A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how I discovered the cover art twin of my heroine Sophie Challoner, who features in my first novel, The Silk Romance. (See cover to right of this post)
Sophie’s cover art twin can be found on the cover of Cathy Mansell’s novel Her Father’s Daughter. I was intrigued to find out more about Cathy’s novel, as it’s set in the Ireland of the fifties and features the Magdalene homes for unmarried women. The shameful history of these homes has been muched talked about recently, especially since the release of the film Philomena. I’m looking forward to seeing the film, even though I expect the story is painful to watch.
Cathy has very kindly dropped in today to talk about Her Father’s Daughter, the origins of her story, and how the cover was born. Thanks for coming, Cathy, and good to meet up again!
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First of all I’d like to say thank you to Helena for having me as her guest today.
Hello, I’m Cathy Mansell, author of Shadow Across the Liffey and Her Father’s Daughter. Both books are published as an eBook with Tirgearr Publishing. Both books will be published by Magna Large Print in March and May 2014. Tirgearr Publishing is also doing a paperback to coincide with Magna Large Print.
I was delighted to meet up with Helena Fairfax at the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s conference this year. But it wasn’t until later that I glimpsed Helena’s book, The Silk Romance, on a media site and discovered that Her Father’s Daughter and The Silk Romance both share the same heroine on our book covers. My heroine Sarah Nolan’s story is set in 1950’s Ireland, whereas Helena’s heroine, Sophie Challoner’s story, is a contemporary set in the London of today. Despite the fact that both heroines inhabit different worlds, the book covers portray them equally well.
Sarah loves fashion, has gorgeous dark hair and beautiful eyes and this cover depicts her brilliantly. That was the easy bit. As well as Her Father’s Daughter being a romantic love story, this book has a darker side and the cover background needed to reflect that. My publisher took time and patience over this. We needed a foreboding building resembling a convent with large windows and a pregnant woman. Most pictures of pregnant women were too modern for the 50’s. We went through many, from someone kneeling, to statues and crosses. It took time before we were both happy with the image of Sarah on the right and a dejected young woman sitting by the window. Both of these descriptions mirror Sarah and Lucy in the story. And so, the cover for Her Father’s Daughter was born with the help of Tirgearr’s lovely cover artist, Amanda Stephanie.
The inspiration to write Her Father’s Daughter came a few years ago, when the Magdalene homes in Ireland were getting bad press and television coverage for the treatment of unmarried women, in the 50s and 60s who fell pregnant outside marriage. I read stories by women who had suffered incarceration in these homes at a time when it was socially, and morally, unacceptable to have a child out of wedlock.
Her Father’s Daughter is a romantic mystery set in the newspaper world of yesterday and the mysteries of the Magdalene homes.
Set in the 1950s Ireland, twenty-year-old Sarah Nolan leaves her home in Dublin after avseries of arguments. She has taken a job in Cork city with the Gazette, a move her parents’ strongly oppose. With her limited budget, she is forced to take unsavoury lodgings where the property owner cannot be trusted. Soon after she settles in, Sarah befriends sixteen-year-old Lucy, who has been left abandoned and pregnant.
Dan Madden is a charming and flirtatious journalist who wins Sarah’s heart. He promises to end his relationship with Ruth, but can Sarah trust him to keep his word?
It is when her editor asks to see her birth certificate that she discovers some long-hidden secrets. Her parents’ behaviour continues to baffle her and her problems with Dan and Lucy multiply.
Will Dan stand by Sarah in her time of need? Will Sarah be able to help Lucy keep her baby? Or, will the secrets destroy Sarah and everything she dreams of for her future.
Cathy writes romantic suspense and started writing novels ten years ago. She grew up in Dublin, Ireland until she was twenty. So, it is only natural that she should set her books there. However, her affinity with Leicester, Manchester, Birmingham and New York, means that each of these cities holds a strong sense of place in her books.
Cathy’s great aunt, Maryanne emigrated to the United States around 1904. A song writer and poet, she made a living as a writer, up until the Wall Street crash in 1929 when she lost all her money. Cathy emigrated to England from Dublin nearly fifty years ago and lived in various cities before settling in Leicestershire.
Information regarding both books and future books can be found at the links below.
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Thanks so much for coming today, Cathy. It was interesting to hear how your artwork was developed. A lot of thought went into both our covers, and, as you say, I think they each reflect our individual stories in an inventive way.
Did you enjoy hearing the story behind Cathy’s novel? Have you seen the film Philomena, and if so, what did you think? If you have any questions or comments at all, please let us know. We’d love to hear from you!