What EVERY author needs!

Today I’m massively excited to have one of my best writing buddies visiting my blog and she’s written such a feel good and funny post that I hope you’ll all enjoy as much as I did. 

Cathryn Hein Author Photo

Welcome Cathryn Hein! Cathryn’s next release the fabulous ROCKING HORSE HILL (don’t you just LOVE that title?) releases tomorrow and if you know what’s good for you, you’ll grab a copy ASAP! There might just be a giveaway on this post if you read to the end 🙂

Take it away, Cathryn…

Every Author Needs…

It’s often said that a writer’s life is a solitary one. We spend a lot of time with our computers or notebooks, having conversations in our heads with people that don’t exist. I have days, sometimes even a week – usually during structural edits with a deadline looming – where I don’t leave the house.

Which is why writing buddies are so important. They keep you sane when you’re too busy or too much of a stressed-out freak to get out in real life. They listen when you rant and rage, cheer when something brilliant happens, give sage advice or a calming word when needed, and share all the ups and downs of this strange but fascinating business. With a single email, text or phone call they can make the bad seem good and the good seem brilliant. They are, in other words, a must.

I met Rach at the 2007 Romance Writers of Australia conference in Sydney. Fate had us sitting together in one of Valerie Parv’s sessions, a hands-on tutorial where we were asked to collaborate on creating a story premise with conflict. We came up with a completely over-the-top Cinderella type story set in a funeral parlour. It was great fun and we clicked in that indefinable way that people sometimes do, and been good friends ever since.

But Rach lives in WA and I live… well, we move around quite a lot but generally along Australia’s east coast. That means most of the time we only see each other at conferences. So we make up for it with phone calls, texts and emails. LOTS of emails.

At the risk of revealing how paranoid and self-doubting authors are, and exposing the embarrassing number of shouty capitals and exclamation marks we use in our correspondence, here are a couple of samples of the sort of chat that goes on…

From an exchange titled:


RACH: I need to write but can’t settle with Lach at home. Am letting him play on the iPad and telling myself it’s okay cos he’s sick but still hard to concentrate with him at home. But am out at talk all day tomorrow, so NEED words. Although my house also needs desperate attention and I feel like making a cake. Maybe I’ll aim for 1k and if I do that can make a cake!

CATHRYN: Make the cake and write while it’s baking. Have a sprint to see how many words you can get in that time. I’m writing but it’s awful, horrible crap and setting my teeth on edge.

RACH: Can’t be any more horrible and awful than mine! Seriously!

CATHRYN: Wanna bet???

From an exchange titled:

Send in the white jacket people

CATHRYN: It has taken me almost ALL MORNING to tweak one bloody chapter!!! The book is going to send me INSANE! It’s all so wrong. Wrong, wrong, WRONG! ARGH!

RACH: LOL! Just got home from school drop off to your message!! I bet it sells its bloody socks off!! I cannot imagine ANYTHING you write being poo. I consider you a MUCH better writer than me, so I take on your paranoia too and think it must mean GHOST is shite!!

CATHRYN: You, my dear, haven’t a thing to worry about. Ghost will sell its bum off like all your others!!! 

Ahem. Okay, so I admit we sound like a couple of teenagers, with the same level of self-absorption, but that’s not the point. The point is that we rally one another and joke around even when we might feel we’re the worst writers in the universe or about to melt from worry.

Terrible articulation or not, I wouldn’t miss these for the world.

Oh, and if you’re wondering what we’re like when we actually meet? Just add hugs and squeals!

Yup, we’re as noisy in person as in our emails. Which just might be another reason why writers tend not to get out much…

Aw Cathryn, I wouldn’t have our friendship any other way either. Now happy blog readers, check out the blurb of ROCKING HORSE HILL below and enter the contest!

RHH cover - resized


Ever since she was a little girl, Emily Wallace-Jones has loved Rocking Horse Hill. The beautiful family property is steeped in history. Everything important in Em’s life has happened there. And even though Em’s brother Digby has inherited the property, he has promised Em it will be her home for as long as she wishes.

When Digby falls in love with sweet Felicity Townsend, a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, Em worries about the future. But she is determined not to treat Felicity with the same teenage snobbery that tore apart her relationship with her first love, Josh Sinclair. A man who has now sauntered sexily back into Em’s life and given her a chance for redemption.

But as Felicity settles in, the once tightly knitted Wallace-Jones family begins to fray. Suspicions are raised, Josh voices his distrust, and even Em’s closest friends question where Felicity’s motives lie. Conflicted but determined to make up for the damage caused by her past prejudices, Em sides with her brother and his fiancée until a near tragedy sets in motion a chain of events that will change the family forever.

Rocking Horse Hill is a moving family drama and passionate love story from the author of Heartland.

Tell us your friendship stories. The quirky things, the way you celebrate them, even how you met. Share and you’ll be in with a chance to win a signed copy of Cathryn’s brand new rural romance Rocking Horse Hill.

Giveaway closes Wednesday 30th April. Australian postal addresses only.

If you’d like to learn more about Cathryn and her books, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook, Twitter as @CathrynHein and Google+



40 thoughts on “What EVERY author needs!

    • It seems to be part of the process, Margaret. At least for all the writers I know. I remember reading somewhere that you should feel fear when you write because it’s fear that makes you strive to get better and better. Maybe there’s some truth in that. Who knows. All I know is that there are times when I could really do without it!!

  1. So lovely to have such great writing friends. You two are so universally hilarious!

    My best friend from high school and I send each other the same brand of chocolates for every birthday and Xmas (along with a proper present). We first tasted these incredible chocolates together in Switzerland when we were backpacking around Europe and couldn’t believe anything could taste so good. So now we relived that moment each year!

      • We could start one, Rach. Maybe with fizz instead of chocs in case they melt!

        That’s a seriously cool tradition though, Jennifer. Not only do you get special chocs, you get a great memory thrown in. Lovely! And lovely of you to drop by.

  2. I know a good friend when I hear them say “Awesome” something about that word makes me think that they are full of spirit and happiness and are my type of person. I have been longing for a Best Friend (or two) most of my life , not having a serious one since a few years after highschool, and through my children and the interaction of school mums, combined with living in a small country town in Western Australia, I finally have two best friends who will let me ramble. They’ll always be ready with a wine or Corona in times of crisis, and in times of emergency I know that 9 times out of 10 I can organise to leave my three kids with them for a play date. It’s taken 36 years.. but now my life feels complete.. I’m in the right place surrounded by the right people.

    • Aww, what a wonderful example of the power of friendship, Tanya. Friends really do make you’re life complete. I don’t know how I’d cope without Rach and all my other girlfriends. Speaking of which, there’s one I need to call this morning…

      Thanks so much for dropping by and leaving such a lovely comment.

  3. My friend Amanda & I met in 2002 when her son & my daughter started school. A week later I welcomed my 3rd child which proved to be the ice breaker when I ventured up to school. I can be quite shy but Amanda approached me to coo over my baby girl. I knew I wanted her as a friend, she was bold, funny, irreverent & oh so kind. We are opposites in that she is a half glass empty girl where I am the eternal optimist. There have been many highs & lows with the biggest being the loss of her husband nearly 4 yrs ago now. We know that we will always be friends. Our children are still friends & now have their licences & will soon be turning 18.

    • Bugger. I wrote a nice long response to your comment, Felicity, and in a finger slip it disappeared into the ether. Sigh.

      What I wanted to say was that it sounds as though your friendship with Amanda has really lasted the distance. Enduring through the highs and lows are what makes good friendships so meaningful and important. Great friends hang in there even when things get horribly wart-covered.

      Thanks for sharing. Good luck in the Rocking Horse Hill giveaway draw.

  4. Thank God for RWA conferences where I met both of you awesome ladies. I can seriously say life would be so much harder without you two at the end of an email. Both of you are the best. Congrats on RHH Cathryn!! Great blog ladies 🙂 xxx

    • Oh yes! TOTALLY agree, Fiona. The RWA has been amazing for making writer (and life) friends. We don’t get to catch up often in person but we sure make up for it electronically. An absolute sanity saver!

  5. How funny to find this blog and not only have Cathryn here with Rachael … but Fiona pops in too lol. I have read books written by all three of you and am continuing my journey of Australian Romance writers and am wanting to read all of your books … I am slowly getting there 🙂

    I met my Best Friend in year 8 (1979) and we have been bestie;s ever since. We are totally different in every way but have NEVER had am argument or disagreement. We chat on the phone every few months and meet twice a year for lunch. Last year we sat and watched two very old ladies having lunch and laughed and said that will be us in another 20yrs. So nice knowing my friend Tracey is ALWAYS there for me and I for her.

    • Never had an argument or disagreement, Kelly? Wow. That’s an impressive friendship. No wonder it’s lasted so long. And by the sounds you will be exactly like those old ladies in the future, and a cool thing that would be too!

      Thanks for dropping by to say hello.

  6. I have a sister just 18 months younger. She has been my best friend all my life. Every time my father received a job promotion we moved, but I always took my best friend with me. Starting out new became an adventure & not something to fear or dread.

  7. Great post – and yeah I’d hate to think of what padded room I’d be in without my online writing buddies!

  8. I have my best friend Have Fun Helen … We have been neighbours and friends for over 30 years… We will see how you two get on when we come to see you at Penrith library next month … Looking forward to reading both of your new books

    • Ha ha ha ha! Have Fun Helen. That is a FANTASTIC name for a friend, Barbara. She sounds….fun!

      Wonderful to hear you’re coming to Penrith to see us. Look forward to meeting you and chatting to everyone. It should be a hoot!

  9. Excellent post… my writer friends are the best! One of my CP’s and I have said that it’s like we’re ‘thinking out loud’ when we message each other. We just blurt whatever is on our mind, console each other during the challenges, praise each other for the good stuff, and keep each other sane! 🙂

    • That’s a great description of it, Juliet. It is like thinking out loud: Really messy, full of doubt and occasionally completely hyper over the moon. This biz is full of highs and lows, and it’s so special to have good friends who understand that.

  10. I do love hearing about writer friendships, or any friendships really!

    I met my two best friends at university and it wasn’t until we were talking about classes a few years later did we realise we’d actually been in a lot of the same classes before we actually met. Even in the early days it already felt like we’d been friends for years, perhaps lurking in each other’s pasts has something to do with it. When we catch up we’re very chatty, and the range of topics we can discuss is wonderful, from the serious to the absurd and hilarious. They are my great support system and I can’t imagine not having them in my life.

    • How funny that you were in the same classes, Amy. Amazing how often that sort of thing happens. You are so right about the support though. Where would we be without friends? Probably a funny farm in my case…

      Thanks so much for popping by and sharing your friendship story.

  11. My best friend and I spend forever leaving messages on each other’s answering machines and NOT actually speaking. Our messages usually go something like this: “Hi, it’s just me returning your call, which was returning my call that returned your call about my call!” But we will BFs forever-perhaps not speaking is the secret, lol!

    • Ha ha ha!!! I guess you can say all you need to in those precious seconds, Kirrily. And sometimes it’s just about the showing you’re thinking of them.

      Great comment. Thanks!

  12. My best friend and I met 30 something plus years ago, when we attended baby ballet together. After dressing up together as a tube of aim toothpaste for a dance routine (I will never forget that one!) we have been friends ever since. Despite me living in the UK for a number of my teenage years, while she remained here, we were still best buds, in those days keeping in touch with letters. Now many years on, houses, weddings and kids we both have two boys of our own who are also firm friends – but have no plans to recreate the scene when we met and dress the poor boys up as tubes of toothpaste for ballet!

    • Ha ha ha! Dressing up as toothpaste… very glamorous! I think I’d bond with someone over that too, Amanda. A toothpaste ballet though… the mind boggles. Cos, you know, WHY? LOL!

  13. And the giveaway winner is…..


    Congratulations! Keep your eye out for an email from Rach to tell you how to claim your prize.

    Thanks to everyone for sharing your friendship stories. They were all wonderful to read and gave Rach and I plenty of smiles. Long may our special friendships last!

      • OMG, this is sooooo exciting …. a signed copy of Cathryn’s new book, awesome. Thank you so much for this competition 🙂

  14. Thankyou so much for the chance to win a signed copy of Cathryn’s new book Rocking Horse Hill. It arrived safely and I have already read almost half of this wonderful book. 🙂

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