Tuesday, February 12, 2013

TBR welcomes Catherine Jordan

TBR: Welcome to TBR, Catherine. Will you share a little bit about yourself?
Catherine: I’m from the central Pennsylvania area—born in Indiana, but raised here—and live in Harrisburg with my husband and five children.  Although my college background and career has been finance/sales, I have always loved writing.  I wrote short stories from the time I was little and continue to do so.  I love to read and I love to travel.  My first novel is a paranormal thriller, but I plan to take a published short story about what can go wrong while traveling and turn it into a comedic novel. 

TBR: Tell us about SEEKING SAMIEL and where it's available.
Catherine: My novel, Seeking Samiel http://amzn.to/RcdeWO , is about desire gone wrong.  Set in South Africa, my character, Jeffrey, is in the midst of losing everything when he meets the anti-Christ, a woman named Eva van Hollinsworth.  Eva makes Jeffrey an offer he can’t refuse.

TBR: Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Catherine: This is the opening scene, the first two pages from my novel.

Some people chase desire wherever it leads. Warnings won’t help. Not even if you tattoo them on the forehead, or write them in a golden book and call it The Bible’s Book of Wisdom. They’ll still follow that disaster wherever it goes.
Desire for the Big Three—money, power, and love—had been planted inside me and well fed on daydreams, wishful thinking and wantonness. Those tangled roots burrowed deep enough that nothing could pull me free—not common sense, practical thinking, or oncoming warnings.
I loved Eva.
From the back of my throat I coughed up a thick oyster and spat it in Eva’s face. She didn’t blink. Her tongue, long and slim, slithered up her face. With one long sweep, she dragged the hocker into her mouth and swallowed.
I thought she’d kill me, strangle me with that tongue. But she kept it in her mouth, stepped back, and was gone. I swear, I don’t remember if she turned her back and walked out the door, or if she vanished in a puff of smoke. Eva was gone.
Yet I wasn’t alone. Her face was burnt in my retinas as if she was still there. I saw bile green eyes and pink sores pock marked over her white skin. A long nose pointed down to a cartoonishly wide mouth. Tight lips stretched ear to ear, hiding canines better suited for a jackal.
My crotch felt warm. The wet stain moved down my trouser thighs in tune with the swish of blood rushing through my head. No matter.
How could I have ever thought she was beautiful? How could I have left Caroline for her? That damn book. If only I’d seen then what I see now—one sees better backwards than forwards.
The night I met Eva—Caroline’s half-sister—I had asked Caroline as we traveled through the false woods lined with Quiver Trees and Baobabs, and up the mountainside to her sister Eva’s house, “Caroline, have you ever wanted something bad enough to say, ‘I’d do anything,’ and mean it—really mean it?” Even though the sun had just set in the salmon-tinged sky, the South African heat was baking me alive in my tuxedo and I squirmed on the Town Car’s hot leather seats. I was having second thoughts about going to her book signing party. It was the fresh start I needed, a chance to get back what he stole, but my initial desire scared me a little.
“Yes,” she whispered, nodding like a bobble head as the house slipped into view. I jerked the car to a stop.
Eva’s white wooden home suddenly disappeared in a bright flash. I closed my eyes against the African sun—a trickster and master of illusions. When I opened them, there the mansion stood larger than before, rising out of the mountains behind it.
Caroline gasped, her face aglow. “Oh, Jeffrey. It’s more beautiful than I thought. Wouldn’t you just die to live here?”

A blurb:
From the very beginning the format is quite interesting, taking us carefully step by step into the web of false luxury, the evil perception of comfort. Never talking of religion or Gods, Catherine Jordan gives a home to Satan in South Africa. We are abused lands, Africa and America, two continents away from the conception of demons, but suffering Satan’s effects. Eva recovers the concept of Reincarnation from Dionysius and Zoroaster, the elevation of Buddha.  She takes the battle from London to South Africa.  The anti-Christ moves away from the human horrors in Europe, because they will come to her. Satan is a good host, and Eva will reincarnate and never have old blood.  She will always have a new incomer in need of pleasure and the weak facing temptations. Too much to see, too much to learn, and too much to laugh, reading Mrs. Jordan.
I can see the lady walking up and down wearing only one shoe; I understand the concern about the Ozone during the exorcism. I love green eyes, and I am weak and easily tempted. 
-Ramone Pineda, International Analyst, author, and professor

TBR: What inspired you to write about the theme?
Catherine: I love a good, scary thriller.  It seemed to me that most women in the thrillers were stupid or victimized.  I wanted to write about an intelligent woman who personified evil while making the story as realistic as possible.  I chose South Africa as the setting because I had once heard that when Satan was cast from heaven, he landed on the African Continent.

TBR: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Catherine: A plotter. 

TBR: How do you develop your characters?
Catherine: Developing characters can be the hardest thing in the world.  I’ve had characters fight me to become the people they are, not the people I had intended.  And if I can’t love them, I have to delete them.  First, I visualize the character and try to find a picture that will represent him or her.  Then I just immerse them into a scene.  After I’ve pulled out a couple traits, I pick a name.  However, I’ve never stuck with any first name choice.  Because after my character is fully developed, that person becomes someone I no longer know, and the name has to fit the personality.

TBR: Any tips or tricks for world building you’d care to share?
Catherine: Allow your imagination to go crazy, then throw a little reality into the mix. 

TBR: Do you have a favorite quote you’d like to share?
Catherine: Sean Connery’s character, William Forrester says to Rob Brown’s character, Jamal Wallace:  The first key to writing is... to write, not to think! 

TBR: Did any music inspire your book? Do you have a playlist?
Catherine: I love music, but I use it to inspire me to move (I need it while driving or working out), not to sit and write.

TBR: Which of your characters would you most/least like to invite to dinner, and why?
Catherine: No way am I inviting Eva.  That’s like inviting Hannibal Lector to dinner—I’d be the main course!
Nkumbi’s experience as a supernatural investigator would be fascinating.  I’m really sorry about what happened to him in my novel. 

TBR: While creating your books, what was one of the most surprising things you learned?
Catherine: The most surprising thing I learned was that you can’t make your characters be someone they don’t want to be.  I had wanted Jeffrey to be a sympathetic evil guy trying to do the right thing, fighting his nature.  Instead, he wound up spineless.  I went with that, because no matter how hard I tried, I could not wring any sympathy out of him.  And that’s real life.  There are a lot of jerks out there who you don’t like, no matter how hard you try.

TBR: Tease us with one little thing about your fictional world that makes it different from others.
Catherine: A woman is the anti-Christ, and she’s not after world domination.  She wants to exist among us quietly, so she can live her life over and over and over.

TBR: What's next for you?
Catherine: I’m working on a sequel to Seeking Samiel.  And, I’m turning a short story into a fun, silly novel.

TBR: Any other published works?
Catherine: The Green Eyed Monster, a short story published in A Community of Writers, an anthology edited by Ann Elia Stewart. 
I have written for http://www.shelfpleasure.com which is a destination spot for women who love reading.

TBR: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Most rewarding?
Catherine: The most challenging aspect is knowing when to stop editing.  The most rewarding is when I have the story figured out, when I know where it’s going to take me.  But knowing where it’s going doesn’t mean that’s where I’ll end up, and I love that—I love surprises.

TBR: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Catherine: A reader who was involved in something secretive and a little seedy told me that my book spoke to them as a warning.  I found that most interesting.

TBR: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Catherine: Ira Levin is one of my favorites because he managed to weave humor into dark topics with his pen’s fine needle.  The Stepford Wives is a 145 page classic.  The title itself makes me giggle.  Yet, how horrifying (and gratifying on some sick level) to be known as a Stepford Wife.  Deathtrap, Rosemary’s Baby, A Kiss Before Dying.  His writing is concise, precise, and so much fun to read.
Ann Rice is another favorite author because she has integrated her religion, her beliefs and her life into her work without authorial intervention.  She brings her characters to life as individuals.
Right now I am devouring Gillian Flynn.  Gone Girl was a compulsive read.  Sharp Objects was one of the darkest books I’ve ever poured through.  Dark Places seems to be another great book, and that’s what I’m reading now.  In fact, I have my book sandwiched between hers, hoping to absorb some of her success and talent.

TBR: Where can readers find you on the web?
Catherine:  http://www.catherinejordan.com 
Follow me on Twitter @CatherineBooks

TBR: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Catherine: I love feedback.  If you have good feedback, tell another reader.  If you have constructive feedback, tell me! 

TBR: Readers, Catherine will give away abook to one lucky commenter. She'll pick a winner next week and announce the winner here. Be sure to leave your email address so she can contact you.

Thanks for visiting TBR, Catherine. All the best to you.

1 comment:

Talk to TBR guests!