INTERVIEW: Author Gaelle Cathy

Originally 2015-05-23: Requested Happy Endings | Interview with Lesfic Author Gaelle Cathy


I’ve beta read for a lot of authors in the past few years, and one of the most receptive and friendly authors I’ve worked with was Gaelle Cathy. She has authored several lesbian fiction stories (a few of which I’ve had the pleasure of critiquing), and recently released her fourth novel, One Breath at a Time.

One Breath at a Time is the story of Berkeley student, Alecia, and her heartbreaking romance with Spencer, the young photographer with the terminal secret that could tear them apart forever.

photo of lesbian fiction author Gaelle Cathy

Gaelle, give us your best author blurb.

I was born in 1978 in France. I currently live within the mountains of Ardeche, France and share my time between my many cats, a few protests for animal protection, my parents and day-job.

Who do you write for?

Honestly, I have to say that I write for myself. I mean, up until now, I just seemed to write what came to mind without a plan. My latest experience in this industry, though, let me understand that I did need a plan, and a target audience, if I wanted to make it.

Truth is, I write because I love to. These stories come to my mind; they’re not always in the trend, but they’re here. I never planned to become a famous author anyway, so I will probably keep on writing whatever comes to my mind, whether it is happy or sad ending, marketable or not.

After One Breath at a Time, my next three stories will have the requested happy ending, but honestly, that’s just the way they came to mind. But I’m glad, because I don’t want people to think that I deliberately go against the crowd. It’s really about feelings: how a story feels to me, regardless of how it unfolds. My hope is that people can feel that way, too. I hope to move them with my characters and my storylines.

Tell us about your writing hideout. Is there a particular place in which you write the best?

No hideout really, although I do need to hide from my Imac. I always write on my Windows laptop, because it’s not connected to the Internet (less distractions), and mainly because I don’t like Word on Mac. I’ve recently downloaded Scrivener, but I haven’t used it a lot so far.

I write in my living room, and usually cats walk by and around, but they understand that when I’m on the laptop, it’s no-petting time. Well, almost. 😉

You’re a very passionate person with principles that are very important to you. Tell us about what you’re fighting, and what readers can do to help the cause.

It’s difficult, and sometimes it gets me down, so I take a step back. But I always come back, because someone needs to speak for those who have no voices. Mainly I just wish people would think about what they’re doing, and the consequences of our everyday actions, not just for the animals, but for the planet as a whole. It’s a very complicated issue, but if people want to understand a little better, I would recommend this very efficient speech from Gary Yourofsky.

As for me, here in France I mostly protest against Corridas (bullfights), because I consider that Animal Protection will never move further as long as medieval and barbaric entertainment such as that are still legal. That fight is hard, mainly because our Prime Minister is an avid aficionado of Corridas.

When he was head of the Ministry of Interior (i.e. the chief of police), our peaceful protests began to be put down hard. We were tasered, tear-gassed, hit with flash balls, beaten, and taken into police custody, even when all we were doing sometimes was just sitting. We are not violent, we don’t throw rocks or anything, we just stand there, crying out our slogans and holding our signs, and they hit us back with disproportionate violence.

Before, it used to be the aficionados who hit us (check out this video of the lynching of protesters in Rodilhan in 2011, and you’ll see what I’m talking about). Nowadays we’re parked as far from the arenas as the mayor of these bloody cities will it, and it’s the cops who do the beating.

So, yeah, I do that, but I also do little things, like adopting my cats from the local shelter instead of private owners selling them, or even the horrible pet stores. I sign petitions and share them, I buy cruelty free housecleaning products, etc… Little things like that that everyone can do. I’m also a Vegan.

You self-published your first novel, When the River Flows Out of its Bed, in 2011. What did you learn about the self-publishing process? And do you have any advice for authors who are just starting out?

My experience with When the River Flows out of its Bed is very different from One Breath at a Time, due in part to how fast the self-publishing industry has grown. It’s so easy now. I know a little bit more today than I did then.

I regret self-publishing using a paying self-publishing package. Truth is, I knew absolutely nothing about the publishing industry, and I actually bought that package for my urban fantasy Legacy, because it was 500,000 words, and I realized no one would publish it, mostly since I couldn’t afford professional editing for such a long story.

So that’s why I originally bought that package, back in 2007 or 2008. At the time, I still thought I would be able to find a publisher for River. I was a fool. River was nowhere good enough in terms of editing to be picked up. I had professional editing done on River, but now that I look back at it, there’s editing and there’s editing, if you know what I mean.

I would myself do a better job today than what was done then, and it would still need editing. Legacy was something else and I put it aside and decided to use my package (since it was already paid) for River. I spent $1,000 on that package. I had a great job at the time, and though it’s a big amount, I thought it would be worth it. So I guess my one big advice would be that if you can spare $1,000, spend it on good editing. A story can never have enough rounds of editing.

Another great piece of advice that was given to me by a pro is to find beta readers. More than one if you can, but it depends on the level of work your manuscripts needs. I was very lucky to find a great beta reader who knew what she was doing, which is almost like having an editor. To come back to this package thing, there is nothing they did that I can’t do myself on my own for, like, a few bucks, if not zero dollars.

There’s also the ISBN business. ISBNs are expensive in most countries. I was lucky to find out they are free in my country, so that was a plus. But apart from ISBNs (and you’ll find out Create Space, KDP, etc. all have cheaper solutions for that), you can do the rest yourself, promoting via social medias because those paying self-pubs don’t promote your work for you.

I worked with my girlfriend on the cover for One Breath at a Time, because she knows how to use image manipulation software, but if you don’t have anyone like that, it’s not really that hard to learn a few manipulations. Most websites, like Kindle, Create space, etc., give you measurements for the covers. So you CAN be serious with your manuscript preparations without spending all your money on it.

Do you get a lot of your story inspiration from music?

Yes, music is my first and forever love, before I even began to write or before Joss Whedon started writing shows I would get obsessively passionate about ;). In fact, the first texts I ever wrote were songs. I was supposed to be a singer, but when I realized I froze in front of people just talking, lol, I figured I’d be a song writer then, uh….Then Joss Whedon came in, and songs turned into fanfictions (I did write a few songfics in my days).

But yeah, music, there’s always music playing, even when I write. I remember for When the River Flows out of its Bed, I had ups and down writing and re-writing it, and sending it everywhere and re-writing it, and not really knowing what to do with it. And every time I would listen to L.P.’s song “Good with You”, it gave me a new boost.

That’s why it is the song I used to make the book trailer for River, because it absolutely represents the book, or rather, what’s going on in Eliza’s mind during the book. It was a good inspiration. Music is very important within that story, especially with Julia relying so much on it.

I also usually name most of my characters (at least the secondary ones) after singers or favorite TV characters. I even went as far as to name my main character in One Breath at a Time after my favorite singer (Alecia “P!nk” Moore).

Tell us about the books you have coming out in the near future.

I’m not afraid to say that One Breath at a Time is my most important story to date, and yes, probably my favorite. When the River Flows out of its Bed held that title for so long, as my first full length novel, but One Breath has something more. Like I said, my most important story, it really has an important message. It matters a lot to me and I hope people will give it a try.

That Week in Acapulco, which will be released early 2016, is a bit different, and a bit steamier than what I usually write. It stars characters from my previous novels Fire and Ice, and One Breath as well. I was still writing One Breath when Acapulco came to mind at work on a Thursday morning in January 2014. It was so clear in my head that, during lunch break, I wrote a scene-by-scene summary as a database for it, because I knew it would be a while before I could write on it, and I didn’t want to forget anything.

Then there is the novel I’m writing on these days, which will feature animal activists. I’m eager to work more on this one, too. And I’ve got another one in mind too, something different, maybe a bit more traditional in terms of lesfic. I also have an urban fantasy already written that I still haven’t decided what to do with. It’s a bit too mainstream for lesfic, and way too gay for mainstream. Guess I’ll see. 😉

One Breath at a Time is now available for purchase. Can you give us a sneak peak?

              “Okay, okay. So anyway, back to the screaming. I’ve never heard you be so vocal before.”

              “It’s not like you’ve heard my every love session. Besides, it’s not like I’ve had so much experience either. More than Al, sure, but we still have things to learn together, I guess.”

              “And so, what did you learn last week? What was it? Tongue, fists? What else?”

              “Hello, modesty.”

              “Oh, come on, tell me. You just, you sounded so–”

              “It’s her,” Spencer spoke as she stopped walking. “It was nothing special, or new, it was just her.” Spencer swallowed. “Here comes the cliché. But I’ve never felt this way before. She, it’s just her that makes me feel this way. She’s the one for me. She…would’ve been the one.” Spencer looked away.

              “Hey, hey, hey.” Kenzi placed her hands on Spencer’s face to make her look at her. She wiped away the tears that fell down her cheeks. “You’re a fighter. You will fight this thing like you always have. She IS the one. She’ll always be. You’re gonna fight, for her, for you, for me, for this life you love so much. We’re not done with you, and you’re not done with this world. So get a grip and be you, fight, love, live strongly. That’s how life is worth living. That’s why life is worth living. You taught me that. You taught me so much, you don’t even realize that. And you taught Alecia so much. You still have so much more to teach us. And you have her. You found her, you’re not gonna let her down, are you?”

              Spencer hugged her friend. “You really are the best friend ever.”

              “Damn right I am!”

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