Cate Masters Interview
Good morning, Cate Masters
, and welcome to Fallen Angel Reviews. It is good to have you with us today. Cate
, as an author who writes fantasy/paranormal, historical, contemporary and speculative fiction, you must stay very busy.
Thanks so much for having me at Fallen Angel Reviews! I do try to keep busy, usually with about a dozen stories vying for attention at once. I have eclectic reading tastes, and it carries over into my writing.
Why not tell us something about your daily schedule?
One of the first things I do is turn on the computer to check email, make sure the preposted blog is up, and post any promos on Facebook or the loops. On days that I work, writing waits till I'm home again. Otherwise, I dig into it and stick with it sometimes till late at night. Or until the family cries they're hungry!
Would you please tell us something about your latest release?
I wrote Surfacing through the POV of the hero, AJ Dillon, who's a down and out indie rocker. He travels to his grandfather's home in Weeki Wachee, Florida, his last refuge after his band falls apart and everyone else throws him out, telling him he's trouble. AJ believes it, too, until he meets Cassiopeia, who restores his faith in his music and himself.
Here's the blurb: AJ Dillon is trouble. The former lead singer of an indie band has no home, no money and no future. His grandfather is the only relative willing to take another chance on him. AJ arrives in Weeki Wachee, Florida, with his guitar, a few clothes and a bad attitude. The only good thing about Weeki Wachee is the ocean -- the one place AJ feels at home.
Grandpa lines up a job for AJ at Weeki Wachee Springs, where beautiful women perform as mermaids. Grandpa says real mermaids exist, but AJ doesn't believe - until he meets Cassiopeia. She helps his passion for music resurfaces. But greedy Chaz finds out about her, and threatens to kill them if AJ doesn't go along with his plan to make a fortune with a real mermaid show. Can AJ save Cassie, even if it means losing her?
I'd entered it in the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest and was thrilled when it actually passed the first round! It's available from Whiskey Creek Press in ebook and POD: www.whiskeycreekpress.com. You can read the first chapter on their site. On my web site at www.catemasters.com, I've posted all the story blurbs, excerpts, trailers and reviews, when available.
Of all the genres, you write, which would you say interest you the most?
I can never pick a favorite anything. But lately, I'm splitting my time between fantasy and contemporary stories. I'm pretty excited about the ones I'm working on now. Fantasy allows my wild imagination free rein, and contemporary lets me explore current issues or settings, or to include things I love. In the case of Surfacing and Rock Bottom, my contemporary novel due in June 2011 from Lyrical Press, music - a lifelong passion of mine.
Where do you get the inspiration for your stories?
I have no idea but I hope it never stops! Sometimes reading a newspaper or magazine article, a photo or its caption, or simply passing by people in the street. Oftentimes, ideas will hit me in the least convenient of places - driving along the Interstate, in the shower, on the treadmill… so I reach for my notebook (don't tell the state troopers I sometimes jot notes while driving!).
From what do you derive the most inspiration for your writing? Is there a particular song or maybe some other ritual that helps you get in the mood to write?
I don't wait for the muse to strike. One of my favorite quotes is from bestselling author Barbara Kingsolver: Chain that muse to the desk and get the job done! You can't write if you don't sit down, place your hands on the keyboard, and just do it. Unless, of course, you're writing longhand, which I sometimes do. :)
Is it hard for you to decide what names to give your characters?
Yes! Names are one of the few things that will bring a story to a halt. If a character's name doesn't feel right, it's really difficult for me to write about him/her. In addition to fitting the time period, names reflect character, to me.
What advice would you give an author who is just starting out?
Find honest but kind critique partners, work on your craft by attending workshops, conferences, classes or writing groups, read as much as you can, and keep writing stories you'd like to read.
Internet Publishing is growing rapidly. Where do you see it in the next three years?
It's going to be interesting, that's for sure. One of the things that makes it most difficult to predict is the major publishers' indecisiveness about ebooks. How they handle it will either ruin it for indie epresses or enhance it. Even Barnes and Noble's have been disappointing in their handling of purchasing Fictionwise, which should have opened doors for epubbed authors to brick and mortar store signings. In the next three years, I hope the playing field will level out between indie epublishers and the long-established print pubs.
Do you have any bad writing habits?
Probably starting too many new stories before finishing the old ones. I tend to work on a few at a time, but sometimes it's frustrating having too many at once.
Of all the individuals you have created, in your stories, do you have a particular favorite? What appeals to you the most about this character?
I love them all as I'm writing them, so all the characters come to seem like family and friends. The hero of Rock Bottom embodies the qualities in a guy I most love - intelligent, caring, passionate about his music and the excellence of his craft. And he's gorgeous, of course! I named the hero for a friend of mine who died from a brain tumor a few years ago. I loved the idea of writing a happy ending for him, and honoring his memory, so it makes that particular story very special to me.
What do you think makes a good book to you?
Relatable characters or at least characters whose motivations I can understand or empathize with. An engaging story line that pulls me along and makes me want to turn the page to find out what happens next. And it should be well-written - I've set down books by bestselling authors who seemed not to care about the craft of writing.
Do you believe every story should have a happily-ever-after ending, or sometimes a cliffhanger?
Certainly if the book's part of a series, a cliffhanger's actually a great idea to keep readers wanting more. I'm not opposed to cliffhangers in general, though. Sometimes happily-ever-after endings become too easy to predict, but I love a really satisfying happy ending that makes me want to read the book again.
Is there anything special you do to relax? Or any special treat you never get grow tired of eating?
I'm very lucky to live in a beautiful rural area, unpolluted by city light and noise. At night, my hubby and I like to sit on our back deck beneath a sky full of stars, and listen to the pond frogs harmonizing. During the day, I'll take my dog Lily outside to play if I need to get out of my head for awhile. I love to watch her romp around with her little doggy smile.
If you could be anyone or anything else for one day, what or who would you choose to be? Whether person or thing.
It's taken me so long to finally get to a point in life where I feel I'm where I want to be, I actually don't think I want to change. I'd love to visit another time period, though. I always felt I should have lived during the Wild West years when nature was still pristine, and every day was an adventure.
You wake up one morning to learn you are a farmer and have to plant. What crop would you begin planting on your farm?
My green thumb's abandoned me lately, so I hate to doom any crop! But I'm almost done revising the first book in a new series in which the heroine grows a crop of lavender, for cooking and other uses. I'd love to do the same. The book's titled The Magic of Lavender, and the series is called The Goddess Connection. I'm really excited about it!
We would love to have your website, Myspace, Facebook, or blog, if you would share with us.
I'd love for you to visit my website, and my blog. I'm also on Facebook and Twitter. I'm on Goodreads, but I'm embarrassed to say I haven't quite figured it out yet!
Thank you so much for sharing your time Cate
. It has truly been a delight.
Likewise! I appreciate you having me at Fallen Angel Reviews.
Interviewed by: Linda L.