Behind the Story: Cathryn Hein

Cathryn Hein author photoI’m super excited to have Cathryn Hein on the blog today. Cathryn is the best-selling author of ten rural romance and romantic adventure novels, and a regular Australian Romance Reader Awards finalist. A South Australian country girl by birth, she loves nothing more than a rugged rural hero who’s as good with his heart as he is with his hands, which is probably why she writes them! Her romances are warm and emotional, and feature themes that don’t flinch from the tougher side of life but are often happily tempered by the antics of naughty animals. Her aim is to make you smile, sigh, and perhaps sniffle a little, but most of all feel wonderful.

Cathryn currently lives at the base of the Blue Mountains in New South Wales with her partner of many years, Jim. When she’s not writing, she plays golf (ineptly), cooks (well), and in football season barracks (rowdily) for her beloved Sydney Swans AFL team.

Welcome, Cathryn. Please tell us your story behind the story!

I come from a land of volcanoes.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Not what you think about when you think of Australia, is it? But it’s true. Australia has one of the best volcanic fields in the world. The Newer Volcanic Province stretches from Melbourne through to Mt Burr, north-west of my home town of Mt Gambier, and contains a whopping 400+ volcanoes. There are at least 20 eruptive sites around Mt Gambier alone.

Volcanoes are what I grew up with. As a kid, a great day out was climbing to the top of Mt Schank crater, south of Mt Gambier, and sliding to the bottom again on your bum. We also did it around Mt Gambier, from the Potter’s Point lookout to the Valley Lake far below. We’d get filthy, tear clothing, occasionally hurt ourselves and have the best fun imaginable.

Mount Elephant in western VictoriaThere’s a kind of romance about volcanoes too. They’re ancient, majestic and the view from the top is spectacular. I love them – their crooked forms and cratered bellies, their eroded slopes and stony ridges. And I’m particularly pleased that my favourite, Mt Schank, is only dormant. That it’s like a hibernating bear, snoring softly as it waits for the right moment to reawaken.

It seems inevitable then that I would one day write about a volcano. Not only write about one but develop a whole series of stories set in the shadow of my fictional Mt Schank, Rocking Horse Hill.

Rocking Horse HillRocking Horse Hill is the first in my Levenham Love Story series, and features an old money rural family with an historic property at the base of a volcano. The hill plays a pivotal role in the story, as a place of beauty and passion, as well as great drama and heartache for both its heroine Emily Wallace-Jones and sexy hero Josh Sinclair. At its heart, Rocking Horse Hill is a lover’s reunited story, but it’s also a story about friendship and family, and its lush southeast South Australia setting is stunning.

My latest release Wayward Heart continues the story. It’s a friends-to-lovers romance, a much-favoured trope. And in the Jasmine and Digby’s case, these friends are also two very broken people—Digby from tragedy and grief, Jasmine from heartbreak and humiliation. When circumstances bring them close, they discover unexpected strengths and wonders in each another. What happens next is deeply emotional and passionate, but it’s a relationship tangled with family drama and the wreckage of Digby and Jasmine’s past, and their happily ever after isn’t going to be easy.

Summer and the Groomsman 800x1200Other books so far in the Levenham Love Story series are Summer and the Groomsman – set around Josh and Em’s wedding – and RomantiSanta and the Saddler - 400x600c Book of the Year finalist Santa and the Saddler, which introduces two new characters and their families. Its follow-on story, Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy will release this year and there are plenty more to come. I think at last count I had at least 5 more in the pipeline.

I can’t keep away from the place but there’s a reason for that. I feel passionately about the setting, it’s in my memories and in my heart and I want my characters to find as much happiness in this land of volcanoes as I had growing up.

Wayward Heart by Cathryn HeinCathryn’s latest release is WAYWARD HEART, available in all good bookstores and online now.

Blurb for Wayward Heart:

Jasmine Thomas should feel safe in her cosy cottage at Admella Beach after finally putting an end to an ill-advised romance. But her perfect sanctuary is shattered with the arrival of hand-delivered threatening notes. Someone has discovered her secret.

When the notes escalate to vandalism, Jasmine’s anxiety rises. But in such a small place, telling the police would mean the whole town finding out.

Digby Wallace-Jones is stumbling through the motions of life, wrapped in a fog of grief since his fiancée Felicity died. Withdrawn from his family, Digby doesn’t care about anything beyond his loss. But in a chance meeting with Jasmine, his sister’s best friend who he’s known forever, even he can see the tension she carries. Worried and feeling protective, he continues to drop by, but it’s more than that. Jasmine soothes him; and, unlike the rest of his family, he can talk to her about his pain without fear of judgement. But as much as he likes Jasmine, Digby’s enduring love for Felicity means he has nothing left to give and he pushes Jasmine away.

Jasmine knew they were supposed to stay friends ‘with excellent benefits’ but she can’t help her wayward heart from falling for this tortured, kind and sexy man. How can she ever loosen the grip Felicity’s memory has on Digby’s soul and remind him he still has a life ahead of him?

If you’d like to see Cathryn climbing Mount Schank click here!


Cathryn has kindly offered to send one lucky commenter on the blog a book of their choice from the volcano/Levenham stories: Rocking Horse Hill, Wayward Heart, Summer and the Groomsman, or Santa and the Saddler. 

What we’d like to know is: what’s your favourite landmark and why? It can be from your childhood or now.

Good luck everyone! Comment by June 30 for your chance to win!

Discover more about Cathryn and her stories at or email Cathryn at





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14 thoughts on “Behind the Story: Cathryn Hein

  1. Hey Cathryn and Alli. Loved this article and although I’m partial to a volcano myself, had no idea our playground was littered with them. One of my favourite landmarks would have to be Mt Eccles. It’s an iconic beacon for travellers along the roads going to or from the Hamilton area in Western Victoria through districts littered with ancient lava, some of it hand-picked to create stunning stone walls, (or placed in piles in paddocks for the to do list).
    Before moving to Edenhope, we lived closer to it in Branxholme, and used to take our city guests there for picnics and bushwalks around Crater Lake for a bit of koala and kangaroo spotting. There was even caving for the more adventurous. (Not me!) I miss those days when our kids were small and actually wanted to come in the car with us…. and I still look across to the table-top mesa of Mt Eccles whenever I pass that way, and wonder how it got to be so flat up there.
    I haven’t read any of your books yet Cathryn, but given the theme I’ve just learned about, that’s going to change.
    Best wishes, Jay

    • Hi Jay and thanks for dropping by.
      Funny you should mention Mt Eccles because I have it on my visit list for the next time I’m home. There was an article on the area in the NRMA magazine several months ago and it looks like they’ve made a lot of improvements to the tracks etc. I want to check out the lava tubes at Byaduk too.
      LOL on when the kids wanted to come in the car with you.
      Good luck in the draw!

      • Watch out for the tiger snakes in the lava tubes.
        I’ll never forget us with our two kids scrambling around in the bracken in the dark and hearing very close, very loud hissing.
        Now you know why the kids won’t come with us in the car anymore. 😳

      • Tiger snakes, Jay? *shudder* I had enough of those things growing up. They were everywhere at our beach house. I still remember the day Mum went bezerk with a tomahawk after discovering one asleep in front of the oven.
        Will remember to wear sturdy boots when I visit!

  2. One of my favourite landmarks just happens to be a volcano too, Tower Hill, nestled conveniently off the hwy enroute from Warrnambool to Port Fairy.

    I require frequent visits to nature to reboot & escape the noise & rush of modern society. So living in Warrnambool, Tower Hill (a 10 minute drive away) is the perfect medicine for me when I need a quick nature fix.
    Inhabited by emus, koalas, wallabies, a variety of bird species, frogs, water & trees, Tower Hill, for me, always delivers a calming nature experience.

    • Hi Kate and thanks for visiting and sharing your landmark. Fantastic place you live! In fact, if memory serves me correctly, Warrnambool gets a brief mention in my upcoming release The Country Girl (out December).
      You’re fortunate to live so close to Tower Hill and be able to take advantage of its beauty. When I was a child, Mum would often stop there for a look and to let me run around after we’d been to visit her dear friend in Warrnambool. Next time I’m passing through I’ll have to stop for another look.
      Thanks so much for sharing. All the best in the giveaway.

  3. I absolutely adore the volcanic rocks around Portland Vic. I never knew they existed until my family and I came here to live 3 years ago. The beautiful sculptured rocks are fascinating to look at.
    I love reading your Levanham books, since I live in the area. It makes me feel like my town is just so nearby.

    • Portland is such a great place, Melissa. I think the whole area is a gem that’s not heralded enough. There is so much to see and enjoy, including wonderful beaches and the volcanic sites, plus all that history. Then topped off with great food and wine. A must-visit!

      Thanks so much for saying you enjoy the Levenham books. I love writing them. I think, in part, it’s because I adore the area so much. There’ll be a new one out this year – Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy. Details coming soon but I saw the cover last week and it’s gorgeous. Can’t wait to share that one.

      I’m going to do my best to organise a talk at the Portland library next time I’m through. It’d be lovely to say hello in person.

      Good luck in the draw!

  4. I avoid volcanoes if I can.
    The ones in the NT have many differing Dreamtime stories attached to them.
    One of my favourite places would be at the top of Tollner falls in the Top End. Its spectacular view overlooks a sea of green (an olive green) that flows all the way to the ocean – and it’s crocodile safe to swim in, where there’s nothing better than wallowing in the natural spring water on a humid tropical summer’s day.
    Thanks for sharing, Cathryn. And thank you Alli for increasing my Authors to-read list. ;p

    • Oh, that place sounds WONDERFUL, Mel! And, importantly, crocodile safe. I’m going to put Tollner Falls on my bucket list. Thanks!

      All the best in the giveaway. I’m off to google more about your favourite place.

  5. Hi Catherine. Have to say I’m a big fan. Thanks Ali for this behind the story blog, it’s always great to find out little interesting tidbits about books we’ve read. They make them that much more meaningful. My favourite land mark in WA is The Pinnacles, about a three hour drive north along the coast from Perth.The Pinnacles are large limestone spires that stick up out of the sand dunes, some getting a couple of metres high. It’s a very eerie experience walking through these ancient spires around sunset. They cast long, spooky shadows and for those of us with an overactive imagination, it can even feel like an alien invasion has just taken place in the middle of the desert. Every time I visit I come away feeling wonderment at how many enigmatic and beautiful places we have in this wide brown country of ours.

    • Lovely to hear you’re a fan, Susiecass. That’s so nice to hear. I LOVE your description of the Pinnacles. They sound the perfect location for a story! I’m coming over to WA for the West Coast Fiction Festival in November next year and am hoping to take a bit of a holiday with it. Fingers crossed I get to see them too.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to visit and comment and all the best in the giveaway.

  6. Hey there Catherine. My favourite landmark is close to my heart because I spent every summer there as a kid. So, I suppose I regard it as my landmark. It is the beach at Torquay in Victoria. I’ve walked the length of it just about every year of my life, being careful to avoid Point Impossible (the nudist beach)..a tad scary at times! Hehe. It’s just always been my place, my important landmark..
    Thanks so much for letting me share my spot with you.

    • LOL on the nudist beach, Laurelle! But what an iconic landmark you’ve chose with the beach at Torquay. I hope you still make it back there to enjoy the surf and sand between your toes.

      Thanks so much for sharing and all the best in the giveaway.

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