RONA Awards 2022 Celebration Drinks with… Catherine Tinley


Tonight I am chatting to another winner in the Romantic Novel Awards 2022. Winner of the Historical Romantic Novel Award  with her book, A Waltz with the Outspoken Governess, please welcome… Catherine Tinley.

CT profile pic 2021

Thank you for joining me for drinks this evening. First things first, what are you drinking?

I’m drinking a gorgeous pink gin made in a local distillery. It’s called Rostrevor -the Mourne Dew distillery also does whiskey and poitín, which are also fab. Do you want to try some?


I am a big gin fan (I was going to say ‘big gin drinker’ but that makes me sound like I have a problem!), so yes please. If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?

I’d take you to the Old Killowen Inn in the village of Rostrevor, for great Guinness and Irish music. The craic (fun) would be great!

old killowen

If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?

Let’s see…Danny O’Donoghue from The Script for the singing and the craic, and Eloisa James, because I think she’d love it!

So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?

I’m writing a trilogy set in Regency times, but in the Outer Hebrides! I know, I know…unusual. But I am absolutely loving it! There’s always great fun to be had in the research for historical fiction, and I’m lucky to have a friend from the Hebrides who has been wonderful in keeping me right on history, geography, and language. He’s a native Gaelic speaker, so I’ve included small bits of the language in the books. 

Book 1, A Laird for the Governess is just out and I’m relieved and delighted by the early reviews. People really get it, I think. It features a London governess who takes a post in the wilds of the Hebrides, and finds not just love, but belonging, and a sense of community. Book 2 reverses the scenario, as I plan to take a couple of characters from the island community and bring them into the glittering heart of Regency society. I had planned to stop after three books, but a reader has just requested a happy-ever-after for a secondary character from A Laird for the Governess, so who knows?


A penniless governess

And the dour Laird of Ardmore

Lydia Farnham must travel to a remote Scottish island to work for widower Alasdair MacDonald, who doesn’t trust her or her unconventional teaching methods! Yet as his daughter flourishes, so too does the intense connection between Lydia and Alasdair. Only she should know better than to fall for the handsome laird when it could leave her without a job, or a home…

What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?

Getting ‘the call’ and the offer of a two-book contract from a major publisher was a dream come true. It’s the moment I began thinking of myself as an author as well as a writer. I’ve also been lucky enough to win a coveted Rita ® award in the US (for Waltzing with the Earl) as well as winning the RoNA last year for Best Historical Romance (for Rags-to-Riches Wife). That one also won the HOLT Medallion in the US…it’s just so lovely to know that readers like what I write!

In terms of challenges, I’ve had to transition from writing as a hobby to being a professional author. I work full-time in the NHS, so I have to be very disciplined about my writing targets and stick to my routines, otherwise I’d never meet deadlines. I also have ADD, which I’ve worked hard to manage, so overcoming this challenge is something I’m very proud of. I’ve discovered, for example, that I daren’t take a break between books as I risk losing the good habits, so now I take no more than a day or two off before starting the next project. I also use a tracker called (it’s free!) which really helps.

What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, its just us talking after all!

I’d like to write a longer Regency, and have it published by a major trade publisher. I am working on a draft, so watch this space…

What do you have planned that you are really excited about?

Travel! It’s been so, so long, so this year I’m making up for lost time. Apart from flying to London for the RoNA Awards I also intend to go to the RNA conference this year for the first time, plus we have unused holiday vouchers from two years ago that will take us somewhere sunny in August. Can’t wait!

I love to travel, and I’m currently drawing up a bucket list of things I’d like to do in the future. Where is your favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?

I lived in Munich for a year and will always love the place. Interrailing was wonderful so I did it three times, yet there’s still so much of Old Europe I want to see. The bucket list includes Vienna and Salzburg, Berlin, and Brussels.

Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself.

Ooh! Ok then. People are often surprised when I tell them I manage a maternity hospital as my day job (and people at work are always surprised when I tell them I’m an author!)

Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?

Impossible! Even within Regency I can’t choose just one, but maybe Frederica or Venetia by Georgette Heyer. I also enjoy high fantasy, and my favourite there is Daughter of the Empire by Feist and Wurtz. Apparently they’re planning to make it into a TV series – I hope they do it justice.


Enter the mysterious and exotic world of Kelewan…

Mara, the youngest child of the ancient and noble Acoma family, is about to take her pledge of servitude to the goddess Lashima when the ceremony is disrupted by news of her father and brother’s death in battle.

Despite her grief, as the only surviving member of her house, Mara must now take up the mantles of Ruling Lady. But she soon discovers betrayal at the heart of her family’s loss, and the Acoma’s enemies have brought her house to the brink of utter destruction.

Daughter of the Empire is the magnificent first book in The Empire Trilogy by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts.

Mara, an inexperienced political player, must draw on all her wit, intelligence and cunning to navigate the ruthless Game of the Council, regain the honour of House Acoma and secure the future of her family. But with assassins waiting around every corner, it might take everything Mara has simply to survive.

So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?

Sadly, I’ve learned that I have no head for drink (despite the reputation of Irish people) so I’ll have been supping water alongside the alcohol this evening. You wouldn’t have known it to look at me though, cos I’ve been singing and clapping and yee-ho-ing with the rest! If we’re hungover in the morning I’ll take you for a lung-cleansing stroll along the beautiful Fairy Glen, just five minutes from here, then afterwards we can wander along the shores of Carlingford Lough or check out the stunning views from the Big Stone (don’t worry, we can drive most of the way up the mountain). You’ll love it!

Carlingford Lough

I’ve yet to visit a part of Ireland that I haven’t loved so I am sure I will! After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?

Let’s mix our nature walks with some pampering in a local spa. I’m no shopaholic, but happy to go with you if that’s your preference. Mine would be local Neolithic sites, Viking era towers and Norman castles, and a Gaelic football or hurling game! 

Going to see a game of hurling is one of the things on my bucket list, so I’d love to be able to tick that off. Thank you for joining me this evening, Catherine, it’s been a hug pleasure to chat to you.

Catherine’s RONA award-winning bookA Waltz with the Outspoken Governess, is out now and you can buy a copy here. A free preview of her new book, A Laird for the Governess, can be found here.

Catherine Tinley, Historical Romantic Novel Award, Romantic Novel Awards 2022, A Waltz with the Outspoken Governess BOOK COVER

A quiet governess…

An unruly heart

Sir Nicholas Denny is desperate to find a governess to care for his boisterous nieces and nephews. Demure vicar’s daughter Mary Smith seems ideal—at first. All too soon Nicholas discovers a different side…a beautiful, vivacious woman, even if she infuriates him with her strong opinions! When he waltzes with Mary at a party, he knows he’s in trouble—the spark between them is so tempting, but she challenges everything he thought he wanted in a wife!

Catherine Tinley is an award winning author of historical romance. She writes witty, heartwarming Regency romance for Harlequin Mills & Boon. Her first book, Waltzing with the Earl, won the Rita® Award for Best Historical Romance 2018, while Rags-to-Riches Wife won the RoNA Award for Best Historical Romance 2021 as well as the HOLT Medallion, and A Waltz with the Outspoken Governess has been shortlisted for the RoNA Award for Best Historical Romance 2022.

She has loved reading and writing since childhood, and has a particular fondness for love, romance, and happy endings. After a career encompassing speech & language therapy, Sure Start, maternity campaigning and being President of a charity, she now manages a maternity hospital. She lives in Ireland with her husband, children, cats, and dog.

Connect with Catherine:


Facebook: Catherine Tinley 

Twitter: @CatherineTinley

Instagram: @catherinetinleywriter


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