Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Guest Post - Catherine Dilts

Journey to a Dream by Catherine Dilts

Are you an aspiring author? Perhaps you’re just curious about how a person decides to become a writer, instead of a doctor, carpenter, or store clerk. Everyone’s experience is different. This is my journey to the dream of becoming a published author.
The first book I remember reading was One Fish Two Fish by Dr. Seuss. I was five years old when letters combined in patterns magically jumped off the page as words that meant something. It was like learning a secret code. I was hooked on reading from then on.
I enjoyed writing from a young age, too. My siblings and I wrote ridiculous plays that our indulgent great aunts would patiently act out with us. My favorite grade school assignments involved writing.
Yet when the time came to decide on a college degree, I shied away from creative writing. Warned that art was a fine hobby, but that I needed a job that would pay the bills, I set aside the dream of becoming an author.
While in my last year of college, I took a creative writing class as an elective. There I met two people who became lifelong friends. We encouraged each other in the dream of becoming authors. As I attended conferences and critique groups, I found my tribe. The world of fiction writing was where I felt most comfortable.
I won a writing contest, which fanned the flames of my confidence. Fame and fortune were within my grasp. Nope. Getting a book published is hard work. I had to learn to be thick-skinned, accepting criticism and rejection.
I spent a lot of time and money writing, going to conferences, and buying postage (this was the era of snail-mailing paper submissions). I used up enough paper to denude a rainforest. Other experiences in life taught me it is often darkest before the dawn. Illogical as it seemed, I kept pressing toward my goal.
In the meantime, I toiled away in an unsatisfying job that paid the bills. I believed as soon as I sold a book, I could quit working. Nope. I learned that most authors have day jobs. Very few make a living writing fiction. Although that was discouraging, I still wanted to become published.
I worked my way into a more satisfying career, which provided terrific inspiration. In 2012, I sold a short story and a novel. I had achieved my goal. Surely now things would become easier. Publishers would be clamoring for my work. Nope. Every story is a journey. I now have six published novels, and I feel like I’m just beginning to understand this business.
My newest novel, Survive Or Die, combines my experiences in the corporate world, set in my favorite place to escape work pressures, the Colorado mountains. A company team-building exercise at a survivalist camp results in mayhem and murder.
I’m living my dream. It looks different than I imagined, and doesn’t include fame and my own private island. But it’s where I belong. And maybe it’s where you belong, too. Keep writing!

Catherine Dilts is the author of the Rock Shop Mystery series, while her short
stories appear regularly in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery MagazineShe takes a turn in the multi-author sweet cozy mystery series Secrets of the Castleton Manor Library with Ink or Swim. With a day job as an environmental regulatory technician, Catherine's stories often have environmental or factory-based themes. Others reflect her love of the Colorado mountains. The two worlds collide in Survive Or Die, when a manufacturing company holds a team building exercise in the wilderness. You can learn more about Catherine’s fiction at


  1. Thank you for letting me visit your blog, Sandra!

  2. Catherine,

    I do feel connected. Like you, I started writing young and won writing contests. But I also worked hard at my chosen career until retirement. It's nice to be able to write when we choose! Wishing you much success with your latest novel.

  3. Catherine, I enjoyed your post. I'm sorry I waited so long to try my hand at writing a novel---after I retired. Just when I think I understand publishing and marketing, it all changes. But I keep trying. I do have three books published and a short story.