Interview With Author/Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

“Books can come by imagination with vibrant storylines and characters. Come in many genres and about real life, or sometimes they come by way of a little “Divine Intervention” like my book.  

~Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon


Please Introduce Yourself

Hello. Most know me as “Cat.”  I reside  “In The Valley of The Sun” in Phoenix, Arizona. I moved here after living in Southern Oregon with my loving husband for over 25 years. Born in Toms River, New Jersey, we moved to Southern California from New Jersey in 1970 and raised. I was an Air Force Brat due to my father having a long career in military service and a Vietnam Veteran. He also learned to “drink alcohol” in the military like most men. Sadly, it carried into our family home. Through the years seemed to cause much family dysfunction. So I used writing poetry and writing in my diary as a teen in my room as a form of escape. Here is where I got my first taste for literature and journaling later in life.

What Are The Stories Behind Your Book? 

As a little girl, and again as an early teen, I was sexually abused, became overly traumatized and hypersensitive to harsh parental discipline and began to suffer undiagnosed PTSD and severe depression for years which carried into my adulthood. It is unfortunate we all don’t grow up in an “angelic” family dynamic — some of what my memoir is about and the real stories within my book. The haunting pain and memories of my childhood came back around age 33 and continued while deep within addictions until my 40th birthday and my first failed suicide attempt. A second failed attempt in 2006. I learned in treatment and recovery, these were some of the roots and underlying issues of my turning to addicted gambling and alcohol abuse.

I entered and tried a treatment program in 2002, but, again in 2006 and began the long road to recover as I am still maintaining recovery today. It’s written between the pages of my book, a memoir titled; ‘Addicted To Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and Cheat.’ The book itself came from 7 notebooks worth of a whole year of writing and healing. I needed to see on paper what gambling addiction and alcohol had taken from me and had turned into a person I didn’t know anymore. The subtitle is what gambling addiction turned me into, a liar and a cheat. Then the forming and published was all “Divine Intervention.” 

What inspired your creativity?

My memoir was not written at the time as a book as I open my memoir and life story when reading an article one morning in the newspaper about a woman found in her hotel room who committed suicide at an Indian Casino Hotel, about 41 miles North of where I lived in So. Oregon. I was first amazed it made it in the newspaper! It next inspired me to start writing all about what my addiction took from my life on paper.

Why?  Because I knew how dark this woman felt when she took her own life, I too was in that dark place twice. Today, I know GOD allows us to take detours in life to gain wisdom and learn life lessons be it a negative experience like an addiction, or experiences of a lighter journey. Either way, we receive many blessings from both when we make it out the side. And if I can leave behind a little of my legacy to help others have insight into a destructive addiction, then I know I will help others long after I am no longer here. 

What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?

‘The Ending.’  I say this because I am still not comfortable with the ending of my first book titled ‘Addicted To Dimes.”  But I had to agree with my editor as it is about real life and hard look into my life without polish or prows. That left my book open to write more books from this first one, like “how to recover” or other areas of addiction and recovery. 

Another area is marketing and promoting your book. I did all the marketing and had no IDEA what to do. So I began doing research and taught myself how.  Now I currently do this and have done so almost 7-years for other fine others. It is my home business and my passion to teach other authors how to gain more exposure, sales & reviews through lyonmediaservices.com. 

I enjoy and love helping authors be successful in promoting their books and craft as writers.

Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?

YES. Do your research and don’t pay for it until you do! I have heard nightmare stories from many authors about how much they paid! You don’t have to pay big money to have a book cover done. That also goes for publishing as well. There are many places now to publish that are low cost or free like Amazon KDP,  or Smashwords that will walk you through the process of self-publishing your books and includes doing your covers. 

Let’s face it, the times of the big publishing houses giving an author a contract are over. Partly due to technology and the internet boom. You no longer need them quite frankly. What all writers need to know is?  Your book, no matter how good it may be? It won’t hit the NYT bestseller list like the book “Fifty Shades of Grey” by E. L. James. However, not to discourage authors in any way at all, this comes from knowing what it takes to market and promote books. It takes time, loads of time, persistence and it does not happen overnight to gain sales, exposure, and reviews. I know because I do it every day for all my exceptional authors I promote.

How has your creation process improved over time?

Well, since I only have currently one full published book. However, I was invited to be a contributing writer for a few addiction/recovery published compilation books. One in the UK and a couple in the USA! It was an exciting and fun opportunity. Again, since my book is a memoir and the genre is geared more toward addiction which has opened many doors for writing. 

I also had the opportunity as a former recovery writer and columnist for 2 1/2 years at InRecovery magazine. I had a column called “The Authors’ Cafe” where I met, interviewed, and wrote about many high profile sports pros and various people in the entertainment industry who maintain recovery from addiction for the magazine.  Many have become recovery friends, support my recovery, and we network to help others looking to recover still today. I now write for one of the biggest recovery newspapers in Southern California called “Keys To Recovery” newspaper. They wanted to include Gambling Addiction and Recovery to their platform, and I am honored to be a part of such a well-known publication around the world. I have been writing my column called “QUIT To WIN” for almost two years.  

Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?

Even though this is a long question, the answer is simple. I lean toward both. Since I am a memoirist and write about what I know and from my personal experiences, I do so appealingly to the readers and on a personal level. I am my worst enemy. I can be hard on myself in a “Picky” sort of way. If we are not writing content readers don’t like? And if it’s not informative, interesting, or engaging? Why would we write? I would be safe to say, even authors who write many genres would agree that we write for the enjoyment of readers loving our craft and our books, that is why book reviews from readers are essential to authors. 

What are your plans for future books?

My next book has been a work in progress a few years now. Mainly for research and writing in between handling my home business of promoting and marketing other authors and writing for publications. My first book is NOT HOW to recover from gambling and alcohol addictions. It was to let the public have insights as to the HOW and WHY I had turned to addiction for years trying to “escape and cope” from my past childhood pain and hauntings. My next book will be all about what I do to keep my 12-years maintaining recovery and moving forward. Much of my early recovery was doing all the hard work, processing the past, and forgiveness to myself first, then amends to those I hurt. That takes time, and many may not forgive, including family members. I  turned into being an Advocate and help inform and educate the public a still silent and underground addiction with loads of STIGMA from shame and guilt. My feelings are IT IS time to have a conversation about Gambling Addiction.  

Tell us some quirky facts about yourself?

Oh my. OK. I love dill pickle slices and mayo sandwiches. I am a cat lover with three therapy cats named, Mr. Boots, Miss Prissy Princess, and Simon-Peter.  I love writing when it rains and will keep my door cracked and window open to hear it while writing even if it is 20 degrees! Lastly? 

After everything I have been through up to now, GOD let me keep my sense of humor!

Link To My Recovery Blog and Advocacy:  https://catherinelyonaddictedtodimes.wordpress.com/
“Gambling Recovery Can Start Here”

My Business Lyon Media Services and Work For Authors:  http://lyonmediaservices.com/author-promotion-services 

Author: NFReads.com

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