Kari: What has the transition of switching from erotic romance to writing a mystery been like?
Cathleen: People see me as erotic writer because my first published book, Man Hunt, was an erotic book way before erotica became a strong selling genre. I’ve always seen myself as a popular fiction writer as apart from DIRTY SEXY MURDER, I have just sold LOVE, LUST AND LIES a women’s fiction Cougar book where the heroine has to confront her Italian/American catholic culture when she leaves her marriage and takes up with a gorgeous young man.
Kari: Love the cover of your book by the way :-) Can you tell us more about your psychic murder mystery called DIRTY SEXY MURDER?
Cathleen: Often when we write, the worries we have in the back of our minds come through in our work. When I was a young girl, I saw a ghost. Since it was only once, it was no big deal, though I never forgot it. When my daughter was old enough to vocalize, she started to tell me about the people who visited her at night and stood by her bed. This kept up until she was about twelve. She also knew things she couldn’t possibly have known about the dead people she saw as some of them were family. When she was eight, I sent her to a ski boarding school for five weeks. She was in a dorm with other students and she used to see a nurse dressed in a long gown with a pinny over the top. She drew the costume for me. I later found out that her dorm had been part of a demountable hospital last century.
My own powers started to develop too as I approached forty. I could sometimes hear other people’s thoughts. If I knew the person, I would tell them and ask them if they had been thinking the thoughts. My friends would own up. Sometimes, I would be woken up in the night and see a person coming down a white tunnel. They’d always have a message for a relative. I have to admit I worried was I going mad, which is why my character, Marina, worries about her psychic abilities and wonders if she is going nuts. She works as a Brazilian Waxer and she has visions that her clients end up murdered, which come true. Evil looks like black swirling energy. Marina is intuitive and can sense the evil but she doesn’t know who it is coming from. She works as a Brazilian Waxer and she has visions that her clients end up murdered, which come true.
In DIRTY SEXY MURDER, Marina has to learn to trust her “gift” and understand how to use it. It doesn’t help that the man she is in love with has a computer science background and doesn’t believe in psychic phenomena. The hero, James, is based on my husband, who studied engineering at university. In terms of structure, these mystery/crime novels work well when the author has one believer and one non believer.
Kari: What has it been like to study with a spiritual teacher?
Cathleen: It’s been wonderful to study under my spiritual teacher because she taught me how to meditate and ground myself. There are universal rules on how to use psychic gifts with integrity. I’ve learned how to pull in my aura so that I don’t accidently go into people’s head spaces. I also learned how to pass on psychic messages so that I don’t distress the receiver. I only work for good and when I see something I prefer I didn’t, like men who are cheating on their wives or when I deal with murderers, I’ve learned how to handle that too.
What kind of "gift" do you have?I can see into the future for others but not for myself, which is annoying. Through either dreams or meditation, I get messages from souls who have passed over, which have deep meaning for those left on earth. If someone wants to know something, I hold a piece of their jewelry and I can give them an answer. I use the gift for good only and I never charge.
Kari: Any tips or pieces of advice for your fellow mystery writers seeking publication?
Cathleen: My novel is set in a Brazilian Waxing Parlor and my heroine is a waxer, so DIRTY SEXY MURDER is quirky from the get go. Several editors recommended to their publishers to buy it but for market reasons, it didn’t sell. I sent it to a small e publisher call Lyrical Press and the publisher also offered me a print contract. I think the smaller publishers have opened the door to newer writers. I would suggest others who are hoping to break into this tight market should enter contests to get feedback, hone their craft, connect with editors at conferences and send out to big and small publishers.
Kari: Who are your favorite authors?
Cathleen: Linda Howard, Gena Showalter, Nalini Singh, Vicki Lewis Thompson.
Thanks so much for being here, Cathleen and good luck with your new release. DIRTY SEXY MURDER is coming out in print on July 1, 2010