Chasing Catherine by Dana Bowen & Chloe Brogan Genre: Contemporary Romance
"It was all I could do last night to let you walk away from me. I wanted you to stay so badly. I wanted to sit and talk the rest of the night. I wanted to walk you home." His eyes drag greedily down my body and back up to meet my gaze. "I can't seem to get enough of you. You showed up tonight in that dress, and I thought I was going to have a heart attack." He closes the last bit of distance between us, dropping his hands to rest lightly on my hips.
Chasing Catherine is a Contemporary Romance about escaping abuse, friendship, and finding love after heartbreak. This heartfelt and empowering story follows Catherine Martin after her escape from an abusive ex-boyfriend and her journey to self-discovery. This book is the first of two about Catherine and Nathan, as well as the jumping-off point in the Bethon Grove series. 24 chapters of romance, compassion, self-discovery, drama, family, and friendship.
I stand silently in the middle of the road. A single humming street light hangs over me, illuminating the road before me. Snow falls heavily around me as I stand listening to the sound, like the sweet silence of falling feathers. The small puffs, like cotton, are continuously muffled by the next flake. The sound relieves my anxieties as I breathe the frigid air deep into my lungs. The cold burn reassures me that I am, in fact, still alive.
I watch as the winter wisps continue to fall steadily around me. Glancing back, I see the snow already starting to fill the tracks I had made down the center of the road. The stark quiet the night provides is both unsettling and peaceful. I can hear everything and nothing. As I tread forward again, I imagine the crunch of the snow under my boots slowly stomping out the stress of the last few weeks from my mind. A piece of my memories slip away with every step. “What do you think you’re going to do without me?!” A plate sails across the room above my head.
Crunch. “You would have no friends without me. If you leave they won’t care what you say.”
Crunch. “No one will ever love you.”
My nose and throat burn from the cold night air. Before I realize it, I am stifling a sob.
Crunch, Crunch, Crunch.
My legs feel like lead and my eyes sting. Frozen tears leave a trail down my cheeks. I come to a crossroad and look around. I have no idea how long I’ve been out in the cold. As much time as I spent here in Bethton Grove with my Aunt Cici, I have a hard time recognizing where I am with everything layered in white. It takes me a moment to recognize a mailbox on one side of the street, a roofline on the other. I know where I am now. I pull my scarf up over my nose, using the already damp fabric to wipe my eyes as I turn to the left and keep walking.
When I pull my scarf down and readjust it around my neck, I feel a tingle down my spine; I realize I am not alone. Ahead of me, their footsteps muffled by the blanket of snow, is another wanderer with their back towards me. The figure walks slowly and heavily, shoulders hunched with hands shoved deep into coat pockets as if to send a warning signal to stay away. I hold my breath, willing my feet to fall softer on the ground as I continue down the road. The snow seems to fall heavier as we both trudge down the road, like the weight of both our worlds is falling on us along with the snow.
The sound of my phone ringing in my pocket startles me. I quickly yank it out of my jacket pocket as my aunt's face flashes across the screen. I fumble to pull a glove off and touch the screen to answer the call.
Dana and Chloe grew up in rural Ohio, and sparked a close friendship in the summer of 2019. When the Pandemic hit in 2020 they saw it as an opportunity to be adventurous. As two young moms, they spent months finding creative outlets through baking and art, but they were running out of things to do. So, when Dana came to Chloe one Friday over coffee and suggested they write a book — it seemed like the next logical step in their endeavors to use their time at home to pursue something they'd always dreamed of doing. The two discovered quickly that they made a great pair, and the story spun itself together almost overnight. The pair plan to keep up the momentum as Indie Authors, exploring all subgenres of romance in their coming stories.
Can you too, for those who don't know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
Dana: Well I’m Dana I’m 25, I’ve always been a writer I went through a bunch of old “manuscripts” recently. Chloe and both our husband all went to high school together. We met through my husband then covid happened and we bubbled together. We’ve been inseparable ever since. Then I had done a little writing and came over to Chloe’s so and said “I think I want to write a book do you want to look at it.” And she dove in with me.
Chloe: I’ve also loved reading I had written here and there and enjoyed but never had the motivation to push it further. I think when Dana came over and we goofed around with the idea of writing it suddenly was three weeks later we were on chapter ten. We decided we were serious and here we are published, starting some more books.
What is something unique/quirky about you?
C:Gosh I don’t know, I can knit a scarf?
D:All of my quirks are just symptoms of mental illness.
What are some of your pet peeves?
D:Lack of communication really peeves me off and people who can’t drive.
C: Well I hate feet.
Where were you born/grew up at?
D: Columbus, Ohio
C: Well I was born in Kentucky but my dad was a Reverend for the methodist church so we moved a lot.
Who is your hero and why?
C: I think a Literary hero for me would be J.R.R. Tolkien or Ray Bradbury. Even though they aren’t female authors that I could look up to, or romance writers. They are even writers of too different genres and styles. I love their descriptive language and how it pulls a reader in. I hope to grab people's attention in such a way.
What are you passionate about these days?
D: I think I’m looking for my passions at the moment honestly. I’ve tried a lot of new things recently. If I had to pick something that feels like passion though, I’d say its writing and the entire process of self-publishing.
C: I think my biggest passion is actually reading. It always has been and now I’ve written something I even enjoy reading.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
D: I’ve recently been spending time playing piano. I learned as a kid and then didn’t have one for many years. But recently my husband got me one and it’s been extremely therapeutic.
C: I roll up a joint and medicate.
How to find time to write as a parent?
D: What a loaded question. I think the goal for me at the moment is to find 30 minutes a day to write something. So either in the morning before they’re up, or in the evening after they’ve gone to bed. Sometimes they are quiet and watching tv or playing together in the playroom and I can sneak in 15 minutes.
C: When my husband works I care for kids and when I write he cares for them. This really wouldn’t have gotten as far without my husband's immense support in caring for ours and Dana’s kids to let us hide and write.
Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
D: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
C: That’s only four...
D: The question was 5 words or LESS.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
D: I don’t think I’ve reached the point yet where I consider myself a writer. But if I had to pick the time where I felt like I was doing something right, it happened right around when we finished our second draft and I saw the story laid out. That was when I knew I was doing something I was meant to do.
C: That’s rough. I am struggling hard with imposter syndrome. It clicked when I held the actual book in my hand. I said “Wow We really did this”
Do you have a favorite movie?
D: Maybe. The movie Blue Valentine always stuck with me. I like sad endings that feel real. But my all time favorite genre is Psychological Thriller.
C: I love the movie Across the Universe, the imagery is beautiful. The complicated relationships and music are all wins for me.
Which of your novels can you imagine being made into a movie?
D: I could see Chasing Catherine as a movie.
C: I could see Chasing Catherine or really any of our future projects making great movies.
What inspired you to write this book?
D: I don’t remember having anything specific. Honestly when Chloe and I started writing it wasn’t going to turn into anything. We were just doing it to do it.
C: Dana inspired me she’s an amazing go getter and really pushed me to do more.
What can we expect from you in the future?
D: We have plenty more ideas, either things we’ve written together or things we are working on by ourselves. For now they’re all in the romance genre, but who knows what the future holds.
C: What she said.
Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
D: I’ve been waiting for this one. During our writing process we became very involved in the character development part. Of all of the side stories my favorite is Larry. He’s an extremely minor character, but there is a chance he’s got the most in depth back story. He works everywhere, and he knows everyone, he spends a lot of time being comedic relief, but his underlying story kind of has him holding a lot of things together. He’s had a super long relationship working for CiCi, and he is always there to help out. We actually have a book full of side stories coming out soon!
C:Our characters are steeped in more then the book-ness. To us they are whole people with stories and histories. We are actually working on a book of shorts to release on Kindle Vella!
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Chasing Catherine?
D: I think with the characters in Chasing Catherine, it’s important to notice that we kept everything as realistic as possible. They look and behave like real people, because there aren’t enough accurate portrayals of real people.
C:Well we don’t have a lot of scenes with Catherine’s friends but I love to hate trashy Ashy. She’s mean and I love how much Meghan puts her in her place.
How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?
D: I think the characters came first. We had the idea for Cathereine, and then the story came with her. As far as coming up with the actual concept, I just remember sitting on Chloe’s couch throwing out as many ideas as possible, and when we finally agreed one one, it all came tumbling after.
C: Our characters told us how they would function and what they would do they toke the lead.
Where did you come up with the names in the story?
D: I think we really tried to pick names based on personality traits. I know that sounds weird, but there were a lot of times where we’d pick a name, define the character and then have to change the name because it didn’t sound like it fit. Googling ‘Top 50 boys names (insert year)’ helped too.
C: We thought about pulling from our own history but our characters are so unique carrying a burden of someone else's name would just muddle the story and our intentions.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
D: Writing was very liberating. Some of Catherine’s struggles came from a very real place, and it was freeing to write about her character’s growth.
C:Getting to know our characters and watch them overcome a lot of struggles. I know we wrote them but I was so happy to watch Catherine grow into herself.
Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?
D: Catherine is trying to take her life back and figure out who she is as a person. She’s determined to broaden her horizon and live for herself. Nathan is loving, and family oriented. He might be a tad too much of a people pleaser at times but he knows how to care for someone.
C:I think what makes Catherine tick is trying to move on from her trauma, she spends most of the book trying to move on instead of healing from her wounds. I think that’s where most of her problems come from is rushing through things.
Nathan is a people pleaser with a heart of gold. I think he uses caring for others to escape his own struggles.
How did you come up with the title of your first novel?
D: It was actually really hard to find a title for our book. We tried websites and we made a list and threw so many names around. It was actually our editor who really helped us pick one. We had been bouncing around so many ideas and had a few we were thinking about. She took from our list and really helped us find a title that we felt encompassed the meaning of our story.
C: Our editor is to thank for our title. We were really struggling to express our concept without giving away too much through our title and Chris came to the rescue.
Who designed your book covers?
D: My brother did. He’s a freelance graphic designer and was a huge help taking all of our ideas and turning them into something beautiful.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
D: I thought about this for a while, but honestly, no. I love the story we tell. I love our characters, they have a purpose. I’m just excited to tell more of the story.
C:I don’t think I’d change anything except a few typos. Our book has done a full metamorphosis and is a beautiful butterfly.
Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
D: Yes, both technically and emotionally. Technically, I learned a whole new set of skills during the writing and publishing process. I really learned how to tell a story, I learned it’s okay to take all of the writing risks you want. I learned a new set of formatting skill and how to work marketing and send emails to loads of people.
C: I really enjoyed learning a lot technically. I absorb so much knowledge from our editor she’s amazing.
Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
D: I know we wrote a romance novel, but I think everyone can benefit from some part of our story. Whether you relate to Catherine, Nathan, CiCi, or someone else–there's something in Chasing Catherine for everyone.
C: Ditto I think it will make you laugh, cry and grow a little.
What is your favorite part of this book and why?
D: I don’t want to spoil the ending so I won’t say much, but contrary to normal romance I absolutely love the way things end.
C:I love our ending but I also love our scene in the salon where Meghan helps Catherine really take back the reins of her life.
If you could spend time with a character from your book, who would it be? And what would you do during that day?
D: Oh I actually really want a girls night with Catherine, CiCi, and Amber.
C: I just wanna hang out with Larry he sees and knows all.
Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
D: I think I realized about halfway through the book that Chloe and I had based Catherine loosely on a mix of our personalities. And then to really drive it home we sprinkled a little bit of our own trauma throughout. That makes this book so personal to me. I really in some ways was speaking kindness to my younger self.
C:Cici is my mom, she has a very similar personality with my mom. We essentially tweaked my mom to be a touch more wild and you get a Cici.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reins of the story?
D: I don’t feel like I’m in control at all most of the time. I found myself trying to write parts of the story multiple times and then having to delete because I knew the characters wouldn’t do or say the things I was trying to say. It really felt like I had to listen more to the people I created than myself sometimes.
C:We have a fight scene we struggled with how Nathan would respond. We kept rewriting and rewriting we knew how he would react but we kept pushing back for drama sake and when we wrote it the way he wanted it, it was perfect.
Convince us why you feel your book is a must-read.
D: I think our book is a must read because it highlights many different kinds of love. While Catherine and Nathan’s romance takes center stage; we also highlight love and deep connections between friends and family. While romance is widely about a passionate connection between lovers, I think there are a lot of other types of passionate relationships. And it’s important to see what real, loving, female relationships look like. Love is an all encompassing emotion, and while passionate kisses and whirlwind relationships are amazing (and some of my favorite tropes) I love how humanizing our book is.
C: I really think our book can be healing for a lot of people. While we don’t have an official diagnoses for Catherine she presents as someone with P.T.S.D and how much it effect your daily and how Catherine heals but it doesn’t stop her from struggling with it.
Have you written any other books that are not published?
D: I’m working on a few different things as well as the sequel to Chasing Catherine.
C: I have a love story I’m working on about Catherine’s parents. We also started the sequel to Chasing Catherine. Dana and I have a few fingers in different pots.
If your book had a candle, what scent would it be?
D: Something fresh and clean like sandalwood and pine, or roses and clean linen.
C: I think if this book was a candle it’d be a lavender scent. Mainly cause the books purple, also because lavender is healing and so is this book.
What did you edit out of this book?
D: I don’t actually think we took a lot out. If anything as we edited, we added things and elaborated.
C: We edited a few scenes out of Nathans family, the story isn’t about them and it would really muddy our story.
Fun Facts/Behind the Scenes/Did You Know?'-type tidbits about the author, the book or the writing process of the book.
D: I think it’s important to note that Chloe and my original intention for this endeavour was that of just messing around. I went to Chloe one day with half an idea and a half-written first page, and she totally ran with me. I had very little idea what this whole thing would turn into. We totally clicked as soon as we started, and before I had any idea what we were doing, we were looking for an editor, and letting people beta the book, and we started talking to my brother about book cover ideas.
C: Fun fact behind the scenes? Well behind the scenes 80% of this book was written from a kitchen while kids ran around us. The other 20% was from our bedrooms after kids were asleep and with a bottle of trashy super sweet wine.
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