A little thing like dyslexia wasn’t going to stand in the way of Catherine Fowler’s dream.
Despite struggling at school, she always dreamt of being an author, like her idol, Agatha Christie.
Now all grown up, Catherine is thrilled to be launching her second novel, having overcome the condition which has blighted her life.
“Now it’s obvious that I am dyslexic, but I suppose back then they didn’t really know,” remembers Catherine of her schooldays.
“They said I had my head in the clouds. I struggled quite badly at school. I was very creative and imaginative, but when it comes to the basics like spelling and writing, I struggled.
“I’m also dyscalculia as well, which is with numbers.”
Catherine, who is now working as an exercise to music teacher and tutor, put her writing difficulties to one side in 2007, when she started to create a character for her first book.
“This character just popped into my head,” she said. “I started writing, just describing her. The next thing, I was addicted to this story.”
The book, called Sweet Jasmine, Cakes and Magic, a supernatural women’s fiction novel, took Catherine four years – and numerous proof reads – to write, during which time she was officially diagnosed with dyslexia.
Catherine was undertaking a PGCE at college when her tutor asked her to get tested.
“I passed with flying colours,” she smiles.
“Then I found out more about dyslexia. It was lovely, because now I know why I think the way I think. It’s poor organisational skills, you mix up times and dates, which I do a lot. It’s not just word blindness.
“I also found out that Agatha Christie was dyslexic. She is my favourite author, so that made me quite happy.”
Catherine, who lives in Bournemouth, launched her first book last year and is now preparing for the launch of the sequel, Sweet Jasmine, Stakes and Magic.
She admits the writing side of things is still difficult for her, but her creative side takes over to put the story together.
“I can be a bit hard on myself.”
“But I’m trying to relax and enjoy it more now. I’ve left the second book with an opening, so my plan is to do a third, which would be more of a prequel.
“The books are adult fiction, about witches. They’re a cross between Charmed meets Sex And The City. I’ve always loved the supernatural.
“I used to watch The Worst Witch when I was about eight, and I watched another film, called Bell, Book and Candle, when I was about eight or nine. They’re definitely why I love the genre.”
Catherine writes under the name Catherine Sabatina, in tribute to her late, Italian mother, who was also a keen reader.
“She passed away from breast cancer,” she says. She was very clever – she read eight books every two weeks.
The Sweet Jasmine Series is available via Amazon and downloadable via a Kindle.