Featured Author: Cate Cavanagh December 15, 2010Posted by Jaidis in Featured Authors.
It’s time for another Featured Author here on Juniper Grove! I’d like to welcome today’s Featured Author…Cate Cavanagh!!! Cate stopped by to tell us about her book, Her Godmother, and answers some questions about being an author!
Cate is a published author, Gifts of the Spirit, Her Godmother as well as a syndicated columnist in the spiritual and metaphysical genres. In addition she is a published print columnist in New York and was political commentator for WJFF radio in New York and political podcast commentator for Internet Radio Voices. Her work also appears in a number of new age publications including but not limited to Self Growth, Lightsource, E Spirit, Grannymoon, Witch’s Voice and Pagazine. She is also a screenplay writer and offers occult consultant services for the media and for private clients. As a practicing eclectic Witch she is dedicated to presenting magical realism as it really is.
Without giving too much away, can you tell us what this book is about?
As an adult child of an alcoholic I wanted to address this disease while at the same time telling a tale of how magical realism heals. This book helps children also learn the tools of AA and will help adult children of alcoholics reflect and come to terms with their healing as well. Within the drama there is a huge comical mutt and a cat that is a familiar with a chapter of her very own!
How long did it take you to write Her Godmother?
The first draft was done in a month. I am very OCD when it comes to doing major writing projects however the real time was in the revising and constant proof reading! (*GROAN!*)
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
I like to think I am a writer that paints pictures with words and since the story takes place in rural upstate there is a lot to “see.”
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I was in grammar school. I entered a citywide essay contest in NYC and won a silver medal! I was hooked. After that I read anything I could get my hands on to learn how to tell stories and the authors did it. My dad was very influential in my appreciation and ultimate love of writing.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
The way I begin a book or screenplay. I usually get a line. Then I start by just putting that line up on the blank page on the computer. Nothing more. For as long as takes I don’t touch it yet, ideas ruminate in my head until maybe I get a paragraph but often this paragraph winds up in the middle of the book until the story builds around it.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Enjoying living in the country living my city-childhood dream of horses, dogs, cats and a crazy parrot.
What does your family think of your writing?
My family is very supportive and are often the ones that read it, give me input and help with proofing. When I am actively on a project I write at night beginning at 11pm and writing through the night until about 5 or 6am. My husband gives me all the time I need.
How many books have you written so far?
I have published two full length books but since I have always loved short styles of writing, which was influenced by my performance poetry work, I love writing for effect and don’t over use words. I have mostly written columns and articles and have been syndicated. I have a book of short stories I want to get to and several screenplays to work on. Most of my “fiction” is based on magical realism and personal event I have either experienced or witnessed.
How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?
With great relief. Completing that process was tough as I was in the middle of a major health crisis with multiple family members and on deadline. There was a lot of grief with that first book but I was proud of myself for being able to do it.
If you have written multiple books, which book was the most enjoyable for you to write? What about the least enjoyable?
I have no preference. One was nonfiction (out of print at my insistence due to serious problems with the publisher) and the other is HER GODMOTHER. I love writing fiction and nonfiction equally as a matter of fact. It is all about what moves me and “possesses” me!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a published author?
Master your craft! Join writing groups! There are many online groups with many published writers that willingly share their experiences and advice. Write for free!!! The big thing is getting the portfolio you need to move up the ladder in the publishing field. Get thick skinned. Don’t take rejections to heart. Be sure to check absolutewrite.com for their listings of reputable publishers and agent. Also check out the writers’ guild. They list member agents which means they are legit. DO NOT PAY AN AGENT TO READ YOUR WORK! This is a red flag to stay away. The rest is hard work and persistence.
Do you hear from your readers much?
Usually when the books come out I get waves of raves online. That’s fine with me. I do get emails which I do answer.
What do you think makes a good story?
Vivid descriptions, well defined characters and dialogue.
What genre do you find the most difficult to write in and why?
I found it the hardest to learn how to write a screenplay. Writing on is so very different. I did a lot of research on format and the qualities of what makes a good screenplay. It took a while for me learn how to have the dialogues alone tell the story. I think I’ll write a play next!
Outlines? Are they needed or just a waste of time?
They are not a waste of time. It depends on what a writer needs. Many writers put up cards on all their characters. I don’t. I know my characters before I write about them and edit as I need after the first draft. There is no right or wrong way in the creative process.
If you had it to do all over again, is there anything that you would change in any of your books?
Not a thing. I was very pleased with the quality of my books even if I made a big mistake with my first publisher. Everything is a learning process. Because I do not consider my every word sacrosanct I am always willing to cut, improve or change anything for the good of the project.
Is there anything that you find challenging in your writing?
Time. There simply is not enough time for everything I hope to complete in the coming year.
Do you ever experience writer’s block and if so, how to you overcome it?
Yes I have and the longest period was for seven years! It was awful. I keep a document on the computer that is just for great lines now. These lines have given me great springboards for stories and articles.
If you could take any book and rewrite it, putting your own twist on it, which book would it be and why?
I hated Pere Goriot in school. I would update it and made kids WANT to finish this book.
Is there anything you need in order to write? (ie music, silence, chocolate)
Coffee and yes, those awful cigs!
Do you have any writing projects you are currently working on?
At this time I am focusing on screenplays. Years ago I wanted to write them and am only getting around to them now. They’re and challenging since I am new to them.
Night owl or Early bird?
Night owl when I am working on a major project.
If you could have dinner with 1 person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Countee Cullen a Black poet of the Harlem Renaissance period. He was an amazing gay poet who wrote from the heart and from anger. He greatly influenced me. I recommend you look up his poem, Yet Do I Marvel. Raw and amazing!
If you could travel into the past or future, where would you go and why?
I would love to go to New Orleans in the 1800’s and meet the root and Hoo Doo people of the time. Hopefully one of the DeVou’s
What does the word success mean to you?
Being in balance and joy with trust that all will be okay.
If you had to compare yourself to an animal, which one would it be and why?
It would be a Black panther! The power and grace of big cats simply awe me. I would love to feel that.
If you were written about on the front page of the newspaper, what would the headline be?
Haunted House Survivor Now Occult Consultant to the Stars!
If you had to have one word or phrase written on your forehead for an entire week, what would it be?
I’d like to thank Cate for stopping by and being a Featured Author here on Juniper Grove!
Visit Cate’s Blog
Get your copy of Her Godmother!!