And when, later, she attended a talk on writing, and showed her work to an agent, he found a publisher for it. Attending Cambridge, she wrote a further two in the YA series. They were a huge success.
“That was a great opportunity, but I didn’t know if I wanted to carry on writing,” she says. “So I trained as a teacher, and worked in a secondary school in County Durham.” After a 10 year gap, Catherine decided to try writing again. But she planned a totally different book.
“It was ambitious and came out of the financial crisis,” she says. “I started with that premise, and it became a much bigger story. I stopped teaching and gave myself a year to finish it, but it ended up taking two.” So far, the book has sold to 19 different countries.
Date/place of birth: 1989 in Cambridge.
Education: Parkside Community College. Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge: English
Home: Turin, Italy
Family: Husband, Daniele
The Day Job: Fulltime writer.
Interests: Spending time with my family and friends. Exploring Turin, taking photos for an Instagram project, chronicling a year in the life of a writer.
Favourite Writers: Derek Walcott; Isabelle Allende; Salmon Rushdie; Gabriel Garcia Marques; Kieran Desai; Elena Ferrante.
Second Novel: It’s set in North Italy in the aftermath of World War Two.
Top Tip: “Toni Morrison said, ‘If there is a book you want to read and it hasn’t yet been written, you must write it.’ That sums up for me why writer’s write.”
Amedeo Esposito settles on a tiny island off Scilly, turning a crumbling building into a bar. Chronicling his family history, the novel covers a century of life on an island which is alive with stories and legends. It covers the effects of war, tourism and recession.
“I was aware of treading between two different cultures. My favourite comment came from my father-in-law who said the way I wrote about fascism is exactly the way he remembers it.”
The Verdict: Superb storytelling. Reminiscent of Isabelle Allende and Louis de Bernieres.