Interview with Cate Morgan

How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I truly believe that while authors of today are becoming entrepreneurs, the authors of tomorrow are going to level up to a wild variety of hybrid models. I also believe that Smashwords is, and is going to be, a natural element of those models. It's such an exciting time to be a writer, to have this whole wide world of possibilities available. There's now, literally, no end to the stories that can be told, and storytelling, and human beings, is one our richest traditions.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I've always had stories inside me, for as long as I can remember. They've spent a lot of time pent up, waiting to be told. To release them, one after another, is liberating and exhilarating and scary all at the same time--like being on a roller coaster. The other part I love is connecting with my readers and fellow writers and geeks, all who share my passion for stories. I enjoy my time in writing groups and forums, and workshops. There's this misconception that writing is a lonely, solitary endeavor, and it can be--but it doesn't have to be. Connecting with fellow readers and writers strikes an essential balance.
What do your fans mean to you?
Beyond my editor and publisher, my readers are who I am accountable to, and therefore my strongest motivators. They're the ones who pay me, not my publisher--amazing and generous as my publisher is! But it's they're my audience, and it's their money that allows me to keep doing what I'm doing without playing to an empty room. It's my job to do write the best stories I can, in the best way possible, for their enjoyment. Because as soon as your first story is published, either traditionally or self-done, you immediately cease to become a hobbyist or aspiring author, and become a professional. From that moment on, your stories are no longer your own--and that's exactly how it should be. Stories are meant to be shared.
What are you working on next?
I've just finished my Production Schedule for 2014, so I can tell you I have an ambitious year ahead of me. First, there's the "Cleanup on Aisle 2013" I must contend with--a draft I'm finishing, some polishing on the third book on my Keepers of the Flame series, and revisions on the first book of a new series. Plus, I just opened a new notebook on Keepers #4. And that's just January!
Who are your favorite authors?
Neil Gaiman and Joss Whedon almost go without saying, and for obvious reasons. This last year I discovered Brenna Yevanoff, whose writing quite literally floored me. She has a deep, devastating, disturbing lyricism I'd love to be able to pull off. I also found myself thoroughly addicted to Kresley Cole's Immortals After Dark series--I blew through it like a car full of Valkyrie through town with C4 in the trunk!
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Knowing what I have to accomplish each day, writing-wise. I have a LOT going on at any given time, so my limited writing time has to be carefully organized and planned. I get up knowing what I have to write in order to get the job done, and hoping like all get out I can accomplish it. Every morning begins with a mental list I recite in my head over and over, and ends with the next day's list. And my brain doesn't actually stop, so every day is a constant race to keep up with it.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Indulging myself with other forms of storytelling--reading books, watching movies and TV, playing computer games. I also enjoy spending time in one of a couple of writing communities. Helping other people with their stories enables me to find perspective on my own work, and helps other storytellers a leg up in the process.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Through reviews and recommendations, mainly, either through book review sites or on Goodreads. Readers tend to be passionate about what they read, either one way or another, and therefore tend to be honest about what they love and don't love. So it's to other readers I find my books from.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Oh, gosh. I'm pretty sure is was an awful bit of fan fiction I wrote on our first home computer as a kid--The Babysitters' Club, I think. I wrote it on the first ever version of Word Perfect, which only held a limited file size, before it deleted your last fifty pages or so. But I think a lot of writers try their hand at fan fiction at one point or another--other than reading voraciously, it's how you learn, how you soak up dialogue and story structure without realizing you're learning.
What is your writing process?
I'm a hybrid of a planner and a pantser. I do development and key scene work before I ever draft a word, to the point where my writer's notebook ends up becoming my first, or "discovery" draft. My second, "meditation" draft goes into my computer, on an average of about 1,000 words per day. The final draft is the revision draft, where I look to correct and deepen. Then I send the draft off to BETA readers, and work on something else while I wait to hear back. Once I do, I incorporate the consistent notes that come back and expand on any questions that need answering, a final polish, and submit.
How do you approach cover design?
I think most would-be authors imagine their cover art, whether they're doing it themselves or have someone else doing it for them. The stories I've had published and done the publishing on so far have been action stories, so I think it terms of "hero shots", like in movie posters. I also need to consider appropriate color palettes, and accurate representations of the story. Placement is also key, and you want enough separate elements to attract readers and convey the theme or idea of the story without it being too busy.
Published 2014-01-01.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Innovative Adventures of Lucia Carlisle
Series: Blood & Steam, Book 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 27,170. Language: English. Published: May 1, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Steampunk & retropunk, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
It's North America in 1889, and the Golden Age of the railway is in peril as airship travel begins to capture the imagination of the entire world--with the help of investigative journalist Nellie Bly and her trip 'round the globe. Lucia is in the middle of it all, helping to build the first airship port Stateside.
The Mysterious Adventures of Becca Carlisle
Series: Blood & Steam, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 26,460. Language: English. Published: May 1, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Steampunk & retropunk, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
Becca's missing brother Archie has been found. And it seems her father, presumed lost at sea in the Straits of Gibraltar, may not be quite as dead as all that after all. So one might be tempted think everything would be coming up Carlisle. Instead, the Baron Bloody Lindsey is at it again, this time with the assistance of his much craftier sister.
Hearth & Home
Series: Waking Muse, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 30,880. Language: English. Published: April 24, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Food writer and former chef Jo Kinney has just one rule when it comes to relationships: business must not be mixed with the personal. The first–and last–time she did, her career blew up like a bad soufflé. So when she’s lured to Montreal to cover the comeback of Chef Ian Michel, it’s not so much an escape as it is a “strategic retreat”. Just one problem: It was Jo who wrote the review that proved
The Amazing Adventures of Acacia Carlisle
Series: Blood & Steam, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 30,790. Language: English. Published: September 29, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Steampunk & retropunk
(3.50 from 2 reviews)
First, Acacia's brother goes missing. Then, her father's airship goes down in the search. And she knows exactly who's responsible: the Baron Bloody Lindsey. Now she's hunting him--and she's loaded for kraken.
The Lady Tennant
Series: Waking Muse, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 20,180. Language: English. Published: April 29, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
When violinist Tamsin Hayes moves in to the cottage on the country estate where Robert is composing his masterpiece, serious trouble arises with friends and family. Will fate intercede to keep them apart just as they've found one another?
Tara
Series: Keepers of the Flame: Origins, Book 3. Price: Free! Words: 15,330. Language: English. Published: February 23, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic, Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
In this prequel to BRIGHID'S FLAME (Keepers of the Flame #3), a young Tara and Stephen lead a group of students through a war-torn New York City to make a new life in Central Park, which brings with it a whole new set of problems.
Callie
Series: Keepers of the Flame: Origins, Book 2. Price: Free! Words: 13,200. Language: English. Published: March 30, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban
They called it the Age of Jazz, and Chicago was at its heart. It is here that Callie meets a dashing business man by the name of Johnny Sinclair, and her life is changed forever. But Johnny isn't all he claims to be, and even as he leads Callie to her destiny, he also starts a mutual hunt that spans five decades and two cities to culminate in the ultimate sacrifice--her life.
Aika
Series: Keepers of the Flame: Origins, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 12,930. Language: English. Published: December 28, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Fantasy » General
Aika Lareto’s life comes apart at the seams when her fiancé is killed in the first attacks of the Seven-Year War. Suddenly everything she thought she knew turns to chaos and smoke. When she can’t get out of London, joining the city militia seems the next best thing. It is there The Agent finds her, and recruits her into Dreamtech–would be government conglomerate with a plan to save the city. But