Interview With Catherine Lundoff

Catherine Lundoff is the award-winning author of Silver Moon: A Women of Wolf’s Point Novel (Lethe Press, 2012), as well as the short story collections Night’s Kiss (Lethe Press, 2009), Crave (Lethe Press, 2007) and A Day at the Inn, A Night at the Palace and Other Stories (Lethe Press, 2011). She is the editor of Haunted Hearths and Sapphic Shades: Lesbian Ghost Stories (Lethe Press 2008) and the co-editor, with JoSelle Vanderhooft, of the anthology Hellebore and Rue: Tales of Queer Women and Magic (Lethe Press, 2011). To learn more about Catherine, visit her website at http://catherinelundoff.com.

Tell us about yourself—the part you tell everyone.

I’m not a werewolf—yet. But I am the author of Silver Moon, a novel about menopausal werewolves, and its sequel in progress, Blood Moon, as well as several collections of short stories. Apart from that, I’m a big science fiction and fantasy fan and do lots of programming at conventions. I’m also involved in Broad Universe, SFWA and Outer Alliance. In my copious free time, I can and preserve fruit, vegetables and various other fun things.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I briefly attended law school about sixteen years ago, and discovered that misery made me telekinetic: I walked into the kitchen and dishes slid off the counter on an almost daily basis. My wife encouraged me to try writing one of those book things that we had lying in piles about the house, and that, as they say, was that. I wrote up a short story, sold it and quit law school the next day.

For your first book, what was your writing process? Is it any different than how you write now?

My first book was a collection of my previously published fiction (Night’s Kiss), so that was a matter of pulling together work that I
wanted to see reprinted, getting it in order and copyediting it. My most recent book is a novel (Silver Moon) that involved several years of writing, rewriting and reworking to complete. I tend to write in individual scenes that build on each other—or at least they build on each other in my head—so the difference between writing a short story and writing a novel for me is a lot more scenes. I’m working on getting better with writing a series of individual scenes in a row as I work on book two of my trilogy. I’m also doing a bit more outlining on the sequel than I did with Silver Moon so I don’t forget any of the original plot threads.

What was it like to get that first contract?

Oh, it was completely euphoric! Though to be honest, my euphoria began with my first acceptance letter. But either way, the realization
that someone read your work and really likes it is one that can’t really be beat. Especially if they want to give you large amounts of filthy lucre for it (I keep waiting for this part).

Where and how do you find the most inspiration for your writing?

I get a lot of inspiration from listening to music. I’m particularly partial to bands that play rocked-up traditional music, like Boiled in Lead, Garmarna, Fiamma Fumana, Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span, The Decemberists and so forth. I prefer live music, but I have a playlist on my iPod that I can use to generate inspiration when I need it. Music helps me relax and focus at the same time.

Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?

I’m working on being less of an along for the ride type of writer. I don’t think I’ll ever completely give it up, but I’m trying to do very high-level outlines for my current book. It’s more like a list of questions of than anything else, but it’s helping me keep continuity with the first book in the series.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

It’s not so much the writing, it’s the juggling of the time and the energy that’s a problem. The last six months have been challenging because I’ve been focusing on marketing my book. It’s been like having 3 jobs: day job, writer, book publicist. On the other hand, I’ve learned a lot and gotten to meet many wonderful people. And I think the skills I’m learning now will come in handy for my future books. At least, this is what I tell myself.

Who or what are the biggest influences on your work?

I think that reading the work of other authors is probably my biggest influence. I love to see how other writers construct their dialogue, establish their characters and make their plots come together. I learn a tremendous amount from reading in a range of genres. Some of my favorites include Melissa Scott, Lois McMaster Bujold, Elizabeth Peters, Jeffrey Farnol, P.C. Hodgell, Jane Austen and Rachel Pollack, but I like a number of other authors too. Even books I don’t like inspire me to do better, to analyze the things that aren’t working for me to ensure that I don’t replicate them.

What is your life like outside of writing?

I work fulltime as an IT contractor so that takes up a great deal of my nonwriting time. Apart from that, I go to science fiction and fantasy conventions, live music, and plays and spend as much time reading as I can fit in. Time with my wife and friends is very important to me so that comes before most other things. My motto is something along the lines of “I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” so I stay pretty active and engaged in cultural and political events around me.

Thanks for stopping by, Catherine! Again, you can find out more about Catherine and her work at http://catherinelundoff.com.

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