I would like to thank Cate Ashwood for stopping by today to talk about her debut novel Keeping Sweets and how she stumbled into the M/M genre. I recently read her debut, so you can check out the review here 😉
Honestly, how have you written so many novels already? I know I first saw Keeping Sweets in the Best M/M debuts of 2013 list and I really didn’t expect you to have already published so many books in the same year. You’ve been quite busy! 😉
I was only working part time last year and I spent as much of my time writing as I could. I managed to get Keeping Sweets, the Hope Cove Series and a novella with Skylar Cates done, but there will be a long gap between those and the next ones. I haven’t written as much recently because life has gotten in the way.
I can completely understand that… life has a way of being unpredictable 😉 It’s still very impressive that you got all those books finished and published. Hope you’ll find time to write many, many more! I just finished Keeping Sweets and LOVED it. Such a sweet romance!
Thank you. I am trying to write as much as I can before the baby comes, because I think life is going to get pretty busy once he or she is here. I’m so glad you liked Sweets! It’s very special to me since it was my first book.
I can understand that Keeping Sweets is special to you. It was a great read! I must admit that I have a soft spot for gay-for-pay storylines ever since reading Amy Lane’s “Chase in Shadow” and “Dex in Blue”. How did you get the idea for your first novel?
I’m not really sure where the idea came from. It started from a line in a song (it’s been so long now I don’t even remember which one). The original scene in my head didn’t make it into the novel, but the boys in the scene did. Whenever I’m starting a story, I always come up with the characters before I begin thinking about the plot. For Keeping Sweets, Evan came first, and then I needed someone to guide him, so Bran was born.
So what was it about Evan that fascinated you enough to build your first novel around him?
I love how wide-eyed and vulnerable he is, and I think that spoke to me because everyone has felt that way at some time or another. He’s so naive and so trusting and just GOOD.
Yeah, it really struck me as well how naive and innocent he was. Especially set against a very hard and often unmerciful business. Was it important to you to show the humans behind the “porn stars”, to make it harder for people to judge without taking the time to really meet the whole person, instead of the role they play for their job?
I’m glad he came across that way! Portraying the boys as being very human wasn’t something that was done intentionally to make a point, it was just who they were to me. They were a group of young guys who were there to do a job (a job some of them really loved and a job some of them weren’t so fond of), but I didn’t want them to be seen as soulless or even slutty. What you do for a living doesn’t dictate who you are.
I think that’s the most interesting aspect about gay-for-pay storylines for me. To be a porn star, the characters develop a second identity with a different name, often a slightly different history and have to navigate between their two lives, knowing the negative views other people would have on their job and sexual orientation. In what ways do you think your characters helped each other to find themselves?
I think mostly because they were honest about who they really were right from the beginning. Bran told Evan even before shooting started what his real name was; something he wouldn’t have done with anyone else. He trusted Evan, and Evan trusted him too, right off the bat. Evan brought Bran back into reality and opened him up to what he was missing, and Bran brought Evan out of his shell and gave him some life experience away from his awful experiences as a kid.
I loved that scene! Bran had established his mask so carefully, trying not to get attached to anybody and keep his private life separate from his work life. What about Evan made him drop all of his defenses?
Thanks Again! I think it was how vulnerable and naive Evan was. I think Bran saw a lot of himself when he’d first started out and it made him protective. It had been so long, too, since anyone had known who he really was and he was starting to lose himself. Evan saved him.
So he stopped protecting himself, because his need to protect Evan was greater than his sense of self preservation? I think that is what resonated most with me while reading the book. They balance and save each other and find love in an unlikely place. So, do you think their story is complete, or will there be another chapter for them?
Yes, and thank you. That’s what I loved most about them too. At first glance, Evan appears to be this naive kid who needs Bran to save him, but he has more power in the relationship than at first glance. This is almost the end of their story. I am working on a story for Colt, and Evan and Bran make cameo appearances, but they are happy together, and there isn’t a lot more to tell.
I’m actually glad to know their relationship won’t be pried apart just to create drama for them. That can feel very artificial and I think the two deserve their happiness. I’m really looking forward to reading the next book in the series! So, if I may ask, how did you get into the M/M Romance genre and who are your literary idols? As a gay man, I always wonder what draws women to writing about gay men 😉
Sure, I kind of stumbled into the genre because of my husband. He’s a paramedic and I wanted to read romance stories about paramedics. Surprisingly, there are very few m/f romances, so I picked up an m/m and never looked back! When I started writing, I thought I wanted to write m/f, but it just didn’t work. I switched to m/m and everything clicked into place.
Literary idols? Too many to name! And the best part of writing in this community is that I’ve become friends with most of them!
Yeah, this community is really awesome! I still can’t believe how many authors were willing to contribute to our blog and reward our readers with generous prizes. I’m meeting amazing people every day, who are open-minded and accepting and just a pleasure to talk to.
Yeah, it’s really fantastic. The most welcomed and accepted I’ve ever been, I think.
So, what sub genres do you personally prefer and are there plans to try out new ones in future books? And – something I always wonder with married female authors – does your husband read your books? 😉
My favourite is contemporary, but I will read almost anything. Up until now I’ve only written contemporary, but right now, actually this week, I started a book that’s a little bit fantasy/paranormal. I’m not sure how well I will do at writing it, but I’m having fun so far!
He doesn’t, but he’s not much of a reader to begin with. The books he enjoys are very far from what I write: Lord of the Rings, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Dune, Star Wars… Not exactly gay love stories. Well, unless you count Frodo and Sam.
I totally would have, but then Frodo turned into the most annoying character, so… ANYWAY – paranormal/fantasy sounds really exciting Anything about plot or characters you can tease us with (knowing of course that everything can still change at such an early stage)
I agree! I found him totally rude. Sam carried him up that freaking mountain and he didn’t so much as say thank you!
It’s still in the very early planning stages, but it was actually my dad and I who came up with the idea. The main character dies in the prologue.
That sounds really interesting I’m looking forward to it! It has been really wonderful to chat with you, Cate 😉 I’ll let you get back to writing now, but could you please tell us a bit about your new releases and upcoming projects before you go?
It’s been great chatting with you too! I really enjoyed talking about Sweets. It’s been a long time!
As for what’s coming up soon, I have way too much on my plate to ever get it all done this year, but coming out on Monday is Ironhearted, the third book in the Hope Cove series, and February 12th is a novella I co-wrote with Skylar M. Cates about a rockstar and a classical violinist. I’m very excited about that one. As for WIPs, Colt’s story is in there. He meets and falls in love with a very damaged school teacher from Colorado. I have the paranormal/fantasy that we talked about before, as well as a novel that Skylar and I are working on this month. I’ve also got a 5 book series that revolves round paramedics, nurses and cops. There are a couple of others that are in the beginning stages of planning as well, so we’ll see how that goes. It’s going to be a busy year for me, and I hope to get the bulk of it done before the baby comes!
Well thank you so much for all your questions. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you interviewing me. It was a lot of fun!
Keeping Sweets will definitively join my favorite! Thanks for the great interview and the giveaway for our readers. We really appreciate it! This has been my very first interview and you’ve been such a great interview partner that it really felt more like chatting with a friend than anything else 😉
Really? This was my first live interview and it was fantastic. I’ll admit I was a little nervous because I’m not so good at thinking on my feet, but you made it so comfortable and relaxing, so thank you.
Where to find Cate Ashwood
Cate Ashwood wrote her very first story in a hot pink binder when she was in the second grade and found her passion for writing. Her first successful foray into romance writing came five years later when she wrote her best friend, who was experiencing a case of unrequited love, her own happily ever after.
Cate’s life has taken a number of different and adventurous roads. She now lives a stone’s throw from the ocean, just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia with her husband and two cats. Her life is filled with family and friends, travel, and, of course, books.
Cate has graciously agreed to offer an e-book copy of any of her books as giveaway. We are very grateful for her generosity and cross our fingers that you will be the lucky commenter to win 😉
Contest ends 13 Jan 2014 at 11:59pm CST. Must be 18 or older to enter, void where prohibited, etc, etc, etc.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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