Friday, May 14, 2010

Cate Masters Interview


Today Cate Masters talks about her May 7th release, Fever Dreams. Welcome Cate!


Tell us about yourself. How long have you been writing?
Poetry was an early passion, from about age ten, because I had a somewhat solitary upbringing. We lived in the country, and though I had three brothers and three sisters (I was lucky number seven), they were all older and considered me a pest. :) Although I didn’t realize at the time how lucky I was, I grew up in a very artsy community, and my friends were all artists and poets. From grade school on, we nurtured each other and are still close friends. In my twenties, I mostly set writing aside while my kids were young but once they needed me less, went back to it.
Who are your writing role models?
Wow. So many. For their incredible imagination and excellent writing, T.C. Boyle, Margaret Atwood and Michael Chabon are definitely my top three. Neil Gaiman and Alice Hoffman follow close on their heels. For jaw-dropping writing, Charles D’Ambrosio and Richard Russo. I’m also trying to catch up on a slew of fellow authors, too many to name.
What genre do you like to write best in and why?
The one I’m writing in at the time. :) Honestly, I don’t have a favorite. I love writing what I also love to read –fantasy/dark fantasy/urban fantasy, humorous and serious, historical and contemporary.
How do you find ideas for your books?
I love Neil Gaiman’s answer to this: The Idea Shop. Jennie Crusie calls them something like the “Girls in the Basement” who surface sometimes without being summoned. Anything can spark the initial idea. Inspiration’s a tricky, sometimes elusive thing.
Tell us about your latest book, Fever Dreams. http://www.eternalpress.biz/book.php?isbn=9781615720910releases from Eternal Press on May 7. The novel contains many fantasy dream sequences that allowed me to delve into the subconscious of the heroine, Diana, in a unique way. Through her dreams, she recognizes her feelings for Cal overwhelm her reason and better judgment. She knows the relationship has wonderful elements, but in almost a sensory overload way. I hope readers will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it! A blurb, excerpt and the trailer appear on my blog: http://catemasters.blogspot.com/2010/03/fever-dreams-to-release-on-may-7.html
How did the inspiration for this work come to you? For Fever Dreams, it was a caption beneath a Valentine’s Day photo in The New York Times. Can’t remember what it said exactly, but whatever it was, I’m thankful I read the newspaper that day!
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
The old joke about how to get to Carnegie Hall comes to mind: practice! I once asked bestselling author Ian McEwan the same thing at a booksigning, and he said: keep writing. At the time I thought it was his way of disposing of me to move the line along, but it’s true. The more you write, the better writer you will be. Workshops help, and critique partners are essential.
What are your current projects and works in progress? I just finished revising (again) a contemporary novel, Rock Bottom. I’m about 62k into a fantasy romance novel, and have started about a dozen other stories.
I have a few other releases coming up: Angels, Sinners, and Madmen, a historical novel from Freya’s Bower. Whiskey Creek Press will release Surfacing, a contemporary fantasy novel, and The Bridge Between, a contemporary women’s fiction novel. In addition to Fever Dreams, Eternal Press will release Winning, a short story with magical realism elements, and Follow the Stars Home, the historical novel about the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. A speculative short called Love and War will be included in an XOXO Publishing charity anthology.

That's wonderful! How do you balance your day-to-day commitments with your writing life? Lately, the balance tips in favor of writing! For so many years, I put off writing to raise my kids, or concentrate on the day job. Now I’m making up for lost time, housework be damned.

I agree with you. My grandmother always said "I'd rather have cobwebs in my house than in my mind."
Of your published work which one is your mom’s favorite?
Unfortunately, my mom passed away several years before I was published. I would have loved for her to read my work because she was also an artist and writer, and years before I was born, won an award in a writing contest. Because she was a bit of a bohemian herself, I’m guessing she’d have best liked my upcoming novel, Angels Sinners and Madmen, set in 1850s Key West, Florida. Maybe some of the fantasy stories too. I try to include little tidbits about her in stories as an homage.
Did you have a playlist in mind while writing your book?
Although I consider music essential to my sanity, I don’t listen to any while writing. I save it for car rides, and other times I can sing along without fear of being heard. :)
What is on your nightstand right now?
About 20 books about to topple over! My husband, smart and wonderful man that he is, actually made me a bookcase for beside the bed, and it’s stuffed with books, magazines and DVDs. Among them, Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, and Neverwhere; Natasha Mostert’s Season of the Witch, and Keeper of Light and Dust; Alice Hoffman’s Probable Future; Linda Robertson’s Vicious Circle and Hallowed Circle, and Black and White by Jackie Kessler and Caitlyn Kittredge. Some reference books too, for some stories I’m writing.
What are your other passions outside of writing?My family, photography, music, reading, gardening. I used to paint, make jewelry and play really awful piano, but stopped, the latter at my family’s request (just kidding).
Where can readers find you?
Web site: http://www.catemasters.com/
Blog: http://catemasters.blogspot.com/
Facebook fan page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cate-Masters/89969413736?ref=ts
Ning: http://catemasters.ning.com/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/CateMasters

Cate, thanks for joining us today!

12 comments:

  1. Thanks again for having me here, Mariposa! Your grandmother sounds like she might have had a creative streak in her too. :)

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  2. Great interview, Cate! What interesting questions!
    I think that advice to just keep writing is very sound. And you sound like me as far as keeping books goes. I have a small bookcase beside my bed that's chock full. And there are boxes of books on top, beside it, and one's I haven't read yet in the corner of my room. LOL.

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  3. Yes, it's an obsession! If only I could absorb them all through osmosis. :) I'm grateful my husband just built me a beautiful new bookcase for the family room - more shelves to fill! Thanks for stopping by, Susan!

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  4. Hi Cate,
    Yes, my grandmother was creative spirit and a writer at heart. She wrote a story for me about our move to CA when I was a baby. It is always a pleasure chatting with you.

    Susan,
    Due to a wonderful Paperback Exchange in town, I have a growing pile of "to be read"--though a few sometimes make it back to the Exchange. :) Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. I'm with you Cate. Housework be damned. lol, and my house looks it.
    Nice post.

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  6. That's so cool, Mariposa. What a wonderful nurturing atmosphere to grow up in.

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  7. Mine too! Except for this weekend - we're painting (still). Not being able to write is making me cranky! Thanks for stopping by.

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  8. Love the cover Cate. Good luck with sales. I'll meet you in the garden for tea!

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  9. Tea would hit the spot about now. Thanks Mary!

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  10. Hi Cate, I'm going to use that saying of your grandmother's, lol. Writing takes precedence over housework in my home these days.

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  11. I love Mariposa's grandmother's saying too. I'll have to write that one down. Thanks so much Maggi!

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  12. Nice interview Cate and Maripoza.

    Great advice, Cate.
    I have to say I love the book cover!!

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