What I’m Reading Wednesday

29 Jan


I admit it. Sometimes I choose books based on the cover. Being a pug mom picking up “City Girl, Country Vet” was an obvious choice for me. And it just so happens the author resides in the U.K., where this story also takes place.

Author Cathy Woodman has written several novels, but “City Girl, Country Vet” is her debut in the U.S. The novel was first released in 2010 as “Trust Me I’m a Vet.” Cathy started her professional career as a small-animal vet before she pursued her passion to write. In “City Girl, Country Vet” she weaves her knowledge as a vet into a romantic dramedy.

The story takes place in the fictional market town of Talyton St. George. Cathy’s blog offers a map of the picturesque scene.

Here is my Q and A with Cathy:

Q: What sparked the idea of City Girl, Country Vet?

A: I’ve always wanted to create a fictional world and I took inspiration from Devon, a beautiful part of the UK with rolling hill and coastline, where I grew up as a child. With my background, I decided to write about a vet, someone who had struggled to succeed yet was completely devoted to her career, caring for animals. That character became Maz Harwood and I imagined her working in a country practice with her friend, Emma.

Q: Of the small-animal vet experiences you write about, are any of them based on personal experiences as a vet?

A: The incidents I write about are very loosely based on my personal experiences as a vet. I think what is more important is that I can use my experiences of how a practice is run, the sounds and the smells, and the interactions between the vets, nurses and receptionists to convey a sense of realism to the writing.

Q: How long did you work as a vet before pursuing a writing career?

A: I worked as a vet for many years and still keep abreast with the veterinary world, going on courses, reading journals and teaching vet nurses at a local college. I started writing when I became a part-time vet so I could spend time looking after my children. It took me 10 years of submitting material to agents and publishers before I had a lucky break, winning the Harry Bowling Prize for a first novel set in London.

Q: What inspired the fictional market town of Talyton St. George?

A: There are many small market towns in southwest England each filled with character and history, and I thought it would be perfect to set a series of novels in a similar town. Talyton St. George has everything — shops, a church, a vet practice and doctor’s surgery, pubs and the Green where people can meet and walk their dogs — yet it is small enough for everyone to know each other.

Q: What kind of animals are part of your household?

A: The animals are part of my family. In fact, they do rather take over, but I wouldn’t be without them. There are three dogs, Border terriers. They are more often known as the border terrorists because they are always on the alert, barking whenever a car goes past the house. There is one cat, Figaro, a blue Persian with orange eyes. He gets on well with the dogs, although they do confuse each other because they don’t communicate in quite the same way. We have three rescue cats which are very cute and clever, and finally, there is a pony, Beauty. I have made Beauty a character in one of my books. She is a very naughty creature with a mind of her own — she doesn’t like leaving her stable-mates and she hates my daughter’s boyfriend. I think she is strong-willed because of her previous history. All we know is that she was seized by the police three months before we got her, possibly because she had been abandoned.

Q: What are you working on next?

A: I have just finished the copy edits for a novel set in Talyton St. George again, about a lady farmer who keeps dairy cows. In the UK, it will be published in April with the title, Country Living. I’m really excited about it because I think it’s my favorite so far.

Q: What are you reading now?

A: I haven’t had much time to read recently because I’ve been writing and looking after the animals, but I’m currently reading the Ladies’ Paradise by Emile Zola. I have an eclectic taste in literature, enjoying a variety from factual books, the classics and, of course, contemporary fiction.


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