After giving you teasers of the stories included in the Shades of Pink Charity Anthology in September, this month I'll tell you a little more about the authors involved. I interviewed them with questions about their contributions, their writing life, their works in progress...
Today, Catherine Bowman
Kallysten - First, thank you again for taking part in this anthology. When we first talked, you mentioned you were doing this for a very special lady in your life. Would you care to tell us a little about her?
Catherine Bowman - It was my pleasure! I definitely enjoyed writing Doug and Mac’s story.
I am writing this for two women actually. The first is my friend Nancy. She dealt with an invasive case of breast cancer and finally came through it free and clear in July 2012. Then, a couple of months ago, the doctors told her it was back and this time it has spread to her lungs and liver. All they can do now is treat it enough to try to slow it down. Sadly, she is incurable this time. And yet, she is still living life to the fullest, taking care of her family, friends and herself.
The other woman I’m writing for is someone I fell for the moment I met her. Not in a romantic way but because she is an amazing woman; my ex-husband’s Aunt Joanne. She is a strong woman with a heart the size of Ontario (that’d be a Texas analogy for all you American readers *laughs*). She always has the time, love and patience for everyone in her family, immediate and extended. And even for me, the woman her sister doesn’t consider family anymore. Joanne was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago and had a double mastectomy along with aggressive chemotherapy. Through it all she looked after her worried husband (who took wonderful care of her), sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren. Now, she is hale and hearty, cancer free and still sharing the love.
It’s for these women that I wrote this story and submitted it to you, Kallysten. They are inspiring.
K - In that first email, you’d also mentioned characters you wanted to write about… but they’re not the hero and heroine in this story! Did Doug and Mac hijack your mind? How did their story come to you?
CB - Apparently Doug & Mac took over my mind completely! I don’t remember who I was going to write about instead. Doug and Mac are based on two real friends of mine. While Doug has been in the Highland Wolves series from the get-go it was only half way through the writing of book three, Ghosts Afire, that Mac wanted in. They are a romantic couple in real life – and a very sweet one, I love them – so I decided that this story, which mirrors some aspects of their beginning, would be her introduction to the series. She will be more involved in book four.
K - Your storyworld includes weres, demons, vampires… What do you like best about writing supernatural beings?
CB - The challenge. I believe a good fiction story has to completely suspend the reader’s sense of disbelief the entire time they’re reading. Have you ever been reading what seemed like a good book, totally involved in the story, only to have something stupid like “the moon rose purple” show up? Something so ludicrous and improbable that your brain just snaps out of the story and you can’t get back into it? I hate that. For me, writing about supernatural beings is a fantastic challenge because you have to figure out that line between what you want your characters to be able to do and what is going to make your reader jerk their head back thinking, “dafuq?” If I can finish my story, accomplish everything and still achieve total reader absorption I am pleased. More than pleased. If I can’t, then I have to go back and rewrite what went wrong.
I love, love, love my beta readers for that. While all of them are in it for the story, there are a few of them who will tell me every grammatical error (they tend to get end-of-day pages and then the full story at the end) and those who will tell me when something is really, really wrong.
K - Do you have a writing routine? What is it like?
CB - My entire day is a routine but because of my health issues, my writing schedule is a major game of hit-and-miss. I live with some chronic health issues that affect me cognitively – Fibromyalgia and Multiple Chemical Sensitivities are two of the biggest – and it’s difficult to know whether or not my brain is going to work when I get up. Sometimes it works at 8 am but doesn’t at 9 am. This morning I’m answering your questions at 6 am because that’s when my brain is working. However, my son came in this morning wearing Axe and my daughter just washed her hair with Pert shampoo so I may not be able to finish this morning. I can feel my ability to think circling the drain.
K - Can you tell us about your current writing project or next release?
CB - I’m writing two books at the moment – Ghosts Afire and I’m finishing NaNoWriMo book called The Bodhisattva Warrior; I hit the 50,000 words to win NaNo but never finished the story. I am now.
In the first, Anna must set the ghosts liv- no, not living, *laughs*, haunting the site of the Glen Coe Massacre to rest. They have asked her to help find the source of their betrayal so that they may finally seek peace. Of course, Anna runs into someone trying to kill her. Someone is always trying to kill her. As she uncovers the secrets behind the Massacre Anna learns that there is a 400 year old grudge behind the assassination attempts.
In The Bodhisattva Warrior, we meet two brand new characters named Rolf and Bridget (affectionately known as Birdie). Rolf has a fragment of the God Hephaestus attached to his soul. However, he has gone though his entire life believing he is human. It’s not until he becomes devastatingly ill and is forced to turn his life inside out and upside down that he begins to see the energy of the world around us. Birdie is a child of Danu, the mother goddess of Tuatha Dé Danann, raised with magic and energy. When she meets Rolf he is partway through his awakening. Together they must right a wrong older than civilization and free a God.
Highland Wolves 2, Demon Plague, will be coming out before the end of October as well. I’m looking forward to that release and I know I have readers who are as well.
K - Would you care to share an excerpt from it?
CB - Sure! I will share a piece of HW2 with you. In this bit, Anna comes face to face with the first of many demons sent to try to kill her. It’s an ancient demon and Anna has a little trouble digging through her memory to find the right help.
A loud watery laugh answered her. “Spawn of Cain; do you think you can stop me? You wish me to let her go? So be it!” The demon pulled and the screaming stopped abruptly as the girl’s head popped off and the limbs tore free of the torso with a wet sucking sound. The demon threw the bits and pieces at the pack, scattering the Wolves.
It laughed again, big belly laughs, as Anna turned to the pack and screamed at them all to get as far away from the water as possible. “Cain’s pubic louse! I will leave the rest alone if you will give yourself to me.”
“You lie! Do you not think, filthy Utukku Limnuti, that I have dealt with Demons long enough to know that they never tell the simple truth? There is no mercy in you.” She planted her feet in the pebbled shore and lifted her hands over her head, palms facing each other. She began to chant in a long forgotten language as she cast her mind around for the name of the God whose help she needed. Power formed between her hands, a glowing ball of blue and purple fire. Finally, the name of the God, a Sumerian, popped into her head.
“Pazuzu! Please help rid us of this monster!”
The demon flinched at the name but covered its fear up by growing bigger. It roared at Anna and reached for her.
Anna threw the ball of fire and the demon hissed as a piece of it turned to steam. She took advantage of the momentary weakness and chanted quickly in Sumerian, the ancient words rolling off her tongue, each one laced with power. She threw another ball of fire at it and called on Pazuzu once more. “Pazuzu aid your children! Save them from this filth!” A column off fire grew around her, snaking from her to the Utukku Limnuti.
Water shimmered and shook as Anna’s power began to wrap around the demon like glowing chains. It chortled, amused, and grabbed the chains to pull. It screamed as the fire superheated its fingers.
Anna smirked. “Did you really think I’d make it that easy?”
The Utukku shrank a little as it reformed the vaporized hands. Uma Thurman’s voice came out of its throat as it said, “You know, for a second there, I really did.”
“Oh good grief, you need some new movies in the Underworld.” Anna rolled her eyes and tightened the chains, wrapping more and more around the Utukku Limnuti, overlapping them until there was barely a space between lengths of links. The pack watched as Anna began to glow. A moment later the chain links began to brighten and then the Wolves had to slap their hands over their eyes as Anna and the chain links exploded into white hot, blinding flames. They dove for cover as steam exploded outward.
“You’ll not succeed! You will die! My Master will send more after you.” The disembodied voice floated around Anna before moving off. “You are dead! You and your little dog too!”
“Seriously, get some new movies!” Anna shouted at it. “And tell your Master I’ll not go down without a fight. Tell him to face me himself.”
K - Thank you again for being a part of Shades of Pink. Any last word before I let you go back to your writing?
CB - Thank you! It was finally the kick in the pants I needed to get Mac introduced to the series and it is a wonderful cause. I hope that the anthology raises a lot of money; I know that my readers and I will certainly be pushing to get word of this fundraiser out there. I think I’ll even poke my favourite radio show to let me on air again to talk about it. Kudos to you, Kallysten. You’re a lovely, lovely person and I am delighted to know you.
Suck up? Me? Nah. Nothin’ but the truth. *smiles*
K - Now you're making me blush! Thank you :)
Find Catherine at http://catherinebowman.wordpress.com/