# Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
My name is Catherine and I wrote THE SOUGHT SIX: THE STERLING CONE.
# Where are you from?
# What is/are the real-life story(ies) behind your book(s)?
Well, that started when I was 10. I was sitting in math class, daydreaming, and all of a sudden the idea just came out of the blue. The personalities of myself and five of my classmates were (and still are) a heavy influence on the main characters, and once I had that group dynamic in my head, more ideas just started bubbling up.
# What inspires/inspired your creativity?
I’m an observer. I watch people. I’m also a good listener (even when it seems like I’m not listening). The world around me inspires me, I suppose. I’m not generally a quiet person, but when I do go quiet, look out–I’m plotting!
# How do you deal with creative block?
Those are the WORST. They make it seem like there’s no light at the end of the story-tunnel, and it’s incredibly discouraging. What I have to do is move on to another project, which is easy for me because at any given time, I’ve got 4 or 5 stories on the go. When I’m blocked on one, I just move on to another until the fog lifts. And it does. It always lifts. Just not on my preferred timeline.
# What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?
Treating your readers like they’re stupid. Sometimes, the best way to describe something is to leave it up to the imagination. And besides, nobody likes condescension. Big turn-off.
# Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?
My books tend to title themselves, as odd as that may sound. The title is often the last thing I come up with because a lot of the time, I’m not entirely sure of the exact direction the book will take until I’m about 3/4 of the way through. As far as covers go, I usually have a pretty solid image in my head. I just tell my designer what I’ve got in mind and hope they can come up with something close. That said, for THE STERLING CONE, its cover is entirely different to what I originally had in mind, but the designer essentially said “trust me”, took all my notes, and came up with the cover you see. A few minor tweaks, and it was perfect. Designers worth their salt know what they’re doing!
# How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
Well, I’m lucky enough not to have had many negative reviews–at least none to my face. There are one or two low ones on Amazon, and one of them is about a promotional deal rather than the book itself, so I just try not to let them get into my head. Water off a duck’s back. My most important critics are my readers, and they’ve all been at pains to tell me how much they liked it and are awaiting the second one.
# How has your creation process improved over time?
Honestly, I’m not sure it has! Don’t know if that’s good or bad… I’ve been an avid writer since I was 5 (no joke) and I’ve always just written what I wanted, when I wanted. I suppose my focus shifted a little bit when I was a young teen and began researching publishing houses to submit to one day, but I’ve always kept passion at the forefront.
# What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?
The best thing is the readers’ reactions, by far. I’ve gotten fan mail from kids. Me! Fan mail! Crazy. The worst thing is the pressure. A lot of it is self-inflicted, but it gets exhausting knowing how much everybody seems to want another book and knowing I have to make it as good, if not better than the first. The most surprising thing is how tough marketing is. I knew it would be tough, of course. It always is for a completely new and unknown author to break ground and be taken seriously. But I didn’t think it would be THIS tough. Wake-up call for sure.
# Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?
Oh, interesting. Nobody’s ever asked me this one before. I’d say I balance the two. In terms of THE SOUGHT SIX series, I know how the entire thing is going to pan out and what’s going to happen where/when, but there are a few blanks that I’ve yet to fill in. If I happen to hear from a child that they’d love to see XYZ and I’m able to fit it in somewhere, I probably will. For example, I was doing a school visit before the world shut down and a young girl innocently asked me if I’d name a character after her somewhere in THE SOUGHT SIX. It just so happened I had a character in Book #2 without a name at the time, so that was that.
# What role do emotions play in creativity?
They get in the way, frankly. Some people are able to use their emotions to fuel the creative process, but me? Nope. My creative mindset and my emotional mindset are two totally different things.
# Do you have any creativity tricks?
Classical music. Mozart, Handel, Bach… have it on in the background, or blast it through your headphones. Whatever works. It’s so creatively conducive.
# What are your plans for future books?
Well, THE SOUGHT SIX book #2 is on the way soon, and I’ve got another children’s novel that is a dark fantasy. I also dabble in poetry, and am working on putting together an anthology.
# Tell us some quirky facts about yourself
How much time do you have? Let’s see… I absolutely NEED my morning coffee… I’m cross-dominant (I’m left-handed but I do some tasks with my right hand)… I have a stellar memory, maybe eidetic but I’ve never been tested… My favourite food is fruit, especially grapefruit… I am a huge fan of Lord of the Rings… I prefer winter to summer… Yeah. I should probably quit while I’m ahead.