This week’s #SPFBO Author Interview is with Catharine Glen. Catharine is an independent fantasy author residing in New England. As a child, she loved creating stories about distant lands filled with adventure and mystery. She was probably one of the only students who actually liked writing academic reports, and as an adult discovered she had a knack for technical writing. Returning to her first passion—fiction—is like reliving a part of her childhood.
What drew you to self-publishing?
When I started reading self-published books about five years ago, two authors caught my attention: Lindsay Buroker (THE EMPEROR’S EDGE) and Ben S. Dobson (SCRIBER). Their books were very well written and well edited, and both told an engaging story. They were my gateway to the indie book world. I was inspired. My somewhat skeptical perception of self-publishing changed rapidly, especially as I read more and more great books that may never have seen the light of day.
As I followed the rise of self-publishing from the sidelines, I knew it was going to be the publication path for me. There was something happening there that I knew I wanted to be a part of when the time was right. I wanted to be my own boss, to be responsible for the content I release, to set my own timelines, and to have control over the process from beginning to end and beyond. I didn't want to submit my book and hope that someone would want it enough to publish it. Life's too short, and I have lots of stories waiting to be written.
What is your favorite thing about self-publishing?
The freedom to create and release my work to the world on my own timetable without being constrained or even gated by what someone else perceives as *insert reason for rejection here*. I can choose to “write to market,” or I can write whatever I want. It’s all on me to decide.
What is your least favorite thing about self-publishing?
Self-promotion. It's hard. I'm humble by nature and would never make a good salesperson. Buy my book. There's just so many buy my book awesome books out there that it's difficult to be seen and heard. But buy my book it's something I'll have to learn over time.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
I’ve always enjoyed writing, whether it was creative writing, academic essays and reports, and technical/procedural documents at my day job. There is something so satisfying about putting words to paper (or screen) and seeing your thoughts and ideas transform into something concrete that is consumable or actionable. Every word is progress, wherein you, the writer, learn a little more about the craft, the project at hand, and even something about yourself.
At the same time, it can be very exhausting to produce good writing. It’s more than just writing words. Reviewing scenes again and again, working out plot issues, hammering on the same sentence for the tenth time to get it just right, only to go back days or even weeks later and change it again. All that concentration, that laboring over every scene, sentence, and word, the stress of making or not making progress - it can take a lot out of you.
But I love it all!
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
The first words you write will not be perfect. You can always make them better later. So just keep on writing and don’t give up!
What is your favorite childhood book?
It is so hard to pick just one as I have so many favorites for different reasons. The book that resonated with me the most was The Giver by Lois Lowry. We actually read it back in 5th grade shortly after it was released. For one, it was my first introduction to the concepts of utopia and dystopia (which still interest me to this day). But what gripped me most was feeling Jonas’s frustration as he began to discover that everything he had been told was essentially a lie, and the way the Community lived was all wrong. When he became Receiver, I loved experiencing the memories right alongside him, things like colors and emotions that he (like everyone else in his village) had never seen or felt before. It’s one of those books that I’ve reread a dozen times and can still remember how it made me feel when I first read it.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
You really can't see the whole picture until you've completed every step of the process, from that initial rough draft to the final polished book. Experiencing it from beginning to end showed me that, above all, I am a planner. As I was going through a major rewrite and subsequent edits, I cobbled together some spreadsheet templates to aid in the planning stage for future books (e.g., a handy 3 Act / Save the Cat combo spreadsheet, scene, and character lists, and an outline incorporating the Scene/Sequel approach). I now have a more structured approach to writing, which of course will change and evolve with each new book I write!
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Definitely editor and cover art. When you devote so much time and effort into creating, your book deserves to be the best it can be. And that means finding a strong editor and a talented artist to help achieve that.
What does literary success look like to you?
Aside from the ability to write full-time, having readers enjoy my stories means more to me than anything. Ultimately, that is true success to me.
To learn more about Catharine and her upcoming projects, visit her at:
Author Website: http://catharineglen.com