Big welcome here to Cate Gardner, ubiquitous author of short stories/novellas/novels…if there’s an independent publishing house about, you can pretty much bank on the fact that Cate has something with them…
(in her dreams).
1. So Cate, nice to see you here at Beyond Fiction, and I wonder if you’d take a moment to tell us what’s going on with you and your publications at present (hopefully not overloading the bandwith in the telling)?
I have a short fiction collection, Strange Men in Pinstripe Suits, forthcoming this October from Strange Publications. A fabulous little company run by Aaron Polson. I believe pre-orders for that should be available soon (gnaws fingernails). I’m also looking forward to the publication of my first novella, Theatre of Curious Acts, which is due next year from Hadley Rille. Other than that, my stories have most recently appeared in Shock Totem and Triangulation: End of the Rainbow.
Lovely stuff, and means I can now ask you the question I’ve been wanting to for a little while now…
2. Where do you get all those wonderful story titles from?
My head…Oops, that sounds too facetious. Sometimes I find them in the text of the story I’m working on. Other times, I pluck them from my little notebook. Whenever I hear or read interesting words strung together, I jot them down for future use. My little book has proved invaluable when I’m stuck. I seem to be awfully fond of the word ‘things’. I’m trying to limit my use of it in titles (and failing). Case in point, I’m currently working on ‘Sour Monstrous Things’…Major fail.
I’d have to agree that the ‘Sour Monstrous Things’ is not the best…
It really isn’t. 😀 That’s why I’m non-officially referring to it as Fred on my blog.
And your little notebook follows you everywhere? *makes note to get hold of that one day*
3. It comes to us all at some point (well at least to those being interviewed here) but just what, Cate Gardner, is speculative fiction?
I think we all know it’s the ‘what if’ of a story in relation to something fantastical, horrific or futuristic etc. For me, its also about injecting a little bit of the weird. I like odd, whimsical stories.
‘We all know’ eh? I’ll have you know I’ve done a fair few of these interviews and almost everyone says something different 😉
4. I know it’s highly likely that the answer to this is “nothing but collapse” but I feel I should ask anyway: what is it that you do when not writing your bizarre fiction?
I write bizarre tweets… Actually, I do that mid writing bizarre fiction. And I work… Actually I do that and continue writing bizarre fiction (hopes the boss isn’t reading). I love spending time with my niece and nephews. We’re a Blue Peter family…That is, we like to make things. Their things are usually better than my things but they humour me. Argh, and there’s that word ‘things’ again.
Ah, you see, I’ve been proud of my achievements in getting my non-English wife to use the word ‘things’ far more than she used to…
5. Why on earth do you write?
Because I love notebooks and if I didn’t write I’d have no excuse to buy them.
6. I remember a discussion once about music that resulted in our agreement that you have no taste. Do you listen whilst writing/reading/editing or is it merely a distraction?
I don’t recall agreeing at all. I have fabulous taste for someone who’s been locked in a cupboard since 1984. I find music far too distracting when writing. I have an urge to sing along and then I’m out of my chair looking for a hairbrush to sing into. I don’t actually do that last part. Anymore.
Not sure I believe that the hairbrush phase is no more but…
7. How do you think the current speculative fiction scene is doing at the moment, especially in terms of indie press, you think it’s healthy?
I think it’s incredilby healthy. In YA speculative fiction has exploded and I hope its popularity never wanes. As for the indie press, there are so many outstanding SF writers (tomorrows and todays stars). A relatively new company that has caught my eye is Grindhouse Press. Their books are pretty and odd and I definitely think they’re someone to watch. Angry Robot (though they’re more a major publisher) has an intriguing book list and is picking up alot of top indie writers. Then of course, we have your own Morrigan Books, Hadley Rille, Permuted Press and Prime Books etc etc. So yeah, very, very healthy.
I’d have to agree, I think there have been developments made in both quality of material and production too.
8. Now it’s time for the beloved tips question. What tips do you have for any aspiring writers who many be reading this?
Don’t sign up for twitter. Seriously. I love it, I’m addicted to it, and I want to follow you, but boy it sucks at your writing time. Put your head down, get lost in your fictional world and enjoy.
*nods* Maybe as much as the net in general – limit yourself to an hour or two a day?
9. What are your future writing plans then, apart from ‘Fred’, what else are you doing/pitching/researching?
I have a dark fantasy YA in desperate need of an edit. I’m also researching/plotting two new books – a dystopian YA and a book that may be YA or MG depending on how Fred gets on when he goes out into the big bad world. I’m also working on short stories. I have a Fantastical Fifty thing going on at the moment. Basically, I have a file with fifty first sentences (some not too bad, some hideous, some a little blah) and I’m trying to turn them all into workable stories. So far I have two and a bit–we have some way to go.
I love the Fantastical Fifty thing, hope you get a cracker out of all fifty!
10. Last but not least, who are your favourite authors, who inspires you to write?
First off the reason I started writing books for children – Lemony Snicket. I’m inspired whenever I read Neil Gaiman or Joe Hill (way to go obvious choices), and I love Harlan Coben’s thrillers. Slightly lesser known writers I admire are Aaron Polson, Camille Alexa, Mercedes M Yardley and KV Taylor, definitely rising stars. And of course, my original love of books originated from the pen of Enid Blyton.
Thank you for the interview, Mark. Some cracking questions.
Thank you, Cate!