**UPDATE: Congratulations KARA C for winning the autographed book of TOUCHED BY LIGHT. Please email jaxcassidy @ gmail.com and provide details and mailing address.**
To be eligible for an autographed book of TOUCHED BY LIGHT, just post a comment and you'll be automatically submitted into the drawing! The winner will be picked randomly and results will be posted on Friday**
I've known Catherine for a few years now and she's an incredibly talented, warmhearted individual. When you're in her presence her upbeat personality is very comforting. If you've never read any of her books, you're missing out on some good world building. Enjoy the interview! :)
You’re known for your paranormals, The Shielder and The Sentinel series, and they are great examples of well-executed world building. How did you come up with the concepts and which series do you love writing most?
The concepts for both series really came after I determined my characters’ stories. All my books start with characters (usually the heroine) rather than the plot, and as I begin to get a feel for the character and ask myself about his or her story, then I begin to see their world. With the Shielder series, I’d always wanted to write stories set in other worlds, so that’s what I did. I developed the heroine of Shielder, then I used a theme that’s part of my history—the Holocaust, and created a world where one race was systematically destroying another race.
With the Sentinel series, I combined my life-long fascination with Atlantis and the psychic Edgar Cayce and created modern day Atlantians. The first book came when I envisioned a heroine who had faced unspeakable evil and had fled to raise her son away from anything supernatural.
I like writing the Sentinels the best, because the books are set on earth, which requires less world building, and because I love the Atlantis theme.
How tumultuous was your writing journey? Did you have the support system you needed during this time?
I don’t know if it was tumultuous, but it was a challenging journey, with some ups and downs. Once I decided to write seriously for publication, it took seven years to get the first sale. During those years, I wrote two books that never sold, and received numerous rejections from agents and editors. But I was so enamored with writing and so excited, and I always believed I would get published.
I had a tremendous support system, with Romance Writers of America (RWA), my local writing chapter, and an amazing critique group (Linda Castillo, Jenna Mills, and Vickie Taylor). I also had my wonderful husband encouraging me. It would have been hard to fail with that winning combination.
Are you drawing in a diverse audience and if you wanted to pull in new audience, what would you like them to know about your series that may be interesting for new readers?
I’m not drawing as diverse an audience as I would like. The fact is that I write romances, no matter how unusual my worlds, and some people prefer other genres. But with the Sentinel series, I have a strong suspense element, as well as an urban fantasy tone. I believe readers who like those genres would enjoy the Sentinels.
Do you have a desire to write something outside of the paranormal genre?
Every once in a while, I’ll have an idea that’s not a paranormal story, but it never seems to take hold. I love paranormal elements, and it’s very hard for me to exclude them in my books.
How many books do you write a year? Are you a plotter or a panster?
I’m a very slow writer, plus I have a day job, so I average about one book per year. I’m trying to push myself harder, though. I think it’s difficult to build a strong readership if you don’t produce books quickly.
I am a panster, hands down. I created the workshop titled The Subconscious Writer, which is basically what all we pansters are. I don’t do a lot of outlining or pre-planning on my books. I prefer to write and let my characters tell the story through me.
What is the one bit of advice you have for new authors?
Actually, I have a few bits. Realize that writing is a craft and dedicate yourself to learning and honing it. Educate yourself on the publishing industry. Treat writing as a profession and be professional. And—most importantly—don’t give up. I believe the writers who make it in this business are the ones who persevere.
If you were a nail polish what would it be called and why?
What a cool question! Hmmm . . . I think I would be Resilient Red. Red, because it’s a fabulous color (and my personal fave for nails), and Resilient, because that’s what the human spirit is. We are truly amazing beings.
What is the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done, and what did you learn about yourself?
I’ve done a lot of adventurous things—I was pretty wild in my youth. I’ve picked up and moved halfway across the country on a whim, slept under the open stars way up in the Rockies, done some things that probably weren’t too smart or safe. I learned that I can do anything I set my mind to, that I’m incredibly lucky, and very blessed. It’s hard to complain with the universe in your corner.
What are you currently working on and what will we see from you in the future?
I’m working on a new paranormal series involving angels (me and everyone else, it seems!). It hasn’t been contracted yet, but I’m hopeful. I’m also dusting off my “Silly Alien” series (sample chapters on my website). I will continue to write romances woven with paranormal elements, but I’m always trying to elevate my writing to new levels.
Catherine has provided us with a blurb of her latest release and an excerpt of her book is featured below …
Touched by Light is the eagerly awaited story of Julia and Adam, first introduced in Touched by Fire.
Since a brutal attack, Dr. Julia Reynolds is determined to live a solitary existence. But one man who believes she’s his soul mate and his destiny has other ideas…
For twelve years, Julia has been haunted by memories of a horrific assault, and forced to deal with precognitive abilities triggered by the attack. She’s buried herself in a brilliant career at the University of Houston. Until the arrogant and infuriating Adam Masters threatens her protective bubble, claiming she is a precisely matched conductor—for him. Adam is the powerful head of the Sentinels, a superhuman race protecting Earth. He believes his intense physical and mental connection with Julia will help locate a missing Sentinel. But Julia resists, unwilling to be drawn into a dark, supernatural world, or to give in to the stunning sexual attraction between her and Adam. Then her life is threatened when her psychopathic assailant is freed from prison and seeks revenge. Julia finds herself torn between running from her demons—or embracing her power and reaching for the light . . .
EXCERPT from Touched by Light
**This excerpt contains a mild heat rating and is intended for readers at least 18 years of age.**
Adam leaned back, stared out the windshield. “I’m taking you home.”
Surprise jolted through her. “Back to Houston?”
“Yes. I should never have forced you to come with me.”
“But . . . what about Matt Stevens? The fire at the IMAX?”
“I will deal with them as soon as I reach San Antonio.”
“What about the fact I’m supposed to interview Dr. Curtis for a position with the math department?”
He shrugged. “As I said, you’re very resourceful. You’ll think of something.” He started the car, adjusted the heat to a higher level.
She considered this, righteous indignation building. He was telling her what to do again. He’d jerked her around, created upheaval in both her personal and professional lives. And after everything, he was going to toss her back into the melee of her personal life, a mess that he’d created? Like hell he was.
“Wait just a damn minute. You can’t make this decision for me. I get a vote here.”
She shifted toward him, poked his arm hard. “Who died and made you God?”
He started to speak, but she held up her hand. “Don’t answer that. You’re definitely not God, although you think so. Let’s get something straight. You’ve made it very clear that I have free will. Therefore, I’m choosing to exercise my right to make my own decision. I’m going to San Antonio with you.”
“Adam!” she mimicked back at him. “For once, you’re not calling all the shots here. You dragged me into this. You’re not getting rid of me so easily.”
“I’m beginning to see that. What exactly has convinced you to help me?”
She wasn’t even sure herself. She picked up the crumbled newspaper, smoothed it out to study the article. “A lot of people were there for me after . . .” She shook her head, shutting off the memories. “For some reason, the attack left me with this ability to see future events. If it can assist you in helping that poor tormented Sentinel and preventing more people from being hurt, then I can only assume I’m supposed to go with you.”
He did a passable job of keeping the smugness out of his expression. “So you’re accompanying me of your own free will?”
She gave him her narrow-eyed professor look. “I just said that. But let me clarify something else. I won’t jump just because you tell me to.”
“Really? There’s another surprise. Now let me tell you something. You will agree to defer to my knowledge and experience in these matters. To listen when I give you crucial directives.”
“I’ll concede you’re the expert here. I do actually have enough good sense to listen when necessary. But I also want your word that you won’t do any of that pseudo, woo-woo crap to me. No paralyzing stuff.”
“I will not give my word on that. If I think you’re in danger, or for that matter, if I’m in imminent peril of losing a body part because of your temper, I won’t hesitate to do what I think necessary.”
“I don’t have a temper. I’m very rational and calm.”
“You’re quite capable of becoming a loose cannon.”
She gave an unladylike snort of denial.
He raised an arrogant I’m-right-and-you-know-it eyebrow.
They glared at each other a moment.
He finally inclined his head. “Shall we call a truce?”
She considered. “For now.”
A quick smile flitted across his lips. “Oh, I certainly wouldn’t expect the peace to be permanent.” He stared at her another long, unsettling moment. “You know, Professor,” he continued, “since you have made the decision to work with me, there is one other thing you need to keep in mind.”
“What’s that?” she asked warily, suspicious of the sudden glow in his eyes.
He lifted his hand to the side of her face. “This.”
Just that one touch sent tingling frissons of sensation down into her body. “Not going there,” she said firmly, trying to shove his arm away.
He didn’t move. His fingers were warm against her chilled skin, generating combustible sparks to points due south. He leaned closer. “There’s this perfect, precise conductor/Sanctioned match between us. Not to mention what I’ve seen in my visions.”
Her body went on full red alert, alarms blaring at every key nerve junction. And he was merely touching her. “I don’t want to know what you’ve seen.” She pressed back against the seat, tried to squirm sideways and create more distance between them. But there was nowhere to go.
He slid his other hand along the opposite side of her face, effectively trapping her head. Starbursts of light flared in his eyes, and the air around him glowed brighter, like a halo. God almighty!
Her heart started racing faster than sound, constricting her chest and making it impossible to say anything else. Worse, she found herself leaning toward him, as if being pushed by an invisible force. This was so not good.
“There’s no need to tell you what I’ve seen, because your body already knows,” he said, his harsh voice mesmerizing. “It recognizes a bond that goes back thousands of years. A bond that is both highly spiritual and . . .” he leaned in, brushed his lips against hers, sending a bolt of pure electricity through said body, “physical,” he murmured. “Very physical.”
Erotic need rushed through her veins like molten lava. Not good, not good, not good, her mind chanted, even as her body voted to take this further and instigate a deeper kiss. No, damn it! It took every ounce of will to turn her face away, and give a hard shove against Adam’s chest. He released her, sank back into his seat.
“I already told you in Dallas that there would be nothing physical between us. Absolutely no conductions, no sex,” she said, as soon as she could muster enough air. And why the hell wasn’t he breathing as hard as she was?
“Denial doesn’t change the truth, Julia. It won’t stop what’s already been set in motion. But don’t worry. Whatever happens between us will be completely of your own free will.”
She didn’t like the sound of that. She wanted to argue, to fiercely debate and vehemently insist that hell would freeze over before she’d become involved in any way with Adam. But he was a master at verbal sparring, and right now, she wasn’t up to stepping into the ring with him.
She needed to regroup and reorder her thoughts and what was left of her decimated routine—not to mention corralling her unruly body. She had to get her balance and find some center of calm in the storm that swirled around Adam Masters, and the turbulence from William Bennett’s release.
“Nothing to say?” Adam asked coolly. When she just glared at him, he gave her that smug smile she detested. “Good. Then we understand one another. Fasten your seatbelt.” He put the car in gear, shot her another look. “The ride could get very rough.”
Crap, she thought, as she reached for her seatbelt with shaking hands. No, make that crap to the tenth power.
Any parting words for our readers? For our aspiring writers?
What a great time to be a reader! The diversity, creativity, and talent of today’s authors is amazing. And since electronic readers are probably the wave of the future, you’ll be able to carry a virtual library with you, wherever you go. Happy reading!
For the writers: Believe in yourself. Roll up your sleeves and do the hard work necessary to hone the craft and learn the business. Then write, write, write!
Note to all: I’ve got a fun “Mr. Right Sentinel” quiz on my website. You can answer the questions and find out which Sentinel is your perfect man. The link is: http://www.catherinespangler.com/fun_quiz.htm Come back and let us know who you matched with.
Thank you so much for having me here!
I’m probably best known for my science fiction romance Shielder series. The five books in the series have garnered numerous awards: the prestigious Romance Writers of America® RITA award nomination for best paranormal, two Romantic Times nominations for best paranormal, two P.E.A.R.L. honorable mentions; finalists in the HOLT Medallion, National Readers Choice, and Bookseller’s Best contests, and winning the Aspen Gold and the Laurel Wreath. I have to admit that these contests do offer validation in a business that can be very tough. But my readers give me even greater incentive to keep creating stories.
Now I’m writing a new paranormal romance Sentinel series: dark, edgy and sensual stories set on current-day Earth. I’ve also written a vampire/prostitute novella (no clue where that idea came from!), and I hope to expand my horizons with other types of stories. But I’ll always write romance, because I firmly believe in the empowerment of love. (Not to mention the allure of bad-boy heroes.)
I’ve been interested in metaphysical topics since I was eleven, and in the power of the mind, and the creative process. I live in Richardson, Texas with my own personal hero (AKA husband) and a menagerie of dogs and cats. I love reading, listening to music, taking naps on the sofa with a good football game for background noise, and eating chocolate (not necessarily in that order).