Kicking off my Blogaversary week: I interview author Cate Price!
Cate Price is a regular sight on the streets of her home town walking her two amazing rescue dogs, and she also enjoys gardening, yard sales, and cooking with friends. Writing the Deadly Notions mysteries proved to be rather an expensive project, because while researching auction houses, she also became addicted to bidding on box lots.
LIE OF THE NEEDLE, the third book in the series, is available as of January 6, 2015.
Cate is a member of Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. Visit her at www.cateprice.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/catepriceauthor
R: Welcome Cate! Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became interested in writing.
C: I’ve always loved to read. My dad used to say the house could burn down around me and I wouldn’t even notice if I had my nose in a book! I’ve been jotting down stories and poetry all my life, and there are boxes of unfinished bits of manuscripts and other scribbles in my basement. In 2001, I joined Romance Writers of America, and the wonderful mentors I met there helped me to finally finish a book for the first time.
R: What drew you to the cozy mystery genre?
C: I don’t like to read serious violence or horror, and therefore don’t want to write about it. Heck, I might give myself nightmares! I like the intimate setting of cozies, and the quirky characters that crop up. I also really enjoy the puzzle aspect of mysteries.
R: Tell us about your series, the Deadly Notions. What made you decide on that for a setting for a cozy?
C: The Deadly Notions series is set in a fictional village called Millbury in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. I’ve taken some liberties with geography, but some of the places mentioned in the books are real, such as Doylestown, New Hope, and the River Road. I’ve always loved the area and thought the bucolic country setting would be ideal for my heroine’s vintage sewing notions store.
R: Tell us about your latest release, Lie of the Needle.
C: In LIE OF THE NEEDLE, Daisy Buchanan and her friends in the Historical Society are desperately trying to save a farm and its accompanying unspoiled acres from a rapacious developer who would destroy the character of their quaint community. They come up with the idea of a ‘Men of Millbury’ calendar to raise money. But when the photographer winds up dead and one of the models goes missing, Daisy launches into action to solve the mystery and hopefully save her friend’s life.
R: Which of (your character) adventures was the most fun for you to write? Were any of them the least amount of fun?
C: In this book, I touch on issues of Alzheimer’s and also the history of the Underground Railroad in Bucks County, both of which can obviously be dark and heart-wrenching subjects. Hopefully there’s a good balance between the serious side of things and the fun interaction between the characters. My main characters are in their late fifties and early sixties, but they still have a real passion for life. One of my favorites is Eleanor Reid, who drinks Beefeater martinis, flirts with the hot detective, and rides a red Vespa, not necessarily all at the same time.
R: Do you have an “how I got my agent” story you’d like to share? How did you feel when you got the call your first novel had sold?
C: One thing actually happened right after the other. I’d contacted my dream agency, BookEnds, with a completed manuscript that had done well on the RWA contest circuit, and was sort of a hybrid romance/murder mystery.
The bad news was that they didn’t think that that particular book would sell, but the good news was that they loved my writing style. They knew an editor at Penguin who’d come up with the idea for a series and was looking for someone to write it, and they thought I might be a good fit.
In about a month, I came up with a proposal, which consisted of a synopsis and the first few chapters of GOING THROUGH THE NOTIONS, and my agent negotiated a three-book deal based on that partial alone. For an unpublished author, it was really something. I don’t think I jumped up and down too much when my agent told me. I think I was in complete and utter shock.
R: What’s a must have for you when you are writing? What aids the creative process?
C: I like quiet when I write. I know many writers go to coffee shops and can work with lots of noise around them, but my favorite place is at my dining table, looking out onto the porch of my hundred-year-old house. Long walks with my dogs are a great time to mull over ideas, too. I’ve come up with lots of inspiration on our hikes together.
R: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you?
C: I can’t sew. I’m writing a series about someone who owns a sewing notions store, but I’m absolutely hopeless.
R: What is the craziest thing you've ever done?
C: I played women’s rugby in college, but I quit before I lost my teeth.
R: What do you hope readers will most take away from your writing?
C: I can only hope that I give them a great experience and that they close the last page with a sigh of satisfaction. My dearest wish is that someone would read the book, keep it, and then pick it up a few years from now and enjoy reading it all over again.
R: What are you working on at the moment / next?
C: I’m working on a proposal for a new series, which might be more of a traditional mystery series rather than a cozy.
R: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
C: I used to be both, but for this series I have to turn in a proposal for each book. So I’ve had to learn to plot the entire thing ahead of time, which seemed like an enormous task at first, but I’ve come to appreciate the value of a “road map”. I still change things up as I go, but it’s comforting to know that the book will hold together before I waste time writing myself into a dead end.
R: What do you do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies or party tricks? :)
C: Gardening, cooking, going to estate sales and yard sales, trying new recipes out with friends, walking my dogs. In college, my party trick was that I used to be able to tie a cherry stem into a knot using only my tongue. Not sure I can still do that!
R: Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
C: Don’t be in a rush to be published. Take the time to learn the craft, and fill up your writer’s toolbox with as many tools as you can. When you do get a contract, and have to write to a deadline, you’ll be glad you have that experience under your belt.
Just for Fun:
Night or Day? Day
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully) I have two wonderful rescue dogs, so I have to say dogs, although I love cats, too (my sincere apologies, Rocco!)
Beach or Pool? Pool
Steak or salad? Salad
Favorite Drink? Chardonnay
Favorite Book? The Donovan Legacy by Nora Roberts
Favorite TV Series? Currently it’s “Fixer Upper”
Favorite Movie? Something’s Gotta Give
Favorite Actor: Keanu Reeves
Favorite Actress: Judi Dench
Dirty Martini or Pina Colada? Martini, but with a twist, not olives
Hawaii or Alaska? Hawaii
Finish this sentence: If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be my dad, who passed away in 1995. I’d love to talk to him again and tell him about everything that’s going on right now! I think he’d be very proud.
If I had just one wish, it would be that the world would stop, take a deep breath, and regain some sense of civility. We need to be kinder to each other.
If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be no one. I like being me!
Thanks for a great interview, Cate!
Folks, here are all the places you can keep up with Cate:
Cate will give away a copy of LIE OF THE NEEDLE (or GOING THROUGH THE NOTIONS OR A DOLLHOUSE TO DIE FOR, if someone hasn’t read those first two books in the series yet)to one lucky commenter! To enter, leave a comment on this blog post with your name and email address (entries without email will be disqualified). For extra entries, you can do any or all of the below:
* Follow my blog (+ 1 point)
* Follow me on Twitter (+ 1 point) (Link: https://twitter.com/RoccoBlogger)
* Tweet about the contest (+ 1 point)
* Friend me on Facebook (+ 1 point) (Link: https://www.facebook.com/ToniLotempio)#!/
* Mention the contest on Facebook (+ 1 point)
* Mention the contest on your blog (+ 1 point)
* Mention the contest on your blog (+ 1 point)
Winner will be chosen at random using random.org. Contest ends midnight, Feb. 1! Don’t forget to mention all you’ve done in your comment. Good luck!