SIT DOWN SATURDAY WITH CATHERINE LANIGAN
Blessedly, I never get tired of talking about my SHORES OF INDIAN LAKE series. SOPHIE’S PATH is number seven in the series and like the others, it can be read as a stand alone as well.
When I was devising and constructing my town of Indian Lake, based on my hometown of La Porte, Indiana, (though with a much prettier downtown and better paint jobs), as I laid out streets and drew maps, the characters came to me as I named the streets. (I know, what am I? A City Planner?) When I envisioned Maple Boulevard the main residential street, I started visualizing the houses and I would say, “Now, who lives in this house?” My central characters to the town were and are, Mrs. Beabots, of course, living in her three story Victorian mansion with it’s Widow’s Walk and useless third story ballroom. Of course, she’s had the ballroom renovated into an apartment that she rents out from time to time to new characters in subsequent books, yet to be written.
However, one of the first characters that roared to the forefront in my roster of “Townsfolk” was Sophie Mattuchi. I didn’t know her story but I knew I wanted a girl that the town gossiped about and which all of the stories about her were untrue. Many of us have been the victim of lies and jealousies. Sophie was considered the “town flirt”. In my second book in the series, “Heart’s Desire”, Sophie made her debut as the woman who blatantly went after the hero. Sophie chopped off her beautiful dark hair and streaked it blonde and went on a diet and lost 8 pounds, all in the pursuit of landing Nate Barzonni. Nate, of course, only had eyes for Maddie Strong. In "A Fine Year for Love", Sophie made a pass at Nate’s brother, Gabe. Gabe was polite, but turned her down. By this time, I was fascinated with Sophie and she was telling me her story while my other heroines were vying for attention.
Of all my heroines, Sophie was the one with the most contradictions. She flirted, but she didn’t want men. She came on to guys, but tossed them back after a single date---if she even sat still for a whole evening. I also didn’t want a heroine this time with some massive “issue” or fear. I didn’t want her to be that woman who avoided men because of some past trauma or abuse. Sophie is dedicated to her career but her motivator is that she genuinely wants to help people. She doesn’t have time for men because she’s saving lives.
I wanted a woman with unbelievable heart—generous, kind to a fault and the kind of caring that embraced anyone and everyone who suffered physically or emotionally.
When Jack enters her life, as a patient in the ER after a car accident, her heart is open to help him. His is almost immediately closed off.
That’s where little FRENCHIE, the six pound Yorkie Poo, came to the rescue. Frenchie is the magnet that puts Sophie and Jack together and keeps reeling them back.
I adore animals in books both when I write and reading about them. If you caught my FEAR OF FALLING in March, you were introduced to Rowan, the Thoroughbred, who stole that show, I’ll tell you. Even one of the reviews wanted to know where was Rowan! Sadly, Rowan was our horse and just passed away last August. He’s buried in Texas where I used to live. In LOVE SHADOWS, everyone got to meet Beau.
These were my magnificent Golden Retrievers. Beau, Bebe and Beau Jr. They all live on the Rainbow Bridge now and are waiting for me there. I see them sometimes in dreams.
And below, this is Frenchie, from SOPHIE’S PATH.
Every author takes their inspiration where they find it. Sometimes in odd places, but I like that my animal inspirations are part of my life. On Saturday I posted a blog about all the July Heartwarming Authors and our love of dogs. Take the time to scroll back and check out some of these great dogs.
On the subject of inspiration is that of one of my “causes” for which I’ve donated time, effort and volunteered. Most of you know about my stance on domestic violence and my book, THE EVOLVING WOMAN which was a labor of love to compile stories of courageous women who, though victims of domestic abuse, not only survived, but triumphed with their lives. My other, not-so-well-known book was for the NotMYkid foundation in Phoenix; a book for their own particular use. For a year, I interviewed over 54 addicts and their families and related their stories of how they became addicted and how they changed their lives and triumphed. In SOPHIE’S PATH, the character of Jeremy is an addict whom Sophie desperately tries to save. His story is real, heart-wrenching and pitiable. It is the essence of sadness of our time in history, where there comes a point when little can be done, or for, severe addicts. Sophie, and those like her, are the true heroes of our age.
To get you even further acquainted with Sophie, Jack Carter, and of course, Frenchie, July 4th marks the beginning of our TLC Tour.
Kate James, Amy Vastine and Karen Rock join me in this fun summer blast. Check us out at
I wish all the Heartwarmers a memorable summer. I hope to see many of you in San Diego for the Romance Writers of America Convention. God bless!