Cathrine Mahoney had a successful career as a publicist for the likes of Sony Music, Channel Nine and Nova radio. So why did she make the decision to quit her day job?
“I loved my job, but I was also itching to tell my own stories,” Cathrine told us.
Cathrine started out writing feature articles and a column but her real passion was to write a book. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to write fiction or non-fiction, but after a chat with a literary agent she was encouraged to look into writing courses.
“That is when I signed up to the AWC,” Cathrine says. “Creative Writing Stage 1 itself was great and the teacher Pamela Freeman was fabulous, and I got to meet some beautiful like-minded creative people. It helped me understand the science and structure behind creative writing. I loved seeing a room full of people take a scenario and write completely different stories. I started to feel comfortable with my writing voice. The course also focused me on the finer details of storytelling and learning to ‘notice more’ and then translate that into sharing my story on the page.”
And Cathrine has successfully shared her story, with her memoir Currently Between Husbands out now with Simon and Schuster.
Choosing the right writing direction
After quitting her job, Cathrine lau nched a podcast called ‘So I Quit My Day Job’ where she started documenting her journey to becoming a published author.
“I was sitting on my hands struggling to write this book as fiction when a publisher reached out after listening to the podcast,” Cathrine says. “We met and she asked where things were at. I explained I was stuck creating a fictional version of my life. She had printed out all the columns I had written for various websites and said, ‘Why write fiction? You have a great voice for non-fiction, and you’re very funny.’”
During a lengthy lockdown, Cathrine kept producing her podcast, along with another one called ‘Not Another Parenting Podcast’, but felt that she had lost her writing mojo. But an exchange with publisher Emma Nolan from Simon & Schuster encouraged her to work on her pitch and writing samples. Shortly after, she was offered a book deal.
“Most of the book was written in Sydney in my bedroom during the second 4-month lockdown. At a time when many of us struggled, I oddly found it almost magical. I felt like I went through my wardrobe and came out Narnia-style into my past,” Cathrine says. “What I didn’t enjoy so much was the editing process, which ended up coinciding with a nasty dose of COVID. Written in lockdown, edited with COVID – hoping book two is written in a château in the South of France!”
Deciding to tell her own story made sense for Cathrine, as she is a self-confessed oversharer. Through her columns, writing and podcasts, she had already proven she could tell a good yarn but she also wanted to share her experience with other women in the same situation she had been in.
“The wheels fell off my marriage two weeks before my 40th birthday. I wanted to write the book I wish had been on the shelves when I was in the throes of my life crumbling,” Cathrine says. “I often describe my book as Bridget Jones meets Eat Pray Love, with less yoga, more vodka, and bigger undies!”
Cathrine writes frankly and humorously about the breakdown of her marriage and onto her sometimes disastrous Tinder dates. Music is a big part of her life with musical references peppered throughout her story, and so she also curated a Spotify playlist to accompany the book.
Ultimately, Cathrine wants readers of Currently Between Husbands to feel that there is life and love (and plenty of laughter) after divorce. As well as the opportunity to have a publishing dream come true.
“I still can’t believe it. I have to admit there were lots of tears when I finally held my book in my hands for the first time – it really is like having a baby, although it took more than nine months to arrive!”