Interview with Author Cat Grant

MICHAEL A. VENTRELLA: Usually on this blog, I concentrate on fantasy and science fiction since that’s primarily what I read (and write). This means I am missing out on a large portion of the market, and not necessarily providing information for authors who are interested in other genres.

So today I am pleased to be interviewing Cat Grant, writer of what has become to be called “erotic fiction.”

Cat, thanks for answering my questions. What’s the difference between “erotic fiction” and “romance”?

CAT GRANT: People sometimes get the two confused, but they’re really very different. Erotica is about one character’s (or two, or three!) sexual journey. The emotional component, and even the plot, is downplayed in favor of sex scenes – the hotter, the better. Romance is all about characters connecting emotionally. The plot centers around the protagonists and their relationship.

The biggest difference between erotica and romance is that erotica doesn’t require a happy ending. Romance does.

VENTRELLA: Is there a bias against same sex romances that limits your options?

GRANT: Not in e-publishing – in fact, quite the opposite. There are a number of e-presses devoted to same-sex romance, and more are jumping into the pool all the time. There’s no shortage of places to sell my work!

VENTRELLA: Who do you find to be your primary audience?

GRANT: Women, mostly, with gay men a close second.

VENTRELLA: What are the advantages of a small press?

GRANT: In e-publishing, I would say the biggest advantage is that once your manuscript is accepted, it usually doesn’t take very long before it’s published – unlike traditional New York publishing, where it can be a year or more before an accepted manuscript sees print. And also, you get paid a lot faster. Most of the publishers I’ve worked with pay on a monthly basis.

VENTRELLA: Please tell me about how you found your publisher(s) or how they found you.

GRANT: I found my first publisher, Lyrical Press, the usual way – I checked out their website and submitted my first book, THE ARRANGEMENT, to them. They liked it so much, they offered a contract the same day. I ended up publishing five books with them. Then I got an invitation to submit to Amber Quill. Later that year (2010), I went to the Romantic Times convention and met Kelli Collins, the Editor in Chief at Ellora’s Cave, and she invited me to submit to EC. For my latest book, ONCE A MARINE, (due out this November) I’ve decided to go with this amazing new start-up, Riptide Publishing, the brainchild of my good friends Aleksandr Voinov and Rachel Haimowitz. They’re a class act, and I’m very excited to join them.

They will also be republishing my Courtland Chronicles series – re-edited, and in proper reading order – starting in 2012.

VENTRELLA: Of the few romance authors I’ve known, the constant problem they all have is that people tend to think they are writing from experience and have participated in all sorts of sexual situations – have you had this problem and if so, how do you deal with it?

GRANT: Yeah, it can be a bit of a problem, especially with men I’ve met lately. It’s gotten to the point where I don’t tell them what I write until I decide if they’re “keepers” or not! LOL!

VENTRELLA: Do the romance writers have conventions where they can meet readers like the science fiction writers do?

GRANT: Ohh, yes! In fact, I’m attending three of them fairly soon: Authors After Dark in Philadelphia from August 10th through the 14th, Ellora’s Cave’s RomantiCon at the end of September, and the Gay Rom Lit retreat in New Orleans this October.

VENTRELLA: Of what are you most proud?

GRANT: I’m proud of all my work. Getting published is a hard slog, and you won’t make it if you’re not constantly upping your game. However, I do have what I call “books of my heart.” THE ARRANGEMENT was my first published book, so it will always hold a special place for me. Then there’s ALLEGRO VIVACE, which marked a quantum leap forward in my writing ability. ONCE A MARINE is also a favorite. I love Marc and Cole, my two protagonists. And I’m getting some amazing editing from Aleks and Rachel on this one. I can see the book improving with every page I revise. It may very well be my best work yet.

VENTRELLA: What piece of advice would you give an author wanting to write erotic fiction?

GRANT: The same advice I’d give any writer – don’t give up. People will diss you and try to knock you down at every turn, but if this is really, really what you want to do, ignore the naysayers and listen to your instincts. They won’t steer you wrong.

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