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Will You Love Me by Cathy Glass Q&A - ANSWERS BACK

(48 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 26-Sep-13 12:43:44

This week's book giveaway is the latest instalment of bestselling author and foster carer Cathy Glass' memoir. Will You Love me tells the story of Cathy's adopted daughter Lucy.

Lucy was eleven years old when she moved to live with Cathy and was severely distressed after being moved from one foster home to another. Withdrawn, refusing to eat and three years behind in her schooling, it was thought that the damage Lucy has suffered would be irreversible. But Cathy was able to break through to Lucy and she was able to provide her with the loving home she never believed existed. Cathy and Lucy believe they were always destined to be mother and daughter it just took them a little while to find each other.

Cathy has been a foster carer for over 25 years, during which time she has looked after more than 100 children, of all ages and backgrounds. The name Cathy Glass is a pseudonym.

Apply for a free copy of Will you love me and come back to this thread to discuss the book and post a question to Cathy about the book or her experiences as a foster carer. Closing date for posting questions is Sunday 27 October and we'll post up her answers on 4 November.

littlewifey Fri 14-Feb-14 13:40:30

Thanks Mumsnet. Had a backlog of books to read, so only just finished this but another warm and touching book by Cathy Glass! Love her books and think she is a remarkable lady.

aristocat Tue 05-Nov-13 11:02:28

Thank you Cathy, will check out your website smile

CathyGlassAuthor Mon 04-Nov-13 16:59:44

I’d just like to add a big thank you for all the wonderful comments. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the discussion. Love and best wishes Cathy xx

CathyGlassAuthor Mon 04-Nov-13 16:59:25

littlemisssarcastic

Thank you so much for this book. I have really enjoyed reading it. The first part, about Lucy's upbringing before she came into Cathy's life was written differently to Cathy's usual style of writing, but I like that.

I have avidly read most of Cathy's books, although I also find it difficult to understand how Cathy finds time to write.

I would like to ask Cathy for an update on Lucy. How old is Lucy now? Is she still at school?
I'd also like to ask Cathy if she has ever loved and wanted to long term foster/adopt any of the other children she has fostered, or if Lucy was the only one Cathy felt strongly that she wanted to have with her long term.

Also, how does Cathy unwind? Apart from writing books. grin

Lastly, I would like to ask Cathy if she ever comes across any prejudice as a single parent/foster carer, and if she does, how does she deal with that? I am a single mother and would love to have your confidence in my parenting and in society.

Cathy's books are compelling, easy to follow yet virtually impossible to put down. I'm looking forward to the next one already. grin

I am so pleased you are enjoying my books. As you can see from my previous answer I have to rise very early in the morning – at 4am in order to write.

There is an update on Lucy, and all the other children in the books on my website: www.cathyglass.co.uk/bookupdates.html

Yes, I have offered to keep other children. Indeed I would keep them all if I could. But as a foster carer I am aware that while my role is vital it is likely to be short term and at some point I’m going to have to say goodbye. I know this attachment is the reason why many people don’t apply to foster, and it is difficult. If a child can’t return home then the social services make the decision on where the child will live long term.

I’m usually exhausted at the end of the day, with fostering and rising early to write so I don’t have a problem sleeping. To unwind I read, watch some television or phone a friend for a chat.

And lastly, no, I have never found any prejudice in fostering as a single parent although it is hard work and a good support network is vital. I am greatly indebted to my wonderful parents, and also my good friends who have been able to help out at the last minute when necessary.

CathyGlassAuthor Mon 04-Nov-13 16:57:26

scarlet5tyger

Thank you MN for posting this in the foster carers section - we've discussed Cathy Glass and her authenticity several times and its interesting to be able to post questions. I hope NanaNina comes along with some of her insight too!

These are the questions I personally would like "Cathy" to answer:

1. How does changing a child's name adhere to the (very) strict confidentiality clauses that foster carers have to sign up to? Surely the child and their families at the very least will be able to recognise themselves, not to mention teachers, link workers, support staff, health professionals, social workers...

2. How do the children feel about their stories being sold? Was their permission sought?

3. Is any of the (presumably huge) amount of money made from the book given back to the children whose stories have been sold?

4. How does a foster carer find time to write so many books, at such an incredible pace? Even with my "easiest" placements I barely had time to write a few comments on Mumsnet at the end of a day, never mind write a novel!

5. How are dates and times from events spanning 25 years presented so accurately 25 years later? Any diaries/log books kept are supposed to be handed over at the end of a placement, and a personal diary shouldn't be full of dates and statements about a foster child.

Hopefully other carers will be along with more questions too.

1. All the names and places are changed, as well as any identifying details. I also write under a pseudonym which I don’t disclose to anyone. Another reason why characters aren’t recognised is that, sadly, while the story is of one child it is also the story of many. You’d be horrified at how many Jodies (^Damaged^) there are in the world, or how many Donnas (^The Saddest Girl In The World^), for example. All my fostering stories are thoroughly checked by the publisher’s lawyer before they are published to make absolutely sure that anonymity is not compromised.

2. This links in with the question above: while my fostering stories tell the story of one child they also tell the story of many so no permission is sought.

3. I’m afraid there is not a lot of money in writing books. Authors receive a very small percentage of the retail price of a book. Over 90% of authors earn below the minimum wage so they have another job in order to write. Having said that, I personally donate to children’s charities and there is a list on my website of some of those. I hope this answers your question.

4. When I am working on a book I get up at 4am to write, every morning including weekends. The house is quiet then and I have two hours before the children are awake. I tend to go to bed quite early!

5. Some of the dates are changed but I find I have a good memory for detail especially with traumatic or emotional events. I think that is true of most people. For example I can still remember every detail of Dawn’s behaviour in Cut and that was over 25 years ago! Significant events tend to stay with us. I won’t necessarily remember that something happened on a Tuesday, for example, but I’ll know it was a weekday near the start of the week. If I’m a day or so out it doesn’t really matter as long as I stay true to the story and the message it contains, for example, illegal child labour in Hidden; or teenage pregnancy in Please Don’t Take My Baby.

CathyGlassAuthor Mon 04-Nov-13 16:52:26

aristocat

I had never read any Cathy Glass books before.

This book was fantastic!
You are an inspiration to us all smile and it is brilliant to be able to see that children with such a bad start (like Lucy who have been let down by the care system) can have a happy-ever-after. It is a heartbreaking, sensitive book and you truly are an amazing lady.

I shall be reading your books again, thank you. Can I ask if you will be writing any that do not involve fostering?

Thanks very much – it’s so lovely to hear that readers have connected with our story. I am so pleased you enjoyed Will You Love Me?. I have already written seven books that don’t involve fostering: three novels and four self-help guides. Details of these can be found on my website: www.cathyglass.co.uk. I hope to write more of these books in the future.

CathyGlassAuthor Mon 04-Nov-13 16:44:20

SunshineSailing

Thank you for my copy Mumsnet! I've just started the book so I look forward to reading it more in the next week & I've not read other books by Cathy Glass but my sister has read all of them. It's been good as I just assumed they were sensationalist & always wondered why people would want to read about children going through awful times so I'm looking forward to reading one with a positive outcome.
I have often thought I would like to foster to make a difference to children in tough situations, this book shows the reality of the hard emotional work involved. I'd like to ask Cathy Glass if she has spoken to 'Lucy' about fostering, ie would 'Lucy' consider fostering children herself when she's older?
Thanks

Thank you for your very kind words. I always try to write a gripping memoir with a strong social message, without resorting to sensationalism.

To answer your question about Lucy, fostering is such a way of life for us all that it is something Adrian, Lucy and Paula would all consider in the future.

CathyGlassAuthor Mon 04-Nov-13 16:43:10

LadyWishfort

Firstly, thanks for the book, it got me reading again after a dry spell. I have never read any Cathy Glass before and although I found the book informative and it left me glad for Lucy, it also left me wanting to know more. I wanted more detail (difficult, I know with a certain lack of info) regarding some of the characters. I get that this is an account of events and I wouldn't want sensationalism, but sometimes it felt too detached. I wondered what happened with some of the people who had tried to help. were any of them contacted to let them know about Lucy's happy ending or is that sort of thing forbidden under confidentiality?

I’m glad you enjoyed Will You Love Me? As an author it is always difficult to know what details to include in a book, what to leave out, and what to assume the reader will know. It’s a very fine balance, especially when writing about abuse. I want the reader to feel empathy with the victim without inviting voyeurism. I think I usually get the balance right and I’m always happy listen to feedback.

However, I was surprised that you felt some detachment in places as the majority of my readers say just the opposite: that they are so connected they feel as though they are there with me or the child.

In respect of your other point, all the names in the book were changed to maintain anonymity so no one was contacted. However, if you want to know more about Lucy, or any of the other children in my books, there are updates on my website: www.cathyglass.co.uk

CathyGlassAuthor Mon 04-Nov-13 16:39:35

givemeaboost

Read the book yesterday, very well written, very similar to my experience of being repeatedly being let down by the system.
However, I am puzzled by one aspect- after bonnie flees the launderette, you say she receives a text from lucys father saying his flights leaving - I was under the impression lucy is now a women in her mid twenties and therefor it would've been about 1986 at the time she was born? - but text messages were not invented till 1992....confused

I am so sorry to hear you have been let down by the system. I hope you are in a good place now.

You are right, the text message is a bit before its time - it was actually a pager but I felt that so few readers would know what a pager was that I used a bit of ‘poetic licence’ and changed it to a text message. I hope it didn’t detract from your enjoyment of the book.

countingdown Tue 29-Oct-13 19:27:40

I realise that I am too late to ask a question, just wanted to say thank you for the copy of the book that I received. I have not read any of Cathy's other books, and as someone previously said, this is a genre that I would normally avoid. However, I have devoured thie book. Seems a bit dark to have 'enjoyed' this book, but I really was gripped and shall look out for other books by the same author.

RebeccaSMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 28-Oct-13 14:12:18

The Q&A is now closed. We'll be selecting questions to send over to Cathy Glass later today and then post up her answers next Monday (4 November). Thanks to everyone who sent in questions.

littlemisssarcastic Sun 27-Oct-13 19:18:34

Thank you so much for this book. I have really enjoyed reading it. The first part, about Lucy's upbringing before she came into Cathy's life was written differently to Cathy's usual style of writing, but I like that.

I have avidly read most of Cathy's books, although I also find it difficult to understand how Cathy finds time to write.

I would like to ask Cathy for an update on Lucy. How old is Lucy now? Is she still at school?
I'd also like to ask Cathy if she has ever loved and wanted to long term foster/adopt any of the other children she has fostered, or if Lucy was the only one Cathy felt strongly that she wanted to have with her long term.

Also, how does Cathy unwind? Apart from writing books. grin

Lastly, I would like to ask Cathy if she ever comes across any prejudice as a single parent/foster carer, and if she does, how does she deal with that? I am a single mother and would love to have your confidence in my parenting and in society.

Cathy's books are compelling, easy to follow yet virtually impossible to put down. I'm looking forward to the next one already. grin

ShabbyButNotChic Sat 26-Oct-13 13:55:44

I've never read anything by cathy glass before, and generally avoid this type of book, as i think sometimes it feels a little 'wrong' to take entertainment from other peoples pain and negative life experiences. However, i found myself being drawn into this book, and read it over a couple of days.
I thought it was good at drawing the reader in, and liked how it started off with the information on Lucy's biological mother, without simply writing her off as 'a bad mother'.
I ultimately found this a good read, while upsetting, and i will definitely have a look into more books by cathy glass.
I am taking this book to my mums later as i think she will enjoy it too.

Uzma01 Sat 26-Oct-13 12:14:48

* about in the book?

Uzma01 Sat 26-Oct-13 12:14:08

I've never been a big fan of such books, not because I don't care about the subject matter but that I usually find the contents incredibly upsetting. For the most part it is upsetting what Lucy went through but at least she has a happier life once she gets over some of her past horrors.

I've not read any other works by Cathy, though this book is written well I don't think I'd be reading any more of her works. I think the work she does is amazing - fostering is incredibly important but I'm not sure what impact, if any, her writing has on changing the flawed systems in place meant to protect the vulnerable youth here. Does she campaign for change at local and national levels to improve the systems she talks ab

SunshineSailing Fri 25-Oct-13 14:16:47

[Blush] Pressed post before I'd finished!
I'd like to ask Cathy Glass if she has spoken to 'Lucy' about fostering, ie would 'Lucy' consider fostering children herself when she's older?
Thanks

SunshineSailing Fri 25-Oct-13 14:13:17

Thank you for my copy Mumsnet! I've just started the book so I look forward to reading it more in the next week & I've not read other books by Cathy Glass but my sister has read all of them. It's been good as I just assumed they were sensationalist & always wondered why people would want to read about children going through awful times so I'm looking forward to reading one with a positive outcome.
I have often thought I would like to foster to make a difference to children in tough situations, this book shows the reality of the hard emotional work involved.

MichaelaS Thu 24-Oct-13 23:49:03

I would like to know how Cathy feels about the damage she is causing to my family..... when she writes another book and I go AWOL from domestic duties, stay up half the night and ignore the children until I finish it. :-)

Shlurpbop Tue 22-Oct-13 13:57:32

I raced through this book in a couple of days - unheard of for me since having my daughter as I never manage to find the time!

I found the book interesting, as well as heartbreaking in places. I actually really felt for Lucy's mum Bonnie who I believe wanted to be a good mum, if only to help erase the memories of her poor childhood by providing better for her own daughter. It is sad that she was the product of a poor childhood, and it was heartening to see her parenting skills improved when she was being looked after by her Aunt who in turn helped her with Lucy. I thought the ending where she allowed Lucy to be adopted showed that perhaps she did have her daughters best interests at heart, and she realised that she would never be able to provide what Lucy needed, no matter how much she may have wanted to.
I do hope that she, Bonnie, maybe went on to find some peace in her own life.

All in all the book was a very sad tale of how 2 children, both Bonnie and Lucy, were let down by Social Services and the people who should be there to support them. I was glad that Lucy found a home and a family, but I was shocked that it took so many years and so many instances of fleeting involvement for the support to finally be put in place.

Misspeach2345 Tue 22-Oct-13 04:55:47

I won a copy of the book and was completely beside my self! I have loved everyone of her books, and cried through all of them. I have read every book but 4 of them.

Lucy's story was one I looked forward to reading as I desperately wanted to know about her and her struggles an how she came to be with Cathy. I too believe Cathy and Lucy were destined to be together and fate played a bi part in this story line.

I was captivated and moved in so many ways at Cathy's pure compassion, patiences and her love for every child. Her non judgemental views and ability to love every child damaged or not. The world is truely the a better place to have been blessed with Cathy. So many children have been given a chance an opportunity to change and be better because of Cathy. If Cathy wrote 100 books I would read them all I can't put them down , til my eyes are sore.

I don't have any questions for Cathy but I am eager to hear her responses to the questions that are posed. That woman captivates me. I am ever so thankful I won the book as the suspense would have killed me to wait! Best day of my life, whole book done in 27 hours. Nothing compared to damaged which I read in 19 hours. I don't think any story could have torn me and made me as furious as DAMAGED, the things that poor little girl endured as just tremendously heartbreaking and so disturbing. It broke my heart with every page I read. Just another example of Cathy's amazing work! Such a wonderful woman!!

LadyWishfort Mon 21-Oct-13 23:39:48

Firstly, thanks for the book, it got me reading again after a dry spell. I have never read any Cathy Glass before and although I found the book informative and it left me glad for Lucy, it also left me wanting to know more. I wanted more detail (difficult, I know with a certain lack of info) regarding some of the characters. I get that this is an account of events and I wouldn't want sensationalism, but sometimes it felt too detached. I wondered what happened with some of the people who had tried to help. were any of them contacted to let them know about Lucy's happy ending or is that sort of thing forbidden under confidentiality?

fasparent Mon 21-Oct-13 22:50:44

Been fostering for 38 years we learn by experience , support and on going training, WOULD not dream of writing on matters dear too our heart's will remain their with our love and confidence.

elong8 Mon 21-Oct-13 21:44:01

I won this book in this competition but had actually bought the book a few days before i found out because i didn't think i would win! What a surprise!

This book was very different to how Cathy usually writes but i really enjoyed it! It explains so much of Lucy's behavior in her other books. I would definitely recommend this book, it has so many twists and turns both happy and sad!

Cathy is an inspiration to me and has been since i first read her books. I am so glad that Lucy and Cathy found each other and i wish them the best!

aristocat Mon 21-Oct-13 20:54:21

I had never read any Cathy Glass books before.

This book was fantastic!
You are an inspiration to us all smile and it is brilliant to be able to see that children with such a bad start (like Lucy who have been let down by the care system) can have a happy-ever-after. It is a heartbreaking, sensitive book and you truly are an amazing lady.

I shall be reading your books again, thank you. Can I ask if you will be writing any that do not involve fostering?

scarlet5tyger Mon 21-Oct-13 20:34:48

Thank you MN for posting this in the foster carers section - we've discussed Cathy Glass and her authenticity several times and its interesting to be able to post questions. I hope NanaNina comes along with some of her insight too!

These are the questions I personally would like "Cathy" to answer:

1. How does changing a child's name adhere to the (very) strict confidentiality clauses that foster carers have to sign up to? Surely the child and their families at the very least will be able to recognise themselves, not to mention teachers, link workers, support staff, health professionals, social workers...

2. How do the children feel about their stories being sold? Was their permission sought?

3. Is any of the (presumably huge) amount of money made from the book given back to the children whose stories have been sold?

4. How does a foster carer find time to write so many books, at such an incredible pace? Even with my "easiest" placements I barely had time to write a few comments on Mumsnet at the end of a day, never mind write a novel!

5. How are dates and times from events spanning 25 years presented so accurately 25 years later? Any diaries/log books kept are supposed to be handed over at the end of a placement, and a personal diary shouldn't be full of dates and statements about a foster child.

Hopefully other carers will be along with more questions too.

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