"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
There's Magic in the Air
on Magical Romance
Cat calls herself fortunate to live in Godzone (God's own) country - New Zealand. She lives in a northern beach town with her husband, Marty, the youngest of her three sons, Jack, and two spoilt cats.
PNR: Can you tell us a little about how you started writing; was it something you have always wanted to do?
Cat C.: Hee. I wrote well (so my teachers told me) as a girl at school, but never developed the interest. Over the angst-filled years of teenage and young adulthood, I wrote poetry to relieve my soul, but it was only as an adult that I discovered the sheer escapism of creating characters, and worlds for them to inhabit and interact with. As an adult student, I completed a Bachelor of Teaching degree, and discovered anew my aptitude for writing. I write to
entertain myself and others, and to avoid too much reality.
PNR: Are you able to write as much as you would like? Tell us about your writing schedule.
Cat C.: When I'm writing a new book, the world almost stops for me. From plot formation to the fleshing out of characters and their dilemmas, I become a resident of my invented world. I live and breathe magic, feel and fight with my characters, and only surface when it's time to go to work, or to interact with my real-world family. I'm lucky to have a supportive husband, and equally lucky to be able to work only part-time. Some income has to be produced, but my love and I both know how important it is to pursue personal passions and dreams. If he's happy, so am I: and he applies the same principle to me. At least my passion is cheaper he rides a Ducati motorcycle and (occasionally) operates a dive charter boat! Between books, I write query letters, try to produce gripping synopses, and dream of the next adventure.
PNR: Which author(s) is your favorite? And who has most influenced you work?
Cat C.: Hm. Favourite is difficult. I love the scope of C.J.Cherryh's works. I admire Ursula LeGuin's style and prose. Juliet Marillier leaves me astounded with the depth of her knowledge of lore and myth, and the way she can tell a love story. Stephen Donaldson is possibly my all-time fave. The Thomas Covenant Chronicles I still read. wow, what a world-builder. As for influence, I think that on some level, all authors probably homogenize their favourite writers into a personal blend of style, scope and direction.
PNR: What do you feel are the essential elements of a great story?
Cat C.: Strong, believable, REAL characters. Life is about people and how they live life; how they react to others and their set of circumstances--not always how we think they should, or even how we think is ‘proper’, but simply how they deal with life according to their own strengths or weaknesses. Conflict is integral, and I'm a great fan of internal conflict. the kind that can eat you up unless you can overcome your own personal code of conduct and learn a new way of dealing with issues as they arise. There has to be adversity—the main characters must suffer, sacrifice and defeat overwhelming odds, taking the reader along to suffer and overcome with them. Along with that, some humour
must exist, either in dialogue, situation, or character interaction.
PNR: Reviewers are raving about your debut work, Sleeping Dragons, how does it feel to have such positive recognition with your first novel?
Cat C.: Honestly? A little surreal. I am humbled and just a tad surprised. I will always be incredibly grateful to my editor, Brittiany Koren of Tekno Books, who identified with my world, my characters and their situation as much as I did (do)! I was most fortunate to connect with an editor who likes what I do.
PNR: Tell us about the challenges you faced in the development of your 'alternate' Earth?
Cat C.: Inventing a consistent and believable magic system was a big call. Knowing my world would be technology-free, I had to come up with viable alternatives to our modern systems such as medicine, defense, communications and transport. While challenging, it was also huge fun—that’s the beauty of fantasy. The writer can invent anything at all, as long as he or she can create consistency and believability. The only limit is the imagination, and imparting that to the reader in a logical and engaging fashion.
PNR: Readers cannot get enough of the magical world you have created, are youplanning to return to Camarrhan in future books?
Cat C.: Oh yes!! Two sequels are already complete, and just looking for the perfect home . . . I'd love to see them in print as soon as possible!
PNR: Sleeping Dragons seems to be a character driven story. Do you feel this is harder or easier to write than plot driven stories?
Cat C.: All my stories begin with the characters, so for me, it is a far easier option. My challenge is to create an involving plot within which my characters can reveal themselves. I love the way a plot unfolds and develops as it is being written. So many things happen, so many threads arise just begging to be explored and woven in to the story! It's a grand adventure, and while I start
with a basic plot outline, the detail and subplots seem to come from nowhere.
PNR: Which of your characters was your favorite to write? The most challenging?
Cat C.: I loved writing the male protag, Cael. He is such a mixture of passion, repression, duty and masculine angst. The boy at odds with the man. I think I fell in love with him *grin*. The most difficult was Jenna, the female protag. Because she grew up in our own contemporary world, I was more constricted by rules than in the creation of the fantasy world characters.
PNR: Could you tell us about your current projects, what can readers expect to see in the coming months?
Cat C.: Dee, if I had my way, the next two books will find a publisher as soon as I submit them! I am currently seeking an agent to represent me. The sequel, Island of Dreams, is an epic adventure fantasy while retaining the flavour of Sleeping Dragons with strong romantic elements and just a little erotica. The third book, Solitary Brother, deals with the second generation in a thematic look at identity and spirituality. I have a fourth Camarrhan novel brewing, and then perhaps it will be time to look at something completely new, a short story I sold to an anthology (Daw Books) dealt with an interesting female mercenary called Breia. I like her, and want to tell her story further.
PNR: Thanks Cat, for taking time out to talk to us. Where can readers find out what's new and how can they contact you?
Cat C.: My pleasure, Dee! Thanks for the opportunity. As a New Zealand writer, I'm often out of the way and out of the loop. I appreciate your invitation and attention. Best thing for readers to do is visit my website www.catcollins.co.nz I'll keep it up to date with any developments. My email address is listed there, and I will do my best to keep up with replies. Thanks, Paraphernalia and PNR! You are an asset to romance readers and authors alike.
SLEEPING DRAGONS - Jenna Wade had always thought of herself as a cool, aloof and self-contained woman, and definitely not the type to fall easily for any man. When an injured stranger is admitted to the ICU where Jenna works, a series of events are set in motion that find her transported from her isolated existence into a completely different reality— Camarrhan, a parallel world of magic.
Cael, the man she saved from certain death, is one of the land's gifted, possessing Empath's powers. Finding Cael magnetically attractive, Jenna succumbs to her repressed sexuality. Crossing her own social taboos and violating Cael's deeply ingrained cultural conditioning, she takes advantage of him while he lies semi-conscious in her bed. The result is an irreversible Empathic bonding. Having "stolen" his bond, Jenna finds herself permanently entangled in Cael's life and the problems facing Camarrhan leaders from renegade Alth.
Cael feels angry and betrayed, avoiding Jenna at all costs, trying to ignore the inexorable pull of the Dragon's bond. Together with Cael's Wayfinder, Verra, and his bondbrother, Telsen, the couple find themselves in a battle to save the magics of Camarrhan. And unless Cael can conquer his resistance to Jenna, her future 'and the future of Camarrhan' may be grim indeed.
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