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Thursday, December 09, 2010

Interview - Cate Masters

Thank you for joining us today. Before we begin, how about a brief bio so the readers can get to know you. Include links to your blogs and websites please.

Thanks so much for having me here Marva!

Here’s a brief bio:

Cate Masters has made beautiful central Pennsylvania her home for the past 20 years, but she’ll always be a Jersey girl at heart. A lover of all great writing, she aspires to entertain and enthrall with her own stories. Most days, she can be found in her lair, concocting a magical brew of contemporary, historical, fantasy/paranormal stories with her cat Chairman Maiow and dog Lily as company. Look for her at www.catemasters.com, http://catemasters.blogspot.com, and in strange nooks and far-flung corners of the web.

Tell everyone a bit about your book(s) including a buy link.

2010 has been another busy year, with six releases. A little something for everyone, I like to think, from two contemporaries, two historicals, a fantasy and a short speculative.

My latest is Follow the Stars Home, a Native American historical romance, available from Eternal Press in PDF at: http://www.eternalpress.biz/book.php?isbn=9781615721696

You can read an excerpt, reviews and view the book trailer at http://www.catemasters.com/follow.html

Here’s the blurb:

What’s left for the Lakota when everything around them is changing? Quiet Thunder and Black Bear fear for their tribe’s welfare when buffalo and other game become scarce. A military captain named Pratt promises to teach them white man’s ways so they can become successful. Quiet Thunder follows Black Bear to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, to the Indian Industrial School. The school’s rigid schedule allows little time together, and Black Bear grows more distant as his confusion over his identity grows. Can Quiet Thunder make him believe her love is as eternal as the stars?

Where did the concept for the book come about?

I lived in Carlisle for many years, and often drove past the graveyard of the students forced to attend the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. It made me wonder about their stories. It fascinated me so much, I researched it for years before I even knew I’d write about it, visiting local museums and reading Lakota mythology.

It’s a book dear to my heart because it has local ties, and not many people seem to know about the boarding schools the government set up to “assimilate” Native Americans into white society. I loved creating fictional characters and giving them a happy ending. Many of the actual students weren’t so lucky, especially at the time of the school’s founding, which is where my story takes place.

How long did it take you to finish, from concept to final product?

Difficult to say, because I usually work on several stories at once. I’d guess about eight months to finish the first draft, then it went out for rounds of critique, which took several more. The short answer is about a year.

Are there any authors that have influenced your own writing?

I love so many different authors, and my writing reflects my eclectic reading tastes. Alice Hoffman, Margaret Atwood, TC Boyle and Michael Chabon top the list, and I can only hope reading their excellent work has had a positive influence on my own. There are tons of wonderful epubbed authors whose work I’m trying to catch up on too.

Do you have any favorite place where you feel your Muse is more apt to come and play while you write? Or perhaps you listen to music? If so, what do you listen to?

Ideas strike at many an odd and inconvenient moment, lol. But I like to follow the advice of the wonderful author Barbara Kingsolver: “Chain that muse to your desk and get the job done!” In other words, I sit down, apply my fingers to the keyboard, and write. Or edit, or promote/social network.

Unfortunately, while music inspires me in other ways, I can’t listen to it while I write. If I put it on, I either end up singing along or tuning it out entirely, so it’s a wasted exercise. Unless I’m dancing while I’m singing, lol.

As a writer, what is your greatest fear?

Overall, I suppose it’s that readers won’t respond enthusiastically to my stories. I pour my heart and soul into them, so it makes rejection sting all the more, lol.

While I’m actually writing, though, I don’t think about readers or reviewers or anything other than the story. I have to write to please myself, or the story will feel contrived to me. I’m a big believer in going with your gut.

What normally occupies your desk while writing? Pencils? Coffee mugs? Breakfast crumbs?

I have a few writing totems – a ukulele-toting Gumby in a grass skirt, a Sergeant Peppers music box, a miniature wire tree of amethyst, my birthstone.

There are stacks of papers I ignore until they begin to obstruct the screen. A mug for black tea is usually filled.

Do you have any new projects that you are working on? If so, what are they?

More than I have time to work on, unfortunately. The most recent is The Magic of Lavender, the first in the Goddess Connection series. I recently had a favorable response to a pitch on a Harlequin workshop, so sent in the first chapter. I’m also knee-deep in an urban fantasy, another historical and a contemporary, with about another dozen started, waiting in the wings for their turns in the literary spotlight.

What tip would you offer to a new writer who is just beginning their submission journey?

Find some honest critique partners who’ll help you make your stories the best they can be. If your story’s rejected, polish it up and send it out again. It can be a depressing process, but keep the faith.

Please tell our readers where they can find you.

Probably more places than they care to know about, lol. In addition to Goodreads (which I’ve yet to figure out) and a few other sites, here are the basic four:

Web site: http://www.catemasters.com/

Blog: http://catemasters.blogspot.com/

Facebook fan page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cate-Masters/89969413736?ref=ts

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/CateMasters

If you want to add anything please feel free to do so.

I love to hear from readers! Email me at cate.masters AT gmail.com with any comments.

Thanks again for having me today Marva!

Follow the Stars Home is available at Amazon in both  print and ebook format as well as Eternal Press and many ebook outlets such as Fictionwise.


10 comments:

  1. Hi Marva! Hope you're in a warm clime somewhere. Or at least a warm house, lol.
    Love your blog background, too - it's just like mine! :)

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  2. I'm glad you could jump on board. Yes, we do have the same background. I use it in my book trailer too.

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  3. This story sounds terrific, but as an author, I don't know how you work on more than one story at at time. I'm also impressed with your six releases in one year. Congratulations!

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  4. Thanks LJ. When I get in the flow, I plow through with one story until the flow recedes to a trickle lol. Working on a few stories helps me not get stuck on any one, and pulling away for a bit lends perspective. For me. I'm weird. :)

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  5. Hello Ladies,

    I also envy how fast you crank them out Cate. And all great stories too. I wish I had your talent.
    You make your characters so alive I feel I'm right there with them experiencing the joys and the disappointments.
    All your novels and novellas are a great read. Congratulations for keeping us so well entertained and engrossed.

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  6. Thanks so much for your kind words, Lorrie - an especially high compliment, coming from you. :)

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  7. I love the cover of 'Follow the Stars Home.'
    Living in PA, I take for granted some of the history that is so ripe for story inspiration.
    I too envy your ability to work on more than one project. I'd probably start using the wrong names in the different books.

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  8. Thanks so much Susan!
    I keep track of characters and their related details in a Spec Sheet, or I'd confuse them too!

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  9. I know what you mean. I have completely changed the names of the characters in five books. I keep thinking of them with one name, then realize I changed their name later. Search/Replace is a wonderful thing.

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  10. I've done that too Marva! I'm persnickety about names. If it turns out not to feel right, it's gotta go. It's one of the few things that hold up a story for me.

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