Monday, December 27, 2010
[Anne] Thanks for joining me today, Cate! When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
[Cate] First, thanks so much for having me as a guest today Anne!
Good question. I think writing chose me rather than the opposite, lol. When I was a girl, poetry was my means of self-expression. I grew up in a very artsy community with wonderfully gifted friends, so music and art and writing were all part of it. In high school, my love of research took root when my writing expanded to journalism. Fiction followed in my twenties, and I loved it so much, I never stopped.
[Anne] Tell us about your latest book.
[Cate] My Native American historical novel, Follow the Stars Home, came together after meticulous research. Based on the 1879 founding of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, the novel weaves true accounts with fictional characters.
Here’s the story blurb: What’s left for the Lakota when everything around them is changing? Quiet Thunder and Black Bear fear for their tribe’s welfare when buffalo and other game become scarce. A military captain named Pratt promises to teach them white man’s ways so they can become successful. Quiet Thunder follows Black Bear to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, to the Indian Industrial School. The school’s rigid schedule allows little time together, and Black Bear grows more distant as his confusion over his identity grows. Can Quiet Thunder make him believe her love is as eternal as the stars?
Reviewers have described it as: “an insightful and entertaining novel that’s bound to teach you a few things about history. Kudos to Cate Masters for another winning novel. You won’t be able to put Follow the Stars Home down until you turn the last page.” And “Quiet Thunder and Black Bear love each other. But can their love survive them being uprooted from their people, betrayed and lied to by the white man? Will they ever find their way back to their own people? You will have to read this story to find out. But it is a fabulous journey, and you will enjoy it every step of the way.” And “The love story between Black Bear and Quiet Thunder is tenderly told, and well-written.”
[Anne] Sounds very fascinating. What inspired you to write Follow the Stars Home?
[Cate] Like most people, I knew nothing about boarding schools for Native American children. Shortly after moving to Carlisle, Pa., I first learned about the Carlisle Indian Industrial School from a PBS special. I found the episode so compelling, I would purposely drive by the students' graveyard on what is now the Army War College. The school’s founder, Captain Pratt, gave the school its motto: Kill the Indian, Save the Man. In some cases, it just killed the Indian. Students died of exposure to foreign diseases, or sheer homesickness, or sometimes suicide. Many ran away. In fact, many ran away to join the spectacular traveling show Buffalo Bill's Wild West, which was fun to research. So many of the students’ stories were tragic, it was wonderful to give two characters a happy ending.
[Anne] How did you go about researching it?
[Cate] Because it fascinated me, I found myself researching the school before I knew I was going to write about it. The Cumberland County Historical Society has a wonderful exhibit of student photographs and artifacts at its Carlisle museum, which I visited. Later, Dickinson College's Trout Gallery had an exhibit on the school, included photographs of the students, some of their personal effects such as drums, clothing and moccasins.
I wove in Lakota mythology and legend, using books such as Richard Erdoes and Alfonso Ortiz' American Indian Myths and Legends, and James Mooney's The Ghost-Dance Religion. Linda Witmer's "The Indian Industrial School" provided a great deal of information about the student's daily lives, along with fascinating photos. Pratt was careful to document students' progress through photographs, showing them as sad savages upon their arrival, and happy, neatly dressed civilians after attending his school.
[Anne] Do you have anything new in the works?
[Cate] In June 2011, Lyrical Press will release Rock Bottom, a fun contemporary. Whiskey Creek Press will release a mainstream novel, The Bridge Between, sometime in 2011. I just subbed a fantasy novel, The Magic of Lavender, and two shorter fantasies to publishers. About a dozen other stories are in various stages. Don’t even ask about the piles of notebooks in the corner, lol.
[Anne] What is your writing process like? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
[CateI like to joke that my muse has ADD. She’s great at throwing story ideas at me, but follow through is a challenge for her. I wish I were better at plotting, but I’m a pantser. At most, I’ll sketch out a rough idea for a story, but the characters usually surprise me and hijack the story line wherever they want it to go.
[Anne] You’ve just been informed that your latest release was a NY Times bestseller and Hollywood wants to turn it into a movie. What actors would you choose to play your main characters?
[Cate] Stories run like videos in my head while I write, so oftentimes I’ll have specific people in mind during the process. I thought it would be fun to create a blog series to show who starred in each. You can view the Casting Call for Follow the Stars Home here: http://catemasters.blogspot.com/2010/08/casting-call-follow-stars-home.html To view the others, enter the key words Casting Call into the search box. The series was a lot of fun, though I need to finish for the rest of my books!
[Anne] What type of books do you like to read when you’re not writing?
[Cate] Pretty much anything. I love finding new authors, and am trying to catch up on a lot of my contemporaries. The TBR pile on my nightstand’s about to fall over, lol, with everything from humor, suspense, paranormal/fantasy, literary and nonfiction works.
[Anne] Where can we find you on the web?
[Cate] Like my bio says, I’m in all sorts of strange nooks and far-flung corners, lol. But the four main sites are: Web site: http://www.catemasters.com, Blog: http://catemasters.blogspot.com/, Facebook fan page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cate-Masters/89969413736?ref=ts and Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/CateMasters
[Anne] Where can we purchase your books?
[Cate] Follow the Stars Home is available in ebook from Eternal Press: http://www.eternalpress.biz/book.php?isbn=9781615721696 and in print from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Follow-Stars-Home-Cate-Masters/dp/1615721703/ref=sr_1_8_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1292781427&sr=1-8
[Anne] Is there anything else you’d like to add?
[Cate] I love to hear from readers! Email me at: cate.masters AT gmail.com
If anyone has read my books, I’d love for you to leave a review on Goodreads, Amazon, Fictionwise or the publisher sites. All are linked to my blog and web site to make it easy! :)
Thanks again for having me Anne. Hope you had a wonderful holiday, and wishing you all good things in the coming year.