Soccer Moms, Indie Publishing, and a Kindle: An Interview with Author, Cathryn Grant

“…[A]ll the beautiful yards and parks make it look so peaceful and quiet.
That can make you feel safe and it’s not always safe.”
~The Demise of the Soccer Moms

~

People often leave behind the city life and take up residence on a quiet cul-de-sac in the suburbs. They expect to find the camaraderie of neighbors, and they brag about a low crime rate. But, under every silver lining there’s a dark side. And, maybe even a killer.

In Cathryn Grant’s debut novel, The Demise of the Soccer Moms, Grant takes readers through the niceties of small town life and into the dark corners of a suburban mind or two. What we discover is a group of women desperate to fit in, if only to distance themselves from their own skeletons in the closet.

Full of tension – so much so that I wasn’t sure which Soccer mom would unravel first – Grant’s novel shows us that when one woman refuses to follow the rules, the picture perfect world of Suburbia falls apart.

I’m honored to interview Cathryn Grant here, where she talks about her novel, indie publishing, and writing. At the end of the interview, read how you can enter to win a Kindle, fully loaded with The Demise of the Soccer Moms.

*****

CC: The Demise of the Soccer Moms paints a vivid picture of life in suburbia, with its illusions of perfection and grandeur. How much of the story comes from real life observations? If you run into someone with the same demeanor as Amy Lewis in your novel, do you get the chills (or do you grab your notebook)?

CG: I’ve lived in suburbia all my life, so I think my sense of its positive and negative sides is part of who I am and I don’t think of myself as observing it. I am always taking notes, and not just on suburbia. People fascinate me, and one of the themes that’s always knocking around my head is what would drive a normal person to commit homicide? (or any crime). When I see the mental and emotional suffering that some people endure, I wonder how people keep going, how they still manage to cope with life. (That sounds really, dark, but I’m not saying it in a negative way, I’m saying it because some people have had to endure so much.) I guess I have sympathy for people who go off the rails.

CC: In your novel, each of your main characters has a significant insecurity that leads her to commit a crime of one sort or another, but it’s the unraveling of one of your characters, in particular, towards the end that is especially chilling. In writing suspense, do you outline much before you type out your first draft? Or, do you let the characters’ lives (and secrets) unfold as you go?

CG: I tend to let it unfold. These characters came to me after a line of dialogue floated through my mind one day: “That woman’s not wearing a bra.” I saw these women sitting outside their children’s classrooms, and I wondered what what kind of person would come unhinged over another woman’s clothing choices. I wondered what would have happened in her life to make her so concerned about this stranger who walked onto the playground. I usually have a list of possible scenes, what might happen, and I work from that, adding scenes that come to me as I write through the first draft. I usually don’t know the ending, and one of my novels still in the virtual drawer doesn’t have an ending that satisfies me. I hope it comes to me some day.

CC: You spent a great deal of time considering and researching the idea of becoming an Indie Author. Now that your first book is published and in the hands of so many readers, how do you feel? Also, I know that you have a second book in the works; can you give us a little teaser?

CG: The publishing landscape changed enough, even from the time I started considering the Indie route, so that it helped cement my decision. Right now, I mostly feel relief because I worked on this novel for a very long time. A ridiculously long time. Some of the feedback from my early readers derailed me and I started to question the stories I wanted to tell. So right now, I feel relief that I’m done with this novel. But I’m also happy that even when I was making the final edits, I still got caught up in the story, still enjoyed my characters.

The working title for the next novel is DEBT. I’m working on the 2nd draft and expect to publish it in November 2011. It’s about a young couple that both work in high paying jobs but have still managed to get deeply into debt. As they try to hide their debt from their friends, their situation gets worse, and the conflict among the three couples leads to murder. (Wow, I can tell I need to get to work on that log line!)

CC: What are you reading these days?

CG: I’m reading a novel by an Indie crime writer, Darcia Helle, called THE CUTTING EDGE, and PORTOBELLO, by one of my favorite authors: Ruth Rendell.

CC: Do you have any thoughts or advice for writers on the rise?

CG: Two things inspired me. Years ago I read a quote from James Michener that said you would be a competent writer after you’d written a million words. Then recently I heard a quote from the book, OUTLIERS, that said people who put 10,000 hours into developing their craft or sport became successful. I actually tracked the 1,000,000 words in a spreadsheet. I’m still working on the 10,000 hours. (If you want to link to this … http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outliers_%28book%29 )

*****

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. Here’s how you do it:

Between February 4 and midnight PST, February 11, comment here or on any other OR ALL of the participating blogs (listed below) to get one entry per comment. Limit of one comment per blog for a possible total of 7 entries.

  1. Cathryn Grant’s very own blog
  2. Linda Cassidy Lewis at Out of My Mind
  3. Natasha at Nancy Drew Too
  4. Shelli Howells at A*Musings
  5. Dorte Hummelshøj Jakobsen at DJ’s Krimiblog
  6. And, on Feb. 10th, Amy Rose Davis at  A Modicum of Talent

Between February 4 and midnight PST, February 11, tweet any one OR ALL of the participating blogs. Limit of one tweet per blog for a possible total of 7 entries. Tweets must include @CathrynGrant for tracking purposes.

Participants can have a total of 14 entries between commenting on blogs and tweeting.

Winners will be announced on Cathryn’s blog on February 11th.

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.

Now go – read, comment, and tweet. And, while you’re waiting for the winner to be announced, read more of Cathryn’s words on her website, Twitter, Goodreads, and Facebook.

34 responses to “Soccer Moms, Indie Publishing, and a Kindle: An Interview with Author, Cathryn Grant

  1. Very cool interview, Christie. I’m not a fiction writer, but I’m so intrigued by Cathryn’s process…the way she is fascinated by people, and observes and takes notes is not so different from what I do as a non-fiction writer. Great questions, great answers. Looking forward to reading The Demise of the Soccer Moms, and I’d love to be entered in the contest!

    • Beth, I’m glad you enjoyed the interview. Reading about Cathryn’s process helps me justify the numerous notebooks (big and small) that I keep nearby, since real life (whether our own or the lives of others) so often inspires and sometimes translates into a story.

  2. Hi Beth,

    Thanks for your comments. There are probably more similarities than differences between fiction and non-fiction writers!

    I’ve entered you in the contest!

  3. This is one of the many reasons I love this blog, being introduced to talented writers, ones I may not find otherwise. Great interview. And what a wonderful giveaway! (with more, new blogs to check out!)

  4. Pingback: Tweets that mention Soccer Moms, Indie Publishing, and a Kindle: An Interview with Author, Cathryn Grant | Writing Under Pressure -- Topsy.com

  5. Hi celiacinthecity, Thanks for your comments and enjoy the other blogs. I’ve entered you in the contest!

  6. Love this interview! :) Cathryn is so accomplished and is a strong writer – I cannot wait to get my hands on this book! It will make for a more interesting Sunday afternoon – reading all these interviews about the characters and their insecurities and distrust of on another makes me want to delve right into this story! And I’m glad Cathryn stuck to writing this book because it sounds marvelous!

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  9. Great interview, Cathryn! Great fun reading about your process!

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  11. Great interview, Christi and Cathryn. Thanks! I’m always interested in the *process* of writing and how others go about it. I’m actually relieved to know that Cathryn worked on Soccer Moms for ‘a very long time’ (which I realize can mean different things to different folks) – since I’m a really slow writer.

    Which probably means I’d better find the fountain of youth pretty damn quick if I want to crank out my million words before I keel over….

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it. Christi asked some great questions. You’re right, “a very long time” can mean different things to different people. I thought about specifying, but to be honest, I’m a bit embarrassed! Although your comment made me think that maybe I shouldn’t be. Mulling over a post on this topic, thanks!

    • Natasha, That one million words and 10,000 hours stuck with me, too. I know I’ve spent a lot of time with my current WIP: the more I work on it, the more I learn — and the more confident I become that I can reach “The End.”

  12. I strongly considered going the self publishing route. But in the end, I decided that I didn’t want to be a publisher. I wanted to be a writer. And I didn’t want to take time away from my writing.

    I still keep it in mind as an option. There may come a day when I don’t need a publisher. Though it is nice to have someone else deal with all the publishing stuff.

    • Amber, I think I’m where you are right now. Before I can even consider which direction of publishing I can take, I have to finish the work in front of me. In the meantime, Cathryn offers great insight into the process, so that my decision down the line will be much more informed. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Hi Amber, It’s nice to see you again, although I think I’m following your comments in reverse order! Self-pubbing is a lot of work, but I’ve been surprised at how much it energizes me. I think because I’m looking at it as my own business. Even more surprising, it’s actually helped me carve out more time for writing. It’s weird — I can’t explain it.

  13. I totally agree with: “you would be a competent writer after you’d written a million words.”
    It sounds like a huge number, but if you start writing on a daily basis, you’ll see how quickly you can achieve that.
    This is an excellent goal to keep in the back of your mind.
    I’ll be tweeting about this! Cheers!

  14. It was very interesting to hear how this novel came about — “That woman’s not wearing a bra.” Great line.

    Thank you Christi and Cathryn!

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  16. Re: the Debt book description. Have you heard of Dave Ramsey? The way he describes it young professionals well-off don’t “somehow manage” to end up in heavy debt, it’s easy/normal. It’s the getting out that takes managing.

    I like the angle though because of the relateability of the idea.

    Really what impresses me most is your confidence of the immanence of the next after you imply how long the first book took. How can you be so sure? I ask because I have a book I’ve been working on for years that has (what I hope will be) a quick follow-up, but I have no idea how to gauge it.

    • Hi Amy Jane,

      Good point about “somehow managing” to get into debt.

      Because I took so long with this book, I already have the first draft of the next (which was written while this was “cooling”). And because of my effort with this one, I’ve developed a better sense of my work style (what works and what doesn’t). Plus, I work well under pressure ;)

  17. 1,000,000 words? Oh man, what a chore. Good thing I type fast. Success is just around the corner! Thanks for the wonderful insights. How great that I can catch something new on each blog and interview this week. Fantastic!

  18. Pingback: Cathryn Grant | Jennifer Neri's Blog

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