Good morning, readers. The full moon is descending and it's promising to be a rainy day today here in Columbus, Ohio. Today I'll be interviewing author Catherine Stang. She currently has a novel titled, RAVENSTHORPE LEGACY, published by New Concepts Publishing. RAVENSTHORPE HEIR is contracted with New Concepts Publishing, which is coming soon. Additionally she has three books contracted with Whiskey Creek Press: CROSSING THE LINE, SWEET SERENITY, and BLINK OF AN EYE, all due to release in 2007.
CAROL ANN: Welcome, Catherine. I'm so happy to start of the new year with you as my first author to be interviewed.
CATHERINE: How exciting that I get to be your first interview of the new year. Thanks for asking me.
CAROL ANN: You're welcome. It's my honor. Before asking you to be my guest, I perused your website. I have to tell you how much I enjoyed watching the words marquee behind the glasses! Very unique and "eye catching". Did you design your own website or did you contract someone?
CATHERINE: Thanks, I’ll tell my sister that you liked it. She does my website. A few years ago she got my domain name for me as a birthday gift. Then after I got published, she helped me put my website together. She has a graphic design business and mostly does business websites. This is her first author one.
CAROL ANN: She did a wonderful job! You have quite a few novels coming out this year. That's always exciting. I see that you write both historical romance and romantic suspense. If you were to write something totally different, and out of your sub-genre of choice, what would you choose and why?
CATHERINE: I have done some paranormal and I would to explore more of that. I would also like to write a time travel. It would be fun to blend the past and present.
CAROL ANN: I love time travel books, but I don't think I could write one. It does sound like fun, though. A lot of my readers are aspiring to become published. When you decided to start writing with a goal of becoming published, did you taken any writing classes, either classroom or on-line? Would you recommend classes to someone who is aspiring to be a published author?
CATHERINE: I went to the pre-conference workshops that Romantic Times offered. I also belonged to RWA and to a local chapter. That was where I learned the most about the craft of writing. RWA national conference has many great workshops for writers who are just starting out. They also offer online classes through some of their internet chapters. Those are helpful because you get to ask questions. Suzanne Brockmann taught a couple through the Kiss of Death Chapter. If you get a chance to take one of hers, I highly recommend it. Many of the online places I took classes from like Painted Rock are gone, but I’m sure others have taken their place. If you are looking to go the college route, the University of Iowa has a wonderful writing program. They have a great summer writing program with many famous authors who come to share their time and talent.
CAROL ANN: Local chapters are a great source of support. I would encourage everyone who is writing, or thinking about writing, to join one. RWA and their sub-chapters do offer a wealth of classes. In fact, I'm taking two this month. I'm taking Taxes for the Writer and Plotting Bootcamp. I don't usually take two at a time, and I don't recommend it, but it just happened coincidentally that both were offered at the same time. Anyway, back to you, Catherine. When you received word of your first contract, how did you react/celebrate?
CATHERINE: I got my contract from Whiskey Creek the same day I had critique group, so I got to celebrate with my critique partners. After so many rejections, I honestly was afraid to open the email from Debra. I think it took me a full minute of rereading it to realize that they bought the book. I was alone, of course, so I called everyone I knew, starting with my parents. I left the email on my computer for months and clicked on it all the time just to feel my pulse race. What was even more exciting was that a week to day I got my contract from Whiskey Creek, I got one from Andrea at New Concepts. That book, Ravensthorpe Legacy, is the first one I have out. The first one I sold is Crossing the Line which will be out May 07.
CAROL ANN: Awesome! You've done well for yourself. Everyone has a different writing process. I believe Stephen King doesn't name his characters until after the book is written. When do you name your characters?
CATHERINE: Most of the time that is first thing I do. They aren’t real to me until the have names. Once in while I have written my first chapter with he/she, because the name hasn’t come to me. That doesn’t happen very often.
CAROL ANN: We are both romance writers. Every person has their own idea of romance. So, I'm going to ask you to tell me what romance means to you.
CATHERINE: I think Romance is a mix of feelings ranging from the heart pounding rush of initial attraction to the small little moments that melt your heart.
CAROL ANN: In romances, there is always a building to that first kiss between the hero and heroine. I remember my first kiss. I was thirteen and had gone to a dance with a boy I liked. He walked me to my back door and gave me my first kiss. **sigh** I'll never forget it. Do you remember your first kiss?
CATHERINE: **laugh** I remember the rush of emotions, but most of all I remember being shy and not know knowing exactly what I was supposed to do.
CAROL ANN: I can relate to that! As an author, we spend a lot of time doing edits with our editor. There's always another read through to make sure everything is "just right." Have you ever cried when reading one of your scenes?
CATHERINE: I write emotional stories, so I have gotten a lump in my throat. I have to have put the book away for awhile for that to happen. When I’m too close to story all I see are the flaws.
CAROL ANN: I love the picture on your website with you and your dogs. How did you get into working with "therapy dogs?"
CATHERINE: I had an extended stay in the hospital after complications from surgery. There the therapy dogs visited me. Having them come cheered me up and I wanted to pass the feeling on, so I looked into it after I got home. When my older dogs passed away, I found a breeder. Once my dogs were old enough, I began the training process. You have figure out what type of therapy work your dog is most suited for. My dogs love to bond with people, so we hooked up with a local nursing home where they can see the same people week after week. My husband and I go together with each of us taking a dog.
If you want to know more about therapy dogs, I have link on my website to Therapy dog, Inc. which is the group we received our training under. There are number of organizations that do this, but this was the only one in our area.
CAROL ANN: Have you incorporated your experience with therapy dogs into any of your books? If not, do you plan to do that in the future?
CATHERINE: Not yet, but I do often have dogs in my books. Right now I don’t have story in the works that lends itself to that, but I never say never.
CAROL ANN: That's a good policy. One never knows what might appear in the next novel. So, tell us, what is a typical day for you?
CATHERINE: I’m a stay at home mom with a teenager. Most days I get up early to walk on the treadmill. I love listening to books on tape when I walk. I have to take turns with it, since my son like to run on it. Days when it’s nice, I start a bit slower and take my dogs to park by our house for a walk. Once I get my family off the school and work, I settle in to write. My husband comes home for lunch. Then I work until my son gets home from school.
Of course, that is an ideal day. Living in a house with three dogs and a teenager my days get crazy. I have the run to high school with whatever he forgot. Then there’s the days my dogs get into everything like the Christmas tree. Being at home means I get watch all my son’s cross country meets, tennis matches, ride the band bus on the spur the of the moment, and judge the two debate and speech tournaments. I feel blessed that I get to be there for him. I also, hope that by following my dream, that I taught him that it’s okay to dream big and go after what you want.
CAROL ANN: That's wonderful. I'm sure you have given him inspiration. What words would you offer to aspiring writers?
CATHERINE: Keep writing and don’t let the rejections get you down. It might take more than one book to break in, but remember that with each book you write your voice gets stronger. Find some writing friends. They’ll be the ones who keep you sane and grounded.
CAROL ANN: Before we close, I want to give authors a link to your website so they can learn more about you and your books.
CATHERINE: My website is http://www.catherinestang.com/
CAROL ANN: I encourage all the readers to check Catherine's site. I truly enjoyed perusing it.
Finally, I never let an author go before asking this last question. Do you believe the pen is mightier than the sword? Why or why not?
CATHERINE: Yes, I think the pen has the power bring out problems that are difficult to speak about. I found books that deal with dark, emotional issues can sometimes be healing. I also believe that escaping for a moment can give your mind a much needed retreat.
CAROL ANN: Catherine it has been my pleasure to host you on my blog. Thank you for being so gracious with your time.
CATHERINE: Thanks, Carol. I have a cold, so my head is a thick today, so I hope everything I said makes sense.
CAROL ANN: Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. You are a trooper for coming in when you aren't up to par. I hope you feel better soon.
Thanks, readers, for stopping by. I hope you will leave Catherine a comment or two, or even ask a question. I'm sure she'll be checking and will answer anything you might have to ask. Next Thursday, I'll be interviewing Erick DeQuay, so be sure and stop back.