Horses, Vertigo and Dull Books

Neigh! Before you ask, I’m not blogging about mystery meat lasagna. I’m…. wait a minute… ahhh… ahhh…

From 'Royal Robber' by ??? illustrated by Cathy Brett

From ‘Royal Robber’ by Karen Wallace, illustrated by Cathy Brett


Sniff. I’m blogging about my new book. I should be well into writing it by now, but because of the subject matter and additional research I’m seriously behind schedule. In the past I’ve written about artists, musicians, actors, fashion designers, emo teens and stressed-out families – all things very familiar to me. This time I’m exploring stuff I usually avoid like crazy, like horse riding and mountaineering.

(I’m sometimes asked to illustrate books about horses but DO NOT to draw them from life. See proof above!)

Why do I usually avoid these things? Well…

1. I’m horribly allergic to fur and feathers. Simply put, I sniff, itch, gag and wheeze in close proximity to animals and birds. I don’t have to touch or stroke them, just being in the same room (or field) is enough to set me off.

2. I’m also stupidly afraid of heights. Climbing the stepladders to my loft turns me into a shivering heap. I get panic attacks in high heels. Honest.

From 'Graphic!' (Barrington Stoke, WIP) by Cathy Brett

From ‘Graphic!’ (Barrington Stoke, WIP) by Cathy Brett

So, why am I researching ponies and dangling off cliff faces? Well, partly because these things gatecrashed my plot notes and hung around for a while then seemed to push the story in an interesting direction, so I let them stay. And partly because I like a challenge. Life would be so dull if we did the same things all the time and my books would be dull if I wrote the same stories and drew in the same style. I’d get bored too. Of course, the new book will contain plenty of artists, musicians, actors, emo teens, stressed-out families and illustrations as well. I just might do the pictures in crayon. Or collage. Or…

From 'Everything Is Fine (And Other Lies I Tell Myself)' by Cathy Brett

From ‘Everything Is Fine (And Other Lies I Tell Myself)’ by Cathy Brett

Do you read or write about the same things all the time? And are there subjects or genres that you avoid?

4 thoughts on “Horses, Vertigo and Dull Books

  1. I read loads of genres. I’m trying to think of one I don’t like. My friends have different tastes in books,but I’m a mix between the two. I like most of the books they like.

  2. I try and read EVERYTHING. I mean, Teen, Horror, Kids and Tween books. 🙂 LOVE your book Ember Fury Cathy! 🙂 I’m on the look-out for your other books, but, they’re not on the shelves anywhere. 😦

  3. I gorged on real-life ghost stories for a while when I was in my mid-teens. Then I realised I was scaring myself silly (for no reason) and have never read them since – in fact I now /can’t/ read them….

    Apart from that I read everything from cornflake packets to encyclopaedias – except for Barbara Cartland, but that’s a health and safety issue (I get irrepressible giggles 😉 )

  4. I think that horror obsession must hit everyone. I remember my best friend introducing me to Stephen King in my early teens and then devouring all his (very scary) books and short stories. Now that I’m (much) older I hate horror and have strenuously resisted the current crime fiction craze.

    I didn’t always agree with recommendations when I was younger, though. Most of my mates raved about C.S.Lewis and Tolkien but I found both virtually unreadable. Each to his own. There are enough books and authors to satisfy all tastes, right?

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