Monday, April 16, 2012
Author Interview with Cate Dean
Today's author interview for the Tax Day Free Fantasy is with a relative new comer to the indie publishing scene, but a gal who has been writing since she was a wee little one, Cate Dean. Have I mentioned how much I like her name? :) She'll be offering up her story Last Chance Jack for FREE tomorrow! And if you pop over to her website, she's got all the details on a brand new book that will be hitting the shelves this month. And make sure to come back tomorrow for the full list of Tax Day Free Fantasy to pick up a virtual armload of magical stories!
1. Tell us a little about Last Chance Jack. What’s it about? How did you get the idea?
Last Chance Jack is about a guardian angel who has failed every assignment he has been given. Now he has one last chance to prove himself, or end up in Hell. I’ve played around with guardian angel stories for years – this is the first one I actually enjoyed writing. I love Jack – he ain’t your typical guardian angel.
2. Who are your favorite authors in your genre and what do you love about them?
Wow – that would be a long list, so here are a few. For fantasy: Barbara Hambly – her characterization and descriptions are so vivid, you just get sucked into the story; Raymond E. Feist – he created a magnificent world, and has written stories from every angle that simply immerse you in that world; Orson Scott Card – Ender’s Game was brilliant, and I’ve enjoyed the books he wrote from the viewpoints of the other students. For paranormal: Jim Butcher – love The Dresden Files books. Enough said.
3. What is something cool you’ve done (not necessarily with writing, just in life)?
I’ve done my share of traveling in the past 15 years, and have had some really cool experiences. One that is at the top of the list is hanging out with the kangaroos at Steve Irwin’s zoo outside Brisbane, in Queensland, Australia. They are in a compound, and you literally get to hang out with them. It was a sunny day, early fall, and there were four of them laying around on a hill, enjoying the sun. I sat in the middle of them, and stretched out, taking in the sun. They simply accepted my presence, and graciously allowed me to examine their incredibly strong tails, their soft, sleek fur, and just hang. It was the highlight of my trip.
4. Why do you write?
To get the stories out of my head! I have been making up stories since I was about 6, and writing them down since I was 10. To get them out of my head, and down on paper as close as possible to what I see in my head – that has been my goal since I started seriously writing a few years ago. I get closer with every story.
5. Do you have any writing rituals?
Nothing set in stone – except outlining. I do that before I dig in and write, otherwise I end up all over the place. It’s not pretty. I do have to have background noise of some kind. I cannot write in complete silence – it gives me writer’s block, every time. And I have to write every day, or I get antsy.
6. As a published author, what are some of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned?
Covers are so important – and don’t wait until the last minute to do them. I have my covers done while I’m writing the book or story – not only is it great to post on my website as a coming soon, but it is fabulous for inspiration.
A good editor is worth every penny you can scrape together to pay them.
Good beta readers are gold, and a gift. Treat them well, and they will enrich your book beyond what even you could expect.
Polish that first release until it shines, send it out, then do it again. Rinse, repeat. Don’t place everything on one book, no matter how brilliant you think it is. The more you have out there, the more chances there are to find readers.
7. Do you have any upcoming projects in the works?
My first novel, Rest For The Wicked, comes out this month. I am proud of this book, because it represents me, in every way. I let it all hang out in this one, figuratively speaking.
8. Any advice for newbie authors?
As much as you may want to, don’t rush that first release. I did, and it wasn’t ready. Fortunately, because it was only in ebook form, I could upload a new file and contact everyone who already had a copy that a new version was available.(This is a time-intensive process, that has to be done by Amazon.) It’s best if you don’t have to do that in the first place. And be aware that if you want a quality product out there, you are going to have to spend some money. Not a lot – do your research, and you will find some fantastic, well-priced options for everything from book covers to editing. And read everything you can find on self-publishing – educate yourself, and treat it like a business. Because that’s exactly what it is – and you, lucky you, are the boss.
9. And just for fun, you’ve just won the MegaMillions lottery. $650M is yours. How do you spend it?
Traveling! And I would buy a house for everyone in my family, then settle in and keep writing, because that’s what I do. ;)
Many thanks to Cate Dean for coming over to talk today! Make sure to pick up all the Tax Day Free Fantasy books on the list!