Thursday, June 28, 2012
Authorsday: Cathy Tully
1.) Thirteen years ago, my eight-year-old daughter sat on my lap and asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I couldn’t answer her, thus began my search to find something that interested me. After all, both my girls would grow up and find lives someday, so should I. I saw an ad for The Institute of Children’s Literature and filled out the form and sent it in. I took a test and received a high mark. I checked out their curriculum and decided to give writing children’s book a try. I finished the course eighteen months later. The teacher and I became good friends and she introduced me to an editor at Kidhaven Press. She opened the door but I had to get myself inside. I wrote three chapters and an outline, revised three times and was offered a contract to finish NEBRASKA for Kidhaven Press in 2004. It’s still available on Amazon. Timing, however, was against me because library sales were low and publishing houses were using their stable of authors and weren’t taking on new authors. So…..the editor who became a friend suggested I write a romance. I almost laughed out loud. Right a romance. Hah! What did I know about writing romance? So I went to a second hand bookstore and bought an entire box of romance books. I had to have at least eighty. I spent the next three months reading and reading and reading. I hated a lot of them and didn’t finish half of them. But the ones I loved were keepers. There’s a saying among writers “write what you know” and “read who you want to write like.” Reading all those books helped me discover what I wanted to write and the authors I aspired to be like. The rest is history as they say, I’ve been writing romance since and haven’t looked back. 2.) I’ve been writing twelve years and have received countless rejections. At first I used to keep the rejections. Why? I don’t know. This business is very subjective. What one editor hates, another loves. You learn to grow a thick skin and sooner or later, rejections don’t affect you anymore. Now form rejections are used as scrap paper in my house : ) 3.) I picked romance because I love a happily ever after. I like to give myself over to the story and the suspension of disbelief and let go. I think most people who read romance also read it as an escape from the everyday; the mundane, and I couldn’t agree more. I write women’s fiction, Contemporary romance and Sweet romance. Some people say you should pick one and stay with it. I say, how can I tell all these people in my head to take a number and shut the heck up? When stories come to you, they come to you, and I have to get them out of my head : ) I think most writers will understand this. So, for now I write three different genres. 4.) When I first began writing romance I didn’t plot very much and I found myself being blocked a lot so I started plotting more and more as time went by. Today I plot a lot although I’ve never plotted an entire book, scene by scene. I usually have a firm grasp on the beg, mid and end, and scenes I’d like to see in between. However, I do find the more I plot, the faster I can write the book, and this still allows me plenty of room to be creative. 7.) The name of my first novel is, HEARTSTRINGS. No, I’ve not published it yet. I’m hoping to find time to revise now that I know sooooo much more about writing. Each time we write a book is another exercise in becoming a better writer. I’ve written five books and this month will publish my first, ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE, with Astraea Press. It will be available for download this Thursday, June 28th on Amazon.com. 10.) The best writing advice I’ve ever gotten was ‘don’t let anyone change your writing voice.’ I’d been involved in a few critique groups before the one I am currently a member of, and let me tell you, when you’re first starting out it’s easy to listen to other people about how you should be writing because as beginners we have little to no self-confidence. It took a friend from Texas to read something of mine before and after my then crit group had at it, to say, ‘what are you doing?’ Your voice is funny, light and real. I don’t know who this is? It was a necessary wake up call for me. A lot of writers will ask, how do you find your voice? All I can say is for me it happened over time. With better writing skills, more confidence and a good feeling about what I wanted to write, out came my voice. Honestly, I haven’t been able to shut it up since : ) 17.) My writing strength is my ability to write tight eliminating unnecessary words, etc. However, lately my strength is working against me : ) When we write romance it’s not always possible to keep emotion short and sweet. We have to clue the reader into what the hero/heroine are thinking in a way they can understand and still enjoy the ride they’re taking with your story. This is hard to do if after you read a sentence you want to delete the next two. What can I say? It’s a work in progress for me, one I’m sure I’ll master sooner or later : ) 19.) My writing schedule has changed drastically over the past few years. Once I began getting rejection letters that were detailed and the editorial points were ones I couldreally use, I started to incorporate them into my book and write every day. Even if it was a half an hour, I got into the habit of writing everyday. Now that I’ve sold, I’m so glad I started this a year or so ago because once you sell, editors want more from you and isn’t that why we’re in this business? To write and sell books? 27.) My favorite thing about ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE is the dog, Little Man. His character is based on our family dog, whom we lost last August to illness. Little Man was with us for nine glorious years and this book is the biggest tribute I could ever pay him. Anyone who has had or has a dog or cat they love more than will understand my love for him. Here is my Blurb: Jack DeVane is on the fast track to becoming CEO of Cunningham Coffee and nothing will get in his way. Until...a little dog wanders into his condo and a beautiful dog walker wanders into his heart. Caitlyn Stiles has one dream. To take over the family business. When she returns from college and learns this is no longer an option, she travels to Promise, Massachusetts to take care of her grandmother and takes a job as a part-time dog walker. Can one sweet, little dog teach Jack there's more to life than just work? Teach Caitlyn, to let go of her resentment? And teach both of them that ALL THEY NEED IS LOVE? ------ Cathy Tully has spent the last eight years writing Sweet Romance, Contemporary Romance and Women’s Fiction. Prior to romance, she wrote a children’s non-fiction book titled, NEBRASKA for Kidhaven Press in 2004.. Her first Sweet Romance, ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE, is available this June through Astraea Press. A Member of Romance Writer’s Of America, The Liberty States Fiction Writers, and The Society of Children’s Book Writer’s and Illustrators, Cathy is a firm believer in continually honing her craft. Cathy can be found on Facebook and at www.cathytully.com. A born and bred Jersey girl, Cathy lives in central New Jersey with her husband, Joe, and their two daughters.