Interview with Cathy Cassidy
When did you start writing?
When I was about eight I made a picture book for my little brother about a very tall sunflower. When I was about eleven, I wrote adventure stories inspired by Swallows and Amazons, and as a teenager I sent dozens and dozens of stories to a magazine called Jackie. They sent back dozens and dozens of very polite rejection letters. At 16, I had a story published by a magazine called Look Now. I can’t remember it well, but I think it was very slushy and sad.
Where do you get your ideas and inspiration from?
Everywhere! Sad things, strange things, funny things, weird things. I love to people-watch, and I love to daydream. I store away fragments of dreams, things that happen, things I see or hear that make me smile. Some of them surface later in my stories.
Can you give your top 3 tips to becoming a successful author?
1. Don’t listen to the people who say you can’t do it – if you want to do something badly enough, you can. When I was 15, I was asked in a French Oral exam what I wanted to be when I grew up. I said I wanted to be a writer and an artist. The examiner laughed out loud. Don’t listen to negative people – go for your dream!
2. Live life to the full – have adventures, have fun, be happy, be sad. Never be afraid of your feelings. Write about what you care about, what moves you – put your feelings into your work.
3. Read like crazy, and write – every day, if you can. These are the best ways to learn your trade. Hopefully, one day other people will be reading your work!
Wearing sticky-out 50’s frocks in Liverpool when I was an art student; the fireworks, the Toblerones and the chocolate wedding cake when Liam and I got married; seeing my babies for the first time.
Favourite place in the world and why?
The Bay at the Back of the Ocean on the Isle of Iona, because it feels like you’re on the edge of the world; the Fairy Glen on the Isle of Skye because it makes you believe in magic; and my cottage in Galloway, because it’s full of the people, animals and things that I love best.
What are your hobbies?
Walking my gangly lurcher-dog; swimming; eating chocolate; reading; drawing; collecting old toys, books and clothes; trying to control my unruly garden.
If you hadn’t been a writer what do you think you would have been?
I also work as an Agony Aunt for the pre-teen mag Shout and as a visiting art teacher for six rural primary schools in Galloway. So, I’d keep on doing those jobs – and maybe try a few more! I’d like to run an animal sanctuary or sit in an attic weaving big, romantic tapestries or make appliqué pictures out of old dresses. The list is endless!