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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Author Interview: Cat Grant

Whipped Cream is pleased to welcome Cat Grant. Cat’s second book, Strictly Business, has recently been released from Lyrical Press. It’s a prequel to the best-selling The Arrangement. Cat told me that she’s written off and on her entire life. “I’m forty-eight years old,” she said, “and I’ve just had my second book published this year. Suffice it to say, it’s been a long journey!”

Cat wrote fan fiction for the better part of fifteen years, but didn’t consider trying to write for professional publication until she became disabled in 2004. “It was a depressing time for me,” she told me, “so my husband encouraged me to start writing again. At first I tried to crack the sci-fi/fantasy/horror short story markets. In three years, I sold a grand total of one story-- mostly because I think my heart wasn't really in it. So I went back and took a look at some of my older work, the stuff I truly enjoyed writing, and practically every single story revolved around the relationships between the characters - and a lot of hot sex too. Making the jump to writing erotic romance seemed a no-brainer.” She told me, though, that one of the biggest misconceptions she sees the public having about erotic romance is “that every work of erotic fiction out there is nothing but wall-to-wall sex, with no other ‘redeeming social value.’”

It took Cat two years to write (and rewrite and rewrite again)The Arrangement and four months to sell it. The reason she took so long can be summed up in her advice for new writers. “Work hard on your craft, and make your first book the absolute best it can be before you start sending it out. First-time authors are so hungry to get published (I know I was!) that sometimes they overlook the basics. I've seen published books out there with sloppy mechanics, inconsistent characterization and WTF? plot logic. Ask yourself this: ten years from now, do you want to look back and cringe? I know I sure don't!”

Cat’s not a big fan of sex for sex’s sake in fiction, which she admits “probably sounds strange from someone whose work is labeled ‘erotic romance.’” She believes, however, that “sex scenes should serve the same purpose as any other kind of scene—if it doesn’t move the story along or reveal something new about the characters and their relationship—it shouldn’t be there.” She added, “That said, if you’re going to write an erotic scene, it should be a genuine turn-on. I’m constantly kicking myself trying to maintain that balance.”

She gave us some recommendations for research books, so if you are interested in writing erotic romance you might want to check these out. “A book that was a huge help to me in writing my m/m/f ménage a trois novel was The Ethical Slut by Dossie Easton and Catherine A. Liszt. Tristan Taormino’s written one on the same subject called Opening Up. If you want to write about polyamory, they’re the experts.”

For books on craft, recommended are the following: Susie Bright - How to Write a Dirty Story Chris Vogler - The Writer’s Journey Joseph Campbell - The Hero with a Thousand Faces Debra Dixon - Goal, Motivation, and Conflict

“In fact,” she told me, “I think Susie Bright’s Best American Erotica series is a must-read too, especially for writers who want to specialize in writing about alternative lifestyles.”

On a personal note, Cat cannot stand to eat calamari. “My dad loved it,” she said, “but to me it looks like a plateful of fried rubber bands.”

Conversely, though, she told me, “There’s a tiny little place not far from where I live that makes the best hamburgers I’ve ever had in a restaurant. My fave is their blue cheese burger. I also have a weakness for hot fudge sundaes and key lime pie.”

Cat doesn’t drink soda pop any longer, she told me, but she said she used to be able to tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi, however she’s not sure if she could tell the difference now.

And, she’s a woman after my own heart. If she’s not writing, she can usually be found sitting on the couch reading. She confessed, “My TBR stack has morphed into an entire shelf!”

You can read more about Cat and her works at her website

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