Today’s post is longer than usual because it’s an interview with author Cathryn Grant, followed by the rules for her Kindle giveaway contest. In case you’re unfamiliar with Cathryn’s debut novel, you’ll be interested to know:
“The Demise Of The Soccer Moms” tells the story of a seemingly quiet suburban neighborhood which is upended when a provocative single mother saunters onto the school playground for the first time. Her Doc Marten boots, tight T-shirts, and in-your-face attitude stir up buried fears and sexual anxiety.
In the dark corners of her home, a woman battles crippling memories that threaten to destroy the family she wants so desperately to protect. A suspicious death forces her best friend to make a hard choice between marriage and friendship.
Paranoia, jealousy, and maternal instinct collide, leading to the demise of the soccer moms.
NOW, please listen in as I interrogate interview, Cathryn Grant, aka The Queen of Suburban Noir!
LCL: I know you’ve talked about this on your blog, but for my readers would you please tell us what led to your decision to become an Indie Author?
CG: It was a long process, but there were two turning points. One was when I took a class on using Web 2.0 tools to market fiction. The class focused on podcasting, but one of the points the instructors emphasized was how podcasting allowed them to connect directly with their readers and find their fans without the agent-publishing house buffer. I’d spent a considerable amount of time researching publishing, all of it focused on identifying agents. It suddenly hit me that it wasn’t about finding an agent or getting a contract, it was about finding readers who like my work. It sounds so obvious, but it completely changed my thinking.
The second was a culmination of so many things – realizing the work of promoting my novel was my responsibility, that books are only on the shelves for 2-3 months (if a bookstore even elects to carry a debut novel), and that if my first book didn’t earn its advance (which I understand most don’t), my writing career would be short-lived. At the same time I was becoming aware of this, it seemed like everything around me shifted quite dramatically. People were having success self-publishing, taking pride in their decision rather than doing it as a last resort. A number of authors were making money at it. What a concept – a writer making money. Put that together with reaching your audience on your own and it all seemed kind of exciting.
At this point, I’m grateful that I didn’t have an opportunity to sign a traditional publishing contract because I think I’d feel locked in, that I had no control over how my work was presented, and even some lack of control over its success. (ok, that was a lot more than two turning points)
LCL: If you Google the term “Suburban Noir” most of the top hits link to you. Have you always written Suburban Noir? And why are you attracted to writing of the dark side of human nature?
CG: I started calling my fiction Suburban Noir because I couldn’t figure out where I fit in the market. So I haven’t always written under that banner, but I’ve been interested for a long time in writing from the POV of someone who commits a crime, especially homicide. I tend to think a lot along the lines of, “There but for the grace of God go I.” I know how moody I get and I have a pretty great life. I also think a lot about the idea of people living “lives of quiet desperation”. So I don’t necessarily see it as the dark side of human nature. I see it as people who have a traumatic past, or face difficult circumstances, problems piling up, and perhaps they make a few wrong choices. Before they know it, they’re in a terrible situation. Or, sometimes they’re neurotic and start to lose their grip. When I read about murder in the newspaper, I always think about the “why”.
LCL: I’m always curious where a story idea originates. What inspired The Demise of the Soccer Moms? Do you have soccer mom experience?
CG: The idea originated with a line of dialog that floated through my mind one day, seemingly out of nowhere: “That woman’s not wearing a bra.” (A line in the novel.) I thought about how women judge each other and how suburbia breeds conformity. I think of soccer moms as women who try to control every moment and every event of their children’s lives. It’s the natural desire of a mother to want to protect her children and give them the best, gone awry. I’ve never played soccer and neither have my daughters, but I’ve known mothers who are a bit “intense”.
LCL: How long have you thought of yourself as a Writer rather than just someone who likes to write?
CG: It’s hard to remember, but I think it was when I started making time to write every day.
LCL: Several of your short and flash stories have been published in print and online magazines. What was your first publication, and do you remember the thrill you felt?
CG: My first publication was a short story “Peace On Coolidge Drive” in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. I definitely remember the thrill! Every day for a long time after, I would wake up and the moment I remembered, I felt the thrill again and grinned to myself.
LCL: Which of your personal traits best enhances your writing? Which most hampers your writing?
CG: My husband is reading this question over my shoulder and he said, “That’s easy. What enhances your writing is your tenacity to get up early and do it every day, and what hampers it is your fear of what people will think.” [He’s right.]
LCL: I know you’re working on your next novel. Can you give us a preview?
CG: The title is BURIED BY DEBT. It’s about a young couple in a wealthy community. They have well-paying jobs but are deeply in debt and trying to hide it from their upscale friends. It turns out that some of their friends have secrets as well, and as the deceit escalates it leads to murder.
Thanks for your very thought-provoking questions.
LCL: Thank you, Cathryn, for responding to my questions.
Enter the Suburban Noir contest for the chance to win a copy of “The Demise Of The Soccer Moms”. The grand prize is a Wi-Fi Kindle. Rules for the Kindle Giveaway:
1. Between February 4 and midnight PST, February 11, comment on any one or all of the 7 participating blogs to get one entry per comment. Limit of one comment per blog for a possible total of 7 entries.
2. Between February 4 and midnight PST, February 11, tweet any one or all of the participating blogs to get one entry per tweet. Limit of one tweet per blog for a possible total of 7 entries. Tweets must have @CathrynGrant so I can track them.
3. Participants can have a total of 14 entries between commenting on blogs and tweeting.
4. Ten people will win their choice of an eBook or paperback copy of Cathryn Grant’s Suburban Noir Thriller, “The Demise Of The Soccer Moms”. One additional person will win a Wi-Fi Graphite Kindle (valued at $139) pre-loaded with a copy of “The Demise Of The Soccer Moms”. Please note the paperback copy will not be available until March. Winners will be chosen by a random number generator.
Participating blogs are listed below.