‘Words are powerful. We need to use them wisely.’ (Quote ~ Cat Hogan)
Well now my guest today needs very little introduction….
Cat Hogan, author of They All Fall Down and most recently There Was A Crooked Man, joins me today celebrating another #IrishWritersWed
I am still blown away by all these wonderful Irish Writers who trust me enough to send me on their words every week….I dearly thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Cat has written a post today entitled ‘Stand and Deliver- Learning how to dance in new shoes’
Read on folks…it’s another fabulously inspiring post!!
Stand and Deliver- Learning how to dance in new shoes.
By Cat Hogan
My initial furore with the publishing industry felt like a cross between the first day in an enormous office and the first round of a fencing match. Or perhaps, I was more like the new enthusiastic (and naive) gazelle on the plains, being circled by the pride of lions. Not sure which analogy works better but neither are much fun, are they? See- I’ve never been the competitive type.
Yes, I understand how business works, but I had never been the type who wanted to get to that finish line first. Certain areas of my life I’m competitive- with myself for example. I’m hard on myself, I want to do better, be better, get better but what others are doing- well that’s their path to trod isn’t it?
My first novel was published just over a year ago. I was on a high after finally realising my dream. I had a real book in my hands, with my name on the cover. Better again, the reviews were good and the people I most wanted to impress- the readers- were impressed. I was happy, my family was happy and my publisher was happy. Didn’t take long for the monster to rear his ugly head. Self- doubt, isolation and blinding fear. I was the newbie and boy; did I feel it.
The labour of love I had spent months pruning and shaping was now on show and the first stirrings of politics began to snap at my heels. Passively and ever so subtly but I felt it- sabreur movements- fast, stealthy, and rapid. Five weeks after publication, my uncle died. That pulled the final inches of rug from under my feet. But, I kept going, kept ignoring the warning signs to slow down, take a breath, block out the noise and focus on the important.
When the reserves are low, it’s easier to ignore the problem. When the reserves get to near empty, you’ve no choice but to sit down and take a rest.
And then the cavalry came. Slowly first, and quietly- in the shadows. A little message here, a kind word in the ear, the proverbial plaster on grazed knees, cups of tea and buckets of common sense. I can imagine that’s what a tired athlete feels like when running a marathon and he/she hears the claps from the side lines. The fog lifted, I cut away the deadwood and I remembered what was important. The work- it was all about the work.
I had started the second novel under a weight of expectation, and the mind-numbing fear I couldn’t do it again- I was never going to improve and every word that would spill onto the page would be pure drivel. After many nights of pacing the floor and chain-smoking, logic finally cleared its throat and spoke to me. I had done it before and I would do it again- this time only better. To use another fencing term: I had found my Second Intention. Focus. I had found (because of the cavalry), enough confidence to keep going.
With a renewed sense of hope, I started to write. I wanted to go bigger, go better and prove to myself that I was a writer- a real, honest to god writer- not just someone who had got lucky. The new shoes had stopped chafing my heels and I started to quite enjoy wearing them. Decisions about the process came easier to me. I trusted my own judgment and anything was possible. Betwixt and between the writing and family, I made the decision to move to a new house. I wanted to go home. Home to the sticks, home to my parish, and back to my roots. It was the best thing I ever did.
As I sit here now, I can see the sea from my window. I can hear it and I can taste it. It’s here I read the reviews of the second novel and my heart is gladdened because for the most part- I achieved what I set out to do. I wanted to be better. I have also managed to shut out the noise. The loudest noise in my head is the sound of music as my children and I dance around the kitchen to the radio.
Words are powerful. We need to use them wisely. We’re all in this life together, trying our best for ourselves and for those we love- that’s what’s important. And dancing. Dancing is just as important.
There Was A Crooked Man ~ Book Info
Scott makes enemies everywhere. Powerful people want him dead. He’s coming back to Ireland to finish what he started. But first, he must make it out of Marrakech alive.
Jen knows Scott will come back. Every day, she waits. He almost killed her last time and, fuelled by hate and arrogance, he’s not a man to ever just move on. He will kill her and he will kill her young son. But her husband and friends believe she has spiralled into paranoia.
So she knows, when he returns, she’ll face the psychopath alone.
Purchase Link ~ There Was A Crooked Man
Cat Hogan was born into a home of bookworms and within spitting distance of the sea. Her father, Pat, a lightship man, instilled in her a love of the sea and the stars. Her mother, Mag, taught her how to read before she could walk.
Writing, storytelling and a wild imagination is part of her DNA.
Twitter ~ @Kittycathogan