I met science fiction romance author Cathy Pegau through our publisher, Carina Press, and we immediately hit it off. We’re both Alaska-based, sneaking writing in around work, family and play, and have a shared fondness for sushi. I’m thrilled to have Cathy here today to talk about her process and her newest release, Caught in Amber.
You seem to specialize in backing your protagonists into corners. In Rulebreaker, Liv falls for the woman who’s supposed to be her mark. In Caught in Amber, Sasha James is like Bruce Lee in the mirror scene from Enter the Dragon, seemingly trapped on all sides. What’s the allure of writing characters in this type of predicament?
One of the best pieces of writing advice I’ve ever heard: Make things hard on your characters. Then make it harder. Now see if you can make it worse than that.
If things go swimmingly for characters there’s no conflict, and no way for the reader to see what sort of person they’re reading about. Conflict makes the story, and in some ways reveals more about the character than expected. I like my characters to have to make tough choices. Sometimes the consequences aren’t so pretty, but that’s the fun part of writing J
I love the rise of romantic science fiction. I think the contrast of newly-imagined worlds and the age-old desire to be loved and to belong is fascinating. What’s your favorite part of writing these cross-genre stories?
Making stuff up as I go along J I don’t have to be historically accurate, I don’t have to research real places and hope I got the details right. I’m lazy like that.
Seriously, though, it’s exactly what you said. I have the chance to use my imagination to create a world but still touch on basic human needs and behaviors. We may go beyond our solar system in the near future, taking our complex species fortes and foibles with us.
I hope SFR/RSF continues to gain readers, especially with those romance readers who don’t normally read SF and SF readers who don’t normally read romances. I read a lot of SF too, and in the past found myself wanting a bit more on the relationship side of things. That’s what got me started writing SFR.
I am unable to believe this claim of laziness! What authors or figures inspired you to write, and to write these types of stories?
Most of my teen and young adult years were spent reading science fiction and fantasy. Anne McCaffery, Alan Dean Foster, Stephen R. Donaldson, Connie Willis and Barbara Hambly filled my shelves and still do! Later, I developed a taste for suspense and thriller type books by authors like Tess Gerritsen, Lee Child and James Patterson. I guess I wanted to combine aspects of these favorite genres and make the female leads as strong as I could. I’m not anywhere near the talent as the above authors, but they do inspire me to strive to create a better book every time I sit down to write.
On the spot time! What are a few of your favorite lines that you’ve written?
Oy! Not easy! Okay, here are a few, but there are lots more J
From Rulebreaker: My ex-husband had just felt me up, taken my gun and spoiled my hit.
From Caught in Amber when Sterling is assuring Sasha they can get her ex to believe she’s coming back to him: Her eyes narrowed and she cocked her head. “And you’ll counter that how? With a note from my parole agent attesting to the sincerity of my backslide?”
From Deep Deception: Genevieve Caine dropped the sedative cartridge and rushed forward to catch Natalia before she crashed to the floor. It was bad enough she’d just drugged the CMA agent; adding a concussion to the mix was not ideal.
Like me, you’re a family gal. Do you talk about the content of your books with your children and spouse? Do you let them read them?
I do talk to them about the books, though I leave out the more *ahem* adult content when talking with the kids. They know I write about people falling in love and having physical relationships, but we don’t go into details. My older daughter helped with some plot knots for Rulebreaker and the younger one came up with the title. My husband has been banned from making editorial suggestions ever since he said I should get rid of Liv’s mother in Rulebreaker ;) I do talk to him about some of the technical details of the world, and he has helped with a few plot issues. Oh, and he came up with the title to the book I have coming out in May J
I told my oldest she could read Rulebreaker when she turned 16, but I let her jump the gun a few months early. I don’t think she’s read Chapter 16 yet. Yes, it’s *that* sort of chapter.
Note to self: Go immediately to Chapter 16. What’s next for you, Cathy? *crosses fingers* Please tell me there are sequels or new series in the works.
The third book set on Nevarro, Deep Deception, comes out from Carina in May. It’s another F/F featuring Natalia Hallowell (a Colonial Mining Authority agent who has minor roles in both Rulebreaker and Caught in Amber) and Genevieve Caine, who we meet in CiA. That will pretty much wrap up the Nevarro Bad Girls J
I’m currently working on a post-apocalyptic story set in Alaska, considering a couple of shorter pieces in the same universe if not the same planet as the three Nevarro novels (one with an intergalactic freak show as the setting, another with courier as the MC—inspired by my recent stint as a UPS driver).
There are gobs of plot bunnies gnawing at my brain and enough “under the bed” manuscripts of several ilks to keep me busy for a while. I just need to decide which to work on at any given moment.
I hear you on that. I’ve got Shiny New Ideas lined up around the block (the neighbors despise us). Thanks for stopping by, Cathy!
Thanks so very, very much for having me, Hillary!!! It’s been great fun J
About the Author
Cathy Pegau lives in semi-far north, mostly soggy South Central Alaska with her husband, two daughters, cats, dogs and the occasional bear. She writes a variety of speculative fiction between stints as mom, wife, substitute teacher/aide and UPS driver.
her latest book Caught in Amber at:
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