TS. I found Catherine when I stumbled across her stunning novel: Have You Seen Luis Velez?” By now most of my followers know that I am a voracious reader so it’s really something when I tell you, …Luis Velez is the best book I have ever read.
Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of 39 published and forthcoming books. Of all of them, Pay It Forward seems to be the most important to other people. Catherine says it’s not the most important to her. She says she writes two books a year, because she has always written fast, and now, “I have a publisher who is willing to keep up with me. When not writing, I ride my horse, travel, and take photos of distant galaxies and nebulae (spoiler alert: this is not easy). I’m also learning to play the cello, but not well. Yet.”
Q. Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing? Or tell us about your ‘dream’ work space.
CRH. I write in my easy chair in the living room. When my mom was alive, and shared my home with me in her retirement, and my sister and her kids came up to visit regularly, we created a writing studio for me. We had it built over the garage. But my mom passed away in 2012. My sister is also deceased, as is one of her children. The other is a full-grown adult. So now the main house is very quiet. I have a zero-gravity chair, which is better for my back than sitting up in a desk chair at a desktop computer. It has a sort of lap-desk arrangement, and I write on a notebook computer. There’s a seed feeder and a hummingbird feeder hanging right outside the window on my right, and plenty of light. So this is where everything gets done. The studio is now a guest quarters.
Q. Do you have any special rituals or quirks when you sit down to write? (a neat work space, a laptop at the ready, sharpened #2 pencils, legal pad, cup of tea, glass of brandy, favorite pajamas, etc.)
CRH. Nope. The only thing I need is a good enough sense of the next scene. I’m not putting down people who do. Whatever works. But I think we need to be careful about stating what we “need” to write. I just need an idea and I’m good to go. If I sat down with a cup of tea it would only get cold.
PS: What exactly would a #2 pencil have to do with writing a novel? (Kidding. Half. Well… mostly kidding. No, not kidding so much at all. It’s 2019.)
Q. Could you tell us something about yourself that we might not already know?
CRH. Hmm. Let’s see. I’m a big Randy Rainbow fan, and I know his mom. She’s one of my readers, which got me all fangirling, and then she was all fangirling because I’m a Randy fan, and we fangirled our way into a friendship.
I ride classical English dressage with my horse, because I guess nothing is ever too challenging for me. I am a major glutton for punishment.
I spent a week in an ashram in Rishikesh, India, at the invitation of a very well-known and venerated swami who was (he is since deceased) a big fan of the book and foundation (Pay It Forward).
About three years ago I celebrated my 61st birthday by flying to Nepal, taking a small STOL plane to “the world’s most dangerous airport” (Lukla) and then trekking several thousand feet uphill for a stay at the Hotel Everest View. As previously stated, I like a good challenge.
Anybody who follows me on Facebook knows I’m learning astrophotography (speaking of being a glutton for punishment) but I’m sure there are also many people who don’t know.
Q. Do you have a set time each day (or night) to write?
CRH. Yes and no. If I have something ready to go, I’ll sit down in the morning. I get up in the morning, do some Yoga and deep stretches, a little bit of meditation, then one cup of coffee and I’m off. But there are mornings when I don’t write. It comes and goes in fits and starts.
Q. What’s your best advice to other writers for overcoming procrastination?
CRH. If you haven’t started the project, make a digital file for it. Put the title and author in the header. Number the pages. Type “Chapter One.” Then challenge yourself to write a first sentence. Nothing beats an inability to start like starting.
If I have something in process, but can’t seem to get the next chapter or scene going, I’ll get into the file to just add one sentence or paragraph. In almost every
case I end up with several new pages before I close the file again. If that doesn’t do it, it might be time to look at what you’re writing. Have you lost interest in it? This may surprise you, but my advice might be to dump it. You may have lost interest in it for a reason. Don’t throw it away. Never throw anything away. Just give yourself permission to work on something new. If it’s not inspiring you to write it, it may have trouble inspiring total strangers to read it. Try to find a project that’s exciting, and that calls you back to work.
Q. Where/when do you first discover your characters?
CRH. When I have finished a novel and turned it over to my agent, and I know I need a new idea. I open up for a new idea, and I meet a character. I generally just see a glimpse of them, having some sort of life experience. Then I spend a few weeks in my head, with nothing down on paper yet, coaxing them to tell me more.
CRH. Oh, how I wish I knew. I have no idea where any of this comes from. Sheer imagination, and anyone who understands it has a better brain than mine.
Interviewer: I so understand. Most of my stories I can identify where they have their Origins. My mother and her equally outrageous sisters are the basis for that fiction. But I also write rather bloodthirsty True Crime Mysteries and I have no idea where they came from. I just hang on for the ride.
Q. What first inspired you to write?
Continued…July 26th: Part Two
Did you miss my Review of Have You Seen Luis Velez?
MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with best-selling AUTHORS! May: Boo Walker, June: Anne D. LeClaire and July — Catherine Ryan Hyde
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