Today’s Author Profile is someone who is only slightly newer to the ranks of published authors than me. This makes us kindred spirits of sorts, though I suspect that is me trying to ride her coat tales a bit. I’ve enjoyed getting to know her over the past couple months and find that we have quite a bit in common, other then her being a her and straight and funny and . . . well maybe we don’t have that much in common, but I still enjoy chatting with her and I hope you will enjoy her post. Skylar is going to talk about herself and her first book Exposed. If you haven’t picked up her book, I’d suggest you buy it soon. So with that, here’s Skylar.
Author Profile: Skylar M. Cates.
1) Exposed is your first published book, have you written anything else that readers can find either on line or that you’ve self published?
Long ago, in another life, I did publish poetry. I honestly think many of those literary magazines don’t exist anymore. Unless you are Allen Ginsberg or somebody, the poetry world paid in pennies and magazine subscriptions, but I loved it. As for self-publishing anything, I have never done that and doubt that I would pursue it. I like having an editor too much. Self-publishing takes organization, discipline, and technical savvy—all things I lack.
2) Tell us about some of different levels of conflict and tension in Exposed.
Well, I hope there was some decent sexual tension! Lol!
And obviously, I am a fan of the big secret trope. I liked the idea of the reader anticipating the moment that secret might come out and its consequences.
Another theme I wanted to explore in Exposed was betrayal. The most obvious betrayal is again the secret, but I also wanted to explore the big and small ways that a family might betray the two main characters. For Rafe, the betrayal is absolute—a total rejection —a family member’s refusal to believe in his version of the truth. Without giving away spoilers, I think this is a key aspect to everything that Rafe does in the novel. For Daniel, it is about smaller betrayals. It is about family expectations. Expectations can be killer! Even with a loving family, Daniel still feels their pressure weighing down on him.
There is also the question of forgiveness. When should we forgive? When should we not?
3) Golf plays a major role in your book, as in Daniel is a professional golfer. How did you decided to write a book about a golfer?
It does play a role, but it might not be the role a reader expects. I actually prefer and know more about team sports, but I realized quickly that would never work for the novel. Daniel would never walk away from his team! I needed a solo sport. I needed a sport, too, that made tons of money. I had a pretty short list at that point: tennis or golf. I had read a few romance books with tennis players, but I had not seen one about a golfer (forgive me if any are out there and I missed them). I was fortunate that my good friend is a golf fan and guided me with some of the information. Additionally, without giving things away, I wanted to explore the price of fame.
4) Were there any other areas of the book you needed to do research for? How did that go?
I’m still learning how to research well. Although I have been on boats and smaller yachts, I tried to research a yacht the size of Daniel’s boat. Getting Rafe on the yacht was a major PITA too. The problem with research is that the Internet is unreliable. I am currently trying to research Night Stalkers for my WIP. I gave up on the computer and hit the library.
5) The initial reviews to Exposed were very positive. How did it feel reading that first one? Were you scared to look at it in case it wasn’t so great?
I was terrified. After listening to other authors’ horror stories about reviews, I still am a nervous wreck. I truly appreciate those folks who wrote such wonderful things about the book: thank you, thank you, thank you!
However, I’m also still a chicken. I don’t seek them out. If somebody sends me one, I have my husband read it to me. I can’t even look! Maybe that all gets easier? I don’t know!
6) We all have favorite books what’s yours? Is there a writer or writers who inspired you to write or whose writing style you look up to?
There are many writers on my list. I think that I have books that just hit me right at certain times and have lingered in my heart. Here are a few classics: The World According To Garp, Huckleberry Finn, Crime and Punishment. I also enjoyed more recent stuff like: Tell The Wolves I’m Home, Family Pictures, Prep…see, my list will keep on going!
Additionally, I am honored to be a part of DSP. They have so many wonderful writers there! They all inspire me daily.
7) Do you have a favorite character from your book? If so who?
No. I love certain things about each of them. For instance, I love that Daniel’s shy and kind. I love that Rafe’s a smartass and kind of a mess.
8) Did getting your first book contract change your outlook on writing?
No. At least, I don’t think so? It made me feel good. Being rejected makes you feel like crap, so it is nice to feel wanted. My outlook on writing is pretty internal: it comes from some need inside of me. I don’t think that changed. Although, having deadlines set for edits and so forth does keep me on a tighter schedule.
9) Have you ever self published anything? If you have, how does it differ from having a publisher buy your work?
I have not self-published.
10) Marketing – yes, I said that dirty word. Talking about your approach to ‘selling’ your book and this impacts your writing?
Um…I have no plan. No approach at all. It seems to be working for me! *laughs* Seriously, I am so Kermit green! My friends told me to blog and join FB, and I did those two things. Otherwise, I’m just drifting along in my little bubble.
11) Do you ever model characters after people you know? Looks? Personality? Life events?
Yes, I do that all the time. I eavesdrop. I observe. At a bar or restaurant, for example, my husband might be watching the basketball game, and I’m watching all the people around us.
I take pieces, not the whole person. My neighbor is male, overweight, and sells computer equipment. He is not a perky young girl like Christie. Yet, I used a piece of him for her character. Like Christie, he thinks of himself as “tolerant” and acts like a total ignoramus about gay people and children. When my friend and his partner visited me, this neighbor warned me not to let them kiss out of “concern” for my kids. He made me furious…and then he made me want to capture that sort of prejudice in my novel. You know, I really need to drop a copy of Exposed in his mailbox.
12) If you could meet any writer, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
I think it would be fun to meet Roald Dahl, Anne Sexton, or Mark Twain. My kids would go crazy to meet Jeff Kinney (he writes the Wimpy Kid books), so I would be happy to have him over for dinner too. Wait a minute—I’d have to clean my chaotic house—we’d meet at an intimate restaurant instead.
Then again, sometimes meeting a writer in person is disappointing. I think you can love the book and not the author. Or you might love the author as a person, and not love his/her books. I don’t know. I occasionally wish writers and other artists could maintain that old-fashioned air of mystery. Does that make sense?
13) Do you like to travel? Do you ever go places and find inspiration for a new story in a new place?
I love to travel. In my earlier years, I was very lucky. I traveled a few times to Europe and the Caribbean. I have also lived in quite a few places here: Florida, Arizona, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and so on. I do think about the setting for each novel. My new WIP is set in Arizona.
14) If you could meet any of your characters who would it be?
I don’t know.
I can tell you the one that I have little desire to meet: Gordon.
15) What’s next for you? After how well received this is, what can all your anxious fans expect next?
Anxious fans? LOL! I hope that’s true! I’m honored and humbled by the thought.
I have a few WIPs. One is about a guidance counselor with a warm, slightly crazy family. The other MC is in the military and needs some love.
Thanks so much for hosting me!
After years of running from a traumatic secret, young journalist Rafe Quintero is making his way in the world alone. Now that he’s landed a job at a Miami newspaper, he’s hungry for success. His goal? A blistering exposé on closeted PGA golfer Daniel Andrews. Rafe will stop at nothing to get the scoop—even if it means going undercover on Daniel’s private yacht.
Daniel is used to being in the spotlight, but his reputation for being cold and unfriendly hasn’t made him very popular. Still reeling from his mother’s death and his ex-boyfriend’s engagement, he hides out on his yacht to escape the press hounding his every step. His instant attraction to Rafe, his new crew member, is a problem he can’t ignore.
When Rafe and Daniel begin a steamy affair, Rafe knows it’s only a matter of time before Daniel discovers his betrayal. Now he has to choose: confess and hope Daniel can swallow his pride and forgive him, or put his ambition ahead of his heart and follow the story.
Skylar M. Cates loves a good romance. She is quite happy to drink some coffee, curl up with a good book, and not move all day. Most days, however, Skylar is chasing after her husband, her kids, and her giant dog, Wasabi.