January 26th, 2011

goldstar

THE ORNERY MUSE!

Today's guest is the author Cat Grant, confessing to us how her writing muse has led her astray in all kinds of ways!

About Cat

I've been writing off and on ever since I was old enough to hold a pencil. I still remember my very first 'published' story, a Jonny Quest adventure I penned in sixth grade. My teacher liked it so much, she had one of the other students illustrate it. That other student went on to become a Hollywood horror-film director.

I've poked around in many different genres. I've written fan fiction for a number of different TV shows, tried my hand at horror and fantasy, but in the end I came back to what I enjoy most - writing about the intimate relationships between men and women, and how love doesn't always happen the way we expect.

Back in 2004, when I became unable to work outside my home, my incredibly supportive husband suggested that I turn this setback into an opportunity, and pursue my dream of becoming a published author. Several years - and untold buckets of sweat later - that dream's finally coming to fruition.

Visit Cat at her website.




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The Things I Swore I’d Never Write…

I need to stop making promises to myself – at least, about my writing. Because every single thing I told myself I’d never write about… I’ve ended up writing about!


First it was kids. I’m childless by choice myself. Never felt the maternal instinct, and then I got married too old (luckily!) for the whole childbearing thing to be an issue. I stopped reading category romances back in the 90s when it seemed you couldn’t open a book without finding another bawling brat in it. I told myself then and there, “If I ever get published, I will never write a book with a baby in it!”

Then in 2009, I wrote my last Courtland Chronicles book, which not only has a baby in it, but a ten-year-old as well!


So I ate some crow, and vowed that was the first and last time I’d ever break one of my rules – which, at the time, included never writing about hookers or drag queens. They’re all so cliché, I told myself. Everyone else is writing them, which means there’s twice a much pressure to put a new spin on the idea. And in my opinion, if you can’t say something new about an old idea, don’t bother. There’s enough hackneyed, derivative stuff out there already.

So, a little over a year later, guess what I was writing? A hooker book and a drag queen book, back to back!


At that point I threw up my hands and finally admitted that I am not in control of my muse at ALL. I don’t choose the stories, they choose me. Once I get a character’s voice in my head – the way I did with my hooker-hero Cameron and his drag queen best friend Mike – it’s best for me to just stand back and let them take over.


If this sounds like an undisciplined way of working… well, perhaps it is. But I’ve learned that trying to force characters to do what I think they should do only results in writer’s block. When I sit down and the words come so fast, I feel more like a transcriber than an author, that’s when I know I’m onto something. And both The First Real Thing (my hooker book) and Appearing Nightly (my drag queen romance) came to me like that. Cameron’s and Mike’s voices echoed in my head with such amazing clarity, I stumbled all over myself trying to get their words out.

And we’ve not heard the last of them. Cameron’s partner Trevor has a young son whose story’s now percolating at the back of my mind. I’m planning to get to him once I finish researching and writing my Don’t Ask Don’t Tell book. Unless, of course, my ornery muse grabs me by the lapels and scoffs, “Plans? I don’t respect your stinkin’ plans!”

There’s always that possibility. :)


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AND JUST FOR FUN, A FICTION PROMPT CALL...!!

Like to stretch your writing fingers after Christmas' excesses? Take the prompt "A NEW RESOLUTION" and write something for the visitors this month. It can be anything from a flashfic 3 sentences to a drabble of 100 or so, or even more. Any genre, any theme, any rating, any character(s). Maybe ones you already love, maybe the chance to try on a new character for size.

I'm holding a FREE FICTION DAY on the 28th, so send me new fiction - links to your existing work also welcome! - to clarelondon11 AT yahoo.co.uk and I'll post it all then :).




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Follow this month with Clare - and the goodies so far:

JAN 22: Sexy or sweet, men in fiction? dontkickmycane.
JAN 23: The release of my short story THREADBARE at JMS books.
JAN 24: Where are all the star-crossed lovers? asks josephine_myles.
JAN 25: The release of the anthology WISHING ON A BLUE STAR at Dreamspinner Press.

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Check up on the original post and the Guest Schedule for January HERE.

Want to join in but missed the original call? Email me at clarelondon11 AT yahoo.co.uk and I'll happily find you a space ♥