Please welcome my fellow Writer Zen Gardener, A. Catherine Noon. Tell us Ms. Noon, what books have most influenced your life most?
That’s an interesting question. It depends on the period in my life, really. The first book I remember reading was about a cat who lived at a firehouse. I fell in love with that cat and with books. I had trouble figuring out how to find good books for myself at the library, until I stumbled on Phyllis A. Whitney. I devoured everything she wrote for young adults. After that, it was on to fantasy with Tolkien, Terry Brooks, David Eddings, and Lloyd Alexander. I found Anne McCaffrey and Steven Brust and from there I was hooked. It wasn’t until I read Piers Anthony, and the “Author’s Notes” he included in the Incarnations of Immortality series, that I started to really want to be an author. I’ve always been a writer; but Anthony made it clear that I could be a “real” author.
Q: How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
I don’t use formulae, because I like change. What interests me is consequences: what happened? Why did it happen? Who did it affect? I typically start with an image, of a person or a place or a feeling, and build from there.
Q: What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
Quiet time, a keyboard and word processing software, and paper with an assortment of pens and pencils.
Q: What do you think is the biggest misconception in erotic romance fiction, and the m/m sub-genre?
I loathe the term “mommy porn.” It’s insulting and degrading, and belittles women’s fiction. The other misconception is that, “Oh, romance is all formulaic.” People that say that haven’t read in the genre, period. The days of the formula story are long over. Readers are sophisticated and even in the Harlequin “lines,” the quintessential “formula” books, the stories have to be engaging and nuanced.
Q: Are you working on any books/projects that you would like to share with us? (We’ d love to hear all about them!)
I’m working on the next Chicagoland Shifters book, which features TJ Butler. What’s exciting to me about this project is that I decided to take the gloves off. TJ’s father is a Texas Baptist minister who tried to “cure” TJ of being gay by using electroshock therapy. TJ ran away and joined the Marines. When he went overseas in the second Gulf War, he was attacked by a Siberian tiger shifter and left for dead. All the men he’d led were killed by their attacker, except for TJ. He’s a bundle of PTSD.
So many stories that have PTSD characters seem to gloss over the fact that it’s a life-changing disorder. One doesn’t get over it, one simply learns to cope with it. Some days are better than others. There is no magic band-aid or drug that will “cure” it, any more than there is one for homosexuality. But how do you make that character sexy and compelling? It’s not my intention to write a dark story, just a dark character. It’s a challenge.
Q: You’ve finally delved into the world of self-publishing, tell us a bit about that?
We decided to self-publish our popular Chicagoland Shifters series because it gave us the creative freedom to explore the characters in our own way, to tell the story that we see. There are real consequences for any actions, and we wanted to tell that story in a real way that we hope readers will connect with.
It’s hard to self-publish, because you’re launching your own product. You’re in charge of all the pieces of the puzzle, not just the writing. I see first-time authors doing it and wouldn’t suggest that for anyone right now, because you need to have a following in order to be successful with it. There’s so much dilution in the market that it’s hard for new authors to get themselves heard.
Q: Who designed the cover for “Cat’s Cradle”?
That would be Dayna Hart, who also designed my website and the Noon and Wilder site. She’s amazing.
Q: Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
The Chicagoland Shifters:
Book 1 BURNING BRIGHT
Book 2 TIGER TIGER
Book 3, CAT’S CRADLE
The Persis Chronicles:
Book 1 EMERALD FIRE
Book 2, EMERALD KEEP
The Emerald City Shifters:
Book 1 SEALED BY FIRE
Book 2 SEALED BY MAGIC
Other Fun Stuff:
Check out COOK LIKE A WRITER
Join me on Saturday, when we read an excerpt from on of A. Catherine Noon & Rachel Wilder’s books. ~Tina