AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: CATE MASTERS
Joyfully Reviewed crowd…
Hi Cate want to tell us ‘bunnies’ (and our readers) what your most current work out is?
Thanks so much for having me at Joyfully Reviewed! I’m happy to tell you about my latest work. A Midwest Summer Night’s Dream is a Western historical novella with a Shakespearean twist, released from Book Strand on April 19.
Here’s the blurb:
Open sky, Shakespeare, solitude. All Jebediah Greene needs. Alone since his teens, he’s never known loneliness, until he leaves Winona Young in California. Worse, he fears she’ll trap herself in a loveless marriage of convenience. After acting as her guide to San Francisco, how far will Jeb go to win her heart?
Reading provides escape for Winona Young.
Fleeing Philadelphia, she learns her distant suitor isn’t who he seemed. Neither is her mountain man guide, in a good way. Intelligent, but mule-headed, Jeb’s impossible to speak to, in any language. Winona falls in love with the stunning beauty of the wilderness, with the simple ways of the Osage people, and with Jeb. But books can’t teach her how to tame a mountain man.
Tell us a little about A Midwest Summer Night’s Dream, and what inspired you to write A Midwest Summer Night’s Dream?
Westerns were some of my favorite shows while growing up – Bonanza, The Rifleman, The Virginian (I knew even then he was a hottie!) and my all-time favorite, The Lone Ranger. A few years ago, I read about Jim Bridger, a mountain man who explored the Wild West before much of it was settled. Though illiterate, he loved Shakespeare and recited passages in mining camps and to Native American tribes. Many stories have already been written about Jim Bridger, but the notion of a mountain man loving Shakespeare stayed with me. So I created Jebediah Greene, who’s also a tribute to one of my ancestors, Peter LeVert. Greene is the Anglicized version of his last name, and my grandmother’s maiden name.
When you start writing, do you already have the story plotted out or do you let the characters dictate what will happen?
It depends on the story. Sometimes just a name will spark a story to build around it. Usually I do have a vague plot in mind, but I’m a pantser and let the characters lead me where they will. They’re very stubborn when I resist!
What inspired you to write in your genre? Is this the genre you started writing in or have you morphed to this one?
I actually began writing poetry, with the aim of becoming a journalist. I focused on literary and speculative short stories when I decided to study the craft because it forces you to convey the story in a concise, clear manner. I write whatever stories capture my imagination, and often mash genres. I never knew how much I loved history until I wrote my first historical, set in Key West in the mid-1800s. So I wrote a few more! But I also love paranormals/fantasies, contemporaries and mainstream/women’s fiction stories.
Do you have a favorite character you have written?
I always fall in love with the characters as I write them, and pour my heart and soul into them, so it’s too difficult to choose a favorite.
Who was the toughest character for you to “get right” that you have written so far?
Hm, that’s a toughie! I generally flesh out my characters on what I call a Spec Sheet, which includes a bit of their history, their family, their relation to any other character in the story, what s/he looks like, their goals/hopes – basically, their character DNA. This way, I can get inside their skin and write with their character’s voice. I can’t recall any specific character who challenged me, though sometimes I go back and fill in more details on the Spec Sheet as I go.
Do you draw inspiration for your characters from real life? Any fun stories you could share?
I never base any characters on people I know, though I do occasionally name characters for real people. Jet Trently, in my contemporary Rock Bottom, is a tribute to a dear friend who I worked with, who shared a love of Beatles music and creativity. Jerry Trently was an inspiration to all who knew him, and his widow graciously gave permission, saying Jerry always wanted to be a rock star.
What do you find the hardest part of writing?
These days, time’s my greatest challenge. I have tons of story ideas but very little time to work on them.
Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.
I’m rather shy, though I think that’s common among writers, or any creative people.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
I love hard rock, but I don’t feel guilty about it! My kids sometimes ask me to turn down the volume, though!
What do you need before you start writing? Anything that is just a must have or the creative juice don’t flow?
Hot black tea’s a must-have. I can skip meals, but need my tea!
Does music influence your writing? If so, do any of your stories have a theme song?
Music’s been a huge influence on my life since I was little. I think I was the youngest Beatlemaniac! I often include musical references in my stories.
If your story was optioned for a movie, who would play your characters?
Oh, I always love this question. I have a blog series called Casting Call, and I show exactly who I imagined in these roles. For A Midwest Summer Night’s Dream, Winona is Rachel McAdams (with dark hair) and Jeb is Gabriel Aubrey (yum!). You can check it out HERE
Where were you when you got your first contract? Who did you tell first?
I was at home, dumbfounded, lol. I ran to hubby and probably screamed the news. He’s been such an incredible supporter of my writing; I couldn’t have done it without him.
How old were you when you read your first romance book?
I honestly don’t recall. Like my writing, my reading’s very eclectic, so at any one time, I might be reading a romance, a literary novel, magical realism (one of my favs).
If you still have one of those pesky non writing jobs what is it?
Too many to list, really. I’m a fanatic about so many authors, and great books in general!
Currently, I run a free daycare for my three grandsons, a nonpaying job but rich in rewards. Unfortunately, it sometimes leaves me with “baby brain,” something I never expected during middle age, lol.
What are you currently working on, and what else is in the wings?
I have at least three more novels in The Goddess Connection fantasy/paranormal series in mind, another dark paranormal novella, several short holiday stories, two mainstream stories and a scifi/speculative idea that’s nagged at me for years. I could sure use a clone!
If you could co-write with another author who would it be?
Great question! Anyone at all? Probably Alice Hoffman, who writes magical realism, a genre I’d love to try.
How do you pick your characters names?
Names are one of the few things that will bring a story to a halt. If they don’t fit the characters, it throws everything off. I sometimes browse census web sites, but often will open a magazine or newspaper to scour for names. Sometimes (don’t cringe) the obituary page.
Do you prefer the love at first sight approach or a steady growth throughout?
A mix of both. I love flawed characters who don’t see eye to eye at first but have an undeniable attraction. Throughout the story, they learn they’re not so different after all, and finally decide the other person’s actually a perfect fit.
What is your reaction to people who say one of the following…”Oh you write romance, I thought you were a real writer”, “Romance isn’t a real writing career” or the ever popular “Oh, one of those books”.
Sadly, I have friends like that. It does hurt, but I encourage them to read one of my stories before judging. The genre is nothing like it used to be decades ago, with so many subgenres.
And for the silly side – What is your favorite type of chocolate?