Interview with Cate Tiernan

Happy Wednesday, Scouts!

We hope you enjoyed today’s late start. We’ve got a special treat today–Cate Tiernan, the NYT Bestselling author of Immortal Beloved trilogy, has stopped by our blog for a one-on-one interview!  Cate is just as fun as her heroine Nastasya, and we had so much fun coming up with questions for her.

I was born in New Orleans, LA, in 1961. New Orleans is one of the most interesting American cities, and it has an incredibly rich and exotic culture that had a profound influence on me. Kids in other cities have lemonade stands; we sold voodoo gris-gris and made wax dolls in the likenesses of our enemies.

The first book in the series, Immortal Beloved, is the best paranormal we’ve read in a long time, with a sarcastic heroine who’s too jaded for happiness and her struggle wit hlearning to live with everything she’s done in her long, long life–but we won’t spoil the adventure for you. You’ll have to pick up the book!

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IMMORTAL BELOVED (Immortal Beloved, #1) by Cate Tiernan

Nastasya has spent the last century living as a spoiled, drugged-out party girl. She feels nothing and cares for no one. But when she witnesses her best friend, a Dark Immortal, torture a human, she realizes something’s got to change. She seeks refuge at a rehab for wayward immortals, where she meets the gorgeous, undeniably sexy Reyn, who seems inexplicably linked to her past.

Nastasya finally begins to deal with life, and even feels safe–until the night she learns that someone wants her dead.

We want to thank Cate so much for taking the time to chat with us! With the Immortal Beloved Trilogy over, can you tell us a little bit about what you’re working on now?

Cate: I’m in the middle of a new trilogy called Birthright. The first book, Darkest Fear, came out last January. It explores a new world for me–the world of shapeshifters! And of course it’s about a girl learning how to accept all the facets of her persona.

Describe Immortal Beloved’s main characters–using only nouns.

Cate: This is hard! I kept using adjectives and gerunds. Okay. Nastasya: train wreck. Reyn: fortress. River: willow. Incy: obsidian.

Haha, those are perfect! Nastasya is a train wreck, poor thing. You’ve got an amazing worldbuilding in Immortal Beloved–with organic homesteading and magick and Nasty’s flashbacks into her long life globe-trotting. What kind of research did you have to do for this series?

Cate: Oh my gosh. So much research. Massachusetts weather at all times of the year. What trees are there. Lots and lots and lots of history–Icelandic history, Mongol history,. The geological makeup of the Russian steppes, medieval buildings and roads, means of transport through the ages, how castles are made, French fashion of the 1700s, the oil boom in Texas in the 1950’s, slang through the ages, what kind of cars would be in France in the 1930’s, what kind of fabric was available in Sweden in the 1700s, various disasters and other pertinent cultural references, how weapons are made. And a lot of other topics also. So. Much. Research.

Did the plot of Immortal Beloved drastically change from first draft to publication, or was the story pretty well nailed down from the get go?

Cate: The basic theme was “awful, damaged girl is rehabilitated.” It was all pretty nailed down from the beginning–I knew where the story had to go and where I wanted it to end up. Some things changed along the way–sometimes characters influenced what I was focusing on just then.

As a reader, I’m torn between picking Nasty, Reyn, and River as my favorite character! Who in the series was your favorite to write, and why?

Cate: I’m torn too! I love Nasty’s voice and her pattern of thinking–she was really fun to create and develop. But I love Reyn too–how restrained and guarded he was, the fears he had, the guilt and pain that he couldn’t show. Plus he was so hot. Always fun. And then River–writing her was actually very calming and soothing. She was just so deep, had lived so much, had so many layers to her. I loved trying to create just the most mature and accepting and giving person I could.

Yeah, Reyn the Viking God has blonde, brooding hotness down to an art. His banter with Nastasya was so fun to read! Would you rather your books be made into a movie or a TV show? Why?

Cate: The series Sweep I think is well suited for TV, just because there are so many books and so many directions it could go in. Balefire I think would also be suited for TV because again, all the backstories and all the ways it could be developed and explored. And I think Immortal Beloved also! I guess I’m thinking TV because the stories seem so big for just one movie–I don’t see how they could be tied up, and you would have to lose so much to keep it in a regular movie structure. TV seems to give you more options.

And Sweep is such a long series, it could go on for seasons! What is your definition of a “bad writing day” and how do you deal with them?

Cate: A bad writing day is when I sit in front of the computer, knowing what I have to do, and having nothing come to me. It’s frustrating. When that happens, I try to do something mindless, like weeding the garden, or sweeping or raking leaves or mending clothes or even ironing. Something that keeps my hands busy but frees up my mind. That almost always works to clear my thoughts and let the creativity come.

We know what you like to write, but what do you like to read? Describe how your bookshelves are populated!

Cate: I read very little YA! I’m always afraid I’ll be influenced by what I read, and it will inadvertently come out in my own writing. I do read a lot of nonfiction, both because it’s useful and because I enjoy it. I love biographies, especially of strong women, like Beryl Markham (West With the Night), or Frida Kahlo (The Brush of Anguish). I read a lot of science-y stuff. I love books on psychology because the more I learn about people, the better I can draw my characters.

What’s one book you’re looking forward to being released?

Cate: The second book in the Birthright trilogy! I had a super-tough year last year, and my ability to write really suffered. I turned the manuscript in quite late, and now I’m revising it. So I’ll be thrilled when it’s in good shape and my editor is happy.

Thank you for stopping by our blog!

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