Downen keeps on writing

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Pictured is Catherine Downen with all three books in her “The Markings” trilogy.

Waterloo High School graduate, mechanical engineer and fiction author Catherine Downen has not let all that has surrounded the COVID-19 pandemic keep her down.

In fact, with the Sept. 21 release of “Shattered Visions,” the final book of her fantasy series “The Markings” trilogy, Downen has made the best of what has been a challenging time.

“I don’t know if I would have written as much without quarantine,” Downen said, referring to much of 2020 when social distancing was the norm, business capacity was limited and many public events were canceled.

She did not suffer from a lack of work, though. The company she works for produces equipment used for sanitation dispensers, and Downen said she was “lucky during COVID” because the business was “in demand during the pandemic.”

She said her writing provided a “balance” for her while she was working from home and was a “wonderful distraction” from the reality of what was happening outside her window.

 The situation has apparently also led to a surge of creativity, as Downen will release four new books in 2022.

The first book, a stand-alone winter romance novel, will be released at the end of January. The two books of the “Portal Fantasy Duology” will be released in April and June. 

The last 2022 release will be in October. The book will be the first in a series of a young adult re-telling of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” meets “Beauty and the Beast.”

Her latest release is faring very well. Downen reported that September sales for “The Markings” books were double any other month since the first book’s release in April 2020.

She credits the surge to her trilogy being complete. Downen posited that some readers like to begin a book series once the final book is released to avoid a potential wait between releases.

That reasoning is also why she chose to do a “rapid release” for her upcoming duology, with the books becoming available within two months of each other.

A report from Kindle Unlimited, a digital book service, showed that Downen’s work also recently eclipsed 40,000 “pages read,” another milestone for the author.

The first book in “The Markings” series was a No. 1 best-seller on two separate Amazon lists last summer. 

She said the response to her work has been “really strong” and that she was “surprised” at how her readers were “so tuned-in to what I was going for” with her books.  

As an example, Downen said she “loved” that a reader review compared her fantasy novel to the more dystopian “Hunger Games” series and that other reviewers were able to connect with her main characters the way she hoped they would.

The entire “Markings Trilogy” is available on Amazon and through Downen’s website, where readers can also sign up for Downen’s newsletter and stay up-to-date on release dates and other news from the author.

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