Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Guest - Catherine E. McLean

Good morning! We have author Catherine E. McLean visiting us today. Catherine will be talking about some of the interesting questions she's been asked in her writing career. Enjoy!



Until I became an author, I never new how inquisitive interviewers and readers were or the mind-boggling questions that they would come up with. So, for this post, I want to share a few of the gems that have caused me to stop, think, and ponder. These are:

Questions About me:

* If you were a sandwich, what would you be?

Hopefully not eaten! LOL
 Okay, so I'd be . . .  A piece of whole-wheat bread, spread with mayonnaise (Hellman's, of course), a slice of Eckrich garlic baloney, and a one inch slab of a very red-ripe, homegrown beefsteak tomato, topped with another mayo-glazed slice of whole-wheat bread.

* Who is your favorite cartoon character?

Marvin the Martian! After all, I do write fantasy, sci-fi, and futuristic stories (most with a romance element).  I adore her, her mutterings and always seeking the "kaboom." Not to mention her stunningly practical green skirt, her helmet, and, especially, her trusty raygun. She's stalwart and gutsy. (I think some of her quirky personality often rubs off onto my secondary, side-kick characters.)

* If money were no object, what would you do?

This is a Bucket List question. And, yes, I have a bucket list, buried somewhere in the piles on my desk. Most of all, I would like to attend the summer Olympics, have a front row seat, and watch the Equestrian driving competitions. As a horseperson, one who owned, raised, and showed Morgan Sport Horses, I competed in obstacle driving events. It would be amazing to see the best of the best equines in the world compete.

* Do you have a hobby? If so, what is it?

Actually I have too many hobbies. Yet, first and foremost, I sew.  I've made everything from underwear to winter coats, and even costumes, like a tailored, circa 1875, replica of a Sidesaddle Coat-Dress. Of course, I've also made riding and driving attire for myself, my husband, and my daughter. My sewing consistently wins blue ribbons at the local fairs, and the medieval costume I did for my daughter garnered a win at the Great Lakes Medieval Faire. My second hobby is photography. My favorite subjects are flowers and nature. Two of my photos won grand championships at fairs. However, my favorite isn't either. It's a black and white, which won two first-places at fairs and a high score in a photo club competition in Erie. That photo happened when I caught a shaft of sunshine blazing through my dining room window to grace a pink, ruffled iris (one I'd cut from my garden). I was wowed. I grabbed my camera, sat on the nearest chair, and snapped the picture. Then the light shifted. The photos are at my website (, go to the top menu "Me-Blogging..." and click on "Photography"). I also use my pictures as greeting cards, on my website, blogs, social media, and on Pinterest.
 However, little did I realize that my photography skills would come in handy as an author. You see, I did the photos for the Choke-berry Shalamiz (the "blood of ages" beverage that Tienan, the hero of KARMA AND MAYHEM used to "baptize" Janey, the story's heroine). When I wrote the book, it was a fictitious drink. After publication, I consulted a chef. She helped me make it a non-alcoholic, fizzy, and oh-so-bloody red beverage. I periodically give away the recipe as a prize.

Questions About being a writer:

* Are you a pantser or a plotter?

Neither. Among the ten types of writers I've been able to identify, I'm a foundation writer. That is, I get an initial story dump, which can be a scene of a few pages to a hundred pages or more. Once I have that information, I use a project bible to delineate characters and develop the plot points. When I have it all figured out, but it's not written in stone, I write the first draft. Since I'm a binger, I write from word one to the end. That draft can take anywhere from fourteen to twenty-eight days to complete. Of course, it will take me nine months to a year or more to get the words right, then I'll market the novel.

* What's your most embarrassing moment as a writer or author?

I'm still embarrassed just thinking about it. As a going-to-be writer some years ago in the hospitality room at a Pennwriters' conference, I sat across the table from New York agent and author Donald Maass. In talking to him, I "talked with my hands," and inadvertently toppled my FULL-TO-THE-BRIM glass of soda. He reacted pretty fast and didn't get soaked. Can't say the same for my lap.

* Of all the characters you've created, which is your favorite?

Adrada, the Archangel of Departing Souls. He came into being one night when I was pondering how to solve a contest riddle about a murder. With his "help," I submitted an entry and won the contest. I didn't realize until many years later that Adrada  appeared in most of my short stories and novels. He is in KARMA AND MAYHEM, my first published novel (an e-book paranormal-fantasy-romance).

Last question: What question has no one yet asked you that you would like to be asked?

That question would be: What was the most fun thing you ever did in your entire life? The answer: Being the prop person for my local little theater group's productions. Fun and fond memories include the time a very large pillow slid outside the descending act's curtain. The director was horrified. I can still hear the audience's collective gasp and silence. Someone tapped me on the shoulder (for which I still don't know why), and I raced across that stage, snatched the pillow, and vanished stage left. I may have set an Olympic sprint record! LOL
 My act of valor not only was praised by the director but also the newspaper reviewer's article, which gave kudos to the performers and mentioned my feat. Yet, in looking back, the incident only confirms that I was never a person who wanted to revel in the spotlight. Instead, I could be counted on to manage things backstage and get the job done. No wonder I made my living as an executive secretary.


Catherine writes "Women's Starscape Fiction" because she likes a story where characters are real people facing real dilemmas, and where their journey (their adventure-quest, with or without a romance) is among the stars and solar systems, and where there's always a satisfying ending. Writing as C. E. McLean, she has sold short stories in science fiction, romance, paranormal, and contemporary to hard-copy and online anthologies and magazines. Her novel Karma and Mayhem was published in September 2012 by Soul Mate Publishing.


Purchase the e-book at‑and‑mayhem/ or other e-book outlets (currently only available as an e-book).



             He's a warlock with two souls and karma issues. She's mayhem personified.

Tienan is a warlock and a lawman determined to solve a series of diabolical murders. An incident in his youth gave him a terror of death and made him fear his birthright soul, an energy symbiote called a veed which gives Tienan extraordinary skills. Hosting that veed has also contributed to Tienan's failed relationships with women and convinced him true love doesn't exist.

Janay is an ex‑militia woman down on her luck who is haunted by personal demons, and real ones. When she rescues Tienan's brother, Tienan considers her a gutsy but semi‑deranged commando. She's audacious and unconventional, but with all she's been through in her life, it rankles that she still believes in true love.

So can Tienan accept and trust in his love for Janay, embrace the power needed to wield an Executioner's Katana, and defeat a triad of murderous witches intent on immortality?

-- Lynda Again,
    Very interesting post! Thank you for visiting us Catherine!

    Have a Blessed Day!


Lynda K. Scott said...

Hi Catherine! Thanks for being with us today. I enjoyed your story of saving the scenery in that play. That was brilliant :-)

Mary said...

Great interview! I loved hearing your writing process- I've never seen that one described before.

Karma and Mayhem sounds very intriguing! Best of luck with it!

Kathy Otten said...

Great interview! Loved the story about the pillow. :) And I hope I don't knock soda into Donald Maass' lap at the conference this year.

Storee Wryter said...

Hi Catherine!
I laughed out loud at the sandwich question. I must say
choice is a good one.

Also, I love getting cards with your beautiful photos on them.

Will I see you at the Pennwriters
Conference next month?
Bobbi Carducci

Amy Bovaird said...

Enjoyed the interview!
That drink still has me intrigued. You are so creative! I like how you use your sewing to feature your heroine in Karma and Mayhem.
Good luck with it and keep your eyes open for stray pillows!
Amy Bovaird

Catherine said...

To Linda: Thanks for this opportunity and for the great setup of this blog. Kudos!

To Mary: From my research, there are 10 different types of story writers, but the Pantser and the Plotter are the best known.

To Kathy: As long as you don't order a soda, you should be okay! :))

To Bobbi: Yes, I'll be at the Pennwriters conference. And thank you for enjoying the photo-cards.

To Amy: Thanks!

Al Diaz said...

Great interview, Catherine! I would also feel embarrassed about that incident. Lucky it wasn't hot coffee. :)

Catherine said...

To Al Dias: Thank you and yes, now that I think about it, it was a good thing I hadn't gotten coffee, it would have stained and ruined my cream-colored skirt. Funny how I remember the color and what I wore. Then again, maybe not. It was a traumatizing experience. LOL

Catherine Castle said...

Hi, Catherine! I jumped to your web page to see that iris, as any good gardener would do. Wow! What a fantastic photo! I enjoyed the blog interview too. It's nice to get to know fellow Soul Mate authors.

Catherine said...

Hi, Catherine Castle--Glad a fellow Soul Mate sister could stop by. Thanks for also stopping to look at the iris. Have a great weekend.