Interview with Local Author Cathy Gohlke

July 23rd, 2014

Saving-AmelieLast summer, we had a Local Author’s Day at the Elkton Central Library and we were lucky enough that Cathy Gohlke was able to share some of her books with us. If you missed your chance last year, she’s back with her newest book, Saving Amelie, which just came out in June.

Cathy has published five historical and inspirational novels. Saving Amelie takes place in Germany in 1939. The book follows the story of Rachel Kramer, the daughter of a well-known eugenics scientist. During her father’s business trip to Germany, she makes a few discoveries of her own and is forced into hiding, even though she is an American citizen.

With The Book Thief just released on DVD and a movie based on Lauren Hillenbrand’s Unbroken coming out later this year, stories about World War II are finding renewed popularity at the library. I’ve added Saving Amelie to my “to-read” list and in light of her upcoming visits to the Cecil County Public Library, I had the opportunity to ask Cathy a few questions.

Your newest book Saving Amelie just came out in June. When did you start working on this project?
In the spring of 2012, after completing Band of Sisters.

Your books are set in different places in the past. Is there a specific time and place that you wish you could live?
I’d love to live (at least temporarily) in England during the early 1900s, before the Great War.  It was the world of my great-grandparents, and of my grandmother as a child—a world she shared through words and mannerisms throughout my young life.  That is the world of Promise Me This.

What books have you been reading this summer? Are there certain authors that you look to for inspiration?
I just returned from a research trip to England with sister author, Carrie Turansky, and from a group tour of Scotland’s Highland Castles and Gardens led by sister author Liz Curtis Higgs, so I’ve immersed myself in books about England, the Lake District, Beatrix Potter and Wordsworth, the poetry of Robert Burns, as well as Liz Curtis Higgs’ books.  In stark contrast I’m reading The Nuremberg Mind—The Psychology of the Nazi Leaders, by Florence R. Miale and Michel Selzer as research for my work in progress.

I’m daily inspired by the writings of Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest, and lately by Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship, and Corrie Ten Boom’s Each New Day.  I love it when authors, such as these, challenge my thinking and lift it higher.

When you are not writing, how do you like to spend your time?
When not writing, I spend most of my time caring for my sweet granddaughter while her parents work.  This fall we’ll all be moving into a house together. I couldn’t help but hum “The Walton’s” theme song after visiting the house for the first time!

I love to travel and investigate sites that time forgot—places that whisper story lines through my brain.  I love campfires at night and singing around the piano, spending time with my husband and family and friends, joining in worship services, and reading.  I used to garden a great deal, but these days I’m mostly planting synopses, pruning dialogue and weeding unnecessary verbiage.

Sign up for this opportunity to meet this award-winning local author at 3 library branches. Books will be available for purchase and signing.
Chesapeake City — August 4th @ 6:30pm
Elkton – August 7th @ 6:30pm
Rising Sun – August 12th @ 6:30pm

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Finding Inspiration for Those Holiday To Dos

December 3rd, 2013

I’m really looking forward to the holiday season since this will be my first in my new house. Since we’ve moved in May, I’ve brought home only 2 kinds of books: decorating books and baking cookbooks.  It’s becoming a bit of an obsession.

While I’ve had good intentions on the decorating, I’ve only decided on half of the colors and painted only a quarter of the walls! (Anyone want to come paint my kitchen? Several gallons of paint are waiting for you.  I’ll provide you a cake.)

I can’t seem to resist checking out any cookbook that has a pretty cake on the cover. I enjoy baking from scratch, but since we moved, I haven’t baked anything more complicated than the Hershey’s Chocolate Cake. You can find the easy recipe on the back of the cocoa box. Sorry, Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson and Bake It Like You Mean It by Gesine Bullock-Prado, you look awesome, but I think you’re getting bumped to my New Year’s resolution list.

That said, I am determined to do a few things around my house for the holidays (once I figure out where I packed that box of holiday decorations…)


– Check out Merry & Bright.  I thumb through this book each year, but this holiday I can actually decorate my own house!  Our new home’s mantle and chandelier are just begging to be decked.

– Plan our 4th annual holiday cookie decorating party.

– Get some tips from Cookie Swap by Julia M. Usher. She has a picture of an awesome 3-D cookie Christmas Tree.

– Come up with awesome prize ideas for the cookie swap.  This year I’m thinking I need something special for all of my guests to take home and I saw some good options in Best of Christmas Ideas. They don’t look too complicated YET. Check back with me on this in about a week.

– Wrap my presents NOT the day before we head out to see family.

– Paint my kitchen. (I’m not joking, if you paint it for me, I WILL bake and ice you a cake.)

Who knows if I can get all this done, but I’ll have fun browsing ideas and trying.  Checking out books from the library always helps me get in the spirit and find inspiration.  What holiday traditions will you make and improve upon this year?