1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?
My family always assumed I would be a writer for two reasons. One is that I was an early and extremely avid reader. My babysitter Bernadette started reading The Hobbit to me when I was in second grade and I got so caught up in Bilbo’s adventures that I started sneaking chapters in between babysitting visits — and then got my grandmother to buy me the trilogy. She was always happy to buy me books, because of the second reason my family thought I’d become a writer: she was a writer herself, and wrote a number of young adults sports novels as well as a mystery. She often brought me books that had been signed to me by the author, because she’d met them at book conferences. One of those books, which was a kid’s book about creative writing called Turn Not Pale, Beloved Snail by Jacqueline Jackson, I read over and over. It had a suggested reading list at the back that I devoted myself to reading every item on as well. I’ve still got the book on my shelf.
2) What inspired you to write your book?
With this book, it was because Harry came and asked if I would come play. Good collaborations are always a joy, challenge, and learning experience — hopefully to a somewhat similar degree — and this was certainly one.
It was particularly challenging because I was writing with two amazingly talented co-writers! Not only that, but they gave me wildly dissimilar acts one and two for me to write a third act from. I had to spend a week or so just thinking about how I wanted to handle it.
At the same time, this project came with yet another challenge, which was to write a book that (hopefully) helps people see how much danger America is in if we don’t vote in this election — not just at the national but the local level — and continue to push back when the forces that have weaponized hatred, racism, misogyny, and other fear-based drives to put themselves in power try to extend their hold even farther. I can’t overstate this. While I don’t think the events we’ve portrayed will happen, I fear less entertaining ones will, and that they will kill America as we know it in the process. Actually, they’re trying to kill it right now.
Wow, that started lighthearted and skewed serious fast. But these are serious times.
3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
I’ve been talking about this a lot lately, and I’m going to take the liberty of quoting something I said in my most recent newsletter: As we come into these final days before the election, you will see unprecedented efforts to spread mistruths, to distract and confuse, and to divide us. Stay strong and focused. Maintain your own health and take a breather when you need to. Factcheck before you spread information. Encourage and enable those on the front lines of this fight.
And be kind. Be loving. Be generous and honest and open in your vulnerabilities, because in these days, that is a rebellious act. Be gentle when you can and fierce when you need to be. Know that you are loved. Know that we are all in this together.
4) What drew you into this particular genre?
I have always loved escaping into other worlds! Not just Middle Earth but later Narnia and Pern, Perelandra and Barsoom. In high school I started playing games at a local book and game store and wallowed happily in fantasy and science fiction from there as well as from my local library. That was the 70s, and so I read a lot of New Wave as well as the classics. Lots of Michael Moorcock, Andre Norton, Fritz Leiber… so much great stuff! I also babysat for a family that happened to have The Science Fiction Hall of Fame on their bookshelf and so I read that a number of times.
5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?
I’d ask Natalie why they followed their friend into the heart of darkness, Kansas City, because I think there’s another story lurking there.
6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
I enjoy Twitter and I’ve made a lot of connections through it, but social media is certainly a double-edged sword for writers in that it provides a pretty alluring form of procrastination! I actually wrote a book on writers and online presence a few years back (it’s due for an update) and so I try new platforms when they come out, and have a presence on most of them. I would say writers should find one that they enjoy using and go with that. If you’re having a good time, it shows through. If you’re tweeting out of a sense of duty and not having fun, that also shows through.
7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?
Don’t get discouraged. Butt in chair and writing is the best thing you can do. I sometimes suggest that people look at writers who are where they would like to be in 3-5 years and see how they got there. But the most important thing is the writing. Unless you’re doing that, you have nothing to sell.
8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?
So much stuff! I just turned in Exiles of Tabat, the third volume of my fantasy series, the Tabat Quartet, and am about to start the last book of that, . I’ve also got a space opera, You Sexy Thing, coming out with Tor Macmillan next year that is the start of a series that I am super stoked about and I’m finishing up book 2 of that, which is tentatively entitled Devil’s Gun.. I’m also editing a science fiction anthology, The Reinvented Heart, which will come out next summer, and continuing to produce serial fiction through my Patreon. So lots of new stuff, all the time. 🙂
About the Author
Cat Rambo is a prolific science fiction and fantasy writer of short stories. Her two hundred plus stories have appeared in many anthologies and magazines including Asimov’s, Clarkesworld, and Tor.com.
She has been nominated for the Nebula and the World Fantasy Award, and been a finalist for the Million Writers and the Compton Crook Awards, as well as been on the Locus Recommended Reading List.
Cat was the co-editor of Fantasy Magazine from 2007 to 2011 and is a past President (two terms) of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). She lives and teaches in the Pacific Northwest.