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Falling in Love Again
A young Cathy Maxwell, like many teens, made a "10 Things To Do Before I Die" list. Some items were minor enough that Cathy can't recall them. But four To Do's were the sort that teenagers yearn for and adults realize are nigh unreachable: 1. See the world 2. Become a photographer 3. Join the Navy 4. Write a book.
Her first attempt to cross an item off her list was deflected by her concerned mother. After all, few mothers in the '60s and '70s (heck, even in the '90s) wanted their daughters to join the Navy, especially straight out of high school. So Cathy went to college instead. Yet even her non-dream-list career choice, broadcast journalism, was tough. Barbara Walters was just beginning to break down the anti-female bias in journalism, and Cathy's professor told her that no one wanted a female voice delivering the news. Undeterred, Cathy landed a job right out of college filming, writing and delivering the news at a small Kansas station. A great feat for any new graduate, much less a woman in that era. Not that she didn't make a few blunders. "I covered local news and sports," a sports-challenged Cathy reports. "I once called Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 'Cream Aber-jaber' and announced that the local baseball team would play on natural gas."
After about four years she dusted off her dream list and decided to get around to living her life her way. In short order she joined the navy-sort of. The navy only accepted two women per state per month at that time, so she was on a waiting list. But she put the waiting time to good use. She landed a job as a photographer for a local newspaper. (Item 2 on her list, if you recall.) Then the navy ran through its quota of females and let her in its sacred doors. She aced #'s 1 and 3 in one go. Efficient as ever, she managed to see Iceland, the Canary Islands, Spain and Scotland and meet and fall in love with her husband, a fellow naval officer.
That left only item 4 unfulfilled.
"When I read Jennifer Blake's Fierce Eden, it completely captured my imagination," Cathy says. "I knew then that I wanted to write good stories about people learning to build relationships." Cathy found capturing those stories so rewarding that she has elevated it from a goal into a permanent part of her full life. In 1994 the last hold-out in Cathy's dream life fell neatly into line when her novel, All Things Beautiful, was not only published, but bestowed with RITA and RT nominations for Best First Historical.
Her fourth and latest novel, Falling In Love Again, explores how a couple must know one another before living happily ever after. "Love is something that really has to grow," Cathy says. "Men are pretty hairy in the beginning and you have to smooth them down." Feeling a bit guilty about male bashing, she adds, "Actually, it works both ways; we only know the shell at first, then we learn the inner person."
She pulled this theme from The Frog Prince. All of her novels have subtly used fairy tales as inspiration. Her fondness for the fairy tale may come from how her own dreams came true. Her "To Do's" completed, Cathy found even more satisfaction with her Prince Charming and their three children. "I have a good life," she admits. "It's not necessarily exciting, but it is fulfilling."
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