Watch Out Interview: Cat Marsters
Welcome to another edition of Watch Out. Pull up a seat, relax and stay. I’ve got a very special guest for you today. Please welcome the talented Cat Marsters.
Hi Cat, it is a pleasure to have you here on Watch Out.
CM: Hi Savannah, it’s a treat to be here!
SC: For those readers who might not be familiar with you or your work, please tell us a little about yourself.
CM: Well, I live in England, I’m a Crazy Cat Lady and I drink too much coffee. I write books that have variously been described as sexy, funny, exciting, dark, and just plain weird.
SC: You write under both Cat Marsters and Kate Johnson. Do you find it difficult to balance your work under both names since the genres you write are very different from each other?
CM: Sometimes. This might be a really obvious thing to say but the biggest difference between my Cat Marsters erotic titles and my Kate Johnson mainstreams is the content. By which I mean that the style is quite similar. I still write funny, romantic, dark, excting stories about feisty women and exasperated men, it’s just that sometimes they’re human and sometimes they’re werewolves; sometimes they’re having sex every ten pages and sometimes they don’t even kiss until the last quarter of the book. Compare a few excerpts from my books and you can probably tell that the same person writes them. That said, sometimes I do find the transition from one to the other a bit wearing. I know I’ve spent too long writing mainstream when I can’t get the characters in an erotic romance to actually have sex. They keep sitting around talking, damn them!
SC: What inspires you and your stories?
CM: No idea. I think there’s a mad pixie who just whispers insane things into my head. Sometimes I can trace an idea back to its genesis, like with The Untied Kingdom and my friend’s comment that I lived in a third world country, but with a lot of them it’s just the product of an overactive imagination.
SC: What has been one of the more difficult things for you as an author?
CM: All the stuff that comes with being an author. Before I was published I could write whatever I wanted and dream about success. Now I actually have to make my own success. I spend much less time actually writing than I used to—in the few weeks I’ve been guest-blogging like mad, I’ve arranged and hosted a launch party, I’ve been photographed for the local papers, and I’ve even done a live radio interview, which for someone who doesn’t even like talking on the phone is terrifying! The majority of my wordcount since the beginning of March has been on Twitter. I kind of need to get my head down and just write.
SC: If you could have written one famous book which book would it be?
CM: For the cash I’d say Harry Potter, but for something I’d really like to hold my head up and be proud of I’d probably pick something by Terry Pratchett. Thud! is my favourite.
SC: Tell us a little about your current release?
CM: It’s actually with my Kate Johnson hat on, and it’s called The Untied Kingdom. It’s a story about an endless civil war in a third world country, called England. My heroine, Eve, falls through a hole in the world and finds herself in an alternate universe where England is on its knees and the army is fighting a desperate war against ruthless rebels. She’s picked up by Major Harker, a career soldier with far too much experience in the field to believe Eve’s fairytale ramblings about computers and TV, and coerced into a dangerous mission. Whereupon, of course—this being one my books—they get shot at and argue furiously and inevitably fall in love.
SC: Can you give us a sneak peak at anything new you are working on?
CM: I’m finishing up my next book, the fifth in the Sophie Green series of mysteries, called Run Rabbit Run. Here’s the opener:
Four in the morning and I was painting over the number plate of my boyfriend’s car with black nail varnish while I waited in a car park in Dover for the early crossing to Calais. A 3 turned to an 8, a P turned to an R. Job done, I sprayed the whole thing with hairspray to fool the cameras, and got back into the car to wait, hat pulled down low over my face.
In the ladies’ room on the ferry, I nabbed a shower cubicle and, wincing, cut off my long blonde ponytail. Masses of hair fell into the shower tray, clogging the drain. I poked it all down with my hands and rubbed some cheap brown dye into what was left hanging around my ears.
The result was not pretty.
The bar area of the ferry looked like a refugee camp, tired families and lone backpackers setting out their own little camps, marked with rucksacks and coats and unfeasibly large pushchairs. I glanced longingly at the bar, and had it not been for the long drive ahead of me I’d seriously have considered beer for breakfast.
Little cameras blinked everywhere. I went out on deck, huddled into my coat, and mainlined black coffee.
An hour later I drove off the ferry and onto the wrong side of the road. French lorries beeping madly at me, I swung the Vectra back into the right hand lane and followed signs towards Paris. I didn’t want to go to Paris, but it was a start.
Twelve hours after that, eyes blurry with exhaustion, I saw a sign for a campsite in a seaside village on the Riviera and pulled in. I drove up to one of the bright courier tents belonging to those big luxury camping companies and asked if they had any pitches available. They did. I paid in cash, registered with a fake name, and hauled the car around to a small plot with a big tent on it.
I had a pillow and sleeping bag, pyjamas and toiletries. The lot of it was dumped on the floor next to the camp bed, onto which I fell, exhausted and near tears.
You would not believe the trouble I’m in.
SC: Describe your books in three words.
CM: Mad hot fun.
SC: If you weren’t an author what would be your perfect job?
CM: Richard Armitage’s personal dresser. Oh all right then. I nearly studied costume at university, so probably something in that field.
SC: Remembering the first book you sold. Do you still get that feeling with each sale?
CM: Not quite as exciting, but yes, it still fels pretty good!
SC: What do you like to do when you are not working on a new story?
CM: Haha, what I spend most of my non-writing time doing is promotion! But when I’m not doing that either, I read an awful lot, I watch far too much rubbish on telly, and I daydream. I walk the Demon Puppy and I go to the pub. The only thing I do which you could probably consider a hobby is salsa dancing, which I’m not very good at!
SC: Guilty pleasure? (If any.)
CM: Wine. I’ve got to drink less wine.
SC: If you could be one character from any of your books for a day, who would you like to be and what would you do?
CM: I’d either be Eve from The Untied Kingdom and I’d do Harker (sorry!), or I’d be Kett from Mad Bad & Dangerous and I’d change shape into whatever I wanted, and go dragon-riding.
SC: What message would you like your readers to walk away with after reading your books?
CM: I’m not sure any of my books really have a message, but I’d like them to finsh the book, say, “Ahh,” like when you’ve just had a really nice cup of tea, and then look around and realise they’ve been so engrossed in my book that there’s three days’ worth of dirty dishes in the sink and they can’t remember the last time they changed their socks.
SC: Weirdest place you have ever been inspired to write?
CM: I get brilliant inspirations in the bathtub all the time. You know, like Archimedes. Only there’s a huge lack of things to write on in my bathroom. I ought to rectify that.
SC: Best advice you ever got when it comes to writing?
CM: Write because you love it. Don’t do it for money, because you’ll never get any, and don’t try to match some market trend that you don’t like or understand. Just write the books you want to write.
SC: Where do you see yourself and your books in the next five years?
CM: Oh, Oscar-winning movie adaptations, mansions all over the world, Richard Armitage my devoted husband, having to cancel on Spielberg because I’ve got dinner with Kate & Wills…you know. The usual.
SC: Where can readers find out more about you and your work?