Cat Shield ventured into the world of writing romance fiction while still in high school. It has been her passion ever since. Thirteen years ago she put her dream of getting published on hold in favor of motherhood. She spent a couple years working two jobs, saved money, and adopted a little girl from China. Cat’s other passion is sailing. Five years ago she embarked on a sailing adventure in the British Virgin Islands with friends. The trip inspired an article that appeared in International Yacht Charters & Vacations magazine. Getting published in a national magazine revived her desire to see her books in print. Four years later, she has won numerous writing contests, received a bunch of requests from editors, and achieved one dream: a final in the Golden Heart. To learn more about Cat, visit her website at http://www.catschield.com/
Cat’s Golden Heart manuscript is FAKE FIANCEE, REAL LOVE – a finalist in the Series Contemporary category:
Pursued by his brother’s fiancée, Simon Holcroft, needs a pretend fiancée to accompany him home for Christmas. When circumstances place his maid, Caroline Sampson, in the right place at the right time, he persuades the law student to help him out.
Without any family to call her own since her mother’s death ten years before, Caroline longs to spend Christmas with Simon’s family, but she believes in total honesty when it comes to those you love. Her discomfort with their deception puts them at odds, even as every sizzling kiss makes her forget that she and Simon aren’t getting married.
Acting as if they’re in love feels less like pretending with each hour that passes, but Simon isn’t only keeping secrets from his family, he’s keeping one from Caroline. If the truth comes out, he risks losing her and any shot at future happiness.
And now a little more about Cat…
1) How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing since I was eleven. Writing for publication since my late teens.
2) Did you always want to be an author or is this something you fell into later in life?
It’s what I always wanted to do.
3) What do you do in your “other” life? (Day job, family, etc.)
In my “other” life, I have a wonderful eleven-year-old daughter. She is my ray of sunshine during those dark days of writer’s block and rejections. For my day job, I work in finance.
4) Who are your favorite authors?
This list could go on and on. I read a lot of genres besides romance. Mystery: S.J. Rozan, Nevada Barr, Robert Crais. Fantasy: Lois McMasters Bujold, Lynn Flewelling, Katherine Kerr. Since my daughter has started reading, I’ve branched out into YA. Favs include Tamora Pierce and Garth Nix. Romance: Susan Mallery, Elizabeth Boyle, Stephanie Laurens.
5) Do you have an agent?
Yes. Kevan Lyon of the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. She’s awesome.
6) Where do you see yourself in five years?
Happily writing and getting paid for it. I’d love to be able to support myself with writing full time. It’s been my dream forever.
And now, in Cat’s own words…
The Internal Editor
I’m supposed to end this blog post with a question. Instead, I’m going to start with one. Do you have a healthy relationship with your internal editor?
By that, I mean, are you able to turn that voice in your head on and off at will, or does it drown out the melodious murmur of your muse until you approach a blank page filled with dread rather than delight?
When I first started writing for publication in late 2006, I was very productive. I’d been away from the business side of writing long enough to forget how frustrating trying to get published can be. I wrote two books in four months, entered them in a ton of contests, and knew if I worked hard, I’d be published. Meanwhile, I polished those books and started a third that I finished in record time. It was a blissfully creative, highly productive time for me. Then reality hit.
Contest judges tore apart my writing. The line I was targeting underwent a radical change, and my stories no longer matched their guidelines. I lost my direction and my focus. I began to wonder if I’d been kidding myself to think I could ever get published.
I knew I could write, a string of contest finals and a couple of wins got me requests from editors, but I’d lost confidence that all my hard work could land me on the bookshelves. See, I wasn’t quite hitting the mark. This is when I started a series of first chapters. Some I tossed into contests, hoping to figure out what the editors were looking for. Others never got past 2500 words. I wasn’t writing a story I loved. I was listening to that voice inside my head that was telling me I’d never get published unless I wrote historical or paranormal or anything other than what I wanted to write.
And suddenly. I couldn’t write at all.
Frustrated and desperate, I signed up for National November Write Month or NaNoWriMo. Write a book of 50,000 words in a month. Word count is all that matters. You must write an average of 1666 words per day for 30 days. You have permission to write crap. All the pressure is off. And guess what? Your internal editor gets locked in a closet by your muse. Whoohoo!
Since November, using this fast writing technique, I’ve produced three short contemporary novels and a 90,000 word single title. Are the books any good? I have no idea, I haven’t read them. In my mind they’re lumps of raw clay waiting to be shaped. To quote Nora Roberts, “You can’t fix a blank page.”
The other tool to silence my internal editor is meditation. I start out every morning listening to a fifteen minute guided meditation that Stacia D. Kelly did in her Breath. Focus. Achieve. workshop at the 2009 Nationals. Starting out each day with my thoughts focused on what I can control (my writing) has helped when those negative critiques and rejections hit.
Now, when that little voice inside my head whines at me that I’m never going to get published because my stories suck or I’m not writing what an editor wants to buy, I hit the mute button and write 200 words.
Are you plagued by an internal editor? What do you do to turn down the volume?