Thursday, August 3, 2017 | By: The Write Way Cafe

An Interview with Cate Tayler

The Write Way Café welcomes Cate Tayler, author of Love Me Now, shares her career path and how accepting failure is a good thing.

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?
I actually wrote my first books when I was 7. It was a series of stories about a little girl named Lisa and the many adventures she had. I even did my own illustrations! As I grew older, I continued to write the occasional story, and for a while I was focused on creative nonfiction – essays, articles, blog posts. I didn’t start writing romance untiI had the seed of an idea about three years ago. Now I can’t imagine what took me so long!

What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do?
I took a lot of classes on craft and storytelling technique. I still do, because there is always something new to learn and always a way to improve. Once I had the story written as best as I could, I hired a developmental editor, who helped me make it better. I did pitch the concept to a few agents and editors, and I received interest from several of them. But mostly it came back to loving the writing, but already having a client with a similar book. That’s when I decided to publish this story independently. I took classes and seminars, asked questions, and learned at the feet of a few masters of the indie. It was time consuming and it’s a lot of hard work, but I realized how much I loved having total control over my own book. It’s pretty exciting!

Where did the idea for your story come from?
I draw much of my inspiration from music. There’s an old Jann Arden song, “Insensitive”. Listening to the song, I started thinking about how devastating it would be to think you and another person are all-in on a relationship, just to have them take it all back. It gave me the germ of an idea about a woman who falls madly in love with a guy, and believes he’s falling for her, too. But then, out of nowhere, he pushes her away and leads her to believe it was all one-sided. From there, I spent a few months fleshing out plot points and the how’s and why’s of their behavior.

Why did you pick the setting you did?
I grew up on the CT shoreline, and I love the beach (especially now that I’m landlocked and can’t enjoy it as often as I used to take for granted!). There is something so romantic about the sea, about the shore. I love how the tide rushes in and deposits new treasures, before it goes back taking a piece of the beach with it. There’s just so much to discover and appreciate about it, and for me at least, it’s the perfect companion for a love story.

Years ago, after my husband returned from deployment, we spent a few days making up for lost time at this little B&B just outside Mystic, CT, on a place called Groton Long Point. I never forgot it and as the stories in my head began to take shape, I knew I wanted the setting to be that place. I’ve taken a lot of liberties with the small community, but I’ve tried to stay true to most of the geography and surrounding towns.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
I share Calista’s insecurities about herself. I think it’s something a lot of young women can relate to. I’ve also felt the pressure of doing things, denying yourself opportunities, out of obligations to others. So I tapped into those feelings. But other than that, it’s pure fiction.

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret?
I wouldn’t say I was blocked, more like I lost focus. I have four children at home and a husband who, up until this past month, was on active duty in the Air Force. So I had a lot of wear and tear on my SuperWoman cape. Managing my family took a lot of my time, so I would often go days between writing spurts, which is a very bad thing. I would lose the thread of my story and my creative drive suffered. I’ve had to teach myself – and my family – to treat my writing not as something to squeeze in, but rather as something I squeeze other things around. My husband has been a tremendous support to me in doing that. He always does his best to make sure I’ve got the time and tools I need to write and doesn’t make me feel guilty when he comes home and the house is a wreck, dinner is drive-through, and the kids are bouncing off the walls from the sugar I bribed them with to let me get a chapter one. I’m very lucky. 😊

My critique group and writing partners were also critical to helping me get over any humps in the story, and by letting me know what was working and what wasn’t. They helped keep me accountable to my writing time and to the story itself. They still do! I couldn’t be on this writing journey without them.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
I’ve been surprised at how supportive people in my life have been. I knew my husband supported me, he always has in anything I’ve ever done. But I didn’t expect it to the level he has given me. I’ve also been surprised by the number of people who’ve come up to me to say they bought my book. It’s really humbling, the encouragement and support I’ve gotten.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about Greek diners, land developers, and billionaires?
You read books and you think to yourself, “I can do this” because the best authors make it seem so effortless. Then you begin to write and you realize, “Maybe I can’t do this.” That’s when I think most people give up. They either don’t know what to do next or they don’t even want to try because it’s too much work or they’re afraid of failing. One thing I’ve learned: it’s okay to fail. My very first manuscript (not this book) was a hot mess. Every editor/agent who rejected it was completely in their right minds. I could’ve given up at that point. But I didn’t. I went back, learned more about the craft and industry of writing than I ever thought possible, and tried again. And again. I’m still trying. With every new story I write, every new book I publish, I’m trying. I still fail, but I don’t get defeated.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
I can tell you about my writing space, but it doesn’t really work for me. However, I make do. I have a corner in my bedroom with a desk, my reference books, a bulletin board covered in notes and inspirational phrases, and white boards on the wall. I can shut my door and block out most of the noise. But after a few hours, I get restless.

My favorite place to write is outside when it’s not buggy or humid or too cold or too hot. Living in Maryland, that gives me about five good days out of the year when I can move my workstation to the gazebo or to a picnic pavilion in one of the surrounding parks. 😊

What are some of your favorite books and why?
My all-time favorite book is A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. I can’t explain exactly what it is about the story, but it moves me.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s A Gift from the Sea spoke to my heart at a pivotal moment of my life.

Anything from Kristan Higgins and Brenda Novak. Both of those romance authors know how to send their readers on an emotional roller coaster. I also love to read thrillers and mysteries, especially Jeffery Deaver and James Rollins. Come to think of it, they know how to toy with reader emotions, too, so I guess I tend to gravitate toward stories that make me feel, that break my heart and put it back together again, that can scare me, make me laugh… make me feel alive. It’s my ultimate goal with my stories to make readers feel as much.

What are you working on now?
I just sent the next Mystic Point book to my editor, and next on my list is a lacrosse-focused novella that will be released exclusively to my newsletter subscribers. After that, a prequel novella for the Mystic Point series and the next book in a trilogy about female war veterans. I completed the first book last spring.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why?
Probably romantic suspense or New Adult. I love to read both of those and I would like to try to see if I could do justice to those genres. I always joke that someday I was going to publish erotica, but under a totally different pen name so I don’t scandalize my children. 😉

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
Astronaut. It’s what I always wanted to be. But since I’ve been wearing glasses since I was 3, and my eyesight is worsening, it just wasn’t in the cards.

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
The middle. I love beginnings and I love endings, and I can write and rewrite them to death. But the middle kicks my butt. It’s hard to keep it fresh and lively, and not “soggy”.

Who is your favorite hero/heroine?
That’s an almost impossible one to answer because my reply could probably change on an almost daily basis. It also depends on whether we’re talking literary, Hollywood, real life, etc. Growing up I always wanted to be Wonder Woman, so I’m thrilled that there’s a modern version for my girls (and me) to look up to. That’s my answer for today. Wonder Woman.

A sassy good girl. A rebellious billionaire. A pretend proposal. What could possibly go wrong?

Calista Markatos is failing miserably at saving her family's Greek diner. Without a miracle, her parents will lose everything. And it's all the fault of a land developer whose big ideas are destroying her family's livelihood.

Driven by guilt over his brother's death, Miles Gardner plays the role of dutiful son. But he rebels against his father's choice of a bride. A fake engagement can help him avoid the marriage trap. All he has to do is convince the Greek goddess to go along with his plan.

She doesn't have to like him to pretend to love him.Thirty days later, they'll both get exactly what they want—and maybe something they didn't know they needed.

Amazon      Barnes and Noble     Apple iBooks     Google Play      Kobo

Cate Tayler is a beach baby, born and raised on the Connecticut coastline. She met the love of her life while serving in the US Air Force, and after extensive overseas travel, they are now raising their four children in the wild suburbs of Maryland.

When she’s not living her own happily ever after, she’s creating them in her small-town romances. Because the world always needs more happy endings!

In addition to writing, her passions include cooking, everything 80s, sappy Hallmark movies, Arrow (specifically, Stephen Amell’s abs), and the Miami Dolphins.

Website       Facebook       Twitter     Instagram


HiDee said...

Cate, my children are scandalized that I write contemporary romance! They would never survive erotica. Nice to get to know you - thanks for joining us today!