Catherine Drake’s debut novel The Treehouse on Dog River Road published on May 10, 2022. Catherine lives with her husband in Stowe, Vermont. She fell in love with Vermont when she moved there shortly after her wedding and is still starry-eyed for the state, saying this about the people and culture: “People have a greater understanding that the land shapes us and that we must rely on it to survive. Farms, cows, being outdoors, and Maple Syrup are BIG.” While she has lived up and down the east coast in rural, suburban, and urban areas and traveled extensively throughout the US, Catherine feels there is no equivalent to Vermont and has devoted The Treehouse on Dog River Road as a love letter to it.
Synopsis of The Treehouse on Dog River Road from the publisher:
After being laid off from her depressing job in Boston, Hannah needs a challenge and change of pace. She heads to Vermont for the summer to take care of her sister’s kids and soon embarks on an ambitious project: building a treehouse for her niece and nephew. As she hammers away, Hannah also begins to mentally construct how to jump-start her life with a new job and a move to the west. But then she meets Nathan from next door, who has spent ten years moving from city to city and now just wants to settle in Vermont. With her decision to change courses suddenly complicated, Hannah will have to make tough decisions on love and the life she so desperately wants to build.
Catherine answers some questions that I posed to her about The Treehouse on Dog River Road:
1. What inspired you to start writing The Treehouse on Dog River Road?
I wanted to write a very upbeat, positive book that had many themes and would be good for a vacation read but which would also be good for book clubs. The main reason I chose this theme of pausing and taking stock of your life was to inspire others, especially young women, to do the same. I had been witnessing smart, energetic, creative young people heading to cities across the country after college and then ending up unhappy yet paralyzed with indecision about what to do next. I decided to write about a woman who recognized this was not the path for her and tell the story of how she rebooted her life.
2. Can you share something with me about your book that is not in the blurb?
The book is set in Waterbury, Vermont (home of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream!) which is a lovely, small town near where I live. The importance of community and where to live your best life is a major theme in the story. The town has embraced the book and I am thrilled to be the 2022 selection for ONE TOWN ONE BOOK which is the community read program for Waterbury. There is a historic event depicted in the book which is important to the town and folks are delighted that there is now a novel that describes this event.
3. Do you have any say in what your book cover looks like?
My publisher, She Writes Press, is very collaborative and I like that the author has some creative control over the book, for instance the cover selection process. I was given four different covers and worked with the design team to tweak the final product. I love my cover – it captures the story beautifully and I have received wonderful compliments on it.
4. What was your favorite part and least favorite part of the publishing journey?
Everything about the publishing process has been a learning experience. One thing I didn’t realize is just how much social media is critical to book promotion. It has been difficult to master online promotion and it is very time consuming to establish and then maintain a social media presence. On the positive side, I have been delighted with the response to the book and hearing how much readers enjoyed it and how they connected with the main character.
5. What are you reading now and what have you read recently that you loved?
I am currently reading A Very Punchable Face by Colin Jost because I needed something that would make me laugh out loud this week. I am also listening to an audiobook, Ice Out, a fantastic new novel by Susan Speranza which is mesmerizing.
This past spring, I enjoyed the memoir Never Simple by Liz Scheier, which is a riveting, funny, heartbreaking, well-told story. It’s at the top of my recommendation list.
Order The Treehouse on Dog River Road from Bookshop.org.