Writers On Reading: Cathryn Hein Talks Books and Reading

This week I welcome Rural Romance author, the lovely Cathryn Hein to the blog.

Cathryn Hein - Author Photo - web quality

Cathryn has a brand new release, Rocking Horse Hill, which sounds like a brilliant read.

RHH cover - resized

Ever since she was a little girl, Emily Wallace-Jones has loved Rocking Horse Hill. The beautiful family property is steeped in history. Everything important in Em’s life has happened there. And even though Em’s brother Digby has inherited the property, he has promised Em it will be her home for as long as she wishes.

When Digby falls in love with sweet Felicity Townsend, a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, Em worries about the future. But she is determined not to treat Felicity with the same teenage snobbery that tore apart her relationship with her first love, Josh Sinclair. A man who has now sauntered sexily back into Em’s life and given her a chance for redemption.

But as Felicity settles in, the once tightly knitted Wallace-Jones family begins to fray. Suspicions are raised, Josh voices his distrust, and even Em’s closest friends question where Felicity’s motives lie. Conflicted but determined to make up for the damage caused by her past prejudices, Em sides with her brother and his fiancée until a near tragedy sets in motion a chain of events that will change the family forever.

Rocking Horse Hill is a moving family drama and passionate love story from the author of Heartland. 


Thanks Cathryn for visiting Flying Pony and all the best with the new release.



Thanks for inviting me to contribute to Writers on Reading, Pamela. Lovely to be here.


1. Which books do you most vividly remember from your childhood?

The Black Stallion series by Walter Farley and the My Friend Flicka books by Mary O’Hara. I loved those books. Couldn’t read them enough. But then I couldn’t get enough of anything horsey!

The Black Stallion


I also remember vividly a book where a bony, withered creature came out of a grave every night to terrorise a young girl by scratching at and peering in her bedroom window. No idea what the title of it was but it gave me nightmares for ages. Any noise in the dark had me convinced that the creature had emerged from its secret tomb in the paddock down the road and was coming to get me.


2. Who are your three most favourite literary characters? Tell us what you love about each of them.

Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. He’s such a genius and yet so flawed. Plus I’m a sucker for a good mystery and Sherlock’s were always cleverly done.

Jilly Cooper’s Rupert Campbell-Black. Oh, how I love him! He’s such a naughty, sexy toff. The best fun.

Antonia from Michelle Paver’s A Place In The Hills. While she might not be my favourite literary character, she’s one of the most important. It was probably more a combination of reads, but I suspect this book is the one that really cemented my desire to write romance. Antonia is a great heroine – clever, determined and honest – and the romance is complex and fulfilling. I adore this book.


3.Who is your favourite literary villain? Why?

Professor James Moriarty, Sherlock Holmes’s criminal mastermind enemy. He challenges Sherlock and brings out the best and worst in his character. A great character needs a great villain and Moriarty does the job perfectly.

Riders by Jilly Cooper

4. If you could invite any five writers to a cosy dinner party who would you ask and why?

Jilly Cooper – she’d be a hoot!

Stephen King – because he’s an amazing writer and tells it like it is. Imagine what you could learn from this man.

Mo Hayder – I’m a huge fan and she’s led an interesting life. Her novel Tokyo (now retitled The Devil of Nanking) was incredible.

Anthony Horowitz – he’s written for some of my most adored television shows like Midsomer Murders. He’s prolific and writes across genres. Plus I loved his Sherlock Holmes novel, The House of Silk.

Suzanne Collins – I couldn’t put The Hunger Games series down. Her end of chapter hooks had me in awe. I’d love to know how she planned those.

Tokyo by Mo Hayder


5. What book has made you laugh out loud?

Spanish Steps: Travels With My Donkey by Tim Moore. I laughed myself silly over this book, in public, to the point of tears. It was wonderful.

Tim Moore is a travel writer and this book chronicles his journey along the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela with his donkey Shinto.

Moore’s French Revolutions: Cycling the Tour de France was hugely entertaining too. A great travel writer.


6. What book, or scene from a book, has made you cry?

There is a scene in Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein’s World War II book of friendship and incredible bravery, that had me bawling like a baby. I can’t tell you anything about it because it would give away the plot and I wouldn’t want to spoil this brilliant book for anyone.

Go read it. It’s heartbreaking and wonderful at the same time.


Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

7. Where and when do you do most of your reading?

Mostly in bed, but I also read on the couch in front of the telly and at the kitchen bench while eating breakfast, lunch or waiting for things to cook.

I also read ebooks while riding the exercise bike. Good stories, like Amy Andrew’s Holding Out For A Hero which was my last exercise bike read and Sarah Mayberry’s Satisfaction which is my current, can make that time go faaaaast!


8. Is there a genre of book you’d never read? Why?

Not really. I’ll read anything if the story is good.


9. Can you give us a mini-review of a book you’ve recently read and enjoyed?

I’ve just finished Anne Gracie’s The Autumn Bride. Such a wonderful story. Anne’s books are like cuddly blankets you can wrap yourself in, and the characters in this one are gorgeous. This is the first in the Chance Sisters series.

Abby Chantry rescues her sister Jane from a brothel, collecting another two girls along the way. They band together but times are difficult and, desperate, Abby breaks into a neighbouring house to find something to steal. Instead, she discovers an ill old lady being terribly mistreated by her servants. Abby comes to her aid and the girls are subsequently taken under Lady Beatrice Davenham’s wing, much to her nephew Max’s bemusement.

A lovely book and well deserving of its Rita nomination.

The Winter Bride by Anne Gracie

10. What are the top three books in your TBR pile?

City of Lost Dreams by Magnus Flyte

King Solomon’s Mines by H. Rider Haggard

The Perfect Wife by Katherine Scholes

But those are likely to change depending on my mood!




You can connect with Cathryn here:

Website: cathrynhein.com

Facebook: facebook.com/cathrynhein

Twitter : @CathrynHein


    • Thanks Harliqueen. I really enjoyed looking back at some of these older books and how much they meant to me.

  1. Thanks for having me on, Pamela. I really enjoyed answering these questions. Always so fascinating to discover the books other people love (or don’t love!)



  1. THIS WRITING LIFE: Bloggy Goodness | Cathryn Hein - […] answers to Pamela Cook’s wonderful series on books authors read and love. Discover my favourite literary villain, what book …

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