Author, Books, Contest, Fiction, Novel, Writing

Suburban Noir author, Cathryn Grant, is giving away a Kindle!

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.

[tweetmeme source=”cassidylewis” only_single=false]

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<p class=”MsoNormal”>Not everyone will like it—and that’s all right.</p>


Fiction, Horror, Movies, Writing

Paranormal activity?

Yesterday, I went to see the movie Paranormal Activity. I had the best time possible while being terrorized—and eating Junior Mints! I have never experienced such tension. It took me ten minutes, after the movie ended, to get my breathing back to normal and longer than that before my muscles completely relaxed. (For you movie critics out there, yes, I could have done without the last thirty or so seconds of Hollywood cheese.)

Obviously, I love a good horror movie. And by good, I don’t mean the movies that are just an excuse to show a thousand gruesome ways to kill someone, I like the ones that play with your mind. The ones that maybe … just might … could possibly … really happen. Last year’s The Strangers was another movie I loved though, again, I think it ended two scenes too late.

A psychological element to the horror is far more interesting to me. I love walking a “what if” thought into the darkness. I have that kink in my mind. Every time I stand at the ocean’s edge feeling the wind and sun or mist, gazing out over the endless sea, I always have this thought: what if something HUGE rose up before me?

tule fog
Sometimes on winter nights, we have fog so thick you can’t see the front of your car as you’re driving. On those nights, I’m never quite sure my car won’t drive right into another dimension. When, in rare moments, I realize I hear no sounds at all, I fear time has frozen and I quickly look out the window to make sure I can see something moving. Once, while hiding in the dark bathroom, moaning like a cartoon ghost to fun-scare the kids, I frightened myself so, with the sense that something stood behind me, that I had to turn on the light and stop the game.

I’m telling you this because I’ve been thinking about writing horror again. Cold and dreary winter is almost as good as dark and stormy nights for writing dark tales. There’s an art to probing into that visceral layer where blackness rages, then pulling back into the light at just the right second. The dark half in me knows she will never master that art, but she needs to purge her thoughts about what really goes bump in the night.