Interview with Sharon E. Cathcart

Where do you get your ideas?
The truth is that they can come from anywhere. Inspiration has come from songs, news stories, books I've read, or even a phrase that occurred to me. As a historical fiction author, I'm always looking for ways to show the human face of actual events.
When did you first start writing?
I don't remember the time before I started writing, to be honest. Even in elementary school I was writing little stories and plays to share with my friends.
What was your first published book?
Back in 1995, I was working for the Dept. of the Army as a newspaper editor. The three-star command where I worked was scheduled for inactivation, and I was given an assignment to write a souvenir book about the unit's history. It was a great opportunity to delve into four decades of photojournalists' archives for photos and first-person stories.

It wasn't without its challenges; I ran into a couple of "hitches" in the process and mentioned the issues to a colleague. He was a military historian by hobby at that time (he is now a military historian by profession), so he co-wrote a couple of the difficult pieces with me.

I remain grateful for this project, which became "Born of War ... Dedicated to Peace: A History of Sixth US Army."
What's the story behind your latest book?
"His Beloved Infidel," was inspired by a book I read. "Daughter of Persia" is the autobiography of Sattareh Farman Farmaian, who was the first social worker in Iran. She lived under three very different government regimes, and was almost executed by the Ayatollah Khomeini during the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

That got me thinking about how ordinary people are affected by extraordinary events ... and gave me the idea to write Farukh and Catherine's story of love in the time of revolution.

"Clytie's Caller," about a woman who suffers PTSD, came from studying the disorder ... as well as my own experiences with panic attacks.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the Pacific Northwest. I wrote a lot when I was growing up because it rained so much, to be honest; it gave me an escape.

Interestingly enough, only one of my tales, "The Rock Star in the Mirror (or, How David Bowie Ruined My Life)," takes place in the Pacific Northwest.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I like the idea of controlling the whole process, from story ideas to genre, even down to the cover art. There are so many great stories to tell, and the Big Five don't always seem interested in making sure that they see the light of day.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I cannot say enough good things about Smashwords. I came on-board in 2009, before the extended distribution/Premium Catalog was even available. I sell more books through the Premium Catalog than any other outlet.

I love that Smashwords is so easy for authors to use, which encourages me to publish more works.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Bringing new characters and situations to life!
What do your fans mean to you?
I am grateful to each and every reader ... each and every fan on my website or Facebook page ... all of you! Knowing that my stories make a difference in your lives makes me smile every single day.
What are you working on next?
I've just released "In The Eye of The Storm," the sequel to "In The Eye of The Beholder," and my first Regency novelette, "Clytie's Caller." The next items in the pipeline are an eBook "box set" of my paperback, "Brief Interludes," which is a collection of my short fiction, and an omnibus edition of the "Seen Through the Phantom's Eyes" series.
Published 2014-05-15.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Seen Through the Phantom's Eyes: The Omnibus Edition
Series: Seen Through the Phantom's Eyes. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 121,870. Language: English. Published: June 2, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Victorian, Fiction » Romance » Historical
Author Sharon E. Cathcart presents an omnibus edition of "In The Eye of the Beholder," "In The Eye of The Storm" and the award-winning short fiction collection, "Through the Opera Glass." Together for the first time in a "box set," these books bring readers into the world of the notorious Phantom of the Opera, Erik Le Maître, through the streets of Paris, London, and San Francisco.
Brief Interludes: A Collection of Short Fiction
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 33,240. Language: English. Published: June 2, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Cultural & ethnic themes » Cultural interest, general, Fiction » Literature » Literary
Author Sharon E. Cathcart presents a "box set" collection of short fiction, featuring the full text of "Around the World in 80 Pages," "The Rock Star in the Mirror," and "His Beloved Infidel."
In The Eye of The Storm: A Novel of the Phantom of the Opera
Series: Seen Through the Phantom's Eyes. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 46,600. Language: English. Published: April 28, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Victorian, Fiction » Romance » Historical
San Francisco, 1948 When a mysterious stranger approaches Clarice Kaye in her favorite restaurant, his words trigger a voyage of discovery: “You look just like your grandmother, but you have your mother’s eyes.” There was only one question in Clarice’s mind: how could he know?
Clytie's Caller
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,270. Language: English. Published: March 15, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Regency, Fiction » Romance » Regency
Bath, 1816. Clytemnestra Preston has become so terrified of life that she refuses to leave her room. Not even her family can convince her to take her place in Society again. Doctor Samuel Whittington, late of His Majesty's Army, may be her only chance for a cure ... and romance. Can Sam convince Clytie to open the door, and her heart?
His Beloved Infidel
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 16,970. Language: English. Published: July 2, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary, Fiction » Cultural & ethnic themes » Cultural interest, general
Farukh and Catherine are colleagues at Paris' World Language Institute. He is Persian; she is American. Can their newly-discovered love survive the strain of Iran's Islamic Revolution?
Through the Opera Glass
Series: Seen Through the Phantom's Eyes. Price: $1.59 USD. Words: 20,520. Language: English. Published: January 11, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author, Fiction » Historical » Victorian
Author Sharon E. Cathcart took up a challenge in 2012: to write flash fiction and full length short stories based on various prompts. Each story features one or more characters from "In The Eye of The Beholder: A Novel of the Phantom of the Opera" or its sequel, "In The Eye of The Storm."
The Rock Star in the Mirror (or, How David Bowie Ruined My Life)
Price: $1.29 USD. Words: 6,210. Language: English. Published: October 24, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author, Fiction » Literature » Literary
Joe is a small-town Oregon guy. He's madly in love with Lynnie ... who has a huge crush on David Bowie. Joe will do almost anything to get Lynnie's attention, but there are always consequences.
Some Brief Advice for Indie Authors
Price: Free! Words: 8,830. Language: English. Published: August 29, 2012. Categories: Nonfiction » Publishing » Self-publishing, Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Small business and entrepreneurship
Author Sharon E. Cathcart presents a compendium of her most popular blog posts on the business of writing. With subject matter ranging from building relationships with one's readers to creating a brand statement, this book provides answers to some of the questions Cathcart has encountered during her career as an author.
Around the World in 80 Pages
Price: Free! Words: 10,370. Language: English. Published: September 12, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
Author Sharon E. Cathcart presents ten short stories of various genres, each taking place in a different location. With subject matter ranging from paranormal to historical fiction, urban fantasy to literary fiction, there is something in this sampler for everyone.
2010 Hindsight: A Year of Personal Growth, In Spite of Myself
Price: $1.29 USD. Words: 19,480. Language: English. Published: January 25, 2011. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Woman biographies, Nonfiction » Biography » Autobiographies & Memoirs
Author Sharon E. Cathcart started 2010 with two resolutions: take more exercise and learn French cookery. Instead, she found herself on a journey of personal growth as she rose to unanticipated challenges.
You Had to Be There: Three Years of Mayhem and Bad Decisions in the Portland Music Scene
Price: $2.59 USD. Words: 25,240. Language: English. Published: November 8, 2010. Categories: Nonfiction » Music » Biography, Nonfiction » Biography » Autobiographies & Memoirs
During her teenage years, author Sharon E. Cathcart dreamed of working in the music business. She lived that dream for seven years, beginning at age 18. Unfortunately, she learned that sometimes dreams turn quickly to nightmares. Updated for 2015, to answer the question: "where are they now?"
Sui Generis
Price: Free! Words: 7,580. Language: English. Published: June 3, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
Author Sharon E. Cathcart ("In The Eye of The Beholder," "Les Pensees Dangereuses") presents a sampler of essays and short fiction. The collection features "Heart of Stone," a short story never previously published.
Les Pensees Dangereuses: Dangerous Thoughts about Life, Love, Pets, Friends and Depression
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 28,900. Language: English. Published: October 2, 2009. Categories: Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Mental health, Nonfiction » Biography » Autobiographies & Memoirs
Part autobiography and part inspiration, "Les Pensees Dangereuses" (French for "dangerous thoughts") is a series of essays on friendship, spirituality, education, bullying, animals, clinical depression and more. Author Sharon E. Cathcart ("In The Eye of The Beholder") shares her thoughts, including an unfinished autobiography, "Unmasking My Phantoms: My Dance With Madness," in this new book.
In The Eye of The Beholder
Series: Seen Through the Phantom's Eyes. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 55,700. Language: English. Published: June 6, 2009. Categories: Fiction » Romance » General, Fiction » Historical » General
When French equestrian Claire Delacroix loses her fiance in a tragic accident, she comes to live at the Paris Opera during its 1890s heyday. Whilst working at the opera, she meets a mysterious, masked stranger: Erik. Is it possible that the two of them will heal the pain of each other's past? Updated for 2015 with glossaries of equestrian terms and French words used in the text.