Blogs by L.T. Suzuki
Cat Connor Interview
12/6/2010 7:50:49 PM
LTS: For those of you who love thrillers, todayís guest blogger is author, Cat Connor. A gifted writer and a woman of many talents, Iíd like to begin by having you share a little information about yourself with our readers, Cat. Maybe we can start with where you call home and what you enjoy doing when youíre not writing?
CC: I live in Upper Hutt, New Zealand. Which is part of the Wellington Region. Wellington is ďthe coolest little city in the worldĒ according to Lonely Planet. And it really is. When Iím not writing I could be doing almost anything. Currently itís decoupage. But no matter what Iím doing writing is not far away, nor is promo etc!
LTS: I know youíre very creative, having long been involved in the arts, but when did your writing career start? Has writing stories always been a part of your life and becoming a published author a lifelong dream?
CC: Prior to selling my first novel in Feb 2009, Iíd had about 14 short stories published in various magazines over the space of about 3 years. I sold my first short in 2005.
I wouldíve said no to writing having always been part of my life Ė but it has, just not like it is now. Being an author certainly wasnít a lifelong dream! It took me awhile to have the time to think about what I wanted out of life.
LTS: You are the author of 11 novels, but letís talk about your latest creation, the Ellie Conway series. What is the inspiration behind this series and can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist, Special Agent Ellie Conway?
CC: Out of eleven novels SIX are Ellie Conway books. There will be more, in fact another one is brewing now. Iím sure people expect there to be some kind of inspiration behind a series, but there isnít and never was. KILLERBYTE grew from some ridiculous comments made in a chat room and with that Ellie Conway was born. Seems sheís not done having me write her stories yet, and long as she keeps talking there will be more novels. She has a fascinating life.
Special Agent Ellie Conway is human, as in sheís not super human Ėsheís not bullet proof. She has her own way of dealing with the things she comes up against and sheís not the most politically correct person youíve ever met.
LTS: Without giving away too much, can you reveal whatís in store for the reader when they crack open one of you Ellie Conway thrillers?
CC: Instead of me answering this Iím going to quote a few people.
Clover Hill Book Reviews: Killerbyte - A humorously captivating book which I enjoyed from start to finish. Full of shocking twists, it is action packed and gripping. Ellie Conway, the main character is a smart mouthed Sagittarius, whose life is turned upside down when a killer is on the loose. I'd recommend this to anyone who enjoys FBI thrillers, or shows such as Dexter or CSI.
Author Poppet: [on Terrorbyte]Connor has blown every preconceived notion I ever had about women not being able to do crime fiction justice Ė right out of the stratosphere. If I didnít personally know a woman wrote this series, I wouldnít believe it.
LTS: The road to publication is difficult at the best of times. Was it difficult for you to land an agent? Do you have any advice youíd like to share with the author struggling to find representation?
CC: I donít have an agent. I decide a long time ago that I didnít want another person running interference or for that matter, interfering with my work. Iím not the only rebel who has decided I can represent myself.
Being so far from the world did impact on my decision though. NZ is a long way from the world and weíre a DIY country. I do have a legal team who vet contracts etc.
LTS: A very smart idea, Cat! Now, can you share that moment when you sold your story to Rebel e Publishers?
CC: When I sold my first book to Rebel E Publishers, I text everyone close by and emailed everyone else. Some of us got together and had a few glasses of wine.
LTS: Iím curious about your writing style. Are you one of those disciplined writers who must dedicate a certain time each day to producing so many words, or are you more relaxed and tend to write when it strikes your fancy?
CC: I write every day but donít set myself a word count unless I particularly want something finished in a set amount of time. I know what I am capable of. I know I can write just over 80k in a month, but donít often need to. My writing time is slotted around the kids, but usually I write 4 hours every morning and then for another few in the afternoon.
LTS: Still on the subject of writing styles, are you a plotter or pantser? The readers would like to know if you tend to plot out your story line in great detail or if your writing is more organic with the characters and events unfolding as you write.
CC: Everything starts from a single question in my mind and builds from there. I see it all like a movie in my head but I do not plan the story, nor do I talk about it until the first draft is done. If I know how it ends when I start, I wonít write it. I know thatís a tad weird, but for me itís how it is. Definitely a pantser!
LTS: Some authors meditate, others need to fuel up on coffee or listen to music. Do you have any rituals, ones that can be shared with the readers, that you must do before you hunker down for a writing session?
CC: I listen to Bon Jovi. Thatís my work music. And I drink a tonne of coffee. If Iím writing long hand, using one of my many notebooks Ėwhich are dedicated to specific books I use a coronial services pen. (or a pen from a funeral home!) If Iím having a difficult morning and my main character seems to be a little frazzled, I listen to Lorenza Ponceís ĎSoul Shifterí. Lorenza calms us all down.
LTS: At one time or another, most writers hit the wall and their work stalls because of the dreaded writerís block. What do you do to get around or over this mental wall to resume writing?
CC: No such thing. (My husband says writerís block is something you use to prop a door open.) I love to write so I donít have a problem writing. Stopping is my problem. Iíve had to learn to set myself limits or Iíd write all night. Iíve never been stuck for ideas or ways to execute them.
LTS: Who is your favourite author and how has he/she inspired you to write or influenced your writing style or choice of genre?
CC: I havenít been influenced by anyone as far as genre or writing style. I have developed my own style, my own voice. I write like me.
I do have favorite authors. I read a lot of Jeffrey Deaver and love Janet Evanovichís Stephanie Plum series. I grew up reading Alexander Dumas, Emmuska Orczy, Sir Walter Scott, Tolstoy, Robert Louis Stevenson etc. I donít doubt that reading books like Ivanhoe and The Three Musketeers had an influence on my love of action, heroes, and justice.
LTS: What is the most profound discovery youíve made in terms of your writing and how it has touched the lives of others?
CC: Donít think Iím in the business of touching live, writing thrillers isnít really a touchy feely experience Ė nor is reading them, maybe scaring the bejesus out of people touches them in some way? I donít do profound (well not since my ĎOde to Profundityí in high school.)
LTS: What is the most important lesson youíve learned on the road to publication?
CC: Never give up, unless youíre crap. If youíre crap you should definitely give up.
LTS: Excellent, straight-forward advice! So, what are you reading now, and how did this particular book make it onto your to-read list?
CC: Iím reading Lee Childís Worth Dying For. It made it onto my list because I read Ď61 hoursí and was curious as to what would happen to Reacher next.
LTS: What do you foresee in your future over the next five years and do you hope to branch out from thrillers into other genres?
CC: I donít see myself branching far from thrillers. I love writing thrillers. Over the next five years, I see another 5 Conway novels and thatís all I can say at this stage without consulting my legal team.
LTS: An ambitious undertaking that I have no doubt you will handle with ease! Thank you for taking the time to discuss your novels and for sharing in your writing experiences, Cat!
For more information about Cat Connor and her novels, check out:
Follow Cat on Twitter: .catconnor
Where to buy the books: My books are available in all e formats and in paperback from almost everywhere.
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