Cat Connor is a thriller/suspense writer and the author of the _byte series - a series of FBI thrillers starring SSA Ellie Conway. Ellie shares various cases and escapades that make her life a little more interesting and a lot more difficult than she would like.
|Cat with her dog, Romeo|
1. How did you come to write in the genre you chose?
I didn’t make a conscious decision to write thrillers or suspense, it just happens to be what falls out of my fingers as I type. It’s been noted that I have a fairly scary mind with lots of dark corners. Fabulously scary thoughts hide in dark corners. I guess you could say it’s a natural genre for me.
2. What is your family's favorite story to tell on you?
The day I licked Jon Bon Jovi. Yes, that sounds bad. It sounds a whole helluva lot worse when it comes out of the mouth of a 3 year old, and it’s a story she loved to tell, even though it really was totally innocent. We were eating dinner, I think it may have been lasagna (if not it was something else with red sauce). I was wearing my favorite Bon Jovi tee shirt. Sauce cascaded from my fork and down Jon’s face. Without thinking, I grabbed the front of my shirt and licked the sauce off. (Why I didn’t go get a cloth I do not know!) Everyone at the table erupted in howls of laughter.
Later, while I was having a coffee with our neighbor, my daughter, Miss Breezy, (who was then 3) piped up, “Mummy licked Jon Bon Jovi.”
There is no way back from a statement like that.
3. What was the first thing you ever had published?
A short story in an anthology back in 2002 that I hope, I really hope, no one ever sees. It was borderline fan-fiction and makes me cringe just thinking about it. My husband also had a story published in the same anthology. So did a friend and fellow Rebel. It happened way before we were Rebels and is probably best forgotten. And no, I’m not telling you the name of the anthology!
4. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Back to northern Virginia. I love it there. It feels like home but flatter. Also, having access to so many amazing museums in one place is like heaven - not to mention gorgeous cops with guns. Really, what’s not to love? So, given the opportunity I would go back to Virginia and happily live in Fairfax. It’s close enough to Washington for my liking, and I’d get to ride the Metro. I really miss the Metro. It’s how trains should be. Reliable, clean, and comfortable. (Not at all like trains here in Wellington!)
5. What gives you the most pleasure in writing?
The final two words - The End. I love writing, or I wouldn’t be doing it. But I especially love finishing a book.
Well, actually, what gives me the most pleasure is hearing from readers. Listening to their views on my characters and their insights. Such a thrill for me and so very interesting to hear how other people view Ellie and the rest of Delta.
I tweet a lot, and so does my main character. So I get to talk to readers as Ellie, which is so much fun. (And really helpful to my writing, because she gets asked all sorts of questions and I need to provide the answers.)
6. Where do your stories begin? With character or plot?
My stories begin with a character who then tells me the story. I find it works better if I just let the characters take over. In the past I have tried to manipulate the story to where I wanted it to go, and I now know that doesn’t work. I am being held hostage by my main character!
7. What is the most unusual or interesting research you have done for your books?
I spent a month in the US, last year which was mostly a research trip. It was a lot of fun. I was with my Admins. We took well over 5000 photographs as we walked all over Washington DC. We found ourselves in some places we shouldn’t have been - the less said about that the better. Also, turns out, carrying a hidden camera is a pretty good idea. I have a pen that (is very similar to one my main character uses in flashbyte) records video, audio, and still photos.
Very handy thing to have!
In New York we had dinner with the very talented Lorenza Ponce who had helped me round out my rock star character in exacerbyte and flashbyte. I had no clue about the life of a touring rocker, so her insight was incredibly valuable and much appreciated.
Earlier this year, with a new character just emerging, I needed to find an actor - not just any actor - I needed someone who’d been around a while and who had a diverse career, preferably on TV. After much thought and utilizing some skills I'd acquired while doing private investigation papers I found the perfect actor. Much to my surprise and delight Mark Valley said he’d help, and he was fantastic at answering my questions.
So, I now know something about life as an actor and how Mark does what he does which will help round out my new character. (This character appears in as yet unnamed-byte.)
Without the help of various experts I wouldn’t have the confidence in my characters to let them evolve the way they need too.
I don’t sit down and spend weeks/months researching for a book because I don’t know how the story will unfold until I write it, so, it’s a research as I go deal.
New Zealander Cat Connor is the author of The_byte series of FBI thrillers published by Rebel ePublishers. So far the series contains killerbyte, terrorbyte, exacerbyte, and flashbyte - her latest thriller about the life of SSA Ellie Conway. killerbyte, was a finalist in the 2010 EPIC awards.
Cat spends her days writing with her rescue greyhound - Romeo, keeping her company.