Agent (& Media Enquiries)
Emma Rusher, Julie Thomson
House of Rusher
Phone: +617 3036 2024
Selina Power (Social Media Manager)
House of Rusher
David Scott (Paperback Distribution Aust/NZ)
Phone: +612 8445 2300
Cathryn Chapman (Author)
Cathryn Chapman nearly gave up her writing career when her eighth grade English teacher refused to believe her sensual poem could have been written by somebody so young. Two years later, when Cathryn was fourteen, that same English teacher declared she should start writing for Mills & Boon, and a women’s fiction writer was born. Cathryn graduated from university with a business degree and spent seven years travelling the world — working on cruise ships and living in London, New York, Paris, and South America. In her thirties, she left a successful marketing and public relations career to pursue her dream of gracing the stages in London’s West End. When this failed dismally, Cathryn settled down in Brisbane with her husband and baby boy and finally stayed in one place long enough to write her first novel, SEX, LIES, AND CRUISING.
Book Cover Blurb
Exotic locations, sexy men, and crazy crew parties… Ellie has her dream job… or does she?
When Ellie’s fiancé cheats on her with a younger, slimmer, blonde from the office, she boots him out of her life and finds solace in a fabulous photography job aboard a Caribbean cruise ship. Twenty-four hours on board and she’s already shagged her sexy Texan colleague, who happens to love her muffin-top. Unfortunately he’s leaving in a week, and his ex-girlfriend, a hot-headed Brazilian with stripper moves right out of the 90s and a talent for stealing boyfriends, is still on board and out for revenge.
Ellie must work out how to deal with the loco ex, sort the lying scumbags from the good guys, and figure out how many crew members in a cabin it takes before officially becoming group sex. Who the hell knows? (It’s five, actually.) It’s a world completely unlike the one she left behind, but as she tries to find her place on board, Ellie discovers laughter and tears in equal measure. And in the midst of the craziness, she realises the greatest thing this lifestyle change has given her is the chance to rediscover herself.
1. When did you know that you wanted to be an author?
In high school, my favourite English teacher suggested I write for Mills & Boon, but back then, besides knowing nothing about relationships (I was 14!), we also didn’t have the internet, so the idea of doing that for a living was quite ridiculous. I also was in a world where nobody really supported creative career dreams. My parents were totally supportive of me having a creative outlet in my life (dancing, singing, etc), but I don’t think anybody believed there were realistic jobs for me outside something like law or business.
So it was a few years ago, after spending over seven years of my adult life living and working in other countries, including a lot of varied life experiences, that people started saying “You should write a book about your life.” I just thought, “I’m not famous. Nobody wants to read my memoir.” But over time, the idea morphed into writing fiction instead. Then I’m not limited to write one book. I could write at least twenty books inspired by all the crazy stuff I’ve done!
2. Where did you get the idea for this book?
I was inspired by my cruise ship contracts in my early twenties and again in my thirties. So many crazy things happen on ships – you really have no idea until you get there. Some people love it and some people don’t. I’m probably one of the latter. There are definite benefits to working on ships – I saw several countries and partied a lot; and although I was no angel, I couldn’t get past the way many people behaved when they thought you wouldn’t be part of their life for the long term, and were away from their unsuspecting partners at home. I don’t imagine anybody who hasn’t worked on ships could really understand what it was like – even people who have been passengers. So I wanted to write something that was both funny and shocking at the same time, which was a reflection of my experience, without being autobiographical.
3. How much of the book is realistic?
It is and it isn’t. Like many women, I have some things in common with the character of Ellie, and everything in the book would definitely happen on ships. In fact, the real experience was often much more shocking. Having said that, it’s still fiction. I haven’t done everything Ellie does, or been through everything she has, although I probably know somebody who has. Some of the characters and events are loosely based on an amalgamation of real people and events, but none of them are actually real. I completely invented a majority of the book, but I’m flattered if people think the characters are convincing enough to sound real!
4. What’s the most ‘taboo’ thing you ever witnessed on a cruise ship?
Definitely all the cheating – in all its forms – and how accepted it is. Men who had a wife and kids at home and a girlfriend on the ship. When his wife came on board for a vacation, the girlfriend would move out of his cabin for the week and basically pretend she didn’t know him. Nobody would breathe a word. Then the night his wife went home, the girlfriend would move back in as though nothing had happened.
Possibly what was even worse, was the people who cheated on their partners who were actually on the ship with them. When one person was working or asleep, their partner would jump into bed with someone else. It happened to me once too, and he was in the cabin next door to me. Horrific.
5. How did you come up with your excellent cover art?
It was a combination of ideas from myself and my great friend and talented designer, Jo Kuipers. I had actually had at least three covers designed previously, by freelance designers. I didn’t fall in love with any of them as they didn’t represent the right ‘feel’ of the book. We discussed what chick lit covers should look like, and agreed we didn’t want a full illustration… then I left her to it, and she came up with something very similar to this, using a different model. The model’s expression and hands didn’t quite work, so I found the new photo; then a friend of mine in Tunisia changed her hair colour and added some saturation to her lips, and Jo put it onto the background. Hey presto, we had the perfect cover! Lots of people are responding well to it, so that’s really exciting to hear.
6. If your book became a movie, who would you cast to play Ellie?
Romola Garai. She’s a fabulous British actress who has done lots of theatre, and been in films like Atonement. My publicist is talking to people about adapting the book for TV, and has offered Romola a copy, so you never know!
7. What does a typical day in your shoes look like?
At the moment, I’m usually up around 4.30am. I try to spend up to an hour working on book promotion, social media, and catching up with news, before my three year old wakes up at 5-5.30am. I go back to bed and lie with him for as long as possible, cuddling him while he drinks his almond milk. Then I do the morning routine, like getting ready for work, and usually leave home around 7.30am. I work in marketing for a large non-profit, and get to leave around 4pm. When I get home, I spend time with my son, and take turns with my husband and mum preparing dinner and doing the evening routine. When my son goes to sleep around 7pm, I go back to my computer to work on my new book, promotion, or whatever, until about 9.30pm. Okay, that’s a lie. I’m often still sitting in my office at 11pm – then I curse myself and rush to bed before waking up at 4.30am and doing it all over again. Sometimes I also have client work to do for a marketing consultancy I freelance for. Once a week I try to have a night out with my husband – we’re lucky that my mum lives downstairs from us – but I’m always tired.
8. Do you have any advice for other writers?
When I was struggling around the halfway mark with this book, I saw an interview with a writer on TV who said that she had gone to college with all these talented writers who made her feel inadequate, but seven years later, she was the only published author – with three books under her belt. She said writing is a discipline, and you don’t have to be the most talented and creative writer to write books – you just have to be dedicated and motivated. So I made a rule – that seven days a week, no matter how tired I was, and whether I felt like it or not, I would sit and write for a minimum of 15 minutes. That way, if the words didn’t flow, or everything I wrote was rubbish, I only had to sit there for 15 minutes. Sometimes, those nights I didn’t feel like writing turned into three hours and 3,000 words – and I wrote the last thirteen chapters in a quarter of the total time it took to write the first eight!
9. What made you decide to self-publish?
I always had an idea that I wanted to self-publish. I work in marketing, so I had an idea how to promote. I like to have control, and I’m fairly impatient – and published books take a long time to be released – so it felt like the natural choice. But my mentor said it was a shame to not give the book a chance at traditional publishing and suggested I try and get an agent. Some agents can receive up to something like 15,000 submissions from authors each year, and may take on one or two. The odds aren’t good, and even if you get published, a debut author has to do a lot of publicity anyway. I figured that when I self-published and became successful, the agents would come looking for me, anyway. So I tried, but my heart wasn’t in it. A voice was yelling in my head every day “YOU NEED TO SELF-PUBLISH!” and I eventually listened.