Cathy Pegau’s muse always finds some sort of science fiction, fantasy or paranormal bend to the stories it offers. Her debut novel, Rulebreaker, was released in 2011. Caught in Amber released in January and the third installment of her Nevarro books, Deep Deception, comes out in May.
A self-proclaimed science geek, she studied wildlife biology at universities in North Dakota and Alaska. As an enthusiastic student, she spent summers aboard a research vessel scooping muck from the ocean floor and winters cataloguing the critters there to see what gray whales were eating. One of her first biology jobs found her trundling across the Wyoming prairie—and avoiding rattlesnakes—for a black-footed ferret reintroduction program. She hooted for spotted owls in Southern Oregon and got lost overnight the first week. But that’s another story.
She lives in Alaska with her husband and kids, several pets and the occasional black bear that roams through the yard.
Cathy enjoys chatting with other writers and readers. Drop her a note at email@example.com or find her on Twitter @CathyPegau.
Pick up her books at Carina Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble in ebook format. Caught in Amber is also available on Audible.com
1. What was your path to publication?
I started writing when my oldest daughter (now 16) was about 2 years old. I joined RWA, found some great critique partners, and received many rejections. The manuscript for Rulebreaker was requested by a Carina Press editor as the result of a three line pitch contest in May 2010. I received a Revise and Resubmit letter in June, resubmitted in September, and got the offer in November.
2. How much writing did you do before being published?
Years and years, pages and pages. Mostly by hand too. I’d write on legal pads and in notebooks while the kids slept or while at work then transcribe to the computer later at night.
3. Have you always considered yourself to be a writer, or was there a time in your life when you decided that is what you were?
I started writing stories in high school (maybe before that) and set it aside during college and early career years. I got back into it when a friend told me she was writing a romance. I figured, what the heck? Let’s give it a try. It was something I was doing for me, Cathy, not as a wife or mother.
4. Does your knowledge of Wildlife Biology influence your writing?
Somewhat. I have a story I’d really love to revise and see published someday that has a wildlife biologist as the heroine. The plot relates to the poaching of bears for their gallbladders.
5. Are Rulebreaker, Caught in Amber, and Deep Deception related stories?
They are related by having overlapping characters and being set on the same world, but the plots are not connected. The idea is to allow a reader to read one without having to read the others. Just whet their appetite to read them ; )
6. What are you working on next?
Plot bunnies abound. I’ve got an Alaska-based shape shifter story that I want to finish, several science fiction romance ideas, a post-apocalyptic story set near my town as well as a historical set in my town. Pick one : )
7. Have you ended up on any government watch lists since your new novel’s initials are CIA?
Heh. Not as far as I know, but I was researching nuclear bombs, radiation poisoning, anthrax and biomedical information for other books. Either they realize I’m a writer or I’m in for a very uncomfortable visit someday soon.
8. How much influence did you have in the creation of your covers?
We get an art fact sheet to fill out. It asks for physical descriptions and personalities of the characters, description of the setting, tone of the novel. Pictures are encouraged. Once the concept is sent, there isn’t much room to change, but Carina has fantastic covers. Mine have totally pleased me.
9. What is your favorite electronic or digital writing tool?
10. What is your favorite non-electronic writing tool?
Pen and a spiral notebook. I don’t write entire stories in the like I used to, but I do go back to them when I’m struggling with a scene or something like that. I can free write and scribble out things or make notes. Not as intimidating as a blank computer screen.
11. What is the most persistent distraction from writing?
My procrastinating nature. Sometimes I’m terrible at staying focused. Oh, shiny!
12. Do white long nights in Alaska lead to extra writing time?
Not really. We still have regular work days (well, when I’m working). It just feels like there should be more evening writing hours available.
13. Many writers go through a stage when they hate what they’re writing. Do you ever feel this way?
Oh, man. With every story at one point or another. Sometimes at several points. When first drafts aren’t coming smoothly, when I’ve read and reread and re-reread the manuscript a zillion times before getting ready to send it in, when going through edits and just sick of seeing it. But in the end, when the story is done and shiny, you fall in love with it all over again.
14. What is your ideal writing environment? Have you ever been able to create it?
I don’t know what my ideal would be. At this point in time, it’s mid-day when no one else is in the house and there’s a cup of tea on hand. I guess a long week or even a weekend holed up in a hotel would be nice. I haven’t tried that yet.
15. Do you have rules for how steamy you write your sex scenes?
Not a rule, per se, but more of following my own comfort level. I don’t think I could write very graphic sex scenes. Certain words just can’t seem to make it onto the page for me. I can read more erotic pieces, but I haven’t been able to write them at this point.
16. Do you like to put your characters through the wringer before the get their happily ever after?
That is one of my favorite things about writing. I guess it’s having the characters “earn” their HEA, but for me it’s also a test of their mettle. What kind of person is this that I’ve I’ve created? Are they a worthy hero/heroine?
17. If a novel involves the main character in a non-heterosexual relationship must it be shelved in the GLBT section or should it be next to all the heterosexual romances, science fiction, or adventure novels?
I’d much rather see non-hetero books shelved with all the others in their genres. Who loves whom doesn’t matter. Who’s going to find my lesbian science fiction beside a gay historical in the GLBT section? The genre defines the shelving, not the love interest.
18. Will you be doing an international book tour anytime soon?
Hahaha! I don’t see that happening. The beauty of electronic books is that my “tours” are conducted mostly in my pajamas.
19. How do you promote your books?
Twitter, Facebook, word of mouth, blog visits. However I can manage to get someone to listen to me yell, “I wrote a book!!”
20. Who shot first, Han or Greedo?
Arg! I knew this one was coming! Um…To be honest, I don’t recall. But since I’m a Han/Harrison Ford fan, I’ll back his claim ; )
Thanks for having me over, AmyBeth! You asked some fun and interesting questions : )