Writing as Kate Forrest, Cath Allwood kindly decided to donate all the proceeds from her book to Hospice UK in memory of her friend Alison, who spent her last months in a North London hospice.
Cath and Alison shared a great love for Italy and reading, both of which inspired Cath to write her first novel The Fibonacci Sequence. The story follows the heroine Sue Collins as she navigates her divorce and travels to the Veneto to find a second chance of happiness.
In her own words, Cath explains the process of writing her book.
“Writing became a wonderful way to fill the time”
“After we retired in 2012, my husband, David, and I moved from London to Hope Valley in the Derbyshire Peak District. In 2015, I joined a writers’ group in a nearby village. I’d never written fiction before but soon discovered I loved creative writing.
I founded a writers’ group in my village in 2017 and, when the pandemic arrived, writing became a wonderful way to fill the time enjoyably.
I had written first drafts of a few novels by then and, with the help of my friend and beta reader, Sue, I edited the first of my series, The Fibonacci Sequence. I joined the Romantic Novelists Association in 2020 as a member of their New Writers Scheme and the feedback I received encouraged me to think of myself as a writer.
I decided to self-publish my novels on Amazon so that I could donate all the profits from sales to benefit my chosen charity.”
“Bright, bubbly and great fun”: my friend Alison
"I moved to Rome in July 1988 with David’s work and was lucky enough to be introduced to Alison quite soon after through a mutual friend.
Alison was bright, bubbly and great fun. She described herself (with a twinkle) as a ‘party animal’ and was always ready to join any social gathering. We hit it off at once and spent the next five years together seeing Italy, eating pasta and drinking prosecco. She was our constant companion.
We returned to London in 1993 and were neighbours from then until Alison’s death in 2004. Bound together by our shared love of Italy, we remained close friends and often reminisced about our five years in Rome.
“Although it’s become a cliché that Italy liberates repressed Anglo-Saxons, Alison and I blossomed in the warmth and beauty of Rome.”
Alison’s last months
“There was no one to give Alison the care she needed at home, so if the hospice hadn’t been there she would’ve been on a hospital ward. I doubt the end of her life would’ve been so tranquil and peaceful for her or her friends.”
“Alison spent her last months in the hospice in Hampstead. I often visited her after work, bearing Italian goodies which we shared – and Alison always had a bottle of prosecco open when I arrived.
It was a very tranquil place and we had time and space to remember all the wonderful experiences we’d shared in Italy.
Alison was looked after with care and affection. She seemed very calm and I’m sure the atmosphere helped her find peace and acceptance. She was there for a long time and I wasn’t surprised to see how fond the staff became of her.”
Writing The Fibonacci Sequence
After Alison’s death, Cath decided to start writing – as Alison had always encouraged her to do.
“Alison and I were both great readers and often recommended books to each other; she urged me to write many times but I was working full-time as a librarian then and I never followed it up. When I came to write The Fibonacci Sequence, it seemed only natural to send my heroine off to the Veneto to find love and a second chance for happiness.
The heroine, Sue Collins, is Treasurer of the fictitious ‘Friends of the Hospice’ in Whitby and organises their fundraising events. It follows her emotional progress following her divorce and includes a holiday in the Veneto with her grown-up daughter, where she finds love. It’s a pleasant, light-hearted read, with themes of friendship, family relationships, love and second chances.”
Donating the proceeds
Cath envisaged that the novel would be bought by friends living all over the country, so she decided to donate the proceeds to a national charity: Hospice UK.
“I’m finding it very satisfying to donate the profits from my novel. As I’m retired, I have no plans of being a professional novelist and this is a lovely way to raise a little money for such a good cause.
I check my sales and it really pleases me when I sell a copy of my book. I’ve donated my earnings from the novel’s first three months and hope to sell more copies to add to this.”
Cath’s book, The Fibonacci Sequence, is available to purchase on Amazon.
Thank you Cath for sharing your story.
Have you been inspired by Cath?
Whether you have a great idea for a book, want to take on a new challenge, or join one of our fundraising events, you can make a difference for hospice care.