" A major voice in the romance genre." —Publishers Weekly

2015 is here! Happy New Year!

I’m writing this on New Year’s Eve, which is a time for both looking forward and looking back. Tonight, I have plenty of both to do.

After nine years of increasingly severe illness, and a final ten days of indescribable suffering, my husband of 48 years, Sid, lost his courageous and determined battle with pulmonary fibrosis on the evening of November 13.

Over my 25-year career as a professional author I have been asked many, many times how I am able to create such strong, compelling, charismatic heroes. The answer is simple: I was married to him. Sid exemplified the heroes I wrote about…every one of them. Was he perfect? Of course not. But by any standards, anywhere, he was a good man. He was a supportive, loving, romantic husband and a strong and involved father, and he helped me not only become a well-known author, but also to raise two fine sons.

In the last five days of Sid’s life, I think I got seven hours of sleep. He kept trying to tell me to go to bed, but I wouldn’t leave him. I know that, had our situations been reversed, he wouldn’t have left me. I got what rest I could in a recliner beside the hospital bed we’d set up in the office, and I lay there and listened to him struggle to breathe. If I could have changed places with him, I would have done so in a heartbeat.

As the ability to speak left him a couple of days before the end, I leaned over him, took his hand, and said, “Now that you can’t argue with me, I’m going to have the last word. I love you more than you love me.” This had been an ongoing and loving debate between us for fifty years…forty-eight of marriage, and two years before that of first going steady and then being engaged.

As sick as Sid was, the light of battle came into his eyes. He made an enormous effort, shook his head, and gasped, “Huhh UHHH!” So he got the last word, after all.

Fr. James Radloff has been a close friend of our family for decades, and this was a deeply personal loss for him. He knew my husband so well that he seemed to bring Sid’s spirit into the church as he conducted the service. Many of the stories he recounted about Sid had his listeners howling with mirth, which is something that my husband would have loved. Especially moving to me was Fr. Radloff’s statement that marriage to a man who truly exemplified the romantic heroes I wrote about had given added depth to my writing and contributed enormously to the success of my books.

Of course, he was right…Sid was the inspiration for every hero I ever wrote about. How could I not have become a romance writer, and believed so strongly in the power of love, when I lived for nearly fifty years with a man who exemplified every one of the heroic qualities women dream of? Ellen Edwards, my longtime editor at NAL, wrote to me after Sid’s death that she felt sure that the strength of our marriage inspired my most powerful writing.

I know I will get through this. And I want all of you to know how much your love and caring have helped, and will continue to help. No writer, living or dead, could have had such compassion and concern extended to her and her family. I am truly blessed in this respect, and I thank God for every one of you. I wish I could give every one of you a warm hug and a personal thank-you. You all mean the world to me.

Now it’s time for me to start looking ahead. It seems overwhelming right now, but I’m taking it one day at a time. One step at a time. Sometimes it seems like one minute at a time. But a new year is beginning and I have challenges to meet and tasks to accomplish. Life will go on. I have sons, grandsons, and wonderful friends. I have another book to write, and soon. And I have all of you, my wonderful and caring online family, whose unwavering support and empathy mean so very, very much to me.

My new book, SILVER THAW, is available now. It’s the first novel in my new Mystic Creek series. Besides my hero and heroine, you’ll be introduced to many continuing characters, and I hope you’ll take them into your hearts as you did my Harrigan family.

If you haven’t signed up for my monthly newsletter, you can do so by contacting me at CatherineDirect@ykwc.net, with “Newsletter Request” in the subject line. It’s packed with articles, stories, travel experiences, photos, household hints, recipes, and a lot more, besides. Lots of the content comes from you, the readers, so in a true sense it’s our newsletter.

I hope 2015 brings you joy, prosperity, and the fulfillment of your dreams. Happy New Year.

Catherine Anderson

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