Find a Christian store

Interview with Catherine Ulrich Brakefield

Award-winning author of both fiction and non-fiction, Catherine Ulrich Brakefield loves sharing American history “one truth at a time.” A longtime Michigan resident, wife of 50 years, and genuine horse-lover, she uses her own hands-on experiences to craft her stories. Considered an old-fashioned read by some, Catherine works hard to create novels that resemble real history as closely as possible.

Share something your readers wouldn’t know about you.
My husband and I have raised Arabian horses for over thirty years. Camelot Arabians became the name of our farm where we saw three generations of horses pass through. My children would show them at the 4-H Fairs horse show events, the Arabian horse shows, and distant riding competitions. We traveled throughout Michigan, Canada, and Kentucky to compete. We rode our Arabians in the Metamora Hunt Club for over twenty years and often won the endurance point-to-point races.

If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
Born-again Christian, dedicated wife, beloved mother, and grandmother

What was your favorite book when you were a kid?
Little Women

Did it play any part in your writing style today?
It inspired my desire to become descriptive in my writing. I know that a few editors have described my writing as an “old-fashioned read.” I could really relate to Jo because she was a tomboy. Who also became a writer. However, she struggled to get the recognition she sought.

What book is currently on your bedside table?
My Bible and Lori Ann Wood’s Divine Detour.

Is writing your full-time career? Or would you like it to be?
It has become that way throughout the years. With writing novels, comes additional writing assignments for blogs, interviews, and speaking engagements.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I never planned to become a writer. I loved to read. But I disliked sitting at a desk when the sun was shining. I spent my free days horseback riding, swimming, and playing just about every sport known to man. I never liked or played board games.

Tell us about your first published book? What was the journey like?
The Wind of Destiny is my first published book, written back in 2006. It was actually a combination of Destiny’s Whirlwind and Destiny of Heart, both of which were later published by CrossRiver in the four-book Destiny Series. Then I published The Lapeer Area by Arcadia later in 2006. And in 2014 I published with Arcadia again, Eastern Lapeer Area. Then CrossRiver picked me up, and I did Wilted Dandelions in 2015 and the following year came Swept into Destiny then Destiny’s Whirlwind, Destiny of Heart and Waltz with Destiny. In 2022 came my newest, Love’s Final Sunrise.

As you can see, the publishing journey often resembles a minefield. A breakthrough, sort of like fireworks, then nothing and then the fireworks start all over again! And that has kept me pretty busy through the years, to say the least.

What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?
The Bible mostly, and you can see that evidence in my novels. On my business cards, I say I write America’s story one truth at a time. I believe people need to know the basics of our American heritage, good, bad, and ugly. I allow my readers to decide for themselves.

What comes first for you — the plot or the characters — and why?
Plot. I plan my story around it. Every story I write had a purpose for being written in exploring the realms of God’s intervention on our lives.

In Wilted Dandelions, The Second Great Awakening came in 1802 and a year later France sells the land west of the Mississippi River, hence, the Louisiana Purchase. My heroine is one of the first white woman to cross the Rockies, her faith born again in a tent revival. She is determined to travel west and witness to the Native Americans. Only, first she must marry a man she hardly knows.

In Swept into Destiny, a spunky Southern belle educates people of color beneath the cover of night—tar-and-feathers awaited her destiny if she is caught. She realizes she has more in common with an Irish Immigrant than her own countrymen.

In Destiny’s Whirlwind, a young woman dons coveralls to keep her family out of the poorhouse—is scorned by her neighbors and locks horns with a Roughrider who unleashes emotions she never knew existed—aware he could leave for Cuba any day.

From the hills of Kentucky to the dust storms of Colorado the McConnel’s faith is tested to its upmost battling plagues and lost hopes in Destiny of Heart. But with the heartaches, loves once thought lost—even The Great Depression couldn’t erase God’s interventions.

In Waltz with Destiny, just when those barefoot youths from the Great Depression land their first job and purchase their first car, Hitler decides to march across Europe. Their Judeo-Christian beliefs could prove more a hindrance than a help fighting German and Japan’s well-trained armies. The Big Band Era appears lost amidst a sea of regrets as a second-generation McConnell woman faces the truth—and her destiny. Would he return? Watching their sons and sweethearts march off to face a foe that only the devil could rivel, the McConnell women know prayer is their hope facing these insurmountable odds.

That brings us to Love’s Final Sunrise, you will see below that there is a definite reason for this book.

Can you share with us something about the book that isn’t in the blurb?
It felt like I wrote and rewrote Love’s Final Sunrise a hundred times! I wanted to make sure I wrote accurately about the Amish lifestyle. Not the made-to-order Amish books that line the bookshelves. At least, that is what I learned from my Amish source who confided to me that the Amish books published today are not about real Amish.

So, though this book is tagged “fiction” I have attempted to make it as close to the real-life Amish of today, as well as the real-life biblical account of the Scripture verse pertaining to the end of times. There are over a hundred Bible verses in Love’s Final Sunrise, and if you should happen to read the reviews, everyone is loving it! It is not preachy—far from it! “Encouraging” is what everyone is saying about Love’s Final Sunrise.

Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart? If so, why?
My main character, Ruth, is an imaginary character that many of my readers have related to. And though I know she is a figment of my imagination—I find it hard myself not to feel sorry for her! I was so very happy when she finally found the true love she longed for.

It is so hard to realize even for me, the writer, how a character can take form and become so real as to make you want to meet her face-to-face! One of my readers even messaged me and asked me if Ruth wasn’t really myself.

It is to my delight, and to my chagrin, that I often feel the same way as my readers. I often put off writing that final page, knowing that I have ended the lives of my characters.

What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book?
Collecting my research for Love’s Final Sunrise. I drove Amish wagons, canned with them, and trudged fields whatever the weather. I was there with the Amish at funerals, I was there when a wee babe was just recently born, ate with my Amish friends, and listened with compassion to their stories. I thought I knew all I needed to know about their customs. Yet, at some moments, I felt awkward. I had often interviewed a few Amish farmers for my Michigan Traveler and newspaper articles, but this was different. I was writing a futuristic novel—and many Amish understood little about that type of book.

What was the highlight of writing this book?
Recording in consecutive order the Bible verses and events of the latter days.

Any current or upcoming projects you’d like to tell us about?
Many of my readers have asked me to write a continuation of the Destiny Series. I am contemplating this. Presently, I am researching on books one and two for the Wilted Dandelion series and compiling my previously published short stories for a book of true-life trials and triumphs. I shall share my meaningful experiences with you, so you can see your life with greater insight!
Gina Holder is an indie author and stay-at-home mom. She’s had an infatuation with books for as long as she can remember. She loves sharing uplifting messages from God’s Word and introducing readers to new and new-to-them authors on her blog at When she’s not writing, Gina enjoys playing the piano, cooking, reading, watching Hallmark mysteries, and solving “escape room” puzzles. She’s been a member of ACFW for several years, and loves growing in her craft as an author. She published her debut novel in 2017. Gina lives in Colorado with her husband and daughter.

For more great interviews, visit our Author Interview Archives.

ACFW Members, click here to apply for an author interview!

Developed by Camna, LLC

This is a service provided by ACFW, but does not in any way endorse any publisher, author, or work herein.