Welcome! Please introduce yourself and tell us about your latest release.
Hi Molly! Thanks so much for having me at your beautiful blog. I’m Cate Masters, author of fantasy/paranormal, contemporary, historical and mainstream fiction. Writing’s my passion, and I love it in all forms.
This month,Whiskey Creek Press released The Bridge Between. Though a mainstream novel, it’s also a love story -- or two, actually. :)
Have you ever had an idea for a story which scared you after you began writing it?
I had to think about this one! But no, I can’t recall any such instance. I’m usually excited by the unexpected directions the characters take the story.
Have you incorporated actual events from your own life into your books?
Not events, but settings. This novel’s set in my hometown of Lambertville, NJ, in fact, so it was like walking old, familiar streets. I still researched a few things, and learned more about the town.
For my historical novels (Follow the Stars Home, a Native American historical romance, and Angels Sinners and Madmen, set in 1850s Key West), I invented fictional characters and placed them in actual events I unearthed through research, which was very cool!
How much research do you do? Do you research first and then write, or do you write first, then research as needed?
No matter the genre, I always research. For contemporaries, it could be setting, and I’ve sent for tourist guides and took virtual tours of cities. Historicals require more thorough research into customs, dress and speech. Follow the Stars Home is set in Carlisle, Pa., where I lived for nearly 20 years, and I wrote and researched at the same time. My family and I visited Key West years ago, and I spent a few days in the library because the history of the wreckers completely fascinated me. Because I knew I wouldn’t be getting back to Key West anytime soon, I researched first, then wrote it during NaNoWriMo one year.
Is there any message you want readers to take from reading your work?
Always! I love to boost the notion of female empowerment, believing in yourself, and following your bliss.
Are you a plotter or a pantser? And have you ever had a story take on a life of its own?
At first I was a pantser, but I’m trying to be more structured about planning ahead, and now at least do a rough outline.
I’ve been lucky to have had many stories gain their own momentum, and I find myself writing as fast as I can just to get it all down.
How long did it take for you to be published?
For my short stories, not long at all. Those appeared in web zines and literary magazines. After a crit partner alerted me to epresses, I began submitting my backlog of stories, and had more than a dozen acceptances in about a year. Probably not the best strategy as far as marketing, but very exciting!
If you could go back and tell yourself anything when you first began your writing career, what would you say?
It’s a tough business, but don’t give up!
Laptop or pen and ink? What are your ‘must-haves’ when writing?
I prefer my laptop, but take a notepad with me and use it sometimes too. There’s a different feel to writing longhand that I love.
My desk usually holds a hot cup of black tea, and I’m good to go.
Who are your favorite authors? Who would you say influenced you the most?
I love so many, it’s always difficult to choose even a few. Alice Hoffman, TC Boyle, Michael Chabon and Margaret Atwood are probably my top four, but my bookshelves are overstuffed with books by many many writers. And now my hard drive is too, lol. LOL:) I have a 2g flash drive just for e-books, plus my e-reader!
What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?
I’m actually a very shy person, something I’ve had to work to overcome. Marketing’s actually more painful because of it, but it’s something I need to do.
Are there any Easter scenes in your books?
No, but what a great idea! There are a few Halloween and Christmas scenes though, and Fourth of July and Thanksgiving scenes in my latest fantasy, The Magic of Lavender.
What is your favorite Easter memory?
When my kids were little, we used to have egg hunts in the back yard, which were a lot of fun for the whole family. I loved seeing them get so excited on Easter morning, finding the goodies in their baskets too.
Do you garden, or do you have a black thumb like me?
I love to garden, but now mostly do container flowers on the deck and patio. I never buy houseplants, as it’s a death sentence for them, lol.
Thank you for being here today! Please tell us where we can find your books.
Thanks so much for having me, Molly. It’s been a pleasure.
The Bridge Between was released by Whiskey Creek Press. Lyrical Press will release my fun contemporary romance novel, Rock Bottom, in June. And The Wild Rose Press will release my short fantasy romance, Romancing the Hero, later this year (I think). My blog contains info on all my books: http://catemasters.blogspot.com, Just click on “Books” for blurbs, excerpts, reviews, trailers and other fun stuff!
Here’s the unofficial blurb:
Once, Jessie Moore had inexhaustible energy for her art, but after this past year, her art – like her life – feels out of focus. Working as a photojournalist at the fledgling Philly Times newspaper with reporter Matt Cleary proves draining after their breakup. When a longtime friend dies of AIDS, Jessie travels to her hometown of Lambertville, NJ. At the funeral, she reconnects with her first love, Billy Black, who becomes a bridge back to the safety of her old life, and also to the origins of her inspiration. But Billy’s more lost than Jessie. Too often, he drowns his worries in beer, threatening to drag her down too. After she rekindles their affair, Matt’s jealousy confuses her. Before she can truly give herself to anyone, Jessie must learn to be true to herself.
And an excerpt:
She set her plate on the table, regretting she hadn’t turned her car around, that she’d ignored her basest of instincts.
“Goddammit,” he said. “Now I’ve ruined dinner.”
“If not dinner, it would have been something else.” He tilted his glass into his mouth until it was empty.
This time, she didn’t argue, but paid closer attention to his voice, his face, his movements. They were all the same as the boy she’d known, yet somehow different, too. More complicated. The nuance in his gestures made for a level of intricacy, like a maze that had to be traversed before she could find the prize at the end – the real Billy, the Billy she’d loved. He was different, more complicated with life experience, but the same in his attitude, the easy way he’d always had. She wondered what did happen to him that made him so hesitant, especially of her – she who had held nothing back from him. Yet here he was, holding everything back from her.
“Would you like me to leave?” She posed the question honestly, not as a challenge, not to intimidate him into a choice.
“No.” He leaned forward, reached for her hand. “Please.”
She waited. She had the feeling he wanted to say more.
“Unless…” He slid his hand away. “You know, unless you want to.”
So close to breaking through to the old Billy. But he withdrew, leaving her to guess why. Laying new roadblocks within the maze, to throw her off, or maybe to decipher how badly she wanted to reach the real Billy.
“No,” she said. “I don’t want to.”
His eyes brimmed with doubt.
“Unless you want me to.” She couldn’t help smiling. It seemed a ridiculous game, one she normally loathed, but this time the prize was different. One that might be worthwhile.
“No.” His body went fluid, and he gave a short laugh. “No. I definitely do not want you to go.” In a second, he stood to put a CD on the boom box on the back doorstep. A mellow guitar tune melted the tension from the air. He held out his hand. “Let’s dance.”
With her hand in his, she was out of her chair and in his arms as if she’d swam to him.