, 2001) Swansea Girls (Orion, 2002) A Swansea Summer (Orion, 2002) Hearts of Gold (Arrow Books, 2003) Homecoming (Orion, 2003) Beggars & Choosers (Orion, 2004) Winners & Losers (Orion, 2004) Sinners & Shadows (Orion, 2004) Finders & Keepers (Orion, 2005) Tiger Bay Blues (Orion, 2006) Tiger Ragtime (Orion, 2006) One Last Summer (Orion, 2007) Magda’s Daughter (Orion, 2008) Black-Eyed Devils (Quick Reads) (Accent, 2009) Bobby’s Girl (Allison & Busby, 2011)
As Katherine John 10 Books: (Crime novels) Without Trace (1990) Murder of a Dead Man (1992) By Any Other Name (1996) The Corpse’s Tale (Accent Press, 2006) By Any Name (Accent Press, 2006) Midnight Murders (Accent Press, 2006) Amber Knight (Accent Press, 2007) The Black Daffodil(Accent Press,
As Caro French 1 Book: (Modern fiction) The Farcreek Trilogy (Simon & Schuster, 1995)
As Katherine Hardy 2 Books: (Novelisation of TV productions) The Grand (Simon & Schuster, 1997) The Grand II (Simon & Schuster, 1998)
As K A John with James Patterson 1 Book: Bloody Valentine (Arrow Books 2011)
Forty years of life on the street – Coronation Street the epic novel (Granada Ventures Ltd 2003)
*All books are available from the store below.
Thanks for reading this, I hope you enjoyed. Please be my guest and make a comment or ask a question. If you have a story to tell, let me know. I would love to hear from you.
P.S. Extra bonus material for writers – ‘Catrin Collier on writing’. It’s very short but if you like to have it, simply e-mail me. It’s free 😉