Join us as we spotlight various members in the Savvy Authors community. We’ll introduce you to recently published authors from Our Authors, our hard working volunteers, members active in the Savvy writing community, editors, and agents.
This week the Spotlight shines on contemporary, historical, fantasy and paranormal author Cate Masters. Nominated for the Most Engaging Author in the 2012 Readers’ Choice award, along with multiple EPIC finals and a Pearl S. Buck Foundation award to her credit, Cate’s stories have broad appeal, finding homes with nine publishers so far.She is not least bit intimidated about writing in multiple genres or to mash them up if the mood suits her. Sometime between your July 4th cookout and running off to enjoy the fireworks, take a moment and join us as we talk Goddesses, Egypt and Ray Bradbury!
“Goddess, Awakened,” Book 1 of the Goddess Connection Series (Kensington Publishing/Lyrical Press) your fantasy romance novel comes out on July 7, just 3 days away! Can you give our readers a peek into the story?
Thanks so much for inviting me to talk about “Goddess, Awakened”! I’m so excited about this release. The heroine’s very dear to my heart – she’s in her forties, and I love that she’s been through so much and is determined to start her life over. In doing so, she returns to her magical roots, and finds new strength from her family connections. That’s an important idea for me – that as we grow into adults, we lose a lot of the magical aspects of our childhood, and ourselves. Reconnecting with that is very powerful.
The hero’s also very dear to me. A veterinarian, a healer and lover of animals, a widow, somewhat dark and brooding but that stems mostly from loneliness and grief.
And by the way, many of the animals in the story represent pets I’ve owned and loved. Taz, the border collie/lab mix, is a mix of my childhood dog Tippy, who had to have a leg amputated, and our border collie/lab Benji, who died suddenly and broke our hearts. We owned the horse Triple Power, too, so it’s lovely to think of them roaming the fields together again.
Here’s the blurb for “Goddess, Awakened“:
With a little help from a goddess, battling evil is a piece of cake for Jocelyn Gibson.
A descendant of the goddess Iris, Jocelyn Gibson may have forgotten about the realm of magic, but it hasn’t forgotten her. When Eric Hendricks is targeted by a demon, Joss must step in to battle the evil and save the town’s awkward, but endearing, vet…who also happens to be the man she loves.
Joss’s new inn, a culinary career specializing in cooking with lavender and a new love all make for a fine recipe of disaster. She needs to embrace her inner goddess and harness the powers she never knew she had before it’s too late.
You are well into the second book in the Goddess Connection series. Is it a stand alone or does it pick up where book one left off, and do you have an idea how far the series will go?
Each book will be a stand alone with new characters. In each novel of The Goddess Connection series, the heroine is somehow connected to a goddess. Her lifelong quirks will become strengths once she finds her true place in the world, and accepts herself for who she really is.
This theme is very important to me. I strongly believe women need encouragement to take time from their busy schedules to nourish themselves, body and spirit, and celebrate their unique qualities and strengths. We’re always so busy taking care of everyone else, we often forget to take care of our own needs.
Honestly, this series could be as endless, there are so many wonderful goddesses. When I found the goddess Iris, she was obscure but seemed the perfect choice to lead the series with – she’s the Goddess of the Rainbow, who connects earth to sky (and so mortals to immortals).
The second book features an Egyptian goddess, and has been fascinating to research too. Next I’m going to revise another book I’d formerly self-pubbed, “Dancing with the Devil“, which relates to Persephone. I’ve collected some goddess research and ideas for a few more books as well.
Are there technical aspects of writing you still struggle with (plot, character, dialog, etc.)?
I am trying to be more mindful of structure before starting to write. I used to let an idea carry me, and as I wrote, I kept what I call a Spec Sheet to track the characters, backstory, any detail relevant to the story. It’s like putting together a blueprint after you begin construction, lol. Now I map the story out better ahead of time.
If you could bring one of your characters to life, who would it be and why?
You mean they’re not really alive? They are very vivid to me. So cruel to make me choose only one, lol.
In the book I’m writing now, the hero’s based on a real Egyptian warrior named Iker, The Excellent One, who lived during the reign of one of the few female pharaohs, Hatshepsut. I actually stumbled across a news article about the discovery of his burial site last year, and then a few more about the discovery of Hatshepsut’s tomb.
I am so grateful the universe tosses me information just when I need it! Everything kind of fell into place. I’ve loved Egypt since I was a kid, and would love to speak with Iker about what life was like in ancient Egypt. Plus, I imagined him as Shemar Moore – bonus!
Your stories range from fantasy, contemporary, paranormal, historical and mainstream. From the writer’s perspective, what are the differences and/or difficulties in crafting the stories in such different genres?
Hm, good question. For any genre, I do some research – setting or maybe career choices for contemporaries and mainstream, and mythology or legend for paranormals and fantasies, but historicals require much more detail, so researching takes much longer. I’m a bit of a research junkie, so sometimes have to remind myself to step away from the process and get down to writing. I am crazy about mythology and love to research it. It’s so interesting how various cultures portray their deities. And it’s a lot of fun to write characters based on mythological figures and place them in present day settings.
When you sit down to read for pleasure, what type of story do like and who is your favorite author?
Oh, the killer question! I can’t choose one favorite author. My bookshelves are crammed with so many different types of books by a crazy number of writers. I’ll read mostly anything. The blurb has to hook me (and less often, the cover). The characters have to intrigue me – no stereotype, cardboard cutouts. I love quirky, flawed characters, actually.
What does your daily writing schedule look like?
I do try to write every day – especially now that I’m wrapping up the second Goddess Connection novel, with a goal toward having it ready for beta readers by the end of summer. Social media can be a time suck, but I find it important to make those connections. Writing’s such a solitary lifestyle, and it’s great to know other authors are out there sharing the same experiences.
If you could have lunch and an hour to chat with one author, living or dead, who would it be and what would you talk about?
Ray Bradbury. I fell in love with his stories as a teen, and am still in awe of his writing. After I became serious about learning the craft of fiction, his enthusiasm for writing was a great inspiration. I’d chat about whatever he wanted to!
Thanks again for having me at Savvy Authors. It’s been a real pleasure.
Cate Masters has made beautiful central Pennsylvania her home, but she’ll always be a Jersey girl at heart. When not spending time with her dear hubby, she can be found in her lair, concocting a magical brew of contemporary, historical, and fantasy/paranormal stories with her cat Chairman Maiow and dog Lily as company. You can contact her by email or connect on Twitter or Facebook. Look for her at blog and in strange nooks and far-flung corners of the web.
In starting her life over, Joss had expected some resistance, even some trouble, but not this. The bedroom floor boards trembled beneath her golden-slippered feet. Tendrils of an unseen power curled upward from deep within the ground, tingling through her toes. She paused to steady herself, then continued to put the finishing touches on her costume. The tremors grew into rumbles and their hum seeped beneath her skin. When their tiny wisps twined through her mind, she clenched her hands.
Enough. Go away.
Thick as starlight on a clear summer’s eve, sweet as the lavender blossoms she had yet to plant, energy whooshed up through the cracks of the worn wood and out into the October night. She gripped the bureau until it passed, the vibrations rolling over her in lessening waves. Bubbly, effervescent waves.
“Third time tonight, Taz.” Each departure took longer, and more of the essence remained. When the dog whined, she stroked his fur. “Don’t worry, it won’t hurt you.”
Even if tonight the waves were palpable enough to make her hairs stand on end. Oh, no, please. Nothing could ruin tonight. More than a party, this event would determine her future. And after three years of grief, she’d never allow anything to trap her in its clutches again.
Ria Boulay writes contemporary and paranormal romance. With Savvy since 2011, she is Editor of the Spotlight On column. The Spotlight is dedicated to acknowledging the work of our member authors and volunteers, as well as informative interviews with editors, agents and publishers. You can connect with Ria on Twitter, Goodreads and at her blog.