Please welcome my next guest to sit in the interview hot seat!
But first a little bit about Cathleen...
The first year she joined the Romance Writer of Australia, she heard a new publisher was asking writers for erotic stories for their anthologies. Although she'd had never written a sex scene, she sent in her first erotic story Sweet Vengeance. The editor bought it and asked for more, and she hasn't looked back from there.
She's written an erotic partial for Black Lace, Virgin Publishing, London, which was then the largest publisher of women’s erotic fiction in the world. They took on three new authors that year and she was one of them. The editor contracted her and her book MAN HUNT became the best selling erotic book on the Virgin Publishing website in 2006.
Her motto is "Be game. Be creative. Be brave." She also believes it helps to go to conferences, meet editors and introduce yourself.
An author of several books and short stories, her latest book - LOVE, LUST & LIES was out in January 2011 with MLR.
What name do you publish under? Cathleen Ross.
Where do you live? Australia.
How many years have you been a member of RWAustralia? About 15 years.
What genre/s do you write? Erotica, romance, paranormal, mystery, single title, short stories. Lately I’ve been fiddling with historical short stories. I have trouble staying in one genre because my muse doesn’t seem to work that way. I often dream my stories and I don’t think the guides that channel them know it’s better for an author’s career to stay in one genre.
Who are your favourite authors? Angela Knight, Gena Showalter, Anita Diamant, Linda Howard, Keri Arthur, Kandy Shepherd, Chris Stinson, Isolde Martyn, Jay Ford, Anna Campbell, Annie West.
What inspired you to write romance? I’ve always thought about writing it from the time I was a teenager and read my way through all the Mills and Boon I could get my hands on.
One of my life goals was to be published by Harlequin. I just had to wait until they became “hot” enough and I could keep my characters out of bed long enough to have a romance. Thank God for menopause because my characters hold out longer now.
Who's your dream agent and/or dream publisher? I really like Harlequin and I would also like to sell to Berkley as I love their books and many of their writers too.
I’ve just signed with The Lori Perkins Agency. I met my agent Marisa Corvisiero and Lori Perkins recently in the USA. I feel like I’m in the right place. I have a lot in common with Marisa. Lori also has a lot of experience with the “hot” markets.
Why did you write LOVE, LUST and LIES?
I was brought up and married into a large Italian family. Although it’s been a fantastic journey and I love all my in-laws, some of the conventions, particularly that it’s the women’s role to hold the family together, don’t sit well with me.
Men can do no wrong, with the exception of not working hard enough to provide for their family, in this culture. I wanted to explore the role of infidelity in my novel LOVE, LUST and LIES, so I turned convention on its head.
My heroine, Gabriella, throws her husband out when she finds out her husband has had an affair and she has a fantastic cougar affair of her own, except she has to confront her own culture and it’s a difficult life journey for her. It’s sexy, it’s funny but it’s also very real because the book takes readers on a journey of what it’s like to experience infidelity and how a lot more people other than the two protagonists, are affected.
Buy link here.
You mention in you bio that a writer can learn a lot about going to writing conferences. For you, what's the best thing about going to conference? I love catching up with my writer friends who I don’t see regularly.
Kandy Shepherd and I organized the last conference, which I really enjoyed. It was fascinating getting the single title publishers all together for the first time. I feel that writing markets in Australia are finally opening up for our members.
When I first joined Romance Writers of Australia there were only a few people published with Mills and Boon. I was in awe of them. Now I’m in awe of lots of authors and the list of people getting published is growing.
It is great to see our ranks growing, isn't it.
OK, Cathleen, finish these statements...
My greatest strength as a writer is...my tenacity. My ability to get over rejection and move on. My ability to process the excellent advice of my writer’s group and make the needed changes. My dedication to writing so that I’m prepared to sit on my butt even though it is growing bigger and get the words down.
A sexy hero/heroine needs...a hero/heroine who can match him/her. And don’t forget a great body if it is the hero. A guy who knows how to put the heroine before himself even if she doesn’t want him to, especially when she doesn’t want him to. I love playing with power balances in a story.
My latest WIP (work in progress) is about...an ex commando and a book keeper acting out her "bad girl" fantasies.
My best writing milestone to date is...up to two thousand words in a school day when on deadline or when I’m obsessed with an idea.
Cathleen, thanks for taking the hot seat, and to your chicken for making a cameo appearance!
If anyone has any questions for either of them, feel free to post them in your comments. :-)
If you'd like to find out more about Cathleen, then visit her website.