Author: Catherine GayleGenre: Regency-set historical romance
Merely a Miss
Old Maids’ Club seriesWallflower
NovellasAn Unintended Journey, a novella in A Summons From the Castle
Flight of Fancy, a novella in The Betting Season
Regency-set erotica short stories
Wanton Wives, consisting of:
Of Love and Lust
One Lonely Night
A Perfect Pearl
Coming later this year:Another novella in A Season to Remember
Shelved, the final book in the Old Maids’ Club series
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Thank you for the invitation, Christina.
What and who influenced you to become a writer?
I have always loved to write, though I once thought I was a poet instead of a fiction writer. My college creative writing professor kindly disabused me of that notion, labeling my writing style as maximalist, and strongly encouraging me to pursue long fiction. After I finished that course, I took his advice and started my first romance novel. I haven’t looked back since. I’ve been heavily influenced by other authors like Julie Garwood, Nora Roberts, Julia Quinn, and Mary Balogh, not to mention the insanely talented ladies in my critique group.
Catherine! Be still my heart! You are naming off all my favorite authors. What drew you to writing Historical Romance?
The first romances I read were Julie Garwood’s historicals. I couldn’t get enough of them. (Still can’t, so if anyone reading this has Mrs. Garwood’s ear, let her know I’m dying for more.) Add that to the fact that I’ve always been a sucker for history and can’t get enough of books and movies like Pride and Prejudice and Little Women, and the likelihood that I’d follow that path just ramped up significantly. It also doesn’t hurt matters that, while I’ve tried to write contemporary pieces, my voice really doesn’t suit them. (Just go back to the above comment about my maximalist style…)
Julie Garwood novels were also my first historical reads. Tell us about your very first novel and the process you used to write it.
My first novel is actually Saving Grace, though it is in a much different form than it was back in the day. I really didn’t know how to write a book back then, so I tried to decide who my characters were and go from there. I did some basic plotting, but I was afraid to do too much because I’d once written myself into a corner on a novel attempt and never started writing it again. About three massive rewrites later, in which I chopped 20K words, added another 10K, chopped another 40K, and then added in another 35K words or so, I was finally ready to send my baby out into the world. I queried it until there was nearly no one left to query, and then I decided to move on. After another similar experience with massive rewrites, I decided it was time to learn to plot. Things have gone much more smoothly ever since.
Has your process changed or evolved over the years?
My process is constantly evolving, though I haven’t undergone any sort of significant changes in a while. I start every story with a basic idea, and then I delve into my characters. I can spend anywhere from a few days to a few weeks getting to know my characters before I’m ready to start plotting scenes. I write scenes out on notecards, and then put the notecards in a basic order, and that gives me the overall structure of my story. From there, I’m free to rearrange or add things in if needed, once I get into the writing, but I at least have a firm idea of where the plot is headed and what my characters will be going through. Then I write. Invariably, I hit a point about 2/3 of the way through where I get stuck for a while. Once I break through the stuck part, it is a race to the end.
I see you recently attended the Romantic Times Convention in Chicago. How was it?
RT was my first conference, not just my first Romantic Times Convention. It was overwhelming and exhausting and amazing and something I wouldn’t pass up for the world. I’m fairly certain that, as long as I can afford it (and it was EXPENSIVE), I’ll be going back to this one. I can’t think of a better way to connect with not only other industry professionals, like authors, agents, editors, and publicists, but far more importantly with readers. That’s what writing is all about. We want our stories to be read. I can only hope that the readers I connected with last week will pick up one of my books.
When you’re not working on your own projects, what genre do you read?
If I’m in an editing or revising phase, I allow myself to read historical romance, which is what I love. But if I’m writing and trying to be creative, I try to read anything but. I’ve just finished The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, and I’m reading the Game of Thrones books. I love anything YA, and I’ll pick up some contemporary romance or erotica if the mood strikes. But I avoid historical romance like the plague when I’m in creation phase, because I don’t want it to color what I’m writing.
What are you looking forward to in the next year?
This year has been amazing so far. I’ve done my first reading at Lady Jane’s Salon RDU in January, and I’ve gone to my first convention and book signing. Right now, I’m in the middle of writing not one, not two, but three new projects. I’m writing another novella to go in a Season anthology, I’m working on the final installment of the Old Maids’ Club books, and I have another novel in the works which, at this point in time, is a secret. Not only that, but I’ve got all sorts of plans for ways to continue my Lord Rotheby’s Influence series, as many readers have requested. All in all, it looks to be a very busy upcoming year, including more conferences, more trips out to hear Lady Jane’s, and much, much more writing. It’s a very exciting time for me.
I'm also looking forward to your last installment of the Old Maids' Club! Thank you for the interview.
Thanks for having me.
Catherine Gayle has been an avid reader of romance novels (and almost anything else she can legally get her hands on) for as long as she can remember. Her mother might say it started in the womb. When she is not writing or reading, she can often be found buried beneath her sleeping cat or chasing the Nephew Monster.