Inheritance Books: Catherine Ryan Howard

This week’s guest on Inheritance Books is Catherine Ryan Howard – who was primarily known for her non fiction (and her fabulously useful Catherine Caffeinated blog). Her latest book Distress Signals is a thriller set on a cruise ship. Hi Catherine, have a biscuit. Why don’t you start off by telling us a bit about yourself?

Catherine Ryan Howard by City Headshots Dublin
Catherine Ryan Howard by City Headshots Dublin

I live in Dublin, Ireland, but I’m from Cork. I’m currently studying for a BA in English Lit as a mature student in Trinity College Dublin and trying to finish my second thriller before the excitement of the first one, Distress Signals, coming out gets too much for me! I’ve self-published a number of non-fiction titles about some of my travel adventures, and then the obligatory ‘how to’ self-publishing guide. I’ve been blogging since early 2010 and love Twitter. It’s caffeine that flows through my veins and I still want to be a NASA astronaut when I grow up.


Which book have you inherited from a generation above? Why is it special? 

I didn’t inherit any physical books, but a book my mother bought for me helped change the course of my life and get me where I am today. Now, don’t laugh, but it’s Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton.


The movie came out in the summer of 1993, when I was just eleven, and I convinced her to buy the movie tie-in paperback of it for me. I can still remember that her, my brother and sister and I were en route to the caravan we kept by the seaside in East Cork, and she stopped at a shopping centre so I could run in and pick it up so I’d have it to read while we were down there. I just loved, loved, LOVED that book. The mixture of fact and fiction, the imagination needed to create that park and bring it to life… It was fantastic. It made me want to create something like that. I re-read it every year and still have that 23 year-old paperback, which is only held together now by tape and love.

I’m not laughing. I was totally blown away by Jurassic Park when it came out. So much so that I did my A-level English lit dissertation on it (comparing it to The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle). 


Which book would you like to leave to future generations? Why?

I think Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. It’s one of my favourite novels. So simple in terms of the language he uses, but so utterly devastating in its impact. I don’t want to spoil the ending for anyone, but it also gives you a stark reminder of how short our time here is, and why you should make the most of this great adventure of life while you can. Because of its setting, it also has a kind of timeless quality, so I think future generations will find it as relevant as we do now.


Excellent choices. Thank you for sharing your Inheritance Books with us. All the best with Distress Signals. It sounds great.


Catherine’s new book Distress Signals is available now! You can read the first three chapters on her website. You can find out more about Catherine in her website, Twitter (@cathryanhoward), Facebook or Instagram. 

PS: If you’re a huge fan of Jurassic Park, you might be interested in Chip Kidd’s TEDtalk about how he designed the iconic cover.


Self Printed 3.0 blog splash!

Today I’m taking part in the Self Printed blog splash to launch the lovely Catherine Ryan Howard‘s updated Self Printed book.

I’m a trad published writer (albeit with an indie publisher), so why am I interested in Self publishing? Because I think there’s a lot I can learn from indie authors. I follow Catherine’s very informative blog for all the interesting hints and tips on marketing and insights into selling that I pick up. Plus we Jem and the Holograms fans have to support each other. 🙂

So here’s my question and Catherine’s answer:



Q: What’s the advantage for a self published writer to work with an Amazon imprint like Montlake?
A: It doesn’t really matter that it’s Amazon: it’s still traditional publishing, albeit with a publishing house that has exceptional insight into what sells books on the biggest online bookstore in the world. So we’re talking things like editorial and cover design you don’t have to cough up cash for, an advance on royalties, and promotions (on Amazon sites) that you wouldn’t have access to otherwise. I know writers who have enjoyed incredible self-published success and then signed deals with Amazon Publishing, and the thing is, Amazon know just how successful these writers are – they know that they don’t strictlyneed Amazon Publishing – and so they offer advances and promise benefits that are of real value in order to be, for the author, the better option. So if you were offered a deal with Amazon Publishing, I’d say: definitely, take it!
But there’s the thing: your options aren’t self-publish or publish with Amazon Publishing. They have to come to you. They have to bestow upon you the magical “Yes”. And that’s just the situation we’re trying to avoid, is it not? Waiting by the phone? Being entirely dependent on someone else to make our writing dreams come true? So I wouldn’t worry too much about it. If they come calling, we can worry about it then. In the meantime, let’s get on with the business of self-publishing…
Catherine Ryan Howard is a writer, self-publisher and caffeine enthusiast from Cork, Ireland. SELF-PRINTED: THE SANE PERSON’S GUIDE TO SELF-PUBLISHING (3rd edition) is out now in paperback and e-book and available from Amazon. Follow the #selfprintedsplash on Twitter today (Friday 24th) and/or visit for chance to win an amazing prize that will get your self-publishing adventure started!