author interviews

Author Interview: Cathy Pegau

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CATHY PEGAU is the author of RULEBREAKER, CAUGHT IN AMBER, and DEEP DECEPTION. DEEP DECEPTION won a Goldie at the 2014 Golden Crown Literary Society Awards which recognizes achievements in lesbian literature. CAUGHT IN AMBER won the Prism Award for Futuristic Romance.

RK: What made you decide to become a writer?

From the time I was little, imagining far off lands and adventures as I fell asleep, to playing D&D in high school and college, there have always been stories in my head. When my oldest was tiny (she’s 18 now) a friend said she was writing a book. I decided to try it and put down the adventures that still ran through my head onto paper. It also helped to save my sanity as a new mom.

It took a long time and a steep learning curve to get that first manuscript finished and submitted. And it was soundly rejected. But a few rejection letters offered encouragement to keep at it and submit something in the future. That was all I needed to stick with it.

RK: What attracts you to the genre of SF Romance?

The vast opportunity to create new worlds. Nothing is off limits. If I follow the laws of physics, I’m good to go: ) Though I guess if I broke the laws of physics and could explain how it works, I’d be fine. Hmmm…(Makes note to consult physics-minded husband.)

As much as I love reading and writing about fantastic worlds, I’m always most interested in the characters populating them. Who are these people? How do they fit into their societies? How will this plot/situation affect them? The relatability of the characters is important to me. Whether they’re likable or not, human or not, I want to connect to them.

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RK: Where do your story inspirations come from?

Sometimes other books (RULEBREAKER was somewhat influence by Sarah Waters’s FINGERSMITH), sometimes news items or even commercials on TV. I wrote a paranormal women’s fic (unpubbed) based on a commercial where a bride was driving down a highway in a convertible and tossed her veil behind her. Mostly they come from real life happenings that my little brain takes and runs with.

The two books after RULEBREAKER, CAUGHT IN AMBER and DEEP DECEPTION, were written out of my need to tell the secondary characters’ stories. I’m a big believer that every character has a story, no matter how minor their role in a particular book.

RK: How do you balance the creativity aspects of writing with the demands of promotion and social media?

I used to hate the idea of doing promo and such, but quickly learned it was all part of the job. Sometimes I get to write my stories, sometimes I get to talk about them.

I do love social media, and I’m probably on Twitter waaaay more than I should be. But it keeps me in contact with people who love books, so that’s fun. However, I have to make myself stop and get back to writing. No easy task when conversations get interesting!

RK: Do you have any future projects that you’d like to tell us about?

At the moment, I’m working on a three book series of historical mysteries set here in Alaska. No speculative fiction elements at all, which is different for me. But it’s been great fun researching and writing. The first book, MURDER ON THE LAST FRONTIER, comes out in November from Kensington.

I have a few speculative fiction manuscripts waiting in the wings. A post-apoc set in Alaska (which I was researching when the idea for the historical hit), a historical paranormal, and a spy-in-from-the-cold story set in some far-off galaxy. I’ll get back to those as soon as I can.

and a few fun questions….

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RK: If you created soundtrack for one of your books, what are five songs that would be on it?

Oh, man, I’m so not good with this sort of thing. I can come up with two.

The first song that springs to mind is “Sober” by P!ink as Sasha’s theme in CAUGHT IN AMBER. Being an addict and running with a drug lord, she completely lost who she was. “When it’s good, then it’s good, it’s so good ’till it goes bad, ‘Till you’re trying to find the you that you once had.” That struggle is central to the story, her story.

Nathan Sterling’s song is “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls. The lines “I don’t want the world to see me” and “I just want you to know who I am” are so him, though he’d never admit it. He’s a government agent used to being undercover and keeping everything inside, but he needs Sasha to help him, and to do that he has to let her in. She’s probably only one of two people who know the real Sterling (the other is Natalia Hallowell ;).

As for the other three songs, if anyone can think of one that fits the story, let me know!

RK: If you discovered that you were actually a self-aware artificial intelligence how would that change your life?

What makes you think I’m not? ; )

It would change my life because then maybe I could figure out a way to upload the books in my head directly into my laptop and not have to keep wishing someone would develop a wet-wiring process. Also, I’d like to find out who created me so I could ask for the next body upgrade. This one is getting kinda ragged ; )

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