Reflections In Hindsight

Grace in the Rearview Mirror…it's closer than it appears

  • Ephesians 4:29

    Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (NIV)

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Promotion in Motion: Cathy Gohlke’s Band of Sisters

Posted by Lisa Lickel on August 28, 2012

Cathy Gohlke has a new book scheduled to arrive SOON! Yippee.

About the author:

Cathy Gohlke is the two-time Christy Award-winning author of the critically acclaimed novels Promise Me This, William Henry is a Fine Name and I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires, which also won the Carol Award and was listed by Library Journal as one of the Best Books of 2008. Band of Sisters releases in September, 2012 from Tyndale House Publishers. When not traipsing the hills and dales of historic sites, Cathy, her husband, and their English Springer Spaniel, Reilly, make their home on the banks of the Laurel Run in Elkton, Maryland. Visit her website at

About the book: Band of Sisters

Novel sheds light on a modern issue. . . .

Maureen O’Reilly and her younger sister flee a shameful past and perilous future in of Ireland, 1910. But, after surviving the rigors of Ellis Sisters Island, Maureen learns that her American benefactor has died, and his family, refusing to own his debt, casts her out. Alone, impoverished, and in danger of deportation, Maureen finds employment in a prominent Manhattan department store, only to discover a secret that threatens every vulnerable woman in the city. With the help of an unexpected band of sisters, Maureen takes a stand against injustice and fights for the lives of those caught in peril.

  • Paperback:432 pages
  • Publisher:Tyndale House Publishers
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:1414353081
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414353081

Preorder at Amazon

Cathy, what do you LOVE about your new book?

I love that Band of Sisters raises awareness for the abolition of modern-day slavery.  It portrays the plight of immigrant women through telling a compelling historical fiction story woven with love and laced with “aha” moments.  For me, that not only celebrates the eternal power of story, but inspires readers to actions they can take to address in this desperate fight against human trafficking.

Can you tell us something unique about this particular book’s research or publication that we won’t find on your web site?

While researching Band of Sisters in Manhattan, I decided to attend a Sunday morning church service in Harlem that I’d heard wonderful things about.  I love worshipping in churches new to me, and had even considered weaving some of the church’s fascinating historical journey toward acceptance by NYC into my book.

That morning rain came down in sheets, and since the church was far from my hotel, I took a cab.  It was August (very hot in the city), and because I’d traveled by train (packing everything into one small suitcase), I’d only brought the good walking sandals I wore everywhere to do my research.

Just as I was about to enter the church door I was stopped by a “greeter,” and forbidden entry because I had “no backs” on my shoes.

At first I thought the man was kidding.  When I explained that these were the only shoes I had with me in NYC, he stood firm.  I asked if there was another church nearby that I could attend.

He declared, “No church in NYC will let you in without backs on your shoes.”

Please understand that except for my offending shoes I was professionally dressed, the cab was long gone and there were no other cabs in sight.  It was fairly early Sunday morning, still pouring rain, and I had no idea how to get back to my hotel.  I asked the “greeter” if he knew where I could get a cab to return to my hotel.  He didn’t, but imagined I might get one on the corner.  Not likely—and not on Sunday morning.

I walked blocks upon blocks through the puddles of Harlem, comforted only by the realization that Jesus, too, would have been turned away for having “no backs” on his shoes—that we would be—no, that we were walking together.

It also occurred to me that this must have been a daily occurrence for the historical immigrant women I was in NYC to research.  How often they must have been turned away and snubbed because they didn’t look right, weren’t dressed right, or because they couldn’t understand or speak English!

I knew that when I returned to Maryland I would be welcomed by my church family—no matter what shoes I wore.  Rejection was disappointing, even disheartening, and yet I knew God loved me.  But it horrified and saddened me to think that someone seeking help or comfort, believer or not, would so easily and unkindly be turned away from a church.

After thirty minutes of walking in the rain I found a cab by running into the street at a stoplight, knocking on the passenger side window, and begging the driver to drive me back to my hotel.  He was loathe to open his door, because his last two fares had refused to pay.  I PROMISED to pay him, and tipped him well.

When I returned to the hotel, soaking wet, despite my hotel umbrella, the concierge was astonished at my story, as was the maid servicing my room.

But right away she brought me a Gideon Bible—something no longer automatically available in bedside stands—and we became good friends for the week.  She had emigrated from Ghana, and had her own fascinating stories to share.

What began as a hurtful morning became an enlightening research experience, for which I am most thankful.

Okay, what century are we in? What an amazing story, Cathy! Share your best marketing strategy you’ve found so far, and how you make it work.

Loving, praying for, and reaching out to readers, one on one, one by one works best for me.  That sounds so simple—it might even sound cliché.  But it motivates me to write the best story I can, to offer thought provoking perspectives in the hope of reaching readers’ hearts.  It motivates me to guest blog, write my own blog, answer interview questions, visit reading groups in person or by phone, speak, network on facebook and various sites—all so I can reach readers one person at a time.

Yes, I guess that’s called marketing.  But, in a larger sense, it’s all part of sharing the story—and the story behind the story—that which the Lord has layed on my heart, in the hope that readers will desire more of Him.

How did you start writing, Cathy?

I’ve always wanted to write, ever since I was five years old and discovered that books do not appear by magic, but that real people write books.  I wanted to create the magic of story.  That desire grew as I grew.

I’ve always written in some form, but those forms have changed with the seasons of life.  I began writing fiction seriously when my children were young, but in school.  I took creative writing evening classes and correspondence courses.  My first publication was a feature for a newspaper.  After winning honorable mention in a Writers’ Digest Annual Fiction Contest and having essays published in two books, I began writing my first novel as part of a correspondence course.  When the course finished, I continued writing and haven’t stopped.

I love delving into history to find the story that portrays something current and needful.  For instance, Band of Sisters tells the plight of immigrant women in 1910-1911, NYC.  But the story could easily be recast in the twenty-first century.  Human trafficking is at an all-time high.  My desire is to raise awareness and voices against modern-day slavery, to encourage the opening of hearts and hands to help rescue and restore victims.

I see writing as a ministry and responsibility.  I could write about anything, and enjoy the craft of writing, but my passion is to write about the things that make my heart burn—the things I know God loves, and the things that grieves His heart, all for the purpose of glorifying Him, of moving and blessing the hearts and minds of readers.  Those are the stories He calls me to write.

Can you share some of the books that have influenced your work?

As for books that have influenced me—certainly the Bible.  In His Steps, by Charles Sheldon has been a great motivator in my life.  It’s a story in which a number of church members take a pledge for one year to ask what Jesus would do in every situation before they act.  That challenge changed my life.

What do you use for writing resources?

As far as good resources for writing, two of my favorites are Dr. Stanley Williams’, The Moral Premise, and “The Hero’s Two Journeys,” a DVD set by Michael Hague.

Do you have time for reading for pleasure, and if so, what do you read?

When I have an opportunity to read for pleasure, I tend to choose books that are related in topic or time period to whatever I’m writing about—biographies, histories or historical fiction.

Connect with Cathy:

I connect frequently with readers through my FaceBook Author Page, through Transformational Fiction Fans on FB, and weekly through my Friday website blog, Journal Notes, which flows through my FB Author Page and Amazon.  I speak to a variety of groups, visit reading groups and book clubs—sometimes in person and sometimes by telephone, respond to internet interviews, write guest blogs, and do newspaper interviews, radio interviews and book signings.  But my favorite way to connect is to talk books and life one on one, over a cup of coffee or a tall glass of iced tea.

Thank you, Cathy! We’re definitely looking forward to another great read. We’re glad you stopped by!

3 Responses to “Promotion in Motion: Cathy Gohlke’s Band of Sisters”

  1. patches24 said

    Life’s experiences are definitely more potent than fiction. That incident at the church targets a problem that has managed to drive away or keep away the persons that it was founded for. I’m so glad that you maintained your Christian spirit in all of this. I’m sure your book is incredible and very readable. Every good wish.

  2. You’re so right, patches24–life can certainly be stranger and more potent than fiction. But I’m thankful God makes use of every experience in our lives. What an economist! Blessings for you!

  3. Wonderful interview! It was interesting to hear more of the story behind the story.

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