It’s Ask the Author time!
November’s featured author is
Cat may be new to publishing, but she has written several very followed stories that have been posted on several Jane Austen Fan Fiction boards over the last couple of years. Her stories are original and a lot of fun to read. I must say of those I have read, my favourite of her books is Lucky 13, her newest release.
So, just to give all of you an idea of the premise, I’m copying Cat’s blurb from Amazon.
Lucky 13 is a fresh and fun Pride and Prejudice inspired contemporary, holiday romance. Imagine “You’ve Got Mail” meets “Sex in the City” in a sexy tale where the secondary characters are as lovable as our hero and heroine.
New York City advertising executive, Elizabeth Bennet is determined to find a respectable date to take to Christmas dinner with her insane family. So, what’s a girl to do with only 26 days remaining? She and her best friend embark on a mad-cap dating blitz.
Speed dating and blind dates become a source of frustration when one man continually shows up, hell-bent on either annoying her or capturing her heart. Fitzwilliam Darcy, wealthy, hunky, part-time New York City firefighter is Elizabeth’s new client, one of thirteen men chosen for a fundraising, beefcake calendar.
Sparks fly and ignite as misunderstandings abound. Sit back and laugh as friends and family play matchmaker, conspiring to bring these two together for an unforgettable, hot, holiday season in New York City.
Just a warning to those who do not like adult content in their novels, Lucky 13 does contain adult language, adult themes, and sexual situations.
So, on to the interview!!!!
Hi Cat and welcome to Ask the Author! I’m so thrilled for your release of Lucky 13, and I am excited to see how you will answer our reader’s questions.
So without further ado, let’s get on with the questions! I have been trying to include the name of the person who asked the question, but many of our readers asked multiple questions so I will try to organize them the best I can so the interview is as cohesive as possible. I hope no one minds that I’ve broken up their questions.
I also want to thank everyone who submitted questions! This is the first interview I haven’t had to use any questions of my own (Although, I still included one!).
Are you a Jane Austen fan and were you inspired from P and P to write a modern version ?
(Maria Rizzo Pagano)
Thank you for the question, Maria! Honestly, I only explored Jane Austen after watching P&P’s 2005 movie and as most obsessions evolve, I wanted the sequels. Only I wasn’t skilled (at all) to write Regency sequels. I chose the easier route. 🙂
What draws you to Darcy and Lizzy?
(Joy Dawn King)
Hi Joy! It’s a timeless love story. I absolutely love the utter deliberate misunderstanding of character.
Do you outline or write as you go?
(Joy Dawn King)
I am a complete fly by the seat of my pants kind of gal, which doesn’t bode well around the time I get to writing Chapter 40 and think, “What did I say in Chapter 5?” LOL “Oh, wait a minute, she has blonde short hair, not long brown hair.” LOL
Do you prefer modern or Regency Darcy?
Well, Tamara, at first I had this complete love affair with Darcy in breeches, that whole notion of pulling the cravat had me hooked on Regency. I imagined how still waters ran deep and dirty under that proper exterior of his. Then I discovered that Darcy did Twentieth-First Century very well. Stories such a “Creep” and “My BFF,” took me away from those breeches and cravats and made me very happy with him wearing an Armani or a pair of blue jeans. 🙂 Still the same man, but easier to disrobe. HA!
What inspired you to write ‘Lucky 13’?
Nice to meet you Lùthien. ‘Lucky 13’ was a fluke actually. I had been thinking of a fun, modern story to write and this sort of emerged when the muse wasn’t cooperating with the idea I had. As I began to write, other things kicked in – the charity of the Burn Foundation, based on a true FDNY charity, as well as Presbyterian Hospital’s Burn Unit and before I knew it – I felt inspired. My beta sent me a 2013 Calendar and little FDNY fire trucks and I was a goner.
In other modernised Pride & Prejudice that I have read, Elizabeth Bennet is portrayed as happy with who she is who doesn’t need a man to complete her. What makes you decide to portray her as desperate to find a date?
Great question. I believe, L13’s Elizabeth to be a real personification of many women today. Yes, she’s independent, confident with her business acumen, and proficient in the sports arena, but let’s face it, don’t we all want to share a part of our life with someone special? Deep down, below the scars and the denials, that’s her desire. As for the date … don’t we all want to feel included, not segregated? Her mother is so merciless in drawing attention to what Elizabeth isn’t and doesn’t have that finding a dinner date, if for no other reason, will take away Frances’s vitriol which only serves to isolate Elizabeth and make her self-conscious. The Christmas date is a quick fix to a deeper desire.
Why firefighter Darcy?
(Joy Dawn King)
It began as a lark, actually, and developed into something entirely unexpected. I was joking with a reader at a forum about how there is a tennis player Darcy, business man, doctor, Marine, assassin, ballet dancer, writer, rock star, soccer player, and movie star, and the only Darcy missing was a half-naked fire fighter. Voila!
Is any of Lucky 13 written from personal experience? Approximately how much?
(Joy Dawn King)
No personal experience in L13, although after reading the prologue, my father thought I was talking about our family! LOL He must think we’re all crazy.
I would like to know what was your favorite part in writing Lucky 13? And did the characters ever give you a difficult time by not behaving the way you wanted them to?
Hi Jakki, thanks for this question. I think my answer may be unexpected. Friendship. The story – at it’s very core – is about friendship. The people our dear couple have in their lives or meet along the way who act as matchmakers to help them find happiness. My favorite aspect of L13 was my special friendship with my beta extraordinaire, who actually assumed the role of Charlotte. She agreed to write each Char blog post. We really played off one another as if we were Lizzy and Char. It was a fun collaboration that really personified the entire story.
That aside, I cannot forget to mention how fun [and exhausting] it was to blog AS Elizabeth, Darcy, Georgie and Mary in the comments! Sometimes, all in the same day, one after the other. I felt like I was talking to myself – as though Cybil with her different personalities. Signing out then logging in under another name. LOL
As for them giving me a hard time, well yes, I really wanted Elizabeth to kiss Darcy sooner, but she just wouldn’t give him a break!
Why did you wait so long to publish?
(Joy Dawn King)
Simply put – I’m a chicken, and terrified of Amazon reviewers. LOL But my husband says that “I need to grow a pair.” So, why publish? Love. My parents won’t be around forever, and I wanted to show them that I completed something, make them proud at an accomplishment born from my imagination and developed through the generous assistance of those around me. I love reading parts of L13 to my mother and hearing her laughter.
If you had to do a fireman Darcy calendar what actor would you like for the shoot?
Just one actor for 12 months? Variety is the spice of life and with the help of my girlfriends, we did put together a completed calendar. 😉 BUT if it had to be just one, it would be Richard Armitage.
I’d love to hear you discuss the trials of writing/posting this book in “Real Time”. This story began its online journey on Thanksgiving evening, 2013 and followed the calendar till completion on New Years. How’d you find/plan it all out? And did you ever regret putting that pressure on yourself?
(Sheryl Gordon Weisbuch)
Leave it to you to ask this question since you knew I was certifiable by the time Christmas Eve rolled around. Well, first off I had a calendar with each day’s itinerary, ie.
25daystilGreen Belt Cert/ Lunch w/JaneCh. 2
Do I regret it? Not a chance. Yes, I was insane and a ball of nerves, but in the end every reader had a fabulous time. I don’t think they caught or knew all the pressures but that didn’t matter. The question is … do you regret it, Char? LOL It’s the closest I ever came to outlining a story. During L13’s daily posting schedule, it was THE actual day in real-time. For example, when I sent Elizabeth on her date to a hockey game with John Lucas, it was the actual night that the Rangers played the Calgary Flames. I had to plan it that way in order to make all the fire references. The tree lighting, where our initial sparks flew, was another example. If a scene ran into two chapters, well that really messed me up because it was over two days! I even had to double-check that the venue that Darcy took Elizabeth to on their date was actually playing that night!
What some may not realize is this began as a serial posted as Sheryl mentions in “Real Time” complete with a coordinating blog, which was updated in accordance with the story. I’m curious on how you decided to format this into an actual published book. Did you find it difficult to translate all of it’s different parts into a print format?
Hi Leslie! Great question. There were some things that needed to be deleted, such as the piccies in the blog of all the movie stars I cast to play L13 leading roles. The reason being is that legally they couldn’t be tied to the novel. It’s actually very easy for the reader to follow the blog from the e-book because the links are right there at the bottom of the chapter, as well as in the TOC. In the print version, I provide the blog link in the beginning and a reminder for the reader at the end of the chappie to visit the blog.
I could very well see a screen version of your book, would you let it be filmed?
(Maria Rizzo Pagano)
Thank you! I would absolutely love to see this on screen, and if David Gandy learned to act, he’d be my Darcy ideal for L13.
My question is with regards to your next story, “My Dearest Darling.” What is it that has drawn you to the WW2 setting, which you also used for “The Very Thought of You,” and what is the inspiration for your new story. Like so many others I am totally inspired with all of the research and extras you give us in your story. AAAAAnd especially that you gave me RA as my own personal calendar man when you posted “Lucky 13″ on D&L.com. Best wishes to you with your new publication.
Hi girlfriend! Thank you. 🙂 If I believed in reincarnation, I would think I had lived in that era. I have always been drawn to that generation that rolled up their sleeves and got the job done. I love that women and men dressed stylishly. I love the music, dancing, and manners. I love the way three generations of the family lived together. I love how the radio was central and everyone sat around it – and not on their mobile phones! LOL
So what inspired ‘My Dearest Darling’ you ask? This is a tough one. It was born when my beta came for a visit to Florida. Essentially, everyone has a story, a past. Our Greatest Generation is almost gone. Let’s learn their stories before it’s too late. In the case of MDD, some of the stories are WELL hidden, because some believe that exposing them might not have such a good outcome. Also, I feel that with the rising/growing tenor of anti-Semitism, this is a story that needs to be told.
As in “The Very Thought of You” this story will also have a blog for the reader to experience life in the 40s. http://www.mydearestdarlingwwii.blogspot.com/
I love how you write, Cat! Your stories are so interesting and you include so much detail. My question is how much research do you do for your stories? I know that you know New York well so Lucky 13 might have been easier to write than say your WWII stories. But in the WWII stories you describe the inside of the planes as though you flew one. Just wondering how you come up with the little things that make a story so good.
Hi Brenda! I think that I do no more research than any other author – let’s say for Regency or Victorian. I suppose it is just the style of my writing that draws attention to the details. Some readers enjoy that, others not so much. I like to take you there, so I use all forms of media to research. YouTube is a huge help. There is actually a 1943 video on “How to fly a B-26 Marauder bomber plane!” Thank you. 🙂
I recall you saying when you started writing, you thought you were a comedy writer, yet you went on to write exceptional historic and action stories as well. I admire your ability to create obsessed readers, drawing out their emotions with ease, no matter how cheeky or dramatic. What is the difference between writing a light, fun story like Lucky 13 in comparison with a research-heavy, emotional story like The Very Thought of You or dark action drama like Denial of Conscience? What are the hard parts of writing light fiction?
Hi Suzan 🙂 Great question, too. Wow, you admire my ability?? Wow. Thank you. I wish I had a good answer for you. I just go with my mood and that’s what’ll make any given story easier than the last genre I wrote. I’m not so cerebral. It seems that I just sit and type it and become immersed in it. Maybe there’s a little more Cybil in me than I realize. The only thing that I can think of in regard to comedy is that my New York dry humor, may not always appeal to a reader, and I certainly lack the fast, sparkling wit of Elizabeth, but that’s what I have Sheryl for. She helps me be funny! LOL Sometimes she comes out with something that just slays me. Her newest with coining the phrase ‘going condom-commando’!
Now that you have published ‘Lucky 13’, any plans for a new project or book release?
Yes! Provided I can keep my nerve up. I hope to publish ‘Denial of Conscience’ in the New Year. It is an edgy P&P Inspired drama where Darcy is a Harley riding, ex-Navy Seal, now government sanctioned assassin. It is a fast ride with a lot of steam heat. Tattoos, Opera, Tango and James Bond-esque travel across the globe.
Thank you, everyone for such thought provoking, and tough questions!
Good Luck to you all in the giveaway.
DON’T FORGET THE GIVEAWAY! RULES AND TERMS BELOW!
HAVE YOUR COMMENT IN BY WEDNESDAY, 12 NOVEMBER!!
I WILL ANNOUNCE THE WINNER ON THE 13th!
That’s right everyone!
I couldn’t resist the reference
it gives you lots of time to read the interview and comment.
I thought it only appropriate that someone will be Lucky 13.
Cat has graciously offered one ebook of Lucky 13 as a giveaway. She has also mentioned a promotional item such as a mug, door hanger, or magnet for the runner-up.
So, anyone who contributes a question or comments on the final interview will get their name put in the till for a drawing, so let’s get those questions rolling in!
Anyone who contributes a question and comments on the final interview gets two
chances toward winning their own copy of Lucky 13!