QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
(IF YOU HAVE ANOTHER QUESTION FOR CATHERINE, PLEASE SUBMIT IT TO email@example.com. In the subject line of the message you send to me, type QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS.)
WHAT LED YOU TO BECOME A WRITER?
This is probably the most frequently asked question ever directed at me, and I've answered it so many times that I'm afraid my response will start to bore people. My mother was a writer. When I was a small child, I played at her feet with my dolls while she clacked away on an old Underwood typewriter. She would often pause in her work to read a scene aloud, drawing me into her fictional world with description and dialogue. Before long, instead of merely playing with my dolls, I was making up stories for them. By the time I was able to hold a pencil and print, I was writing stories. If I didn't have paper, I wrote on paper sacks. I'd definitely caught the writing bug.
The love of story has stayed strong in me all of my life, and I consider it to be one of the most wonderful gifts that my mother passed down to me.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THE ROMANCE GENRE?
I chose the romance genre because I am a firm believer in true love, and I don't think we celebrate true love enough in this messed up world. The entertainment industry occasionally comes out with a love story, but those stories often end unhappily. The closest we normally get to a happy ending is bittersweet. I don't believe that the majority of real-life love-stories end sadly. I believe that love can move mountains and that it does so on a regular basis. So that is why I write romance, to put those positive endings out into our universe. Now, many years into my career, my books are being published worldwide in languages I can't begin to decipher. Women and men in the farthest reaches of our world are coming to believe in the power of love! How awesome is that?
Love doesn't only transform the world between a man and a woman, you know. It can change the world when an old man meets an unhappy little boy in the park, or when an old woman hires a younger woman to clean her little house. Think about it. Maybe, through the old man's eyes, that unhappy little boy learns a new way to view the world and grows up to become our President, intent on providing for the old men who are forgotten and sitting on park benches. Maybe the young woman cleaning houses becomes a nurse who is an advocate for the elderly who want to remain independent.
We never know how our love may touch the life of someone else. What we should know and must come to believe is that love is more powerful and beautiful than any other emotion on earth. It can bring about change. It can end wars. It can perform miracles. Its opposites, anger and hatred, bring only more pain into our world.
And that is why I write romance, because I believe in love. I think far too many young people settle for the thrill of first meet and create ties with someone simply because the relationship is fun and seems like a last chance. If only they would wait! If only they would believe that someone really special is out there, searching for them. So many hearts have been broken, and so many tears have been shed, simply because people want love so badly that they find it too soon or in all the wrong places. Even sadder is the fact that so many people who make a wrong first choice end up in horrific relationships, feeling trapped and helpless. Most often, these people are women, but men, too, endure this kind of pain.
I write my stories to tell them there is something more, something beautiful, something that is for everyone, not just the supposedly perfect people. In our world, so many silly standards that define beauty or handsomeness have been drilled into our heads, making our modern-day young men and women feel ugly unless they have been blessed with ultra-superb bodies. How crazy is that? Young girls are getting breast augmentation as a birthday present from their moms and dads when they turn sixteen, and teenage boys are pumping up with steroids.
What are we allowing the media to tell our sons and daughters about themselves?
I write romance to send a different message, namely that each and every one of us is beautiful and wondrous in his or her own way. No matter what flaws we perceive that we have, we will be beautiful and perfect in the eyes of at least one special person.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO GET YOUR FIRST BOOK PUBLISHED?
If we count only the time out to publishers, it took twenty-two months for me to make my first sale. Then I had a month and a half to do massive revisions. I had targeted my book for one Harlequin line, and the story was purchased for another Harlequin line that required a different tone and pacing. It was a fabulous internship for me. I learned a lot about my craft.
If we count the time that I actually wrote, trying to perfect my skills¬, it took me years to sell my first book. Looking back, I might have been able to make my first sale much earlier in life, but when I go there in my mind, I wonder if I would have been ready at a younger age. When I finally started publishing, my sons were older and self-sufficient, and my husband owned a demanding enterprise. I finally had time to chase my own dream. Earlier in life, my family would have had to pay a much higher price for my choice of career.
WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR STORY IDEAS?
Everywhere. Looking at the stars on a dark night, seeing a couple in the park, reading the newspaper. You name it, and I, at one time, found a story idea there. I am a people watcher. One time when we were walking toward the waterfront in Seattle, my husband had to steer me around a homeless man, curled up on the sidewalk in front of us. I was so busy watching the other people ahead of us that I almost stepped on him. Who was he? What tragedy in his life had brought him to this pass? Surely he'd once had a family, people he loved and who loved him in return. How could he end up on a city sidewalk, lost and alone and homeless?
In that moment, Rafe Kendrick in BABY LOVE was born. That homeless man and his situation so disturbed me and gave birth to so many questions in my mind that I had to find answers for them in a story. Sadly, I can't come up with answers for the sadness in every person's life, but I do believe that love, in any form, can give even the most desperate person hope.
WHICH OF YOUR PUBLISHED BOOKS IS YOUR FAVORITE?
This is a question I can't answer. COMANCHE MOON holds a very dear place in my heart. Four years of research went into the Comanche series, so a lot of me was invested in that first book. I was also passionate about the characters. But then I wrote the sequel, COMANCHE HEART, and I was equally in love with Swift Lopez and Amy. That's the way it goes. I fall in love with the characters in every story, or I wouldn't bother to write the story in the first place. So I have no favorite. They are all favorites, each in a different way.
IS THERE ANOTHER GENRE THAT YOU'D LIKE TO WRITE?
Not really. Romance is my passion.
OF ALL THE CHARACTERS YOU'VE CREATED, WHICH DID YOU LOVE THE MOST?
This question takes me right back to "Which of your published books is your favorite?" My answer is much the same. I fall in love with each and every character that I create, and I love each of them in a different way.
DO YOU EVER REGRET BECOMING A WRITER?
Becoming a writer was my dream, so, no, I've never regretted achieving that goal. Never! Instead I am thankful every minute of every day for the opportunity to do what I love.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE A BOOK?
In a pinch, about six months, from conception of story to its conclusion. I've done it quicker than that, and at times, I've taken longer.
IF YOU COULD GIVE ONLY ONE PIECE OF ADVICE TO AN ASPIRING WRITER, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Write. So many times, people think that anyone can write a book. Well, it's not that easy! Write, write, and then write some more. Find out by trial and error if you have what it takes to write a full-length novel. Then write another one! If you want to be a writer, you must write.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO TELL YOUR READERS?
I'd like to tell each and every one of them, "Thank you." My readers are my only strength, the driving force behind me as I write every book. Without them, I'd be lost.
WOULD YOU CONSIDER ALLOWING ALL OF YOUR BOOKS, ESPECIALLY THE NEW ONE "STAR BRIGHT" AND ALSO "ANNIE'S SONG" TO BE SOLD IN THE E-BOOK FORMAT FOR THE AMAZON KINDLE?
I would dearly love to have all of my books published in an e-book format for the Amazon Kindle. However, that is up to whatever company creates that format. They must purchase the rights to do so. Perhaps you could suggest to Amazon that they put in a request for my books in a Kindle format.
A COUPLE OF YOUR BOOKS HAVE MYSTERY IN THEM. DO YOU LIKE ANY MYSTERY WRITERS, AND IF SO WHO?
A couple of suspense writers who come to mind immediately are Sandra Brown and James Patterson. Those two do not complete my list, nor should they necessarily indicate the top of my personal preferences. These are simply solid writers I have no hesitation in recommending.
I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW, WHY ARE THE COMANCHE MOON SERIES OF BOOKS SO EXPENSIVE? I HAVE ONLY READ COMANCHE MOON BUT WOULD LOVE TO READ THEM ALL. WHAT IS THE ORDER OF THAT SERIES?
If you go to the bookshelf section of my web site, there is a link for a printable shopping list of all my books. It lists the order of their publication as well. The Comanche series was released in the following order: COMANCHE MOON, COMANCHE HEART, INDIGO BLUE and COMANCHE MAGIC. Here is the shopping list URL for your quick reference: www.catherineanderson.com/checklist.html.
As for the exorbitant costs of the Comanche books, the three sequels that follow COMANCHE MOON have been out of print for a very long time, and reader demand is greater than the supply of those titles at secondhand bookstores. Therefore, people who own old copies of those titles are charging ridiculous prices for them. I do not receive any proceeds from such outlandish prices, nor do I condone such sales. It upsets me to see people spending their hard earned dollars this way. Still, if people choose to pay those prices, it is their prerogative.
I urge you to be patient, as the second book in the Comanche series, COMANCHE HEART, is due out June of 2009. If the current schedule holds, I estimate INDIGO BLUE will be reissued in June of 2010. This way you can buy all the Comanche books at regular retail prices.
The rights to the final book, COMANCHE MAGIC, have yet to be secured by my publisher. I will post updates on my web site regarding the series. If you haven't already, please sign up to get my monthly newsletter. This is an excellent way for you to receive news and information pertaining to my books.
WHEN DO YOU DECIDE ON THE TITLE OF A BOOK?
I actually have little input when it comes to the titles of my books. My editor at NAL always asks me for ideas, but usually a title is chosen during a group meeting at the publishing house and is rarely something that I suggested. There have been some exceptions, the one that most readily comes to my mind being STAR BRIGHT. I chose that off the top of my head as a working title, and New American Library felt that it was perfect for the story.
DO YOU HAVE PLANS TO WRITE STORIES OF DAVID, EDEN AND ESA PAXTON? THEY ARE ALWAYS LISTED AS "STORIES YET TO COME" ON THE FAMILY TREE PAGE.
I am currently writing the story of Joseph’s sister, Eden Paxton, and her romance with Matthew Coulter. The modern day Coulter family descends from their union. You will enjoy this story, as Eden is the little sister of Ace Keegan from KEEGAN'S LADY. I have yet to write David and Esa's stories, but I do plan to in the future. Much depends upon my publisher's schedule and other factors such as reader demand for historical romances vs. contemporary romances. Rest assured I will not forget about those remaining brothers.