Skylar M. Cates loves a good romance. She is quite happy to drink some coffee, curl up with a good book, and not move all day. Most days, however, Skylar is chasing after her husband, her kids, and her giant dog, Wasabi.
How did you get started in writing? What made you decide to submit your first story and what was your experience with that? Who was the first person you told when you got your first contract? What was their reaction?
Well, I always made up stories. I loved to write from an early age, and my parents were very encouraging. Although he never finished anything, my dad loved to write poetry too. I can remember listening to the clanking sound of his typewriter as he wrote late into the night. I was lucky. Writing was valued in my house.
The first person I told about my contract? Um…must have been my mom or my husband? I was in a whirlwind of excitement. I can’t remember!
Where does your inspiration come from for your books?
I like certain tropes in fiction: the hate-to-love one, the big secret, the betrayal, friends-to-lovers. I usually start with an idea to play with one of those. Writers are also great eavesdroppers. We listen.
How do you make the important choices when it comes to writing your stories? Point of View? Voice? Theme? Title?
I just started writing. I let the story dictate the POV and themes. Although, I do think about the voice and I try and work on it. For instance, I did not want Daniel and Rafe to sound identical. I would consider their word choice both in dialogue as well as in their thoughts.
Are your characters purely fictional, or do you sample from people you’ve met in real life? Which one of your characters is most like you? How so?
The characters are fictional, but I find inspiration for them everywhere. Some of Christie’s views in the novel, for example, were inspired by my obnoxious neighbor.
I think all my characters have pieces of me. I’m shy like Daniel. I rush into things like Rafe. I worry for my kids like Susan.
What do you consider your greatest accomplishment as a writer?
Surviving the entire process of sending out a book is enough for me. It’s grueling. I found it nerve-wracking right up through my release date.
If you could co-author a book with any other writer, who would it be?
Living or dead? There are so many!
Since my roots are in poetry, I’d have like to co-author a poem with the following list of dead poets: Adrienne Rich, Anne Sexton, and Anna Akhmatova. I’d love to have written one epic, kickass poem with these gals. Maybe we’d just drink some wine and write poems all over the walls of my house.
Roald Dahl comes to mind too. I’d just like to sit with him and see how he worked.
What is the one book that you think that very few people have read but everyone should read? What are you reading right now?
I don’t know.
I just read Tell The Wolves I’m Home. It was about a young girl and her uncle during the 80’s AIDS crisis. I liked it.
What do you find the most difficult part of the writing process?
Letting go! I’m a tweaking addict. I edited Exposed right through the galley stage. My good friend advised me not to read it for 5-6 years now. I’d just want to take it back and revise it. LOL! I’m very hard on myself and my work.
What is a typical working day like for you? Where do you write? Do you wait for inspiration? Do you set certain writing goals? Are there any specific tools you use to help you write?
I have no typical day. I have little kids! I try and put my ass in my writing chair. My family knows not to bug me there. They respect “the zone.” I fail to do it on a daily basis, but I manage to get there a few times a week.
I don’t wait for inspiration. For some reason, I think because I’m relaxed, I often think of ideas in the swimming pool. It kind of sucks. I have to get out of the pool immediately, dripping wet, and write it down. Otherwise, I’ll forget it.
What is your greatest guilty pleasure (literary or otherwise)?
Sex and booze and chocolate--- I don’t know if I feel all that guilty about them though.
And…last but not least: What are you working on now and what can we expect to see from you in the coming year?
My WIP is about a guidance counselor with a slightly crazy, but loving family. I really wanted to have some fun with this guy and his sisters. I like books with big families. The other MC is a military man and he really needs some love.
Thanks for hosting me today!
Exposed is available from Dreamspinner Press
You can find Skylar on her website: http://skylarmcates.wordpress.com/