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Ask the Author: Cate Carlyle

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Welcome to Ask the Author! In these series published authors will share their experiences with us, allow us a glimpse into their creative processes, and shed some light on the steps that helped them become a published writer. We do hope that emerging authors or writers-in-the-making will find these interviews useful.

About the Author: Cate Carlyle, author of #NotReadyToDie published by Common Deer Press.

What do you write about?

I write about anything and everything. I especially love to write short stories, many of which will never see the light of day. I write adult fiction and non-fiction, adult creative non-fiction, children’s stories, young adult fiction, professional articles ….

Why do you write?

I write to nurture my creative side. I write to fill a need. I write to make sense of my life. I write to please others. I write to please myself. To put it another way, I can’t not write (if that makes any sense?).

What do you love about it?

I love the moments when I am able to successfully capture a thought or a conversation or an idea that has swirled in my head and begged me to write it down. And I love when someone connects with what I have written, when they FEEL something. Being published is just incredible indulgent icing on the cake.

How long did it take you to write your first book?

My first book was non-fiction co-written with a wonderful colleague of mine and we worked on it for about 8 months.

What inspired it and what motivated you to finish the story?

The book was inspired by our international library work and once we had successfully pitched it to a publisher, we were “motivated” by the assigned deadline.

What do you find most challenging about writing?

I find all of writing a challenge: finding the time to write, conquering writer’s block and confidence issues, editing, revising, promoting. But it is all a good challenge. A challenge I seek out.

What do you do besides writing?

I am an academic librarian, a mom, a volunteer and an obsessive baker.

Writing Routine

Describe your ideal writing weather?

I write indoors so weather is never an issue for me. Oh, then again, I do write on my laptop so storms and power outages are not good.

Where do you write best? What is your preferred writing space?

I write at my dining room table, with my dog Lucy on my feet and a huge pot of tea (preferably when no one is home and it is quiet).

Time of day?

I tend to write in the afternoon or evening because I am one of those odd writers who feels the need to get everything else done before affording myself permission to sit down and write for hours. And I mean EVERYTHING else-laundry, dishes, dusting, vacuuming, scrolling social media, watering plants, weeding the garden. It’s a problem.

Inspiration or discipline?

I can’t write without inspiration, I’m not someone who has a set writing times and deadlines. I write when I want to and I have the time.

How do you overcome the writer’s block?

I haven’t yet sorted this out. I tend to stop writing when blocked and eventually I feel the urge again and come back to it; that’s what has happened so far anyways (knock on wood).

The First Publication

How did it feel when you got your first acceptance letter?

It felt surreal. I was convinced it was an email sent in error.

Who was the first person you shared the news with?

My husband, Bruce.

How did you mark the occasion?

We went out for a special dinner at our favourite restaurant the night I had the finished copy in my hands.

If you could talk to a writer, alive or dead, who would it be? What would you ask them?

I read all genres and there are many many writers I would love to talk to… it would have to be a big gathering. Timothy Findlay, Alice Munroe, Pearl S Buck, Judy Blume, Harper Lee, Margaret Mitchell, Nora Roberts, James Patterson. And I wouldn’t ask them anything, partly because I would be star struck and terrified, but also because they are all very different writers. I would just let them say whatever they liked and learn what I could.

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