Catherine Marshall was born in Birmingham and studied Literature and Theatre at North Cheshire College. She began writing at the age of eleven and sold her first short stories to Jackie magazine while she was still a student. As well as contributing short stories to a variety of magazines, she has written and published two romantic novels.
Catherine is the author of Masquerade and Excluded and her new novel, Still Water. She is married with two children and lives in Lancashire.
Q: What themes inspire you to write?
A: Chiefly, I think, the theme of identity. It's most obvious in Masquerade, but runs through everything I write. I'm intrigued by the discrepancy between the face we present to the world and who we really are, or think we are. Possibly it just means I've been having one long identity crisis! I'm also interested in looking at the intricacy and intensity of relationships, at fate and revenge and how we deal with betrayal.
Q: How much of your writing is inspired by your own experiences?
A: Most of it! I tend to take a situation I've experienced and transform and extend it into interesting fiction (hopefully!). For example, I did attend a Psychology summer school (Masquerade) and I do work in a challenging secondary school (Excluded), but the events and characters in those books are only inspired by reality. I like to base my novels firmly in the real world but then take the characters several steps further.
Q: You do not feel easy slotting your books into conventional genres. Why not?
A: Publishers and agents tend to like to pigeonhole their writers into easily identifiable genres for ease of marketing, but I've never felt I was writing in a particular genre - not because I find it defining or limiting, but because I always just feel I'm telling a story about people. There are strong mystery and thriller elements to all my books, but they are also at base about relationships and character led rather than plot led.