Interview with Cate Masters

Jen: Readers, help me welcome Cate Masters to Book Talk this weekend. Cate, will you please share a short bio with us?
Cate: Cate Masters’ novels, novellas, short stories and flash fiction appear at epublishers The Wild Rose Press, Eternal Press, Wild Child Publishing/ Freya’s Bower and Shadowfire Press. Her flash and short stories appear at such web zines as Cezanne’s Carrot, The Battered Suitcase, A Long Story Short, Dark Sky Magazine, and The Harrow. The proud mom of three adult children, she currently lives in central Pennsylvania with her husband, Benji the dog and their dictator-like cat, Chairman Maiow.

Jen: Tell us about Wilderness Girl and where it’s available.
Cate: As my first erotic romance, Wilderness Girl’s my “walk on the wild side.” I describe it as an erotic romance because the relationship’s actually very sweet, and very much the center of the story. Freya’s Bower released it last month: http://www.freyasbower.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=7&products_id=220

Here’s a blurb:

When Dana’s boyfriend drags her to Wilderness Outfitters on a Friday night, she wonders why so many people find The Great Outdoors so great. Until she meets Hank— six feet of tanned muscle, wrapped in a faded black T-shirt and jean shorts loose on his hips. Eyes like wildfire burning in a sun-kissed face. Grinning like a fox.

After her boyfriend dumps her in the parking lot, humiliation becomes gratitude when Hank invites her to his favorite camping spot, and she seizes on the impulse to change her boring life.

A web programmer, Dana’s outdoor experience had consisted of walks to and from her car. Alone on a mountaintop, as she struggles to set up camp, a five-foot snake doesn’t seem a welcome sight: until Hank comes to her rescue.

He initiates her to the pleasures of hiking, campfires, and Harley rides down winding roads. Making love beneath a starry sky, Hank awakens a primal Wilderness Girl in Dana she never knew existed.

Their weekend feels like a fantasy, which proves all too true on their return to civilization. As the daily grind eats into their time together, their romance begins to come untethered.

Will her high-tech lifestyle clash with his low-tech one? Can she manage to recapture the passion of the wilderness in their city existence?

Jen: At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.
Cate: It’s been a long road! I’d written all my life for myself, then after I’d written a few mainstream novels, finally began to submit to agents and NY publishers. I had some interest, but no one would commit. A few of my short stories found homes with lit zines and web zines. Then epresses launched in a big way, and I did a submission blitz. That’s why I had eleven stories, from shorts to novellas to novels, accepted with five epublishers this (very busy) year. It’s been great, and I hope to continue, though not at such a manic pace!

Jen: How does your family feel about your career?
Cate: My husband is my greatest cheerleader. He keeps telling me to quit my day job to write full time. My two daughters didn’t seem to believe I’d been published until I received the print versions of two of my releases, One Soul For Sale and Picture This. Then they became excited and asked for copies!

Jen: Describe your writing in three words.
Cate: I’ll use descriptions from reviews of three of my stories: compelling, well-written, awe-inspiring.

Jen: Do you have a writing routine?
Cate: I treat writing as a job. My primary job, actually, although I do work a day job—my heart’s always with my writing! As soon as I come home, I’m on the computer until late at night either writing, promoting, doing edits or revisions. Weekends, I spend as much time as possible on writing or writing-related activities. My domestic duties have taken a nosedive, to say the least! Thank goodness my family’s understanding.

Jen: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest?
Cate: Time management’s a huge challenge. Marketing takes a great deal of organization and I’m always looking for ways to streamline so it doesn’t take too much time away from writing.

The easiest is coming up with ideas – I have a backlog, which I’m thankful for!

Jen: What’s the most rewarding aspect?
Cate: I can think of two, actually – when I’m so immersed in writing a story, I’m “in the flow” and typing as fast as I can to keep up with the stream. Equally rewarding is when I hear from readers or reviewers that my stories have touched them emotionally and made them want to read more.

Jen: Do you feel as if the characters live with you as you write? Do they haunt your dreams?
Cate: Not my dreams, but I have extremely vivid daydreams! The scenes play like videos in my head. For the historical novel Angels, Sinners and Madmen, the story actually flashed through my brain while we were in Key West, Florida, at a maritime museum. I spent the next two days in the library copying old letters and documents, and visiting other historical sites. I came home with five books about the area and the wreckers, which completely fascinated me.

Jen: Is there a genre that you’d like to write?
Cate: I’ve experimented quite a bit this year, and expanded to contemporary, fantasy/dark fantasy, historical and erotic romance. I’d love to try an urban fantasy, and scifi.

Jen: If Wilderness Girl was made into a movie, which actors would you choose to play the hero and heroine?
Cate: Brad Pitt (from his Legends of the Fall days, with slightly shorter hair) starred in the movie version in my head, with a young Holly Hunter playing the heroine.

Jen: Do you do anything special to celebrate a sale, new contract, or release?
Cate: My husband kept promising to bring me out to celebrate my releases this year, but life kept throwing up roadblocks, as it will sometimes. So when I read in our local paper that the Pretenders would play a concert nearby, I bought tickets. They put on a fantastic show! Well worth the wait.

Jen: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Cate: As I’m for the most part a pantser, I was pleasantly surprised when reviewers said: “Cate Masters does an exceptional job working out her plot.” And another said: “Cate Masters took this plot and worked it into a great work.” I put together an outline as I go, so I’m not totally wandering through the story, but for the most part, the characters lead me in the direction they want to go!

Jen: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Cate: Of the national bestsellers, I love TC Boyle, Neil Gaiman, Tom Robbins, Richard Russo, Margaret Atwood, Michael Chabon, Emma Bull, Carrie Vaughn… so many others. Lately I’ve been trying to catch up with fellow Wild Rose Press, Eternal Press, and Wild Child/Freya’s authors, though time’s always a challenge! As time permits, I’m reading Emma Lai’s His Ship, Her Fantasy, Kiss Carson’s Illusions of Destiny, Susan Macatee’s Erin’s Rebel, Beth Trissel’s Through the Fire, and T.M. Crone’s The Yellow Stone.

Jen: What’s next for you?
Cate: Shadowfire Press just released my Halloween-themed short dark (but fun) fantasy, Reflections. Freya’s Bower will release my historical novel Angels, Sinners and Madmen, set in 1850s Key West, Florida. The Wild Rose Press should release Design for Life in early 2010.

I also have two mainstream novels circulating with publishers, a contemporary novel in final critique, am revising a historical novella, and have about ten other stories in various stages.

Jen: Where can you be found on the web?
Cate: I’m online at www.catemasters.com, www.catemasters.blogspot.com or people can follow me on Facebook or on Twitter. I also blog with a group of central PA authors at thesusquehannawriters.blogspot.com and once a month at the site Popculturedivas – chock full of amazing women! Check us out!

Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Cate: What draws you to a story – a good review? The cover? Word of mouth? The blurb? The trailer? Something else?

Thanks again for having me here today! I’d love to give away a PDF copy of Wilderness Girl to a commenter – I’ll select a winner at random on Monday, Oct. 5 and announce it here. Be sure to include your email address in your comment. Thanks!