Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’ve been writing for years and written many books – few of them worth publishing. I think you could call that my 10,000 hours, if you’re a Malcolm Gladwell disciple. I started out with a couple of chick-lit which will never see the light of day, then did a couple of reputable YA’s. They’re still sitting there with, “To Be Edited” scrawled across the front.
Then I turned my pen to my favourite genre – suspense and thriller. I’m a dreadfully slow reader. I read Every. Single. Word. So I love fast-paced books that keep me absorbed and entertained right to the end. I assume I’m not alone in my tastes, so that’s what I go for when I write.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
THE CANDIDATE’S DAUGHTER. What inspired me? My daughter. She’s my treasure. She was born 32 years ago with a rare genetic disorder. I blog about my journey as the mother of a disabled, and now terminally ill, child here: http://cathylea.wordpress.com It’s called Happiness:Optional, and I truly believe that happiness is optional when you have the tools to find it. I wanted to reach out to people in the same situation as me and show them they are not alone.
Ditto with my book. I wanted to write about a woman struggling to come to terms with her disbled child, and immediate acceptance of that child by the young woman who kidnaps her.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I’m a morning person so I often get up at 4am to write, to blog or to contact my writing buddies in America. Living in New Zealand, the time differences mean that I’m not always around when everyone else is. It’s also a quiet time in my house.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Oh, where to start! I grew up reading the British crime authors – Ellis Peters, Ruth Rendell, Colin Dexter, to name a few. These days I’m constantly influenced by authors but Ed McBain was one of my long-time loves. Gillian Flynn has become a fave, and I love that her characters are not all sympathetic.
What are you working on now?
Speaking of sympathetic characters, I’m working on a manuscript that I started some years ago. It’s been pulled apart and reworked with the sociopathic antagonist as the main character, and will draw a slightly different audience to THE CANDIDATE’S DAUGHTER. The working title is ORANGE NINJA NINE, and there’s not a ninja anywhere in sight. It’s designed to be the first of a trilogy. It’s currently with a couple of beta readers, so watch this space.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
THE CANDIDATE’S DAUGHTER is currently out on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/The-Candidates-Daughter-ebook/dp/B00D3DDNJQ (nothing like a bit of advertising), and for Independence Day, the 4th of July; as well as the 5th and 6th, the book will be free for download.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Don’t publish your first work unless it’s been past a good editor. I know it’s tempting to get your work out there, and that the reading public should see through the errors and the plot holes, but they don’t. Readers expect perfection. THE CANDIDATE’S DAUGHTER has been through more rounds of edits by award-winning author and editor, Sara J. Henry (LEARNING TO SWIM and A COLD AND LONELY PLACE) than you could ever guess.
Even after all the years I’ve been writing, there were places in the book that required a little more work and I was fortunate enough to have someone of Sara’s caliber to point them out.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Get the work edited. Even though I think I’ve done a pretty good job, I will still go back and have my new book edited. Until they’ve been writing for years and years – with outstanding success – it’s very difficult for authors to see the structural, and even grammatical errors in their own work. Have someone with editing eyes go over it. And listen to them!
What are you reading now?
I picked up Scott Pratt’s An Innocent Client on Amazon for $2.99 and have recommended it everywhere.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Working on getting ORANGE NINJA NINE to publication, then onto the sequel.
What is your favorite book of all time?
I have no idea. There are so many, but one I’ve loaned out more times than I can say is FAT OLLIE’S BOOK, by Ed McBain. One of his characters writes a book. It’s hilarious.