Name Catherine Cavendish
Where are you from
Originally from Hereford, England where the famous white-face beef cattle come from. This was swiftly followed by Birmingham, Halifax, Liverpool, Leeds, Peterborough, Bedford, Hull, back to Liverpool and now we divide our time between there and North Wales where we share our home with a delightful ‘trainee’ cat (she’s nearly eight months old) called Serafina and a friendly part-time ghost possibly called Mrs Edwards
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
There has been plenty going on this year. With the closure of Samhain Publishing, my books with them – Linden Manor, Saving Grace Devine, The Pendle Curse, Dark Avenging Angel and The Devil’s Serenade have all been reissued by Crossroad Press.
I have also signed a three book deal with Kensington-Lyrical beginning with Wrath of the Ancients, which is available for pre-order now and comes out on October 24th
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I don’t remember a time I wasn’t writing. I loved reading so much and started at a precociously early age. I kept running out of things to read, so I wrote my own
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I was nine years old! But then, not for many years until I signed my first book contract
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I have always loved ghost stories and some odd things were happening in a house where I lived at the time, so I drew inspiration from them and a story developed from there. That one never saw a publisher, but it spurred me on.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I think it’s difficult to judge your own writing in that way. I don’t (generally) do happy endings or romance, but I do love to lure readers into atmospheric houses where shadows move and unseen eyes watch every move. I love to add a Gothic flavour where appropriate and if I scare myself, I usually know it’s working.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Wrath of the Ancients is descriptive of what the story is about. Dr. Emeryk Quintillus is an archaeologist with an obsessive love for the last pharaoh of Egypt – Cleopatra. He is determined to bring her back to life and to tear her spirit away from the only man she ever loved – Mark Antony. He will stop at nothing to get what he wants, even if that means incurring the wrath of the ancient gods
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
If you see a strangely dressed man with black eyes, flowing black hair, a stovepipe hat, beard and long black jacket – run like hell!
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The locations are real – Taposiris Magna is a ruined temple near Alexandria in Egypt and recent archaeology is leading experts to believe Cleopatra may be buried there (possibly alongside Mark Antony). The locations in Vienna are real too – and the historical characters seen in the Café Central in 1913 would most likely have been there. Gustav Klimt – who plays a cameo role – was also real and I have tried to present him as I think he would have behaved in the situation I put him.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Wuthering Heights has been a recurring favourite throughout my life. I love that dark, brooding atmosphere Emily Brontë created. I regard Ramsey Campbell as a major influence and I read his books avidly. Do I need to say I love Stephen King’s work? I certainly do. Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House is also compulsive reading and Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black is a perfect example of how she creates an authentic period atmosphere in a non-specific timeframe. I believe her publisher (or maybe her agent?) calls it ‘Hill-time’.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
There are some amazing new – or relatively new – authors out there. Hunter Shea, Jonathan Janz, Ronald Malfi, Russell James, Holli Moncrieff, Somer Canon and, away from horror, Shehanne Moore writes great historical fiction, while Martin Millar writes the most compulsive fantasy – check out The Good Fairies of New York or Lonely Werewolf Girl – totally irreverent and great fun.
I can’t single out any one author. All the ones I have mentioned – and more besides – are my favourites and I love them because they write strong stories, with memorable plotlines and characters so that I lose myself in their world and am sorry when the book ends.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My fellow writers. Horror authors are an incredibly supportive, friendly bunch, and I am lucky to know some brilliant ones, along with some amazing non-horror authors who have supported me throughout.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I don’t think so – but it’s not out yet. As for my previous titles, I don’t think there is anything I would change fundamentally – although you can always find a better word than the one you chose!
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
From all the reading I have always done.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Here’s the synopsis for Wrath of the Ancients:
DESTINY IN DEATH
Eminent archeologist Dr. Emeryk Quintillus has unearthed the burial chamber of Cleopatra. But this tomb raider’s obsession with the Queen of the Nile has nothing to do with preserving history. Stealing sacred and priceless relics, he murders his expedition crew, and flees—escaping the quake that swallows the site beneath the desert sands . . .
Young widow Adeline Ogilvy has accepted employment at the mansion of Dr. Quintillus, transcribing the late professor’s memoirs. Within the pages of his journals, she discovers the ravings of a madman convinced he possessed the ability to reincarnate Cleopatra. Within the walls of his home, she is assailed by unexplained phenomena: strange sounds, shadowy figures, and apparitions of hieroglyphics.
Something pursued Dr. Quintillus from Egypt. Something dark, something hungry. Something tied to the fate and future of Adeline Ogilvy . . .
Wrath of the Ancients is available for pre-order from:
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I get carried away sometimes and have to extract my characters from some extremely awkward, dangerous situations. That’s half the fun though!
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
It depends. For most of them, no, but the trilogy for Kensington wouldn’t have worked so well for me if I didn’t know Vienna as well as I do, or if I hadn’t been to Egypt. I will soon recommence work on a planned trilogy of novellas which required me to visit Edinburgh as they are largely set in the famous Closes. It all adds to the atmosphere – and gives me a great excuse to visit my favourite places.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I don’t know who designed the cover for Wrath of the Ancients yet – but I love it. The books that have now been reissued by Crossroad Press have covers designed by David Dodd. I love them!
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The ending. I’m not saying why, but it took a while before I got it how I wanted it.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
That writing a trilogy is in some ways harder than writing three entirely standalone novels. It’s so easy to be inconsistent over minor detail – and it’s important to get it right. Loyal readers will notice if you don’t.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead
I would love Johnny Depp to play Emeryk Quintillus. He does dark, brooding and sinister just as well as he does the more comic fantasy characters.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Keep going. And don’t forget to read – not just your own genre but others as well. It will broaden your skillset as a writer.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you. I love each and every one of you and hope to keep entertaining you for many more years to come.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
We Are Always Watching – the latest from Hunter Shea
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
It may have been Alice in Wonderland but I’m not sure now. It was a long time ago.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Stephen Fry, Paul Merton – Have I Got News for You – always has me laughing out loud as does QI – Alan Davies is hilarious and Sandi Toksvig is doing a grand job.
Any animal film – even if it’s a cartoon – always reduces me to a messy, soggy blob. The Incredible Journey had me weeping buckets and I have never dared watch Watership Down
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would like to meet and why?
Only one? Wow! That’s a tough one. Oscar Wilde was the first person in my head. He was born so far ahead of his time. I would love to take tea with him at Claridge’s and get his views on how the world has changed since his time.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
The End…or is it?
Because I always like to finish with a little twist in the tale (tail?)
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Apart from copious amounts of reading, and film watching, I am a history buff and love exploring ancient sites and historic homes
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I have mentioned a couple above but, as far as films go, I love watching horror – Cherry Tree, The Hallow and Wakewood are among my more recent favourites. I also love Neil Simon’s California Suite, and a fabulous spoof murder mystery called Murder by Death. Hilarious.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Foods: Italian. Colours: Black, red, purple. Music; Goldfrapp. Richard Hawley, Liam McKahey, Mary Chapin Carpenter and lots more besides, depending on what mood I’m in.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Act. I have trodden the boards in Am Dram but would have loved to do it professionally.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Cat’s Amazon page: Amazon
Thank you for hosting me today, Fiona. Really enjoyed it!