|Image: Eternal Press/Cate Masters|
Today, I’m delighted to welcome fellow Eternal Press author and romance writer, Cate Masters, to Freedom from the Mundane.
Cate’s short stories and flash fiction has appeared at Eternal Press (2009), Wild Child Publishing (2009), Freya’s Bower (2009), Shadowfire Press (2009), The Battered Suitcase (2008), The Wild Rose Press (2008), A Long Story Short (2008), Dark Sky Magazine (2008), Cezanne’s Carrot (2008), The Harrow (2006), Flesh from Ashes (2005), Quality Women’s Fiction (2005), Phase, and The Writer’s online edition.
In 2005, Pennwriters awarded her second place in its annual Short Story contest. Her freelance articles have appeared in The Sentinel, Carlisle. A fifth novel is slowly making its way from her head onto paper. She currently lives in central Pennsylvania with her husband, three children, Benji the dog and their dictator-like cat, Chairman Maiow.
Cate’s New Book: One Soul For Sale
Instead of the standard blurb at this point, here’s Cate’s awesome book trailer for her new book, available from Eternal Press now…
Interview with Cate
Hi Cate – great to have you on Freedom!
Thanks so much, Colin! Glad to be here Across the Pond with you! (Wish I could be there literally – someday, maybe…)
Please tell us a little about your new book.
I’d love to! My novella, One Soul for Sale, is one of my favourites. It’s actually a light-hearted treatment of the age-old “sell your soul” tale, though Madelyn’s motivation isn’t money. She’s an artist who wants to live the artist’s dream and spend her days creating. When she lists her soul on uBuy, two forces battle for her soul. She assumes the winning bidder plays for the Dark Side, but he’s so gorgeous, she almost doesn’t care. The end contains a few twists, and Madelyn’s a stronger person for the experience.
It’s a little unusual in that I wrote it in present tense, third person. I only know of one other story written that way – Ian McEwan’s Saturday (Soul was long completed when I learnt this). I hoped present tense would better engage readers in the action as it unfolds. Maybe that was Ian’s thinking too. 🙂
Where did you find the inspiration for One Soul for Sale?
Inspiration’s a tricky thing, isn’t it? I like Neil Gaiman’s explanation of where he gets his ideas – a little shop downtown. 🙂 But sometimes, when I’m lucky, stories will formulate in my head of their own accord, and it’s my job to simply write. One Soul for Sale was one of those. Probably after I read of someone attempting to sell their soul on eBay, then I applied the old ‘what if.’
Is paranormal your favourite genre to write in? Why do you like it?
I do love it. Urban fantasy more than any other, although I write across a spectrum of genres. Why? Because you’re reading about an apparently normal, everyday situation, then wham! Nothing is as it seems to be, and you’re off on a great literary ride.
How do you go about creating your plots?
I’m pretty much a pantser. I begin usually with an idea of where I want to end up. Sometimes there’s a rough outline, but very rough, so my characters have lots of room to play. They’re a bit devilish sometimes in attempts to hijack a plot, but unless the tangent gets too extreme, I usually follow. They know much better than I do.
When new characters come along, how much time do you spend “getting to know them”? Do they develop and surprise you as you write?
I flesh them out as much as possible. I like stories with quirky secondary characters with fully developed arcs of their own. It adds a nice extra layer or two to a story. Yes, sometimes they surprise me with details I wouldn’t have initially suspected.
John Irving posts the final paragraph of a novel in progress on the wall next to his desk, so even if it takes him 6 years to write it, he always something to aim for. How do you go about keeping a focus on a novel you are writing?
Oddly enough, I find that not placing complete focus on one story helps me better see the broader picture. Working on a few at a time also prevents writer’s block, because if I become stuck on one, I can switch to another story while I puzzle out what’s holding me up on the other.
What is your typical writing day like?
Before work, I’m on the computer about two hours emailing, blogging, social networking. After work, I check emails quickly, then switch to my laptop for writing (or revising, or edits). I stop long enough to make dinner, then I’m back at writing until sometimes 8 or 9 at night. On weekends, unless I’m compelled to run errands, I write as long as possible.
Do you write to music?
No, I’m very much in my head when I write. If I play any I tend to block it out anyway, otherwise I’d get too caught up in it. In addition to writing, I’m a fanatic about my music.
How much does television and movies influence your writing?
Hopefully not much. Few TV shows hold my interest and lately, I haven’t watched nearly as many new movies as I’d like.
Have you ever written yourself or a close family/friend member into a story but kept it hidden?
Never. I’m a big believer in karma, and I don’t believe in writing for revenge. What I like to use are names of those I know, or very limited character traits. It’s fun to throw in things that have special meaning to me, but never in a harmful way.
Describe your muse as though it were a person.
About 5’5”, brown hair, brown eyes. Not much to look at on the outside, but inside, she’s all effervescence and sparkling light.
How would you define success as an author? Cash, fame or recognition?
Interesting question. It’s evolved as I’ve evolved as an author. Initially, I aimed for getting published, and had some success with literary magazines and webzines. But after the stories were out there for all to see – crickets. I received zero feedback, and zero cash. So I realigned my sights for e-presses, and it’s been great to see my stories released. March of this year saw the first, so I’m just now getting in some reviews. So far, very good! Eventually, though, I would like to be able to make a living from my writing. It’s the basic writer’s dream.
If the Writing Genie could grant you a single writing wish, what would it be?
Lately, I’ve been wishing someone (a genie would be great for this) would invent a USB port to connect my head to the CPU so I could download stories in full. I’m a very visual writer, the story’s playing like a movie in my head as I go, so sometimes it’s a challenge to get all the elements on the page.
What else are you working on?
About ten other stories (give or take), with about fifty other premises jotted down that I hope to live long enough to develop. Again, across a wide spectrum of genres.
Who are your favourite authors and books?
Wow, too many to list. All-time favs include Michael Chabon, Neil Gaiman, TC Boyle, Margaret Atwood, Charles D’Ambrosio, Tom Robbins… this could take all day, so I’ll suffice to say there are hundreds of others. (Can you tell I’m no good at picking favourites?)
What are you reading now?
Stardust by Neil Gaiman, Justin Gustainis’ Black Magic Woman and Nightwatch by Sergei Lukyanenko. Reading’s a luxury right now because I’ve been writing pretty much every spare moment. My TBR list is extremely long.
Cate is going to give away a free PDF copy of One Soul for Sale to a randomly selected commenter who tells us what s/he’d be willing to sell his or her soul for! You have until this Sunday 28th when Cate will select the winner, who will be announced here on Monday 29th.