Tuesday, June 8, 2010. Posted by Nightly Cafe at 6:57 AM
Cate Masters has an amazing writing style, as you will see from the excerpt she is sharing with us below. She writes fantasy/dark fantasy, contemporary and speculative fiction, as well as historical novels. She is one that will surely leave you wanting more. Please give her a warm welcome as she takes time out to chat with us today.
Welcome Cate, thank you so much for stopping in. Please tell us a bit about yourself.
Thanks so much for having me at the Immortal Cafe! Love that title, btw.
Poetry was an early passion, from about age ten. In high school, I wrote for the school newspaper, and later freelanced for our local newspaper. So I love to write anything, but mostly fiction. Though I do have a day job, I consider writing my main job.
What do you see as your influences on your writing?
I grew up in a very artsy community, and my friends were all artists and poets. From grade school on, we nurtured each other and are still close friends, so the initial imprint was strong. Although I didn’t know it until my mom’s funeral, she once won an award in a writing contest. My dad loved to write, too. So in addition to a nurturing atmosphere, I credit good genes. :)
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Revisions are sometimes a challenge, but I know that’s where the real story shines through, so I go through three or four edits on my own before sending out to critique partners, after which I’ll go through at least another round. So by the time I submit it somewhere, it’s as polished and shiny as I can make it.
Where do you hope to take your writing in the future?
As far as I can. My aim is to keep learning and growing, and pushing my writing to its limit.
How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
I usually start out with a basic idea and take off from there. Once I begin, I keep a running outline to map where I’ve been, and sometimes rough out where I’m headed. But basically the characters know better than me!
What drew you to write about fantasy romance?
I actually write across a variety of genres: fantasy/ dark fantasy to speculative, contemporary to historical, sweet to erotic romance.
I’m not quite sure into what category Fever Dreams fits. It’s a mix of contemporary with fantasy dream sequences. I wrote it almost twenty years ago, and it began as a much shorter story but through revisions, I fleshed out the characters and scenes until it became a short novel. The novel contains many fantasy dream sequences that allowed me to delve into the subconscious of the heroine, Diana, in a unique way. Through her dreams, she recognizes her feelings for Cal overwhelm her reason and better judgment. She knows the relationship has wonderful elements, but in almost a sensory overload way.
How do you keep your writing different from the vast variety of stories (in your genre) out there today?
I like to experiment, so I don’t consciously think about genre, or other stories, while I’m writing. The story and its characters dictate where it will go, independent of any other.
How did your title come into play?
Fever Dreams incorporates several layers of meaning – dreams of following your goals to achieve happiness, as well as dreams of finding the person who’s right for you, in addition to the literal fantasy dreams that haunt Diana after meeting Cal.
Can you tell us a little bit about the main characters and/or the plot in your book?
Ah, well – Cal is very sexy. :) He’s also very moody, as poets can be, but the poetry he writes for Diana melts her heart. And he helps Diana realize her own talents as a photographer. She’s very talented but has no self-confidence until she meets Cal. She also learns to recognize what’s best for her, what’s detrimental and most importantly, how to stand up for herself. Diana and Cal are both flawed characters who become stronger after meeting. They challenge and encourage each other, as the best relationships will. Their feelings grow so strong, both become overwhelmed and have to step away, but that, too, is a good thing in the end.
What were your feelings when you first novel was accepted for publication?
Delight, of course, and probably a little shock. In less than two years, I’ve had 17 acceptances! I like to joke it’s to make up for all those years when I had zero, aside from the few literary magazines and web zines here and there. Those are linked to my web site, if anyone wants a free read, and range from speculative to fantasy to contemporary and literary.
Who is your favorite author? What genre of books do you read?
Wow. I love so many. For their incredible imagination and excellent writing, T.C. Boyle, Margaret Atwood and Michael Chabon definitely rank as my top three. Neil Gaiman and Alice Hoffman follow close on their heels. For jaw-dropping writing, Charles D’Ambrosio and Richard Russo. I’m also trying to catch up on a slew of fellow authors, too many to name. As you can tell from these authors, I read literary, fantasy/urban fantasy, magic realism, contemporary, and any mashup of these.
Are you working on any projects right now?
About a dozen stories are vying for my attention. I’ve nearly finished a first draft of a contemporary fantasy, possibly the beginning of a series. I’m very excited about it.
If you could leave readers with one legacy, what would you want it to be?
Most of my stories center on the idea of following your bliss, and doing what you love. It’s what makes life worthwhile. That’s the positive message I hope my readers take away from my stories.
What advice would you give to writers just starting out in this genre?
The old joke about how to get to Carnegie Hall comes to mind: practice! I once asked bestselling author Ian McEwan the same thing at a booksigning, and he said: keep writing. At the time I thought it was his way of disposing of me to move the line along, but it’s true. The more you write, the better writer you will be. Along with writing books, workshops help, and critique partners are essential.
Any last comments you would like to add?.....(upcoming events, titles, etc. )
I am incredibly psyched about this year’s releases. The Wild Rose Press just released Design for Life, a short contemporary. In August, Whiskey Creek Press is set to release Surfacing, a contemporary fantasy novel about a mermaid and an indie rocker, and contracted The Bridge Between, a contemporary women’s fiction novel. On May 7, Eternal Press released Fever Dreams, and on July 7, will release Winning, a short with elements of magical realism, and on Aug. 7, will release Follow the Stars Home, a historical centered on the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. I’m still waiting for a release date from Freya’s Bower for Angels, Sinners and Madmen, the historical set in Key West, Florida. And because I felt I should give something back to celebrate my good fortune, I contributed a speculative short story, Love and War, to an XOXO Publishing anthology which will benefit charity, and a poem to an anthology Little Episodes released in February, which aims to destigmatize addiction, depression and mental illness through the arts.
I’m also excited to be on my first blog tour, and will be part of the first annual Harrisburg Book Fair the weekend of June 25-26, in Harrisburg, PA. Watch my web site and blog for more details!
Is there a website where readers may find you?
My web site: http://www.catemasters.com and blog: http://catemasters.blogspot.com
Facebook, Twitter, or Myspace?
My Facebook fan page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cate-Masters/89969413736?ref=ts and Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/CateMasters
My contemporary novel, Fever Dreams, was released May 7, 2010 from Eternal Press: http://www.eternalpress.biz/book.php?isbn=9781615720910
When Diana Taylor changes jobs, she doesn’t expect it to change her life. Meeting Cal opens up a new world of passion. He encourages her to pursue her passion for photography. Her love overwhelms her, blurs the line between reality and dreams. But is it love or obsession?
And here’s an excerpt:
She stood by the bed. “The light switch is to your right.”
He lingered by the door. “We don’t need it. The moon’s still bright.”
Her breath quickened as he stepped toward her out of the shadows. He stopped and took a deep breath. “I have to be careful.”
She tensed. “What do you mean?”
He looked her over inch by inch. “You said you wanted to go slow.” He reached to move her hair from her shoulder, then traced his finger along her collar bone. “That’s going to be very difficult.” His fingers slid down her sweater between her breasts. As he circled around her breast, his palm brushed against her nipple.
Her heart raced and she let out a breath. “I see what you mean.” She touched his chest, ran her hands down his waist and thighs.
He inched her sweater up over her head. She raised her arms and her hair cascaded down her back as he dropped the sweater to the floor.
She unfastened the rest of his buttons and slid his shirt from his shoulders and arms. With a ragged breath, she ran her hands along his smooth chest, resisting the urge to pull him close, to feel his skin against hers. Instead she kissed his nipples, one by one, her tongue teasing them to hardness.
His hands cupped her head, his fingers tangled in her hair. He pulled her away. “You don’t play fair,” he growled. He leaned toward her and she reached her lips to his, but he smiled, holding her inches away. “Not yet,” he whispered.
He undid her bra and slid it away. His tongue traveled down her cleavage to her belly button as he unsnapped her jeans, pulling the zipper down tooth by tooth. She ran her fingers through the waves of his hair as he pushed her jeans from her hips and down her legs and over one foot then the next, kissing her thigh as he steadied her.
He knelt before her, his breath hot through her panties. She clenched his hair as he lightly ran his fingers from back to front, then slowly tugged her panties away, his tongue following the clearing path.
She widened her stance and bit back a moan. His tongue teased her to near bursting. Her breath quivered as she shuddered, then grabbed his head as spasms shook her body as never before. Her knees gave way and she nearly doubled over.
His arms slid behind her knees and back, and he lifted her to the bed. He kissed her, and she tasted herself on his lips. Her legs instinctively wrapped around his to pull him closer. Feeling fabric instead of skin, she reached for his buckle and undid it as fast as she could; she’d had enough of going slow. She tugged them down, pushed them down his legs with her feet.
He stood to take them off, then took a deep breath as he looked at her. He smiled, kissed her bent knee and ran his hands along her legs. “I’m going to make sure,” he said, putting one knee on the bed, then the other, “you won’t miss even one second of this.” He arched over her. “Are you ready for me?”
She had to have him. Now—or she’d go crazy. “Come here.”
He whispered, “Diana, Diana,” the same as he had in her dreams. She tightened her arms around him, and held him until after the moonlight slid away from her bed.
I love the excerpt. You already know it's on my TBR, as with most of your books. Thank you so much for stopping in Cate. It has been such a pleasure chatting with you.
Please be sure to leave a comment for Cate for your chance to win a copy of her book, Fever Dreams. Follow her along her tour, leaving a comment at her various pit stops for extra chances to win.
Wishing you much success Cate!