The Demise of the Soccer Moms, discusses her book, her journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.
DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about The Demise of the Soccer Moms?
CATHRYN GRANT: The novel is about a single mom battling the dark side of suburbia. The world she encounters is populated with women who desperately want their children to be safe, and men who think their wives should chill out just a little. The story follows three women—Charlotte wants to make a fresh start, Rachel’s loyalty is split between her best friend and her husband, and Amy’s fears threaten to undo them all.
DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?
CATHRYN GRANT: I write a first draft with a vague idea of a few characters and their desires. As I write, the characters reveal themselves—their thoughts, biases, flaws, and vulnerabilities. Then I write their back stories, which helps me get closer to them and begin to see them as flesh and blood human beings.
DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?
CATHRYN GRANT: Someone who likes psychological thrillers where the world is somewhat ambiguous, and a good portion of the suspense is in the characters’ perceptions rather than lots of large-scale action.
DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?
CATHRYN GRANT: I wrote my first “mystery novel” when I was ten years old. I continued writing on and off, and got serious about twelve years ago when I started writing every morning before work. Around that time, I discovered Ruth Rendell’s non-series novels, and realized that rather than the mysteries I loved as a child, I was drawn to psychological suspense, where the story gets inside the mind of the murderer. In those stories, the perpetrator of a crime is often the protagonist. When Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine published the first psychological suspense story I wrote, I knew I’d found my voice. I published several more short stories and some flash fiction, intending to take the traditional route to publication.
I wrote several novels and about two years into The Demise of the Soccer Moms, I knew this was the one that would finally be publishable. It still took me three or four years to get it right. By then, the industry was in the midst of such a massive shift, I decided self-publishing was a more viable route for me, especially since my work doesn’t fit neatly into a single genre.
DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?
CATHRYN GRANT: I have two or three characters and the central conflict in mind. I start with a list of possible scenes and plunge in, adding to and deleting from that list as I write. After the first draft, I write back story and develop a plot outline. The second draft is often a significant re-write. Then I edit another draft or two, and polish from there.
DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?
CATHRYN GRANT: Ruth Rendell, Joyce Carol Oates (I’ve loved all her novels, but she also wrote quite a few excellent psychological suspense novels under her pseudonym, Rosamond Smith). I’m also inspired by Laura Kasischke for her conflicted characters and dark atmosphere, and Patricia Highsmith.
DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?
CATHRYN GRANT: I like that you specify what one book, since I immediately began a mental list! I’ll just go with the first one that came to mind—A Sight for Sore Eyes by Ruth Rendell.
DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?
CATHRYN GRANT: I’ve done giveaway of a Kindle with my ebook, a Goodreads giveaway of paper books, and am planning an ebook giveaway at Library Thing. I’ve done some guest blogging and interviews, and had a few book bloggers review the novel. I also made bookmarks with the cover image, a few review excerpts, my logline, and website url which I hand out when people ask about my fiction.
DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?
CATHRYN GRANT: Although I resisted at first, I’ve become a huge fan of ebooks. One of the features I love the most is the ability to increase the font size so that reading fiction while I work out is much more pleasant! And Kindle is far and away the market leader. Publishing on Kindle was easy, and the tools to manage your books and the business side of things are also easy to use. When there’s a question or issue, Amazon is very responsive.
DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?
CATHRYN GRANT: Have fun with it. Self-publishing is a lot of work, but it can be fun learning the formatting, working on a marketing plan, and all those other publishing details. Pace yourself. Your book isn’t going to “disappear” from the store in three months, you have time to build an audience slowly. And…you got into this because you love to write, don’t let marketing take over your life (as I did for several months).
DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.
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