#ConfessionSession with Cath Crowley

Hi everyone! Wow, this is so exciting – it’s my second blog tour in less than a week! Today I have the pleasure of sharing an interview I conducted with Cath Crowley. For those of you that don’t know, Cath recently wrote a gorgeous and touching #LoveOzYA novel entitled Words in Deep Blue. This poignant tale of love, loss, family and friendship is one that will sear itself on the hearts of everyone who reads it, and it was amazing to have the opportunity to ask Cath some questions that we all want answered.

Words in Deep Blue

This is a love story.

It’s the story of Howling Books, where readers write letters to strangers, to lovers, to poets.

It’s the story of Henry Jones and Rachel Sweetie. They were best friends once, before Rachel moved to the sea. 

Now, she’s back, working at the bookstore, grieving for her brother Cal and looking for the future in the books people love, and the words they leave behind.

Let’s get started!

Hi Cath! It’s a pleasure to e-meet you! Thanks so much for allowing me to ask you a few questions for the Words in Deep Blue blog tour. I absolutely loved reading your novel and I’m looking forward to seeing what the rest of the blogger community thought!

Thank you ☺️ And thanks so much for taking the time to write such great questions.

Thank you! So a couple of them are specific to your novel, Words in Deep Blue, but most are just some general inquiries into your life as a reader and novelist. So we’re going to call this little chat #ConfessionSession! I can’t wait to see your answers!

“You can’t get better if you don’t take risks, and if you take risks, you’re bound to fail sometimes.”

What’s your favourite second-hand bookshop? Is there one that gave you inspiration to write Words in Deep Blue?

I have a lot of favourites. I love Alice’s Bookshop in Rathdowne Street and The Known World Bookshop in Ballarat. My dad had a secondhand shop in his shed for a while, and I loved that too.

Those sound lovely! I don’t have a favourite second-hand bookshop, but there’s a few I like to visit regularly.

So as writing little notes or letters in books is a key idea in Words in Deep Blue, have you ever written a note to someone in a copy of a book? If so, who was it to and what book was it written in? If not, who would you like to write to, and in what book?

I’ve written lots of notes, and left them in books, all of them to strangers. I’ve left all of them in random books, so I’m not sure of the titles. While writing Words in Deep Blue I went into bookstores and snuck them in between pages. I haven’t received any replies, so some of the notes are probably still out there. I asked a lot of friends to leave notes too. If they did, and I’m pretty certain they did, then there are notes from Fiona Wood, Simmone Howell, Tim Richards, Gabrielle Wang and my nieces scattered around the place. I’d love to know if anyone finds them.

I think it’s a really beautiful idea that we can hide away letters in books and someone might read them one day, and it might put a smile on their face. I’m definitely going to do that too.

Speaking of books, as a percentage, how many books of those you own do you think you’ve actually read? Or are you one of those strange creatures who’s read *gasp* all the books they own because they don’t buy new ones until they ‘need’ them?

That’s a good question. I’d guess I’ve read at least ninety-nine percent of mine. But I’m only just starting to read my partner’s collection. I’ve only read maybe ten percent of his. I’m still buying books, and borrowing from my library, though. So no, I’m not someone who reads everything before starting something new.

That’s impressive! I think I’ve only read about 60% of the books I own, which is probably because I reward myself for reading a book with two new books! I’d love to get through them all one day, but I like having a lot on my shelf unread because then it feels like I have my very own library.

Next question: what’s one really popular series or book you’ve never read?

I haven’t read any of the Twilight books.

I don’t think you’re missing out on much, to be honest! Though, I used to be obsessed with those books when I was eleven. That was until the movies started coming out and that seemed to put me off.

Back to the topic of bookshops, have you ever done or said anything in a bookshop that made people give you a strange look? I know that one time I was in a bookshop and I was desperate to get a copy of Insurgent on the day it came out. There was only one copy of the shelf and I was so happy I started laughing and crying at the same time and then, to make matters worse, I shouted ‘I found it!’ to the entire bookshop. Have you ever done something embarrassing like that?

I did once run out in my pyjamas to get the second book in the His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman. I’d finished Northern Lights and needed the second book immediately. I don’t like to wait for stories. I did the same thing with the TV show Twin Peaks, back in the day when there were video stores.

Philip Pullman is awesome, so I can definitely understand the need to run out in your pyjamas!

Segueing from one awesome author to another, do you think you’ll get nervous seeing all the reviews of Words in Deep Blue being posted soon? Do you worry readers might have hated it?

Of course. But there’s bound to be a mix of people who like and don’t like it. It’s impossible to please everyone. And I think it’s important to remember that we don’t get the wonderful stories, the stories that keep us up at night or haunt us for years, if we don’t let writer’s fail. You can’t get better if you don’t take risks, and if you take risks, you’re bound to fail sometimes. Failing’s the wrong word, actually. Sometimes you don’t hit all the notes. Hopefully most people will find something to like in Words in Deep Blue.

That’s a really lovely way to think about it. It’s so important to take risks in any endeavour if you hope to improve, and I think it’s so courageous and we should be proud of ourselves for that fact alone. And ultimately, I think if you enjoyed the experience and grew in some way from it, you never really fail. I think we all need to be reminded that sometimes!

Onto a different type of writing, have you ever read or written any fanfiction? If so, what was it based off? 

I haven’t written any ☺️

That’s probably for the best! Gosh, reading fanfiction can sometimes lead you down a hole that’s hard to get out of. I remember reading nothing but Johnlock (John Watson / Sherlock Holmes) fanfiction for a month!

If someone were to rewrite Words in Deep Blue as a fanfiction, which two characters do you think they would pair together, or ‘ship’ (that aren’t already in a relationship)? How would that make you feel?

I’d feel flattered that people believed enough in my characters to give them other lives. They might pair Rachel and Martin? Although I don’t think that would work. Most likely, they’d write the future for Martin and George. At least, I hope they would.

I’d like that too. But what I think we all want is for you to write a sequel to Words in Deep Blue about Martin and George set after the original novel ends – like The Boy Most Likely To after Huntley Fitzpatrick’s My Life Next Door. Just a suggestion. Think about it! 😉

Next one: who would you recruit for your apocalypse squad? You’re only allowed to pick five characters!

From any books? I’d want Rachel, Henry, Lucy, Ed, and Jazz. But from other books or from TV? I’d want Buffy, Veronica Mars, Elizabeth Bennet, Stephanie Edgley and Clarice Bean.

Great choices! From any books and TV, I think I’d choose The Doctor (Doctor Who), Sherlock (BBC Sherlock), Magnus Bane (The Mortal Instruments), Sydney Sage (Bloodlines) and August Flynn (This Savage Song).

Moving on from TV shows, what’s one book, besides your own, that you’d like to see turned into a TV show or a movie? And if you were given the chance, would you like Words in Deep Blue to be adapted for screen? Why / why not?

I’d love Words in Deep Blue to be adapted. Other books? I’d love to see Fiona Wood’s Wildlife, Simmone Howell’s Notes from the Teenage Underground and Gabrielle Wang’s Little Paradise. Also, Bilgewater by Jane Gardam.

I’d love to see Words in Deep Blue adapted too! I think it’d make a really great movie. I also completely agree with Wildlife – that book is absolutely stunning and I think everyone should get onto that. I’ll need to investigate the other ones you mentioned though!

If you were given the opportunity to bring back one author from the dead or make a current author immortal, who would you choose?

I’d make Jennifer Egan immortal.

Nice! Okay, it’s time for the last question…

Have you ever had any awkward encounters with an author? I work part time in a bookshop, and one afternoon I saw a man open up a book and start writing on the first page. I went up to him and told him that he had to pay for the book before writing a personalised message, and then my colleague dragged me away, apologising to the man while he laughed. After he’d left, I found out he was the author of The Rosie Project! So that was awkward!

That is a bit awkward – but funny. ☺️ I haven’t had an awkward encounter that I can remember. But my nicest memory of meeting an author was when I shared an apartment with Wendy Orr at a festival. I’ve always loved her work, so it was lovely to sit on the couch with her, both in our pajamas, drinking tea, and talking about books.   

Well, that’s all of my questions for this #ConfessionSession! Thanks so much for agreeing to be interrogated, Cath, and I hope you had some fun answering these questions. I’m really looking forward to seeing what books you might conjure up next!

Thanks very much!

And I’d also love to thank Pan Macmillan Australia for this opportunity. Love you guys!

Make sure you check out the other stops in the Words in Deep Blue blog tour!

Words In Deep Blue blog tour


Cath Crowley is an award-winning Young Adult novelist published in Australia and internationally. Her works include The Gracie Faltrain TrilogyRosie Staples’ Minor Magical MisunderstandingChasing Charlie Duskin (A Little Wanting Song), Graffiti Moon and Words in Deep Blue. Cath studied Professional Writing and Editing at RMIT and works as both a freelance writer, manuscript assessor, and creative writing teacher.

Find out more information here.


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