Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Catherine Drake Interview - The Treehouse on Dog River Road

Photo Content from Catherine Drake

Catherine Drake lives with her husband in Stowe, Vermont. The Treehouse on Dog River Road is her first novel.

Catherine 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.

Catherine was inspired to tackle the subject of work/life/love balance in today’s world after having witnessed scores of young women look for meaningful careers after college.


Greatest thing you learned in school. 
In my early years, I learned to identify power dynamics in female friendships and that was a great thing to understand at a young age.

What was your favorite book as a child? 
 The Giving Tree – it is mentioned in my novel. I’m a huge tree fan.

Why is storytelling so important for all of us? 
Passing wisdom, history and cautionary tales down through the ages keeps our culture, families and values alive.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book? 
 My younger sister died right as I was finishing. I was shattered and it threw me off course for a year. I am heartbroken that she never got to read the entire book.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us? 
I am currently outlining the book that I have been longing to write. It is a contemporary story of a grandmother, mother and 16-year-old daughter, each experiencing transitions in their lives, who, due to unexpected circumstances, end up together on a road trip to a most unexpected place.

In your newest book, THE TREEHOUSE ON DOG RIVER ROAD, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it. 
At 28, Hannah Spencer is disillusioned with her current life. After college she had followed her friends to Boston and ended up living a life that she never imagined for herself. She makes an abrupt decision to leave her well-paying job and take some time to reconsider what she wants to do and where she wants to live. This respite takes the form of a move to Vermont to take care of her niece and nephew for the summer. There, while building them a treehouse, she falls for Nathan who complicates her desire to embark on a new life out west. The book explores a young woman putting her life on hold to take stock and uncovers what is truly important to her in her quest to create her best life.

Your Favorite Quotes/Scenes from THE TREEHOUSE ON DOG RIVER ROAD
  • The first line of the book “I’m against it, but I’m not above it.” This quote sums up Hannah’s dilemma of how she has spent the last few years of her life.
  • The first time Hannah takes the kids out for the day and realizes how hard her summer is going to be.
  • Hannah and Nathan’s first “date” on the backyard deck while the kids are asleep upstairs.
  • The wedding scene – a barn wedding on a beautiful day in Vermont. Lots of fun, lots of drama.
  • The storm. Based on true events that happened during Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.
What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel? 
I hope readers are carried away while reading but when they are finished, I hope that they are inspired to contemplate their own choices about where they live, who they bring into their lives and their careers. I hope readers notice all the things that make Hannah fall in love with Nathan and vice versa - things such as Nathan giving Hannah space to make her own decision and Hannah recognizing that Nathan is a great guy, not because he is a rich, famous, or handsome character trope, but because of the choices he makes, the things he does and the respect he shows her.

What part of Hannah did you enjoy writing the most? 
I loved writing Hannah’s progression of figuring out what she wants to do with her life. She’s literally all over the map with ideas, but she figures it out in the end. I also enjoyed writing her slow burn romance with Nathan.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why? 
I would introduce Nora, the six-year-old girl, to Ramona Quinby. Together, they could rule the world.

  • 1. It will make you silently smile, then chuckle, then laugh out loud and you need an upbeat book right now.
  • 2. Because you love a relatable, realistic love story.
  • 3. It has the BEST dog, Cooper, and you will meet, then love, then worry about what happens to him.
  • 4. You’ve always wondered what it’s like to have little kids around when you are kicking off a romance.
  • 5. It is set in the beautiful state of Vermont, and you will ask yourself, “Hey, why don’t I live in Vermont?” (Or at least visit)
  • 6. You appreciate the great outdoors.
  • 7. You like a romance book that involves not only the love interest but incorporates friendships and family relationships.
  • 8. You enjoy a story filled with people who are straight-forward with each other and don’t spend the entire book lying or deceiving each other.
  • 9. You love a book where you don’t really know how it will resolve.
  • 10. You’ve always wanted a treehouse.
At a movie theater which arm rest is yours? 
That’s not a thing for me, but I do like holding hands with my husband when I watch a movie.

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager? 
The 70’s - so much was happening, and it was not encumbered by addiction to technology.

Best date you've ever had? 
Dinner at the top of the Eiffel Tower for our anniversary. We sat next to a French couple celebrating their anniversary and spent the rest of the evening chatting and walking the streets of Paris with them.

What event in your life would make a good movie? 
I went to Burning Man with nine close women friends for a week in celebration of our 50th birthdays. I need to write a movie based on this event!

Is there something you've dreamed of doing for a long time? 
Learning to sing. I have a horrible voice.

First Heartbreak? 
When my dog got out and we never saw him again.

Favorite things to do alone? 
I love to listen to audiobooks while gardening.

Twenty-eight-year-old Hannah Spencer wants nothing more than to change everything about her life.

After ten years of living in cities, Nathan Wild has just moved back home to Vermont and doesn’t want to change anything about his.

Recently laid off from her depressing job in Boston and ready for a challenge, Hannah heads to Vermont for the summer to take care of her sister’s kids and do some serious soul searching. There, against the stunning landscape of the Green Mountains, she embarks on an ambitious project: building a treehouse for her niece and nephew. As she hammers away, she formulates a plan to jump-start her life with a new job out West. But will Nathan-next-door complicate her desire to change course? A witty, romantic, and inspiring story of a young woman taking control and making tough choices about love and work to build the life she wants, The Treehouse on Dog River Road will have you rooting for Hannah every step of the way.

You can purchase The Treehouse on Dog River Road at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you CATHERINE DRAKE for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of The Treehouse on Dog River Road by Catherine Drake.