Today I’m interviewing fellow Soul Mate Publishing author, Catherine Castle, about her novel, The Nun and the Narc.
Q: How long have you been writing?
A: I’ve been writing for my own enjoyment since I was kid. Mostly short stories, poetry, and a teenage angst ridden romance, written in longhand, which I still have.
Q: Tell us about your road to publication.
A: I began writing professionally in 1990 as a freelance journalist for the local weekly paper and for the next 10 years my writing blossomed into a number of markets, including writing for children, seniors, local magazines, the stage, and beginning my fiction career. I have over 600 non-fiction articles and photographs ranging from hard news, human interest stories, travel pieces, and business articles and advertorials. With my coauthor husband, I’ve also written fiction and drama which has been produced by churches around the country. In 2004, I stopped writing non-fiction and began concentrating on fiction writing only. My debut book The Nun and the Narc, which placed in several contests as an unpublished manuscript, was published in 2013 by Soul Mate Publishing. The book is a 2014 EPIC finalist and a 2014 RONE nominee and has received some wonderful reviews.
Q: What advice would you give an aspiring writer?
A: Don’t give up. It took nearly 10 years for me to find the right publisher for The Nun and the Narc, because it didn’t fit the normal inspirational parameters. A well-know publishing house loved the book, but they just didn’t know what to do with a Catholic heroine, so they passed on it. Thankfully, Soul Mate editor Debbie Gilbert loved the book enough to take a chance on it.
Q: Tell us about your latest release.
A: The Nun and the Narc is an outside-the-box inspirational, romantic suspense. Readers and reviewers have called it a non-preachy, funny, action packed, page turner that will make you lose sleep because you don’t want to put it down.
Where novice Sister Margaret Mary goes, trouble follows. When she barges into a drug deal the local Mexican drug lord captures her. To escape she must depend on undercover DEA agent Jed Bond. Jed’s attitude toward her is exasperating, but when she finds herself inexplicable attracted to him he becomes more dangerous than the men who have captured them, because he is making her doubt her decision to take her final vows. Escape back to the nunnery is imperative, but life at the convent, if she can still take her final vows, will never be the same.
Nuns shouldn’t look, talk, act, or kiss like Sister Margaret Mary O’Connor—at least that’s what Jed Bond thinks. She hampers his escape plans with her compulsiveness and compassion and in the process makes Jed question his own beliefs. After years of walling up his emotions in an attempt to become the best agent possible, Sister Margaret is crumbling Jed’s defenses and opening his heart. To lure her away from the church would be unforgivable—to lose her unbearable.
Margaret inched forward, hoping to hear what they were saying. A mariachi band nearby blared out a tune, the polka-like melody destroying any hope of eavesdropping. The shriek of off-key brass sent chills up her spine. She covered her ears and moved closer to Rafael and the stranger.
After a couple of minutes of conversation, the man removed an envelope from his jacket and pulled out a handful of bills. He folded them in half and then slipped them into Rafael’s extended hand. With a furtive glance around, Rafael moved closer to the man, blocking Margaret’s direct view, and handed something to the stranger.
A wave of apprehension swept over Margaret. The chapulines she’d snacked on earlier that morning threatened to see the light of day.
A drug deal! Of all the things Rafael could do, this was the worst.
Esperanza had fought so hard to keep her son away from bad influences. Now he appeared to be involved in the very thing she’d hated most. Margaret imagined Esperanza banging on the gates of purgatory, trying to get out and rescue her son.
She hesitated for a moment, hearing Mother Superior’s admonishment. Stay out of trouble while you are in Mexico, Sister.
Silencing the nagging voice in her head, Margaret charged forward, protective instincts in full swing.
Stopping Rafael and talking to him about the dangers of drugs surely wouldn’t qualify as trouble. Bluntness, maybe, but not trouble. It was more like saving. Yes, that’s it. I’m saving him.
Margaret grabbed Rafael by the shirt. “I’ve been searching for you, young man.” She faced the stranger, giving him her best withering stare. “You should be ashamed of yourself.”
The man stuffed the plastic bag into his jacket pocket. “Who is this?”
“Some crazy gringa.” Rafael shrugged, hard, trying to escape her grasp.
The plastic bag contained something white. Heroin? Cocaine? Margaret tightened her hold and drew Rafael closer. She would save him whether he wanted to be saved or not.
“Get out of here,” Rafael snarled.
“What would your mother say if she saw this?”
Rafael’s expression darkened. “Leave my mother out of this!” He wrenched out of Margaret’s grip and spun around to face her. His expression morphed from anger to fear. “¡Madre de Dios!”
The man’s head jerked around. “Get down!” he shouted.
Rafael took off running down the street as the top row of pottery in the stand exploded like popcorn.
Margaret jumped at the loud noise and whirled around searching for the source. The man removed a gun from his jacket, swung around, and scanned the area.
Margaret’s knees buckled at the sight of the handgun. Her body tensed, her gaze frozen on his weapon. He fired off a couple of shots. Heart thumping like a jackhammer, she ran for cover behind the open car door. The window glass shattered as bullets whizzed over her head. She scrambled into the car and crouched on the floorboard. Another row of pottery shattered, sending fragments into the car like tiny projectile rockets. Sending up a quick prayer, she covered her head.
Slamming the door shut as he passed, the man leapt over the trunk. He jerked open the driver’s door then jumped behind the wheel. Jamming the car into gear, he roared out into the market street. Shoppers and vendors screamed, leaping out of the car’s path.
Margaret scrambled into the passenger seat. “Stop this car immediately!”
“Keep down,” he ordered, “unless you want to get shot.”
The rear window glass erupted into the car’s interior, punctuating his words. The man fired at the attackers through the shattered back window.
“Shot?” Her voice rose an octave. “Oh, dear Lord in Heaven, what have I gotten into?”
“Trouble, Lady.” He fired off another round. “Big trouble.”
Catherine Castle has been writing all her life. Before beginning her career as a romance writer she worked part-time as a freelance writer. She has over 600 articles and photographs to her credit, under her real name, in the Christian and secular market. Besides writing, Catherine loves traveling with her husband, singing, and attending theatre. In the winter she loves to quilt and has a lot of UFOs (unfinished objects) in her sewing case. In the summer her favorite place to be is in her garden. She’s passionate about gardening and even won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club.
Her debut inspiration romantic suspense, The Nun and the Narc, from Soul Mate Publishing was an ACFW Genesis Finalist, a 2014 EPIC finalist and a 2014 RONE nominee.