For those of you who didn’t read the title of this post, I have in fact abducted Cait From Australia and am keeping her locked up in the basement. She has kindly agreed to let me interview her!
As you can probably tell, I am somewhat excited. Back when I was smol, I stumbled upon the Fabulous that was Cait and my brain exploded in wonder. Blogs could be funny? Blogs could make you laugh until your sides hurt and tears streamed down your face and your dog questioned your sanity? Bloggers responded to the adoring comments I left on their sites? They could be nice and fondly call you “smol”?
I hadn’t known!
Needless to say, Cait became my blogging idol. Her blog is beautiful and hilarious, she reads 300 books a year, and she writes over 20 thousand words in a day. And she uses fun Australian words like “kumquat.”
What’s not to love?
Well… spellcheck does not love her way of spelling “color.” And “realize.” And “humor.” And…
Ahem. Moving on! Let the fun begin…
Kate Marie: Eeeep, thank you so much for being here, Cait! I figure since you’re gonna me super famous any day now, I should get my interview before you’re swamped. ;D
However, I HAVE NEVER DONE THIS BEFORE so please pardon my awkwardness… :3
When did you first start writing?
Cait From Australia: HAHAH to the getting famous part. xD But I’m flattered anyway! 😉 And pfft, no worries about awkwardness. You’re doing great!
Kate Marie: I feel pregnant now…
My very first novel attempt was when I was about 5 or 6 and I “wrote” the Three Little Bears story. Aka, I absolutely plagiarised it, illustrated it, stapled it together, and then informed my family I invented it. I don’t actually remember anyone arguing with me about it, so that was probably also the beginning of my reign of terror as I set out upon the career of being a pirate. #nice
Kate Marie: Cait is such a lovely pirate.
Cait From Australia: My second novel attempt was at 15. I was marginally more original and decided to abandon dreams of pirateism and go for World Famous Author. I’M STILL WORKING ON IT. ANY DAY NOW.
Kate Marie: You and me both, Cait. You and me both…
So! How many books have you written so far?
Cait From Australia: I’ve written 25 full length novels (we’re going to ignore the stolen Three Little Bears to save my dignity) because I’m a little obsessed with the whole writing thing. It’s hard to tell, I know, I know. I’m not published yet, but fingers crossed for one day!
Kate Marie: That’s crazy! *whispers* Do you have a favorite amongst your book-children?
Cait From Australia: HOW DARE YOU ASK ME TO CHOOSE FAVOURITES.
Except of course I will. Because I’m that kind of cruel book-parent, to be honest.
This year I wrote a Phantom of the Opera retelling, that features witches, ballet boys, and an animated opera house that wants to eat your face. It may be my favourite because the levels of sass were extremely high.
Kate Marie: Do you have any stories that take place in the same world? Do you ever write series? Bonus question: what the heck is the plural of the word “series”?!
Cait From Australia: Ugh don’t ask me about grammar. I do not do the grammar very well. #AuthorFail
And yes! I have written a 6-book series before! And I’ve written two contemporary novels that I’d like to think take place in the same world.
Kate Marie: Okay, so I’m super intrigued by how you outline! Can you briefly explain your method for people who don’t stalk you (like I do…)?
Cait From Australia: N’aww. You’re a lovely stalker. ❤
Kate Marie: See? She’s so nice.
Cait From Australia: So I outline like a strange mad fiend and basically I start with an idea and then I write the entire thing in my head, which is awesome because it feels like a movie! And also awful because how do yOU WRITE A MOVIE. I then settle down to write a bullet-point list of everything that happens. Everything. I put in all details, emotions, and even vague descriptions. So my outlines can easily get up to 30,000-words. (That’s a small book, Cait, stahp it.) And to keep the outlining process fun and avoid my brain melting into zombie-mush, I write a scathing commentary of quips and snark at my own book while I’m outlining. Because what’s an outline if you’re not making fun of your own characters, hmm?
Kate Marie: Whoa. How long is your outline typically?
Cait From Australia: If it’s a contemporary, it’s likely to be around 15,000-words…and epic fantasy is at least 25,000-30,000. We don’t talk about the 40,000-word outline I just did though. It is the son who scares me.
Kate Marie: He’s scaring me, too, to be honest. Seeing as your outlines are gargantuan little monsters, how long are your books?
Cait From Australia: I’m a creature of many genres, so it does depend! My contemporaries are around 60,000-words when they’re all edited up nicely. My epic fantasies should ideally be 100K. But I have I edited one recently? No. No I have not. #LAZY
Kate Marie: In editing, do you mainly cut or add?
Cait From Australia: I generally cut waffling dribble when I edit and add in description.
Kate Marie: Waffling… dribble. Got it. Just how detailed should an outline be? Obviously you try to write down everything that happens but do you include every line of dialogue/every movement a character makes – like blinking or sighing?
Cait From Australia: Haha! Not me! That would just be a novel if it was that detailed! Personally, I just write down what’s going to happen in the scene. I don’t note anyone’s expressions, but I’ll say what the overall emotion is. And it is definitely different for every writer! A lot of writers would feel cramped with having everything so concretely detailed, but I find it helps me avoid writers block, wooooo.
Kate Marie: BASICALLY HOW ARE YOUR OUTLINES SO LONG?
Cait From Australia: MAGIC. DARK MAGIC.
Kate Marie: Sure.
And I here I thought you were going to be nice and reveal your secret. *pouts*
Humph. New approach… what is your strong point: plotting or characters? (I’m kind of guessing plot? Because how can you know what’s going to happen in such detail if you don’t have a really solid plot?)
Cait From Australia: IT’S LIKE YOU KNOW ME, KATE. I do think plotting AND characters are equally important, but I definitely find it easier to come up with a complex plot over digging up a complex human. I struggle with my humans. I spend twice as much time making them dimensional, relatable creatures than I do actually figuring out their storyline. My bad.
Kate Marie: *shrug* Such is the life of an introvert, amirite?
Now, this isn’t a super deep question, but I’m kind of fascinated by how different every writer is… when inspiration strikes, what normally comes first for YOU: a scene or a character or a setting or a plot idea? In other words, what do you build the entire story around?
Cait From Australia: I build my stories around…*drumroll*…MY PLOTS! I figure out what I want to write. (Is it a heist? A magical library? A war of dragons vs darkness? A cursed garden?) Then I build a plot, grow some characters like deranged tulips, and begin smushing it all together.
Kate Marie: What is your favorite kind of ending?
Cait From Australia: The kind where everyone dies in BLOOD AND FIRE.
Kate Marie: Ooh! We have so much in common!
Cait From Australia: Hah ha ha HA. Just kidding. I actually have been known to write happy endings. (Like…once.) I like endings where: the story isn’t 100% tied up + there’s a little heartbreak = the reader still feels satisfied with the conclusion.
Kate Marie: I guess that’s okay too…
I promise I will release you soon, Cait, but… most important question: you talk A LOT about cake – what is your favorite kind?!
Cait From Australia: Chocolate brownie cheesecake is the cake of all cakes and probably the reason the earth spins. Also if you fuel yourself on brownie (just the average kind) you can write a gazillion words in a day. I attest to this truth.
Kate Marie: That sounds heavenly. *departs for cake*
Oh, yes! Thanks for letting me interrogate you, Cait!
Cait From Australia: I’m always happy to be interrogated! Thanks for having me!