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The Story behind The Things We Knew by Catherine West

Please join me in welcoming Catherine West to the blog this week. She’s sharing a little bit about what inspired her to write her new novel, The Things We Knew. Isn’t that a great title? Here’s a little bit about the book.

things-we-knewWhen their tragic past begins to resurface, can he help her remember the things she can’t?

After her mother’s death twelve years ago, Lynette Carlisle watched her close-knit family unravel. One by one, her four older siblings left their Nantucket home and never returned. All seem to blame their father for their mother’s death, but nobody will talk about that tragic day. And Lynette’s memory only speaks through nightmares.

Then Nicholas Cooper returns to Nantucket, bringing the past with him. Once Lynette’s adolescent crush, Nick knows more about her mother’s death than he lets on. The truth could tear apart his own familyand destroy his fragile friendship with Lynette, the woman he no longer thinks of as a kid sister.

As their father’s failing health and financial concerns bring the Carlisle siblings home, secrets surface that will either restore their shattered relationships or separate the siblings forever. But pulling up anchor on the past propels them into the perfect storm, powerful enough to make them question their faith, their willingness to forgive, and the very truth of all the things they thought they knew.

Oh, what a good-sounding read. What inspired you to write this book?

I’ve always wanted to write family relational drama, so a story with a large family, albeit dysfunctional, really appealed to me. I wasn’t quite sure how it would all turn out until I started writing. But I think every family has its own set of problems, a lot of times hidden behind closed doors, and I wanted to write a story that exposed this and said, it’s okay, let’s face this and see what God can do with it.

You live on the island of Bermuda. Is that what gave you the idea to set this story on the island of Nantucket?

I thought a small island setting would be dramatic and Nantucket appealed to me because living on an island myself, I thought I would relate to that kind of life, and be able to describe the weather with some accuracy. Being able to incorporate elements like the weather, using storms in certain scenes, added to the mystery of the story. Although Nantucket is very different to Bermuda, the atmosphere is very much the same.

Are there any special challenges you encounter in research and writing because of where you live?

Really, the biggest issue for me is not being able to get to anywhere easily for research. I was only able to research online for this story, and fortunately Nantucket is small enough, that by using Google Maps, I could ‘virtually’ walk around and get a feel for the island that way! But thanks to the internet, most research is pretty easy with the click of a button, and people are always willing to help via email etc.

What message do you hope your readers will take away from the book?

Truth is the backbone of The Things We Knew. I think the lesson learned is that keeping secrets of any kind is never a good thing. But there is always forgiveness, grace, and hope to be found in any situation.

What else are you working on?

I’ve just finished edits on my next release with HCCP, which comes out in March 2017 – The Memory of You.

Thanks so much for joining us, Catherine. The book sounds so intriguing.

catherine-west-author-headshot-001INSPY Award-winning author Catherine West writes stories of hope and healing from her island home in Bermuda. When she’s not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or reading books by her favorite authors. She and her husband have two grown children. Catherine’s novel, Bridge of Faith, won the 2015 Grace Award. Her new novel, The Things We Knew, released July 12th, 2016, through Harper Collins Christian Publishing.

Catherine loves to connect with her readers and can be reached at; Website:

Catherine is giving away a copy of the book. Scroll down to enter!

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Thanks so much for joining us, Catherine!


  1. I’ve never been on an island so don’t know for sure what I would like about them. I’m not a big fan of big expanses of water so I’m uncertain if I’d enjoy getting to the island. I’m guessing I’d enjoy the plants and beaches.

  2. The peace and quiet from the city.

  3. Not sure what I like best about islands, never been on one. I live in an isolated area tho, and sometimes it feels like I might live on a deserted island. I don’t mind it, but I do sometimes wonder how long it might be before someone found me, should something happen to me.

  4. I was born and raised in Bermuda and lived there for a long time before moving to another island in northern Michigan. While the climate change was rather extreme, I love being able to go to the shore and see for miles and miles, and dream about what lies beyond the horizon. When I lived in Bermuda the smell of the salt air was intoxicating. Living in the middle of a Great Lake is slightly different but I love the solitude here especially in the winter. There is just something so mysterious about the secrets in the water surrounding an island, and the sounds of the waves hitting the shore.

  5. The water! The beach and the quiet, listening to the tide going in and out.