I was born and grew up on the small island of Guernsey, one of the British Channel Islands in the English Channel, just off the coast of northern France.
My mother was a professional landscape artist, who spent her life painting the beautiful beaches and countryside of Guernsey. And so I grew up in an environment where it was a very normal thing to want to make a living from your art. Which is just as well, because I’m someone who always knew she wanted to be a writer, and if I’d had parents who’d harboured hopes of me becoming a tax accountant or a corporate lawyer, they’d have been sorely disappointed.
I’ve been obsessed with words and books since the day I first learned to read, and grew up on classic children’s authors like Enid Blyton and Edith Nesbit. As I got older I began to gravitate towards love stories with gripping plots, devouring novels like Jane Eyre, Rebecca, Katharine, Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice, about clever, independent-minded women caught up in passionate affairs with complex, Byronic men. And equally I loved sweeping epics like The Thorn Birds and Gone With The Wind. I have always been a hopeless romantic, and my favourite novels are beautiful, intelligent love stories that combine a gripping plot with gorgeous prose and wonderful historical detail to lose yourself in.
I was also a keen writer myself from an early age, penning copious stories and poems – as well as plays to be performed in the field behind our house, with parts for me and my younger brother and sister, but always with myself in the starring role (of course!)
My love of language developed into an interest in foreign languages, and I went on to study French and German at university, then to live and study in Germany for several years after that. Most recently I worked as a journalist.Throughout my time at university I studied 1900-1945 European history and culture – a period that continues to fascinate me. I always knew that when I eventually wrote my first novel it would be a novel of historical fiction set during the first half of the twentieth century. And that it would be first and foremost a love story.
Mental health is a subject that has always hugely interested me, and from the very start I knew that Beyond The Moon would be set partly in a psychiatric hospital. As I began to research people’s experiences in mental hospitals I was shocked to find just how common it is for patients to suffer neglect and abuse in such places. I can understand that modern-day Coldbrook Hall might seem far-fetched to some readers, but I assure you, you don’t have to look far on the internet to find some appalling stories. Just recently the following articles appeared in UK newspapers: ‘Firms cash in on psychiatric care crisis’ in The Times, and ‘Care Quality Commission [the UK regulator] places two Priory Group hospitals in special measures’ in The Guardian. If I, in my very small way through Beyond The Moon, can help shine a light on this modern-day scandal, then I am very glad.
I hope you enjoy Beyond The Moon as much as I loved writing it. I love to hear from readers, so please do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, on my contact details page, you can sign up for my mailing list and receive occasional (I don’t have the time for anything more frequent!) news about Beyond The Moon and future novels.My Instagram, where I'm pretty active, is @catherine_taylor_author
I’m currently busy working on a second historical novel set in 1930s Germany and Guernsey, which is going to be in two parts. It’s another smart historical love story, and I’m very excited about it.I now live in London with my husband and children - and two very active chinchillas.