Friday, June 6, 2014

Cat Amesbury Talks About How She Writes

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1. What am I working on?

In contrast to the thousand different things going through my mind at any one time, I am very focused in my writing projects. Right now, I am working on the second book in the “Tales from the Virtue Inn” series, With Honor Intact. I am having so much fun finishing this story. It has action, deep friendships, live squid, and naked glassblowers. These are all things that are tremendously fun to write.

Besides its fluffier components, With Honor Intact deepens the mystery surrounding the Virtue Inn and its inhabitants. I love creating and solving puzzles. I have high hopes that my readers will be as fascinated as I am with the little pieces that fit together in the larger plot. Everything is well on track to the story being released at the end of June/beginning of July and I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to share it with everyone else.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I didn’t have a television or a non-work-based computer as a kid. If we wanted entertainment that didn’t come from playing “The Ground is Lava and So Are the Walls”, we had to read.

So I read.

A lot.

There are very few genres I haven’t at least touched on in my lengthy reading career and I have favourites that I read and re-read in most of them.

The thing that all of my favourite books had in common was that they made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up at some point in the story. Other things were negotiable, but that was not.

I wanted to write that.

More specifically, I wanted to write stories that drew inspiration from, as one reviewer put it, “‘The Wizard of Oz’, C.S. Lewis, Dr. Who, Harry Potter, Dr. Seuss, ‘Alice in Wonderland’, and Aesop”. I’d add to that The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, T.S. Eliot, Sun Tzu, Agatha Christie, and a massive dose of world history and mythology.

In spite of what looks like a Frankenstein monster of influences, the core of my writing is very simple.

I want you to care.

I want you to care about my characters, about my world, and about the sad, funny, strange things that weave my stories together.

In the end, my stories are about people. They are about family and friends and the ways we come together and move apart.

They just have a hundred percent more sentient household objects and naked glassblowers than anything else in the genre.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I’ve partially answered this question, but I’m going to dig a little deeper here than the previous answer.

It’s no great secret if you look at my list of influences that I am a deep lover of classic children’s fantasy. One of the saddest moments for me as a grown-up was the difficulty of finding books for adults that gave me that same sense of wonder I experienced when I read good children’s fantasy.

I thought about it for a while and I realized that my problem was that I wanted to read contemporary fantasy adventures that were, at their core, joyous. There are tragedies and trials in those classics and in my own story as well.

But there is also a breathless sense of discovery, of wonder, of determination, that I wanted to try and capture in some small part.

I don’t know if I have succeeded, but the pleasure that the writing has brought me has helped me to recapture some of that joy in my own life.

4. How does my writing process work?

I dreamed.

In my dream, a woman with a golden, mechanical bird on her shoulder and a fox in her arms stood in front of a strange-looking inn.

She looked straight at me and said, “Tell my story.”

I listened.
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  1. Great interview. I always enjoy reading Cat's blog entries and reading the interview was twice as fun. The fact is, reading a Cat Amesbury blog entry is a little like staring at a burning birthday candle, dreaming of a wish.

  2. Steve, thanks for stopping by! Awesome comment! Cat does have an amazing blog! Heidi