Tuesday 19 February 2013

Author Interview – Catherine Astolfo

Tell us a bit about your family. My mother is quite elderly now and has dementia, but when we were kids, she was a fabulous storyteller. My four younger sisters and I loved listening to her tales. I think that’s where I got my drive to be a writer. Now we’re all older and have kids (and grandkids), but the storytelling continues.

What is your favorite food? Pasta! It’s also my downfall. Bread smothered in butter, pasta in any kind of sauce piled high on the plate – they make me swoon. And swell.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? I’ve always had the feeling I was born with it. I don’t remember a time when the words weren’t floating in my head. The compulsion to share my stories seems to have been part of me forever.

When did you first know you could be a writer? In Grade 8, a teacher read my stories and told me I had a terrific style. He thought I was a writer already. I agree with his assessment. Anyone who has the urge to put words on paper might be a writer. It’s the follow-through that counts. Sometimes I use the word “author” to make the differentiation. For me, an author is a writer who wants his/her creation to be read by others. You have to be willing to rip apart your initial output and edit, edit, edit. It’s a lot of work. Only authors are dedicated (obsessed?) enough to put in the time.

Who or what influenced your writing once you began? When I first retired and began serious work on my unfinished novels I was advised by a friend to join Sisters in Crime and Crime Writers of Canada. These organizations led to critique groups, mentors, friendships and networks. In the last couple of years, my publisher, Cheryl Tardif of Imajin Books, has been a huge influence.

Have you developed a specific writing style? I’d say I’m a fairly descriptive writer, bordering on “literary”, that is, well-developed vocabulary and expressive prose. I love to write in first person and present tense.

Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it? I often suffer from writer’s block. What I do is this: I sit down at the laptop and I write. I write anything. A journal of my day. An outline of the current book. A diatribe against myself for having writer’s block. Anything that dislodges the obstruction and starts the writing flowing again.

Can you share a little of your current work with us? I recently gave birth to book baby #5. It’s a standalone, a bit of a hybrid of romance, psychological thriller, mystery and historical fiction. How’s that for multiple personalities? Before this one, which is at the moment unpublished, I wrote four books in the Emily Taylor Mystery series. They’re published by Imajin Books. The title of the first one is The Bridgeman.

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Genre – Mystery

Rating – 18+

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