Monday, April 02, 2012
FEATURED AUTHOR: Cat Connor
How did you start out your writing career?
By writing… it’s quite difficult to have a writing career unless you start by writing.
I wrote a few novels while I was finding my voice - they reside on my hard drive and are not for public consumption. I also wrote a bunch of short stories which were published in the UK and USA to prove to myself I was marketable and also so I had something to put in my query letter!
Then I wrote Killerbyte (the first -byte novel), sold it to a publisher who announced bankruptcy 18 months later (and seven days before the release). I spent six months trying to get my rights back, and meanwhile wrote Terrorbyte. Got my rights back. Sold Killerbyte again but this time to an up and coming new publisher, Rebel ePublishers, and so far they’ve published four -byte series novels. I love being with Rebel, I especially love our editor, Jayne Southern.
What did you learn while writing this book?
While writing Flashbyte I learned a lot more about one of the team members in Delta A, SSA Kurt Henderson. (My main character SSA Ellie Conway is the team leader for Delta A, a special unit within the FBI criminal investigation division that investigates serial crime.)
What did you hope to accomplish with this book?
I hope to entertain!
What came first with this story, the characters or the plot? Why?
I write first person from my main character Ellie Conway’s point of view, so the character most definitely comes first. When I begin a story I have no idea what will happen or how, I simply listen to the main character (Ellie) and let her tell me the story.
Why do characters come first for me? Because the story is always about them. It’s not about the Unsub or the crime, it’s about my characters and how they cope with whatever case unfolds and how they solve the case.
What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
That’s not an easy question to answer, I don’t know that there were any real surprises. I was well prepared for the highs and lows of the publishing industry before I was published. I did my homework. I belong to a wonderful writing community where I have the opportunity to get advice and hear from other authors (both published and yet to be published) about their journey into publishing and the ups and downs on the way.
I think what interested me most is other people’s reactions to me being a published author. I’ve had every possible response from derogatory sneers to utter delight. Have to say the scale is definitely tipped in favor of delight though.
What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?
What I love is writing “the end” and knowing that the next time I see the novel it will be during the editing process which by far easier and more fun than the initial writing!
There is no part of writing that I hate. If I hated any of it I wouldn’t be a writer - I’d be doing something else.
What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?
Three things? Don’t think there are three things. As I said before, I was well prepared. I knew social networks were going to be time sucks but I don’t think I grasped just how big a time hole they would be, so that’s my one thing! Apart from that, I’m good!
Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?
Do seek out advice from those who know and join a reputable writers group like Backspace.org.
Don’t send anything less than your best work out into the world.
What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
That writing is a mind consuming occupation. While writing a novel, the novel is always present. It’s not something I can switch off and walk away from. If you think I didn’t hear you, I probably didn’t because my mind is busy with a new scene.
Tell us something few know about you?
I figure if I do enough interviews I’ll start to run out of things few know - well, that I am willing to share anyway! We may have reached that point.
When you're not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?
I hang out with my family and our Greyhound, Romeo. If you live in the Wellington region no doubt you’ll come across us at some stage. Whatever the weather you’ll see us out and about with Romeo. I also read, watch a bit of TV, like to spend time with my Admins and friends and wine!
What do you do to interact with your readers?
I tweet, I’m a big tweeter. I love twitter so much that I text tweet when I’m out and about. I try to answer every tweet directed at me, although sometimes, with the time/day differences there may be a delay! I also spend a bit of time on my Facebook page, and G+.
Our theme for this month is Ebooks. Do you own an ereader and if so, what the last book you downloaded? If you don’t own an ereader, do you see yourself purchasing one in the future?
I do own an eReader. I absolutely LOVE my Kindle. I’m trying to think what the last book I downloaded was (without going upstairs to check!), I’m pretty sure it was a research book. Since buying my Kindle on a trip to the USA (they weren’t available here then) in April last year I have bought and downloaded about 80 books. It’s fabulous! Especially awesome for us in New Zealand, as paperbacks are ridiculously expensive down here.
Who was the first author you ever met?
Jeffrey Deaver. I met him just after my first publisher declared bankruptcy and I was stuck trying to get my rights back. Jeff was in New Zealand on tour - we had time for a quick chat about writing - he gave me some fabulous advice and told me a similar thing had happened to him early on. He also signed two books for me which have since disappeared, it’s most strange.
Oprah always asks, ‘What do you know for sure?’
The sky is blue, water is wet… oh no, hang on that wasn’t me that was Joe Hallenbeck. What do I know? I know readers will always read, books provide an escape from daily drudgery, and today is more important than tomorrow, also - life is shorter than you think and should be lived.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?
I could … but I’m not going to. I will however give you a wee peek at my newly released novel, Flashbyte.
A scene that was much fun to write.
An excerpt from Flashbyte, Chapter Ten: It’s now or never.
Doc knocked again. “Open up.”
I splashed water on my face, dried off, took a breath, and opened the door. I saw the gun in Doc’s hand. Doc moved in, he swept the room, checked the shower, and pulled the curtain back on the tub.
“Expecting someone?” I said, as he holstered his Glock.
“Carla said there was a man in the bathroom.”
I smiled. “A freaky mother-daughter moment is all.”
I made my way over to the bed and gave Carla a hug. “You okay?”
“Uh huh,” she whispered. “I knew him. Didn’t I?”
“Yeah, you knew him. It was Mac.”
“I know, just not sure he does, baby.”
Doc interrupted. “You got time for this case of mine?”
“Sure,” I replied and hugged Carla again. “You going to be okay?”
“We’ll be right here, talking shop. Headphones?”
She pulled her headphones from her bag and plugged them into her laptop. I watched in silence as she chose music and turned up the volume.
“You wanna tell me what happened in there?” He indicated toward the bathroom with his hand.
“I see dead people,” I replied with a small grimace.
“Shared hallucination? I don’t think so.” He smiled. “I’m a doctor, hence I have seen plenty of dead people – none of them have ever talked. And I heard talking.”
He heard talking. “You heard me talking to myself.”
“No, Conway, I heard a male voice answer you.”
Holy freaking shit. “Can we not do this, please?”
“Shall I call a priest? I’m pretty sure you both didn’t share an illusion, and I sure as hell know I wasn’t part of it.”
I laughed it off despite the worrisome fact that Kurt heard a male voice. “We’re good. It was nothing.”
“Nothing. We’re good. Tell me about your case?”
He didn’t look as though he believed me but moved on anyway.
“A friend called. He’s a doctor in a small town. Specialized in emergency medicine and went back to his home town to take over the ER there.”
“Tremendous. And the problem?”
“Inexplicable deaths. Over and above what would be considered normal.”
“There’s a level of normal for death within a hospital?”
He shrugged. “People die.”
“Imagine that? But do they stay dead? Because in my experience they freaking don’t.”
How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
I can be reached via twitter @catconnor, that’s the most direct way to contact me. Also, my blog http://catconnor.blogspot.co.nz/- you can leave me a comment.
You can also tweet my main character @EllieConwaySA and check out her blog http://otherwisecat.blogspot.co.nz/
Or alternatively you can ‘like’ me on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cat-Connor/76140493745
As if a terrifying nightmare wasn’t bad enough, being woken from it with the news that she’d been strangled in a parking lot didn’t make a great start to the day for FBI Agent Ellie Conway.
Extraordinary and bizarre packages delivered to her home, a sniper aiming for her – twice in one day – and a vehicle that looks like Swiss cheese, tends to make a girl lose her sense of humour.
More mistaken-identity deaths, bank robberies, a hospital murderer, an unexpected cold case, and a rendition
to a black site, conspire to demand more than the usual amount of kickass determination required of SSA Conway.
Ghosts from the past, forcing themselves into her present life, with vengeance on their minds, threaten Conway and the lives of others, reminding her of the fragility of memory.
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