Name – Cat Rambo

Age – 48

Where are you from – Bryan, Texas

A little about your self `ie your education Family life ect

 While I was born in Texas, my family left soon after to end up in South Bend, Indiana, where my dad wwas teaching at Notre Dame. That’s where I grew up. My dad’s an academic, so I grew up around the University of Notre Dame and later went there as an undergraduate, followed by graduate study at Johns Hopkins and Indiana University.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

I have a book freshly out, a collection of SF short stories called Near + Far, from Hydra House. I’m super pleased with it, and it’s kinda nifty because we’ve done it in the old Ace Double format. You can read the near future stories on one side, then flip the book over and read the far future ones. I’ve also got an SF novella, A Seed on the Wind, coming out this month.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

SInce I could start putting pen to paper. I loved reading as a kid and I wanted to produce the kinds of objects I loved. I made my own books out of folded paper and filled them up with words.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I finished my first book. 🙂

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

The first novel I finished was The Furies, which followed the adventures of an all female superhero group by that name. I finished it while I was in grad school at Hopkins and its insistence on pop culture memes is partially a resistance to Hopkin’s more formalistic approach.

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

I like wordplay, which often emerges in my writing.

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

For the new collection, it grew out of my decision to do the book in the old Ace Double format, with one group of stories on one side and a very different group on the other. Because they fell along the lines of near and far future stories as well, the title seemed a natural.

Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Absolutely not.

Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?

All of it, even the cannibalistic mermaids and talking cats.

Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I don’ think any writer escapes talking about their life, even when we dress it up with telepaths and clones. Stories talk about what it means to be human and our only experience of that, beyond the fiction we read, is that of our own.

Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?

Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, which I paid tribute to in “Bus Ride to Mars,” because it’s about storytelling. Samuel R. Delany’s The Fall of the Towers, which taught me what science fiction could be. Joanna Russ’s The Female Man, which taught me what science fiction could do. Rumi’s poetry. In nonfiction, Suzette Haden Elgin’s The Gentle Art of Verbal Self Defense.

Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Connie Willis, who I’ve taken numerous classes with, and who is one of the wisest women I know.

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

Right now an absolutely fascinating book about cooking, a new urban fantasy anthology edited by Jenn Brozek, and Graham Joyce’s Some Kind of Fairy Tale.

Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

I’m always looking for new writers. Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus was an excellent recent read and I’ll be looking for more from her for sure.

Fiona: What are your current projects?

I’m currently finishing a revision of a fantasy novel, a novella for a collaborative project, and a couple of short stories, as well as getting ready for World Fantasy Con at the end of the month.

Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

I spent much of my high school and college years at the Griffon Bookstore, whose wonderful proprietors, Sarah Bird and Ken Peczkowski, were always there for me.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Absolutely!

Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Near + Far? Not a thing, because I’m so happy with it.

Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

It grew naturally out of my love of reading.

Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Here’s a bit from a story I’ve been working on:

The house crouched in a dell between three hills, shaded and cool despite the dryness. A stone-ringed well beside the tiny structure, rounded like an igloo, so much a part of the landscape that it seemed grown rather than built. A front porch like a secret cavern, adobe walls cupped hands around it. Piled high with what seemed trash and debris at first but revealed itself bundles of dried herbs tied with blue and red string, a looped pile of old agave-fiber rope, a stack of old plates, their edges a writhing vine, as though mold had overtaken the china and blossomed in fractal patterns along the cracks. Dust sifted across abandoned spider webs, their former inhabitants consumed by the snake flicker that eased away from his foot on the step. On the door where a knocker might have been in a more formal establishment, a little doll made of rabbit fur and purple plastic, a Swarovski glitter at its throat. He started to reach out, hesitant. Who knew what germs it might carry?

The door creaked open.

The piss witch certainly had the theater of it all down.

She stood there in silhouette; there was a blaze of light behind her, the sunlight funneled through the bottles on the unshaded western wall.

He didn’t know what to call her, he realized. She rescued him.

“Dr. Lattimer, I presume.”

Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Getting butt in chair and being productive! I also tend to work on too many projects at once.

Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

I love Samuel R. Delany. Every sentence is so beautifully constructed, and he explores things like gender and class in a really interesting way. TALES FROM NEVERYON, for example, looks at the economics of a fantasy novel in a way that I’m not sure anyone else does.

Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

I do a good bit of traveling to science fiction conventions. In the next few months, I’ve got Steamcon here in Seattle, World Fantasy Convention in Toronto and then Confusion in Detroit, Michigan.

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

A fabulous artist named Sean Counley! here’s a link to his website: http://abscnth-seancounley.blogspot.com/

Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?

I wanted the stories to flow together in a natural but interesting way. I actually used that in my editing class: gave the students the stories and had them each come up with an order and an explanation of why they did it that way.

Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I learned from the reviews, more than the writing, that I write a lot about connections (or lack of them) and relationships.

Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

The writing is the most important thing. You can’t produce a fabulous story unless you’ve got a lump of words to work with, so get that on the page and then worry about revising and changing later.

Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I’m deeply appreciative of anyone who gives me some of their time. So thank you for reading.

Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done ?

I think I still would have done something pretty geeky, like game design.

Fiona: Do you have a website/blog if so what is it?

I blog and have links to my work as information about the online classes I give, all at http://www.kittywumpus.net

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