Chatting With The Huffington Post

I’m chatting with Brandi about my new book, No Place I’d Rather Be…come and check out the interview.

By Brandi Megan Granett. I am an author, archer, and writing mentor

08/28/2017 06:23 pm ET

In “No Place I’d Rather Be,” Cathy Lamb sweeps us along like a rushing river to Montana with Olivia Martindale as she confronts the past she thought she left behind. Finding solace in her family and their traditions, readers will find themselves wrapped up in rooting for Olivia to finally find her way home.

Brandi: You are an author with an impressively long list of titles. How do you decide which ideas to pluck from the universe and craft into novels?

Cathy Lamb: My ideas for my books do seem to come from all over the universe, as you just mentioned. Some may come from Pluto and others are clearly from black holes, odd aliens, and dangerous galaxies.

For No Place I’d Rather Be, I had an image of a cookbook that was handed down through six generations of women. The cookbook, leather bound and tied with a frayed pink ribbon, held recipes, but it also held pictures of ancestors from 1905 in Odessa in the Russian empire; in Munich, Germany, in the 1940’s; and in England during the Blitz.

The pages were splattered with tea, salt, tears, and blood. Inside was a pressed rose, two thin heart shaped lockets, a white feather, a charm, red ribbons, old photographs and poems. The cookbook told how to make delicious food, and it also told the history – sometimes joyous, sometimes tragic – of the family line.

In college I had a vision of a crying, angry woman throwing her billowing wedding dress into a dead tree on a deserted street. That image eventually turned into Julia’s Chocolates.

I had a vision of a woman exacting revenge on her cheating boyfriend by using an exacto knife to cut open a condom wrapper so she could slip peanut oil into it. That snippet launched The Last Time I Was Me.

I had a vision of towering, colorful chairs that became a key storyline in Such A Pretty Face, and I had a vision of a woman in a yellow dress shooting two men in a court room that started me down the path towards The First Day Of The Rest of My Life.

So I work in images and thoughts and play around a lot in my imagination.

Many of my ideas are ridiculous or tedious. I hit myself in the forehead and said, “Really, Cathy? That is just flat out dumb.”

I try to find compelling ideas that women will relate to, and be interested in, and I write from there, coffee and chocolate nearby for nutritional enrichment.

How do you keep track of your ideas?

If an idea comes to me for another book while I’m writing a book, I write it down in a document called – wait for it – Ideas For Books.

Then I leave it alone until I need new ideas for another book. I just can’t be thinking about a new book while writing a book because my brain is easily confused and befuddled. Must concentrate on one book at a time so as not to put characters/plot lines from one book mysteriously into the other book and jumble the whole thing up.

I love the beautiful setting and the cabin/farm Olivia finds herself running to. What would be your dream home or place to reconnect or recharge in?

My dream house would be on the Oregon coast with a full wall of windows overlooking the ocean. I just love it there. When I’m frazzled and fried, that’s where I head.

Waves. Clam chowder. Sand. Books. Perfect.

Do you cook or just write well about cooking? What recipe from the book is your favorite?

My kids say that I “re-heat.”

I can only cook the basics and sometimes I burn those. Like last year when I made a Thanksgiving turkey and smoke billowed out of the oven in huge clouds. Sigh….

This is why there are no recipes in No Place I’d Rather Be from me.

If I put recipes in there they would all be stolen from some cool chef who would undoubtedly want to smack me with a spatula. Alas, stealing things is not my idea of fun. I wish I was a better cook, but for some reason being in a kitchen, making an elaborate meal, sounds like culinary torture to me.

My favorite “recipes” from the 105 year old cookbook – ahem! – are all the sweet ones: Black forest gateau with cherries, German apple cake, Kuchen bars with vanilla custard, apple chocolate trifle, Leipzig carrot cake, and cinnamon mousse.

Where did the red geraniums come from?

The idea to plant red geraniums at home in No Place I’d Rather Be was passed down from generation to generation, starting with Olivia’s great great grandmother in Odessa, which is told in back story.

Olivia Martindale, in the beginning of the novel, had no idea why the family flower was red geraniums. She simply planted them because her mother and grandma did. Later she learns yet another secret from her grandma and finds out exactly who started the red geranium tradition, when, why, and where.

I love red geraniums and plant them every year, so last spring, when I was writing the book, I looked up from my patio outside and dropped ‘em in the story.

Does your family share any long held traditions?

We do not have any long held family traditions, but I come from a really close family. Perhaps I should say our family tradition is love and laughter.

For my own family, my husband and I give our kids an ornament and a book every Christmas. We also have Pajama, Pizza and Movie Night every year when we give the kids new pajamas. We make Christmas graham cracker houses and we have a special breakfast, the same one, on Christmas Day.

My husband and I also dress up like ghouls every Halloween and frighten children when they come Trick or Treating. Can I classify that as a tradition?

What can reader’s expect next from Cathy Lamb?

I am working on another book, The Man She Married, which is out in September, 2018.

To sum it up: Natalie Shelton is in a coma. That’s not her only problem.

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My New Book, No Place I’d Rather Be

Hello everyone,

My new book, No Place I’d Rather Be, is out today.

It’s filled with cakes and sisters, history and mystery.

I so hope you like it.










Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N2Q59G8/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

Powell’s http://www.powells.com/book/no-place-id-rather-be-9781496709813

Barnes and Nobles https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/no-place-id-rather-be-cathy-lamb/1125283163?ean=9781496709813&st=PLA&sid=BNB_DRS_Core+Shopping+Books_00000000&2sid=Google_&sourceId=PLGoP78860

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Sending Thoughts And Prayers

Sending thoughts, prayers and love to everyone who has been hit by Hurricane Harvey.

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Where Do Writers Write?

Where do writers write their books?

Take a look at my column in Ms. Career Girl and see where Diane Haeger, Diane Chamberlain, Kathryn Craft, Amy Nathan, Amy Impellizzeri, Barbara Claypole White, Marin Thomas, Katie Rose, Catherine Ryan Hyde, Julie Perkins Cantrell, Ann Wertz Garvin, Kristy Woodson Harvey, Laura Drake, Brandi Megan Granett, Ella Olsen, and Kelly Simmons create, imagine, dream, edit, revise and drink too much coffee.

Where Do Writers Write? Take A Look…

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A Naughty Kitty Who Makes Me Laugh

This is Darling Laughing Son’s cat.

He and his gang of fun friends got a kitty down at college, then Leroy came to live with me for the summer.

Darling Laughing Son said, “See ya momma,” and tra la la, off he skipped to his next adventure with a hug and a kiss.

Leroy The Kitty likes to party at night and chase girl kitties so it has been a summer of trying to teach him some gentlemanly manners.

At the risk of being seen as a Crazy Cathy Cat Lady, I just had to post this photo. This captures his naughty, dramatic, hilarious personality so clearly.

I laughed. I hope you laugh. I think we all really need a laugh.


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Losing Your Ever-Lovin’ Mind

When you are standing on the green pounding your golf club into the ground and saying bad words you know you have truly lost your ever-lovin’ mind.

…and the Golf Torture Experiment with Innocent Husband continues.


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No Place I’d Rather Be

Set in Montana…and Odessa, Munich, and London.
The pages of the cookbook tell the secrets of her family.



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You Need Space To Write. You So Do.

You need space, yes you do.

If you want to write, you need a space all to yourself.

You need a place for scribbling, drafting, drawing, and editing.

You need a place to concentrate, daydream, plan, and wonder, ‘What if…’

(Click on the link to see my columns on writing in Ms. Career Girl

A Writer’s Space

…or keep reading below.)

A Writer’s Space


And you need a place that inspires and makes you want to write, even if writing makes you sob like it’s raining out of your eyeballs or cackle evilly.

Your writing space should feel beautiful, creative, and encouraging to you.

I often write at my kitchen table.

I call it, not-so-originally, my Kitchen Table Office. I usually have flowers and I am almost always slugging down coffee from my favorite owl mug. If there are cookies nearby, then I have only a few feet to traverse to find them, thank goodness.

Who wants to work hard to find a chocolate chip cookie? Not me.

The lion is from Rebel Dancing Daughter when she went to Kenya. I stare at it for humor.

I keep journals around for ideas and to write through teeth-gritting problems I’m having with my book. One of my journals says:

Trust Your Crazy Ideas.

Which, by the way, you should, fellow writers. Take off and fly. Trust your crazy ideas and the zany, off-beat, swirling and twirling ones. Examine them. Throw them around. See if they’ll work.

I also love to write outside, in my backyard. This is called, again, not-so-originally, “My Backyard Office.”

I can get distracted because I love to stare at my garden and make outlandish plans for building a blue, curving slide from the second story into a pool, a ten foot rock fountain, a hot tub with Keanu Reeves inside, and that sort of thing.

But I find it peaceful, too, which makes me want to write. I’ve seen hummingbirds, blue jays, raccoon, and possums out there and we have no problems with each other.

As long as the bees aren’t swarming and wanting to eat me, I like my little corner under the trumpet vine, next to the impatiens.

Sometimes I have to write with Little Kitty nearby, the cat that Darling Laughing Son dropped off at my house before he skipped away across the seas for an internship.

I like watching our wisteria vine grow and my faux windmill spin.

Adventurous Singing Daughter and I planted Sunflowers and I love watching them grow taller each day.

An outside “office” works for me. Nature is inspiring. Gardening gives me ideas.

Maybe it would work for you, too, although for those of you who get three feet of snow in winter it probably won’t work well unless you can keyboard in gloves.

I do have a place for my extra books and journals in a small bedroom upstairs.

And I do have a place for “junk.”

The junk is in a corner of my dining room. I have NO IDEA why I keep it there. Really. It’s a nice dining room with red walls and a chandelier.

It makes no sense unless we’re going to EAT the manuscripts and notes. Paper is not tasty but, alas, there it stays.

I should move it, I should.

I probably won’t.

Many writers have cleaned out closets and moved in a small table.

Other writers have claimed part of a room in their home for their office. The room might also have exercise equipment (MUST we use it?) and boxes of Christmas decoration (We really need to haul a bunch of that to Goodwill), but it’s their space.

Some writers have a desk in the family room where the kids screech and yell and the dog barks. They learn to shut all that out unless there’s blood or the police arrive with a noise complaint.

Some have a true writer’s office. (See PS below.)

Their writer’s office is only for them, decorated with color, quotes, books they love, and lists of Things To Do. The views are cool, the dogs wander in to chat, and their imagination leaps about.

Go and create a space for yourself. Go make pretty. Find a corner. Find a room. Find a wall. Find a desk, find a table.

Clean it out.

Plug your computer in.

Add flowers, photos, a stapler, journals, notebooks, pens, a printer, and cool souvenirs. Add you.

Then write. Write away.



Where Writers Write is coming soon!

We’ll peek into the offices of some of your favorite writers including Catherine Ryan Hyde, Barbara Claypole White, Kristy Woodson Harvey, Ann Garvin, Amy Sue Nathan, Laura Drake, Amy Impellizzeri, and Katie Rose Guest Pryal.



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Readers Coffeehouse HUGE Book Giveaway

Fun book giveaway (HUGE giveaway) next Tuesday if you’re interested. We have dozens of writers participating.

Click on this facebook link, below, and we’ll accept you into Readers Coffeehouse, which is an online book club hosted by writers Catherine Ryan Hyde, Kimberly Belle, Kimberly Brock, Jo-Ann Mapson, Laura Drake, Barbara Claypole White, Steena Holmes and moi!


Good luck! I hope you win a book, I really do.



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Thank you, Debbie Macomber

I was so happy about this I teared up! Debbie Macomber recommended my new book, “No Place I’d Rather Be,” as one of thirteen books to read on Book Bub.

She’s a wonderful author and a wonderful person, and I am so delighted I am going to make myself chocolate chip cookie bars and say, “Cheers to you, Debbie!”


13 New Books and Old Favorites Recommended by Debbie Macomber

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Cathy Lamb
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