My guest today is Catherine Chant, whose most recent book is Wishing You Were Here. It is the first in her Soul Mates series and is a young adult time travel romance in which the heroine is transported back in time to save the life of a young musician. But we have all heard those dire warnings about not interfering with history if we should happen to travel back in time. How will things go for this heroine and her hero?
Until you can get your copy of the book, you can learn more about Catherine from her interview . . .
Q: What is your favorite romance genre, and why?
A: My favorite romance genre is romantic suspense. I have loved mystery and suspense since I was a little girl and discovered my first Nancy Drew in the school library. I love the unanswered questions, hidden secrets, and issues of trust and misperception. And I love the challenge of trying to figure out the answers before the big reveal at the end of the book—but then I always hope I don’t. I love to be surprised. 🙂
Q: Do you remember the first romance novel you ever read? What did you like best about it?
A: I searched my old books, but I can’t find it, so I don’t know the exact title, but it was a gothic romance paperback from the 70s, possibly by Dorothy Daniels, and it said "the summer house" or "the summer place" on the back cover above the blurb. I was nine years old, and I remember writing a book report on it. I can only imagine what the teacher must have thought! LOL! What I loved best was the mystery, figuring out what was true and what was false, and of course the killer’s identity.
Q: Is there any romance author you particularly admire, and if so, why?
A: Definitely too many to mention them all, but one of my all-time favs is Brenda Novak. She writes riveting romantic suspense that keeps you on the edge of your seat wondering what will happen next. Her contemporary romances also have a wonderful dash of suspense (family secrets, etc.) that keep you turning those pages.
Q: How do you begin thinking about a new story, with the characters or the plot?
A: Usually it’s an incident, sometimes with a character in mind, but mostly it’s a “What If?” situation that gets my imagination going. For WISHING YOU WERE HERE I wondered what if you could go back in time and save a famous musician from death; what might his second chance future be like?
Q: Do you always have control of your characters when you are writing, or do they sometimes get away from you? If so, can you share some examples of how you got them back in line, or did you just go with the flow?
A: I don’t know that they get away from me exactly, but they do surprise me sometimes, and that’s a good thing. Have I mentioned that I like surprises? 🙂
I do a lot of journaling to dig deeper into my characters’ minds to figure out who they are and why they do the things they do—it’s the basis for a workshop I teach on character development—and with my most recently manuscript (Book 2 in my Soul Mates series), I had a good idea who my heroine was because she had appeared as a secondary character in my previous book. But she still surprised me when I used the journaling technique to get to know her better.
Who knew she was dealing with a possible career-ending sports injury when the story opens? Or that she had an arch-rival making life difficult? I sure didn’t when I first started writing the book, but once I knew, it helped me layer in the stress and uncertainty that colors her perception of things around her, and it helped me paint a clearer picture of who she is and what she finds important. She’s now far more than just the "annoying younger sister" from the previous book.
Q: Many authors have said that writing the first pages of a new story are the hardest to write. Do you find that to be the case?
A: Depends. I generally find that writing the first three chapters goes really well and then you get to the end of Act I and whoompf! What happens next? No idea. LOL! That doesn’t mean the opening chapter isn’t going to change later on to be tighter and "hookier," but when I start a new story, I generally have a good idea what that "inciting incident" is at the opening. It’s after that point I tend to find more of a challenge in terms of getting it down on paper.
Q: Did your latest romance just flow as you wrote, was it a battle to capture in words, or something in between?
A: A little bit of both. I knew the beginning, and I had an idea of the ending. Then as I was writing, a new twist on the ending came to me, so I refined that a bit, but the middle remained more like a large vapor cloud with shadowy images inside. Not so much the events, because I had a general idea of what scenes would go in there, but sometimes the details of those scenes didn’t always come to me when I wanted them to. Putting the middle together definitely felt more challenging.
Q: When you begin to write, do you know how the story will end, or does that come to you as part of the process?
A: Generally I have an idea when I first start, but it’s vague. It’s like a sign post in the distance, but I can’t read all the lettering on the sign yet. When you set forth a story problem in a novel, you know intellectually that the story problem will be solved or concluded in a satisfying way, so you have some information to work with, but you might not know the details of how that happens yet.
And in fact, I’ve been known to change (or at least tweak) the ending once I get into the meat of the story. I like to surprise the reader and sometimes that surprise doesn’t come to me until a large portion of the rest of the story is complete. The ending in WISHING YOU WERE HERE is nothing like what appeared in the first draft of the story—and thank goodness for that! There’s a reason we do revisions. 🙂
Q: Where is your favorite place to read romance novels?
A: Not just romance novels, but with all novels, I tend to read in a special room in my house. It was originally meant to be a dining room, but our table was too big, so it became a den. After adding floor-to-ceiling built-in bookcases on two walls it has now become our "library." Sounds so fancy, doesn’t it? 🙂 But that’s essentially what it is. Books dominate the room and are the first thing you notice when you enter. There’s comfy seating and good lighting. It’s the perfect place to curl up with a cup of tea and a new book!
Q: Where is your favorite place to write?
A: I switch it up every now and then, so right now it’s my dining room table. I have a spare bedroom I call my "office," where my writing desk resides, but the room also doubles as my craft room, so it’s filled with yarn, pattern books, the sewing machine, etc. It can feel a little cluttered at times and it gets overly warm in the summer. I thought the dining room would feel too "open" and I’d be distracted, but that hasn’t been the case yet.
Q: Do you have scheduled times to write, or just when you are inspired?
A: I’m very routine driven, so I definitely try to stick to a regular writing schedule. If I waited for inspiration, I’d probably get very little writing done. 🙂
I’m a morning person, so my thoughts feel freshest then. The early hour suits my writing the best. I try to always be at the computer no later than 8am, and I will work until 2pm before stopping for lunch. Afternoons and evenings are for reading, family time and household chores. I try to treat my writing like a day job, where I go to the "office" regularly Mon-Fri and spend the weekends with my family.
Wishing You Were Here Blurb
She’s out of place…??
He’s out of time…??
When an accidental wish sends a college bound radio intern back to 1957 to save a teen idol from death, she finds her well-intentioned meddling just may leave him better off dead.
Callie Reinard thought rock pioneer Joey Tempo deserved a chance to show the world he was more than a footnote, but her attempt to give him a new future causes one catastrophe after another.
The worst disaster of all — she’s falling for this charismatic musician, who’s fifty years out of her league, and at risk of losing her own carefully-planned future in the process.
Buy Link for Wishing You Were Here
Amazon Kindle: http://amzn.com/B00AG15MJC
About the Author
Catherine Chant is a PRO member of the Romance Writers of America (RWA) and a Golden Heart® finalist. She writes rock ‘n’ roll romantic fiction and stories with paranormal twists for young adults. She has also written two Vampire Diaries novellas for Amazon’s Kindle Worlds program, and is working on a new young adult novel. She teaches several online workshops for writers throughout the year. Visit her website to sign up for her newsletter and be first to know when a new book is coming out.
Find Catherine online at:
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Catherine-Chant/e/B00AGJHJ6I/