Sunday, April 21, 2013

Author Interview with Cat Holden Robinson

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Certainly! I am a forty-something, with a lot of bumps and bruises acquired in this thing called life. I have been reinventing myself the last couple of years after losing my home because of someone's negligence. I've learned a lot about forgiveness, humility, and spent some time doubting the goodness of mankind. Despite that, and recent events, I still believe in people, in our ability to do good.. I am madly passionate about life, and my one wish is to see us all apply a little more love to our lives, and a little less hatred.

What do you do when you are not writing?
I am the busiest person I know. I help care for my aging grandmother who is battling dementia. I have a house filled with rescue pets of all ages and sizes. They keep me busy and a bit crazy at times, but I wouldn't change a thing.

Do you have a day job as well?
I work retail management. It's a circle of hell that would astound Dante.

When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I began writing in earnest after I lost my beloved daddy to pancreatic cancer in January of 2006. I finished my first book in August of 2007.

How did you choose the genre you write in?
I think it chose me. I am so passionate about life and being in love, and I'd like to think I'd be a good wife again one day, if I could ever find a good man who loves cats as much as I do. Romance and romantic comedy have always been a love of mine as a reader. My second novel has been coined "Chick lit," and given my adoration of those lighthearted novels, I am perfectly okay with that.

Where do you get your ideas?
I am filled with ideas. Everything I see makes me want to write. Whenever I find myself coping with difficulty, I turn to the written word to make peace with what is happening, not only in my own life, but in the world around me.

Do you ever experience writer’s block?
Once in a very great while. I once finished a paragraph with a grocery list, in order to move on to the next chapter. Of course, I edited that out, and I'm fairly certain I forgot a few things when I finally took to the task of getting those groceries.

Do you work with an outline, or just write?
I begin with a loose outline, and I always write the ending early on in the project. I tend to allow the story to develop itself, and so far, it's working well.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult? I loved the Judy Blume books, and the Boxcar Children. Blume's books made me feel less alone, less awkward, and the Boxcar Children awakened in me, a true zest for life's many adventures.

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
Frankly, I find getting your work looked at by a major publisher, like a MacGyver episode. Imagine yourself locked in a freezer with nothing but a Q-tip and a piece of string. It's a little like that. It saddens me to think of the books that will never be published because publishers are unwilling to take a chance on someone the world does not yet know. Imagine if every industry was like that. Imagine the things that would never have been invented. Yeah. It's a bit like that.

If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
Honestly, and it saddens me to say this, I'd be less trusting. I was pretty misled when it came to marketing my first book. I was led to believe the publisher did a whole lot more than they actually did, which was nothing. I'd change that.

How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
I had early success with a virtual book tour, and moderate success utilizing the Kindle Free Program. If there is anyplace I am lacking, it's in the marketing department, which is frightening, as writing in today's world has almost nothing to do with writing.

Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
My first book was never published because it was deemed "gut wrenching" and those books don't sell. That was what the big houses said. I was surprised that they'd never read a Jodi Picoult novel, or the end of a Nicholas Sparks book.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
I am working on two projects at this time. One is a sequel to Becoming Mona Lisa, a laugh-out-loud look at one woman's reinvention, as she fights to save her marriage to the husband whose "business" she hasn't even seen in five years. The other is a poignant look at our lack of faith in humanity, seen through the eyes of a naïve woman, who is taken on an amazing journey while comatose.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
I am Mona Lisa Siggs. I break things, and fall down, and have said the least appropriate thing at the least appropriate time. Aside from some generalizations, it is all purely imagination.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
I most enjoyed the couple's poignant moments when they were brutally honest with themselves and each other. I admit, my breath caught after I wrote the poignant quote from the novel. "We are not invisible because the world does not see us. We become invisible when we can no longer see ourselves." I think most of us could relate to that.

How did you come up with the title?
It revealed itself as the protagonist realized that she was a true treasure, worthy of the name she'd been given. We are each unique, treasures in our own right.

What project are you working on now?
Aside from my two WIP's, I write poetry, and the weekly blog, Tommy's Tool Town, a hilarious look at the mayhem of the retail world, which has drawn readers from around the globe.

Will you have a new book coming out soon?
I am hoping to put out a novelette this November, titled A Very Siggs Christmas.

Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
I love Mona and Tom Siggs so much. They are every husband and wife, and I am so pleased and proud to turn this remarkable book into a series.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
The best compliment I ever got was from a woman who told me that reading Becoming Mona Lisa, helped her get her mojo back, and look at her life and marriage in a different light. The worst criticism was from a reviewer who said my debut novel was "poorly written," but failed to give any insight into why she thought so. I think some folks are just cruel. Those reviews are unnecessary and not helpful at all.

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
I do. Keep writing. Surround yourself with people who support your dreams. Take criticism lightly, but never fail to use it to become better at your craft. If someone loves your book, ask them to tell everyone they know. They've got a grocery list, too! They might forget to tell everyone about your wonderful book.

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans? Thank you! They all know I hope to one day become successful enough to open an animal rescue. Buying my book will help save a life. My fans and friends know who they are. I hope they know how much I love them.

Now some FUN and Wacky questions.

Have you ever gone out in public with your shirt on backwards, or your slippers on, and when realizing it, just said screw it?
No. But I did get in the shower with socks on once, and one evening, while undressing, I found a dryer sheet stuck to the inside of my jeans. That was weird.

Do you prefer fuzzy or tub socks?
I like the socks with the rubber strips on the bottom. The more I can protect myself from falling on my bum, the better off I am.

Are you a person who makes their bed in the morning, or do you not see much point?
I make it. The dogs unmake it. It's a nice routine.

Be honest, how often do you wash your hair?
Every other day.

Do you get road rage? What pisses you off the most about other drivers?
Every vehicle has a turn signal. Use it! If you don't know where it is, look in your manual. And, if you don't know how to properly obey basic "stop sign" traffic law, Google it!

Do you go out of your way to kill bugs? Are there any that make you screech and hide?
I'll set them free, whenever possible.

Coffee or Tea?

What is your biggest phobia?
Fire. I cannot imagine the horror of trying to save my pets from a burning home.

What’s your biggest pet peeve when it comes to social media? (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
The political BS and the finger pointing. If most people spent half the time fixing their own lives, that they spend on FB complaining about them, or blaming the government and political parties for them, things might actually improve.

Books by Holden Robinson
Becoming Mona Lisa - Honorable Mention Recipient - 2012 Halloween Book Festival  - Available at select retailers, and at Amazon.
Discover the hilarity of retail at its finest. Tommy's Tool Town - Read it here.
Find me on Facebook and Twitter - Holden Robinson

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