Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Chat with Cathy Gohlke + Giveaway!

Y'all! I am so excited to have Cathy Gohlke as my guest today! I had the privilege of reading and reviewing her latest novel Promise Me This back in February and absolutely fell in love with this story and Cathy's writing. Let's go ahead and dive right into our chat today!

i blog 4 books: Cathy, thanks so much for stopping by! I loved Promise Me This and am thrilled for the chance to get to know you better today! For those who haven't read Promise Me This (shame on you, if you haven't! [grin!!!]), tell us a little about the book.

Cathy Gohlke: Michael Dunnagan was never supposed to sail on the Titanic, nor would he have survived if not for the courage of Owen Allen. Determined to carry out his promise to care for Owen’s relatives in America and his younger sister, Annie, in England, Michael works hard to strengthen the family’s New Jersey garden and landscaping business.

Annie Allen doesn’t care what Michael promised Owen. She only knows that her brother is gone—like their mother and father—and the grief is enough to swallow her whole. As Annie struggles to navigate life without Owen, Michael reaches out to her through letters. In time, as Annie begins to lay aside her anger that Michael lived when Owen did not, a tentative friendship takes root and blossoms into something neither expected. Just as Michael saves enough money to bring Annie to America, WWI erupts in Europe. When Annie’s letters mysteriously stop, Michael risks everything to fulfill his promise—and find the woman he’s grown to love—before she’s lost forever.

ib4b: The Titanic fascinates a lot of people. Why did you choose to write a book featuring the Titanic?

CG: I’ve always been intrigued by the romance of the era and the magnificence of the ship, but even more by the people who sailed, the passengers and those employed by the White Star Line.  I’ve wondered about the hopes and dreams cut short that fateful night, and about those who survived—how did they go on with their lives knowing they’d been miraculously, magnanimously saved when hundreds died around them?  How did they respond to that gift at the time, and how did they live out lives of unmerited grace?

ib4b: I think you just described perfectly my fascination with the Titanic.

CG: I saw in the history of Titanic the opportunity to portray a picture of Christ’s love story to the world—a picture of His sacrificial love and gift of life—unmerited grace—as well as our response to that gift.

ib4b: If your book was being made into a movie, who would you cast as the main character(s)?

CG: Rachel MacAdams, who is a wonderful character actress, would make a great Annie.  Taylor Swift has Annie’s looks and is, perhaps, closer to Annie’s age.  In the book, Annie has long honey blond hair with eyes the color of deep blue lobelia (flowers)—almost violet.  She is slim, but strong enough to endure the hardships of WWI nursing at the battle of Verdun.  In the last scene Michael looks up and recognizes her smile—“two dimples calling his name.”

Jeremy Irvine (of War Horse) would make an excellent Michael.  In the book, Michael has thick and curly black hair, blue eyes and dimples.  By the end of the book he’s grown into a tall, broad shouldered and handsome man.

ib4b: I know you did tons of research before writing the book. Was there a story/person that you came across in your research that was especially memorable?

CG: I was fascinated to learn that Ann Vanderbilt, of the wealthy Vanderbilt family, was influential in supporting the American Ambulance Field Service. She made a trip to France during WWI and actually donned a Red Cross nurse’s uniform in order to tour the very dangerous Verdun sector.  I wove that into the story, where she used her considerable influence to help Michael search for Annie. 

ib4b: I loved that part of the story! This IS a party, so what's your favorite kind of cake? I want to make sure I serve my guests their favorite. [Wink!]

CG: What?  Only one?  I pick lemon—or chocolate—or carrot!

ib4b: Ha! I totally agree. We'll have a cake buffet. :) How do you celebrate special occasions in your family?

CG: My favorite is our family Christmas party.  We gather from far and near to share an early dinner, laughter and stories. When the meal is cleared, we gather in the parlor to sing Christmas carols around the piano, supported by my niece and husband on their violins, my nephew and son on guitars, with the rest of us chiming in with rhythm instruments.  This year my grandniece surprised us all with a trumpet solo.  It was all  wonderful—and loud! 

When we’ve sung ourselves hoarse, we turn off the lights, and someone reads the Christmas story from Luke by candlelight as “Silent Night” is played softly in the background on the piano.  When the story is finished, we all sing “Silent Night,” each dear face illuminated by the glow of candlelight passed from person to person.  We end with, “God bless us everyone!”—and cookies and punch.

ib4b: What's one of the most memorable gifts you've ever received?

CG: On my 50th birthday I signed the contract for my first book, William Henry is a Fine Name.  It felt like a gift from the Lord, and the beginning of a whole new life to start the “second half” of my journey.

ib4b: What a wonderful gift! Thanks again for stopping by. It's been a ton of fun today!

Cathy Gohlke Online

AND . . . surprise! It's a gift for one of you, my blog friends! Cathy has graciously offered to give away a copy of Promise Me This. I'm giving Rafflecopter another whirl (pun intended!), so let me know if you have any problems. (You may need to click "read more" if the widget doesn't appear below.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Hi...i love the look of your blog! Historical figure? Not sure, but would like to meet Peter - and learn how to put my eyes on Jesus as he did

    mitzi underscore wanham at yahoo dot com

  2. I want to meet George Washington. He's my favorite historical figure (if you need proof I have a 40+ page paper!) It would be awesome to meet the man who did so much for our country!

  3. Maybe Aristophanes, those ancient Greek comedians crack me up.

  4. I think it would have to be Abraham Lincoln.He brought the beginning of 'change' for our country. We still have a lot to learn from that man.

  5. Jane Austen - so I could ask her if she ever did have a love interest

  6. I've been working on my family history and have come across so many interesting relatives. I'd choose to meet one of them! Oh, also discovered I had family on the Titanic. Unfortunately, none survived.

  7. This was a great chat, I enjoyed getting to know you both.

    I would choose to be Margaret Thatcher. Her wisdom, calm spirit, confidence, convictions, and firm resolve would be a thrill to experience for any length of time.

    I would be happy to win a copy of your book! Thank you for offering it to one of us.

  8. I would love to meet Laura Ingalls Wilder. I've read all of her books and fell in love with the TV show. I'm fascinated by pioneer life so I think she would be a great person to talk to!



I love comments! Thanks for letting me know what you think!

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