An interview with Catherine Drake, Author of The Treehouse on Dog River Road
“What a fun read! I loved the main character, Hannah, an ambitious young woman who spends a summer in Vermont reevaluating her life. She doesn’t want to let anything get in her way, especially a man. Then she meets Nathan. The author really evokes the setting of Vermont, so much that I want to visit. Smart, funny, charming, The Treehouse on Dog River Road has all the makings of a great romcom.” Jody Hadlock, author of The Lives of Diamond Bessie
What is your book about?
At 28, Hannah Spencer is disillusioned with her current life. After college she followed her friends to Boston and ended up living a life that she never imagined for herself. She makes an abrupt decision to leave her well-paying job and take some time to reconsider what she wants to do and where she wants to live. This respite takes the form of a move to Vermont to take care of her niece and nephew for the summer. There, while building them a treehouse, she falls for Nathan who complicates her desire to embark on a new life out west. The book explores a young woman putting her life on hold to take stock and uncovers what is truly important to her in her quest to create her best life.
What do you hope other people will take away from reading your book?
The main reason I chose this theme of pausing and taking stock of your life was to inspire others, especially young women, to do the same. I had been witnessing smart, energetic, creative young people heading to cities across the country after college with their friends and then ending up unhappy yet paralyzed with indecision about what to do next. I decided to write about a woman who recognized this was not the path for her and tell the story of how she rebooted her life. I see fiction as a vehicle to not only entertain but provide inspiration for the reader.
How long did it take to write your book and what was the biggest challenge?
The idea for the story came to me about 10 years ago, but I didn’t get serious with the writing until 2017 and finished the first draft in about a year.
The greatest challenge was to edit the book after my best friend/younger sister had an aneurism and died in early 2019. That crushing, abrupt tragedy leveled me, and I was unable to function for a while let alone edit my book. I took some time off and started up again during the pandemic. I find that writing and editing comes easily but making the time to write is my greatest challenge.
What is your favorite book in the same genre as your work?
I really enjoyed Linda Holmes’ Evvie Drake Starts Over because it is a more relatable story than many contemporary romances. It’s not based on a series of completely unrealistic premises, which I really dislike in a romance novel. The people are honest with each other and communicate like normal people. The dialogue is witty and the circumstances believable. I tried to do the same in my book.
What does literary success look like to you?
Success for me is achieved every time a reader has told me that they loved the book, identified with the main character, and felt inspired by her. That to me makes it all worthwhile. That was my goal.
What do you do when you are not writing?
I am moving, always moving. I find it hard to sit still which is why I love listening to audiobooks while doing chores. My husband and I love home improvement projects and making things. We’ve made treehouses, cabanas, snow castles, and I love to make clothes and garden. We are outside as much as possible walking the dog, tennis, hiking, skiing and we love to travel.
How can our readers get a copy of your book?
The Treehouse on Dog River Road can be found wherever books are sold, but I like to encourage ordering from local bookstores. It is available in paperback, ebook and audiobook online at all the usual places. It is available for pre-order now and launches on May 10, 2022.
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