Special Guest Posts are made possible by the generous, kind and voluntarily participation of women authors around the globe.
Cathleen Holst is the author of Everleigh in NYC, published in 2010. I met Cathleen Holst on Goodreads.com, a social networking sites for book lovers, like me, who want to share what they are reading with friends. Besides being a very talented writer, Cathleen is a mother, wife, owner of two dogs and friend to many. She is born and raised on
, Georgia.* Check out the trailer to her debut novel on YouTube at: Atlanta
Say hi to Cathleen Holst at her own blog at http://www.fictionbycmholst.webs.com/.
Q. How did you get your start in writing?
A. The same as everyone, I guess. I wrote a book. Oh, you wanted a serious answer. Well, let me think…no, I think that’s really it. You have to plonk your butt in a chair and write.
Q. Was there anything or anyone that stood out as having an influential role in your becoming a writer?
A. Yes. Her name is Ms. Ray. She was my history teacher during my sophomore year in high school. The details are bit fuzzy, (10th grade was a long time ago) but one of our assignments was to write a story. I don’t remember if we were able to choose the topic or if it was given to us, but all I remember is basing my story around the
witch trials. When she returned our work, she’d written a note across the top of my paper. “Cathy, you’re an excellent writer.” For a fifteen year-old, maybe. But, I’ve never forgotten that. Ever. Salem
Q. Where do you draw inspiration from for your novels?
A. Everywhere. As a writer you really have to pay attention to everything. I love writing dialogue so I tend to pay really close attention to people’s mannerisms, dialect, etc. As for the storyline, those come organically. I never know what a story is going to be about when I sit down to write. It all just happens. And I really like it that way. I’ll probably never be able to write a series because of that, though.
Q. What does a typical day look like for you? (If there is such a thing as routine or typical.)
A. Since I’m not under any kind of deadline at the moment, I don’t really have an ironclad schedule. But when I was working under one, I basically wrote all day every day. I stayed up late to write while everyone was sleeping, then woke up early before the rest of the house. Trust me, large doses of caffeine were involved.
Q. What does your writing space or room look like?
A. Usually write in the kitchen or in the living room. I like bright open spaces. There were a few times where I had to lock myself in the bedroom so I wouldn’t be disturbed. That’s not easy to do with a husband and three kids. Mom is always needed. No matter what she’s trying to accomplish.
Q. What are some of your favorite books? Authors? Genres?
A. This list could get quite lengthy. Let’s see…I loved the Harry Potter series. JK Rowling’s got one hell of an imagination. Pillars of the Earth and World Without End were amazing. Ken Follett’s historical fiction is nothing short of brilliant. Innocent Traitor by Allison Weir. I dare anyone to read that book and not have the utmost respect for the Lady Jane Grey. I was blown away by her poise and grace at such a young age.
I also really enjoyed the Twilight series. I’ll probably catch a lot of flack for that, but I really got sucked in to the story. I hear a lot of talk about Stephenie Meyer’s writing being mediocre, at best, but luckily I read her books before I really began studying the craft of writing so I didn’t focus (or even notice, really) the mistakes. Which, honestly, I’m really happy about. It was a great story, I thought. And at the end of the day, isn’t that really what matters most?
I’m a huge fan of Sophie Kinsella, but not so much of her Shopaholic series. I’m not really sure why, I just don’t really care for them. My all-time fave of hers would have to be Undomestic Goddess. Second, Twenties Girl. And let’s not forget Lindsey Kelk and her I Heart Series. I adore her writing and her as well. We follow each other on Twitter. She’s an amazing person. I love it when published authors take the time to actually talk to their fans.
Q. What are your interests/hobbies outside of writing?
A. I’m obsessed with all things Superman. Yes. I’m a geek. Go ahead, laugh it up. I’m not ashamed. Other than that, when I’m not watching television (which I do entirely too much of) I enjoy running and shopping—mostly for home décor items. Oddly, I’m not a big fan of shopping for clothes. Although, I do enjoy shoe shopping.
Q. What advice do you have for wannabe writers out there?
A. Don’t stop writing, and don’t listen to the naysayers. Follow your heart. Writing is not easy, but it’s so worth it. Also, do your homework when it comes time to query. Not querying properly can stop you before you even have a chance to start. Read up about the agency/agent you’re submitting to. Make sure you address the proper agent by name. Follow their submission guidelines to the letter. Because, honestly, just as much effort that when into writing your book also needs to go into writing the synopsis/query. It’s all very, very important.
Q. Is there anything you would change on the path that got you to where you are today?
A. Yes. I’ll just leave it at that, if that’s okay with you.
Q. What is something that most people wouldn't necessarily know about you (That you would be willing to share here of course)?
A. Hmm…I’m afraid of the dark. I don’t freak out over it, but let’s just say, I don’t sleep with all the lights off.