Life can be redirected in a split second. For Catherine Cowles, a horseback riding injury sent her on a road trip to find a quiet, peaceful place to recover. When the journey of exploration led to Sisters, she knew she had found the perfect spot. What she didn’t know at the time was that it would also birth her life as a published romance novelist.

Being a lifelong voracious reader, it almost seemed natural that this new chapter in a new place would lead to a new career that included books. It wasn’t long before Catherine funneled her love of the written word into a brand-new quest. Shortly after arriving, Catherine began creating a strategy and equipping herself to attain the ultimate goal. It was time to enter the world that she loved; it was time to become an author.

Catherine knows that her readers often experience their own tragedy, grief, heartache and challenges. When escaping into romance novels, they all want to feel hope and a guaranteed “happily ever after.” It was this awareness that directed Catherine to choose the romance genre for her writing focus. Quite different from a “love story,” a romance novel can still take you through the rough parts of life, but there will always be a happy ending.

A happy ending and some spicy elements along the way.

As she settled into her new life in Sisters, Catherine found inspiration. Her first book, “Further to Fall,” was already underway when she started to formulate the “Sutter Lake” series. And for those who know Sisters, the parallels are quite noticeable. Although, Catherine didn’t craft her series literally about Sisters, her readers will feel all that has inspired her.

A writer often draws from life experiences, personal reflections and what they themselves are drawn to. Cowles has always been someone who appreciates the opportunity books provide as a portal to other worlds, lives and experiences. As she works on each book, her personal connections broaden as she has been welcomed and affirmed by the romance-writing community. Friendships have blossomed, support systems have developed, and Catherine has truly found a new world inside the one she lives every day. Life has become deeper, richer and even more creative than ever before.

Writing a novel is not easy, and Catherine commits almost every waking hour to the process. Self-imposed and intense deadlines keep her on track, few distractions are allowed, and extensive research and connectedness to those who have already found success have been vital to attaining her goals. Within the romance-writing community, “up-and-coming” authors unite as well, sharing their experiences in a way that provides valuable tools. The camaraderie is exhilarating and encouraging.

Finding inspiration from the town she calls home, as well as the beautiful surrounding landscape, Catherine has all that she needs to finish all four books in the Sutter Lake series. After hours and hours at her computer, being able to step outside and absorb the beauty of this place refuels her spirit. This refueling ensures that the stories she so beautifully creates will carry her readers into a special town filled with memorable characters and challenging life experiences.

When life changes in a split second, what comes next can be transformational. For Catherine Cowles, an unfortunate riding experience which required time and a quiet place to heal led to a life beyond anything she could have imagined. It led her to Sisters and to her new and rewarding life as a published romance novelist.

The first book in the Sutter Lake series, “Beautifully Broken Pieces,” has been very well received. It is available locally at Paulina Springs Books, 541-549-0866. Cowles’ second installment, “Beautifully Broken Life,” will be published and released in late June.