This is a new, monthly feature we’re going to be running here on the blog, where we drop in on one of our authors and ask them a few random questions. Essentially, to get to know them a little better…
This month we’re talking to Cathy Cruise, author of A Hundred Weddings
What are you reading and/or listening to right now?
I’m reading a wonderful book by my friend Katherine Heiny called Standard Deviation. It’s a quirky, brilliant love story with terrific characters—so funny and smart. And I’m listening to…the Olympics? (I assume you meant music, but that’s what’s on in the background.)
What are you working on right now?
I just finished a Fast Flash workshop with author Kathy Fish. It was fantastic. I tend to write too long and this was a great chance to learn to pack as much punch as I could into a very small space (most were less than 1,000 words—some were as short as a paragraph). I’m hoping I might even be able to publish a couple of pieces from it.
What’s your favorite trick for writer’s block?
I try different things when I’m stuck. I’ll pick up a favorite book and reread the beginning, or turn to a random spot and start there, hoping for inspiration. One thing I particularly love is to take a paragraph, or several paragraphs that I especially admire, and imitate it. Change the names to my characters’ names, the action to my action, the dialogue to mine. But I’ll mimic the rhythm, cadence, length of the sentences, and sometimes even kind of steal the voice. This sometimes can help unlock problems or
even change the entire approach to a story that isn’t working. Of course, it’s only a paragraph or two, and it’s usually changed so much by the time I’m done that it’s a far cry from the original. Finally, if I’m truly stuck in a piece and just can’t write my way out of it, I’ll set it aside and work on something else for a while. It often helps to get some time and distance from a story and then go back to it with fresh eyes.
What is the hardest thing about being a published author?
Definitely, for me, the marketing and self-promotion has been the hardest. It’s required me to muster confidence in myself and my book and to step out of my introverted box and ask people to: sponsor me for a reading and/or signing, place my book on their shelves, include me in their event, review my book, promote and support me on social media, and more. Having a hands-on publisher like Possibilities Publishing greatly helped in this regard and made me feel much more comfortable in securing and taking part in these activities.
What’s the best thing about being a published author?
I’ve really loved all of it, even the above “hardest” parts have mostly turned out to be fun and rewarding. I’ve learned how to build an online platform, met other great local authors, been asked to fun book groups, and received such nice comments about my book, even from total strangers. But I think the very best part has been simply holding that printed book in my hands and staring at it in wonder, thinking, “Wow. I actually did it.”
Do you have a favorite life hack, or app, or trick that makes some part of your life easier?
Hmm. I have several, I guess. I kind of rely on Pinterest for party and decorating ideas. I like Amazon Prime. I’ll do Blue Apron and Hello Fresh or something similar whenever a deal pops up. My sit-stand desk at work is way cool. Oh, and I love my Fitbit. I wish I had a writing-related one. Wouldn’t it be fun to have it buzz you a few times a day with prompts? Like, “Stop what you’re doing and write a paragraph about a monkey!” And in the writing-related realm, I’m planning to try Scrivener, as I have a hard time
with structure, and I feel like it might help me plan out novel number two.
Buy A Hundred Weddings on Amazon in print or e-book.