As part of my ongoing series of interviews with indie authors, I’ve been paying more attention on Twitter to authors who are working on upcoming releases. A few weeks back Catherine Mintz (@CatherineMintz) mentioned about getting ready to release a new book, so I offered her the opportunity for a pre-publication interview. I now present that to you here as an introduction to her work:
1. I see you’ve already published 9 books, numerous short stories, and maintain 4 blogs, as well as being owner of Copper Publishing. Do you do anything other than write, read, paint, and sleep?
Cook. Cooking appeals to all of the senses, from how it looks, to how smells and feels in the mouth. The cook has more fun than any of those who just eat. You get to compose for all the senses.
2. Kidding aside, what compelled you to start writing?
I was a reluctant writer. I’ve always created stories, but writing, which means communicating with an abstract reader, is a craft and has to be learned. Storytelling, which is face to face, is a little easier. You get that instant feedback: the expressions, the good silences—and the bad ones.
3. I appreciate that you’ve shared short stories on your site for free. Do you consider that as part of your marketing strategy?
Back when I first did it, there was no other way people could see what I was doing. Now, with the rise of online book marketing, it’s much easier to sample what writers have to offer, but there’s no reason to be coy with readers. If what you write is good as chocolate to them, they’ll want more. “Bet you can’t taste just once!”
4. I’ve read “A Skirt of Many Colors” and an excerpt from “Talking with Strangers“. In both cases, you’ve drawn a vivid world with compelling characters, in a world that seems just a little more than the world we know. When you start a new project, which do you focus on first: The character, or building the world in which the character lives?
I usually begin with two scenes, the beginning and the end, both of which give who, what, when and where, and sometimes, but not always why. I edit out a lot of material both about the character and the world he or she lives in, and leave in only what advances the story. As a reader, I like stories that feel rich and reward careful reading and even rereading.
5. I see, too, that you have not only an extensive gallery on its own site, but also throw in images by way of illustration throughout your other works. Would you call yourself primarily an author or a painter? Or are those arbitrary delineations under the broader umbrella of artist?
I compose, too. Most creative people can and do work in more than one medium, even if they don’t choose to display what they do. Think of how many writers map the world they are writing about. One of the wonderful things about the first edition of Lord of the Rings was that Tolkien had them tip in maps you could fold out and look at as you read. They were exceptionally beautiful books that he oversaw carefully, right down to the shade of red used. “This, not that.”
6. Do you exhibit and sell your visual art similarly to your written art?
I haven’t for a while, since I am concentrating on producing books.
7. Your Copper Publishing site offers the enigma of an imprint logo with no other information to go along with it. Do you publish only your own work, or is there a catalog of authors available under that imprint?
Copper Publishing started out reprinting classics, mostly ones I wanted to read in good editions: The Willows, The Wendigo, A Christmas Carol, Green Mansions. There are about forty of them now, counting hard and paperbound separately.
8. Do you consider your publishing house in the category of “independent” publishers?
9. I love that you’ve titled one of your blogs “Origami Unicorn“. What inspired that moniker?
It’s from Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, which was made into the movie “Blade Runner”.
10. You offer a selection of five reviews on your blog “It’s a First Draft“. What made you add book reviews to your long list of writing duties?
Writing them makes me think about what other writers have done: what works for me, what doesn’t, why. Also, I like to share what I have found to be good.
11. Final question: When does your next book come out, and will it revisit a world you’ve previously created, or will it introduce your readers to a new set of characters?
Next up, early in November, is Ocean of Dawn, the conclusion of the trilogy that began with River of Night. After that, I’m moving to a new universe for a while.
What other information would you like to share with my readers?
Ebooks represent a great step forward for readers, I think, since they make it easier for writers to reach readers. There’s more material out there, from more points of view, than there ever has been before. It’s a good time to be a reader.
Thanks to Catherine Mintz for her time and effort in doing this interview.