Welcome to my weekly Author Spotlight. I’ve asked a bunch of my author friends to answer a set of interview questions, and to share their latest work.
Today, A. Catherine Noon – For author and textile artist A. Catherine Noon, it’s all about the yarn, both metaphorical and literal – spinning a yarn, knitting with yarn, weaving, sewing, painting, sharing stories and good times over a cup of coffee with dark chocolate. She teaches creative writing, creative expression and textile arts.
Thanks so much, Catherine, for joining me!
J. Scott Coatsworth: When did you know you wanted to write, and when did you discover that you were good at it?
A. Catherine Noon: I’ve always wanted to write. I wrote my first story at the age of nine, and hand-wrote newsletters to friends in grammar school. I love writing, from the smell of paper and ink to the sound of story in the mind when it’s read.
I discovered I was good at it in high school when a teacher read a short piece of mine to the class. I started entering writing contests and won them. When I went to college, I was accepted Admission with Distinction in the English program at the University of California, Irvine. The irony is that I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Russian, but that’s a story for another day.
JSC: How would you describe your writing style/genre?
ACN: I write a lot of different styles. If pressed, I’ll say that I’m a speculative fiction author, in the style of Bradbury or LeGuin, if I can have the hubris to claim that. But what I mean by that is that story interests me, and story includes the fantastical.
Rachel and I have published m/m romance novels in urban fantasy as well as science fantasy. We have plans for many more, both m/m and straight fiction.
JSC: What was your first published work? Tell me a little about it.
ACN: It was a long article on the K-Mart Refurbishment Center at Unisys Corporation. A looong time ago. Be happy I’ve learned to write in active language, because coming from academia and business, I had a problem with passive voice.
Our first novel is Burning Bright, and features a veterinary trauma surgeon and animal empath who comes to Chicago and falls in love with a Siberian tiger shifter – before he realizes their connection is due, in part, to the nature of his magic and the attraction of the animal empathy.
JSC: What’s your writing process?
ACN: Um… I sit down and start writing.
No, really. That’s it. There’s no magic to it. I listen long enough to hear Story and write down what I hear. I don’t like others in my sandbox while I’m writing, and I loathe having people read over my shoulder.
JSC: Tell me one thing hardly anyone knows about you.
ACN: I was trained in Triage on the Emergency Response Team at Unisys in California. I had to be certified in both CPR and First Aid and was trained how to handle a large-scale disaster like the earthquake that knocked down miles of freeway in that state. It colors how I see things now, in the sense that it made me much more aware of how vulnerable we are in the event of a Katrina-style disaster or terrorist attack.
Now that I’ve scared everyone…
JSC: Do you write more on the romance side, or the speculative fiction side? Or both? And why?
ACN: Both. We write romance because that’s what our publisher wanted. In fact, Emerald Fire, the first book in the Persis Chronicles, had no sex in it in the first draft.
JSC: What pets are currently on your keyboard, and what are their names? Pictures?
ACN: That’s prophetic. ~looks for webcam~ His name is Kolya and he’s a pest. We also have Nadya, who pins my husband’s mousing arm; Boria, who blocks the doorway; and Coyote, who barks at anything that moves in a three block radius. Since we live in Chicago, that’s a lot of moving.
JSC: Are you a plotter or a pantster?
JSC: If you could create a new holiday, what would it be?
ACN: National Handwriting Day. It’s already a holiday, on January 23rd, but I’d love to see it more celebrated before we lose the knack entirely.
JSC: What are you working on now, and when can we expect it?
ACN: Ambush, in the Chicagoland Shifters. We hope to have it out in Spring or Summer of 2016.
And now for A. Catherine Noon and Rachel Wilder’s new book: Cat’s Cradle:
When you’re a former Marine and a tiger shifter, love comes with a high cost – is it too much to pay?
Mitchell Brayden is a former Marine tiger shifter looking for love in all the wrong places. When he decides to rescue a young ocelot shifter from a rich, spoiled playboy, he embroils himself in a conflict that goes back generations.
Guadalupe Salazar grew up as a pampered pet of a benevolent patron. After his patron’s untimely death, he stays on with the patron’s son – a self-centered, weak man who got ensnared by the drugs and fast living in the States. One night, it goes too far and Lupe is beaten nearly to death. He is taken to a secret shifter clinic where he meets an unlikely knight in tarnished armor.
Together, Mitch and Lupe confront the playboy and his friends – but will their actions draw the rest of the jaguar familias, not to mention the ocelot clans, into a battle over Lupe’s future? Will the delicate balance of power destroy everything that Mitch’s small band of tiger shifters has built in Chicago?
“You changed to tiger?” Lupe’s eyes widened. “What happened?”
“We were part of the same unit sent to find a missing squad. Neal was in charge of the operation. We never found them, but we did discover what happened. They ran into a rogue shifter. A bat-shit crazy one Russia left behind in Afghanistan. He chewed on all of us, literally. The six of us survived, only Mario lived and stayed human. Since then, we’ve dealt with power struggles with Boris, the alpha of the tiger tribe and his buddies, and when we settled here, the Russian mob and bear shifters. I’m not worried about some Brazilian playboy.”
“You been through so much, I no want to add to your troubles.”
“Fernando needs to pay for what he did, Lupe.” Mitch looked down at him. Fuck, but Lupe was gorgeous.
Lupe’s nostrils flared and Mitch stepped away. Lupe watched him with those jewel green eyes of his, then turned and closed the door.
Mitch’s stomach tightened. Had he read the guy wrong? “What are you doing?”
Lupe didn’t speak, but came back to stand in front of him. He cupped Mitch’s cheek and then stroked his skin with a warm thumb.
“You helped me.”
Mitch shrugged. “Yeah.”
“I want to thank you.” He stroked his other hand across Mitch’s chest, brushing his nipple, and then slid lower to cup his cock.
Mitch stumbled back. “Lupe!”
“You want me, don’t you?” Lupe watched him with huge jewel-green eyes. Even with his jaw wired shut and bruises all over him, the kid radiated sexual attraction.
“You’re injured, Lupe. You need to get well.”
“I want to thank you. You helped me.” Lupe came closer and stroked Mitch’s crotch again.
Mitch pulled his hips back and caught Lupe’s wrist when he went to follow. “Easy, kiddo. Slow down.”
“Don’t you want me?” Lupe stared at him, frozen.
Christ. “Yes, of course I do. But Jesus, Lupe, I’m not gonna do anything about it while your jaw’s wired shut.”
Lupe stared at him and then nodded. “Okay.” He went back to the bed and curled up into a small bundle under the comforter.
“Just like that?” Mitch demanded.
“I can wait.”
“You don’t have to wait. Fuck, man!”
Lupe curled around the pillow, inhaling against the fabric. “You smell better than Fernando.”
Screw it. Mitch knew when he was beaten. He turned on one heel and strode out of the room, latching the door behind him.
Amazon: Click Here
For author and textile artist A. Catherine Noon, it’s all about the yarn, both metaphorical and literal – spinning a yarn, knitting with yarn, weaving, sewing, painting, sharing stories and good times over a cup of coffee with dark chocolate. She teaches creative writing, creative expression and textile arts.
For author Rachel Wilder, it’s all about the person – from characters to clients.