Friday, June 13, 2014
SCHMOOZING WITH CATHY SPENCER
1. Who has influenced you the most in your writing career?
Three authors come to mind: Agatha Christie, Robert B. Parker, and Fannie Flagg. Christie because her plot structures are exquisite, Parker because I like his spare writing style and humour, and Flagg because she’s such a good storyteller. There are elements of their writing common to mine, and others to which I aspire.
2. What are you working on now?
I’m writing a contemporary romance for the first time. It’s set in Toronto, and is called The Dating Do-Over. It’s about Viv Nowack, a thirty-one-year-old woman who’s been dumped by her boyfriend of six years on Valentine’s Day. She’s had the worst streak of luck with men ‒ all her life, actually ‒ and her two best friends decide they’re going to vet her boyfriends from now on. I’m considering turning it into a trilogy.
3. In what ways is your main protagonist like you? If at all?
Viv is nothing like me, but Anna Nolan, the heroine of my mystery series, does have certain similarities. Like Anna, I was an administrative assistant working for an academic department in a Calgary university while commuting to work from a small town. Unlike Anna, my actor-husband is still alive.
4. Are you character driven or plot driven?
Both, I’d say. I start with a plot idea, but the characters often take me in directions I didn’t expect. You can get by without a whole lot happening in your story, but if the characters aren’t well-developed, forget it.
5. Are you a pantser or a plotter?
Definitely a pantser. I know how the story starts and how it’s going to end, but that huge, gaping section in the middle scares me.
6. What do you hope readers will most take away from your writing?
I read for entertainment and I write for entertainment. If my readers have a laugh along the way and maybe a look at life from a different point of view, that’s great.
7. Where do you see yourself as a writer in 10 years?
I started, briefly, as a self-published author before I signed with a vanity e-publisher. I created my own publishing company and went back to self-publishing in 2014. I would like to be a hybrid author ten years from now, meaning that some of my books would be published by a traditional publisher, while others would be self-published. Print books are still outselling e-books and audio books, and it’s very difficult to get paperbacks into brick and mortar bookstores, libraries, and big box stores without going through traditional publishers. On the other hand, I don’t like relinquishing control of things like cover design and promotion, and the ability to track sales on a daily basis is habit-forming. But ten years from now, the publishing business is going to look a whole lot different, so we’ll see.
8. What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you?
I’m not driven to write. As a matter of fact, I didn’t begin writing until six years ago. Never even kept a journal. However, I’ve never found another profession that I enjoy half so much.
9. What do you like to read for pleasure?
Mysteries are my go-to choice, although I also enjoy autobiographies, chick lit, some romances, and the classics. Nancy Drew was the first series I remember reading as a child, with Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie not far behind.
10. Give us a summary of your latest book in a Tweet
Anna’s ex-husband just showed up again‒dead! Was he murdered by 1 of the 3 women he was romancing on a movie set? Anna may die finding out.
Cathy Spencer's first mystery novel, Framed for Murder, just won the Bloody Words Light Mystery Award, the Bony Blithe at the Bloody Words Mystery Conference held in Toronto, on June 7th.