Please welcome short story/novella writer Cathleen Maza to the blog! Cathleen writes contemporary fiction and young adult fantasy/adventure.
When and how did you decide to become a writer?
I honestly can’t think of a time when I wasn’t creating stories and writing them down to share with my sisters, cousins, friends, or whoever I could get to listen. Back in high school, I was excited to always be given a lot of dedicated space in the literary magazine. As I became an adult, it grew harder to make writing a priority. I spent a number of years working in corporate and educational office settings, where I would often jot down ideas during work days and save them to create stories in my spare time. When my daughter was in elementary school, I quit working outside of the home and dedicated myself to full-time writing. Now that she’s in high school, I’m happy to say that I’ve completely settled into my dream career as an author.
Where do you get inspiration for your stories?
I work mainly from life experience and the voices in my own head. I like to say that there’s a small piece of me in almost everything I write. When I publish traditionally in literary magazines, a story may be something I create around a specific submission call. More often, though, I’ll simply hear an interesting idea or bit of conversation and it will be enough of a catalyst to get my creative muse off and running.
What makes you unique as a writer? What sets you apart?
I think that my style of writing, as well as the material I write, both set me apart. I write short contemporary fiction and young adult fantasy/adventure.
I know a lot of writers experiment with short stories, but I’ve actually chosen them as my main genre. I love the challenge of delivering a decent literary tale in a neat package of seven thousand words or less. I’ve had many editors refer to my writing as having “a uniquely eloquent style”.
I write fantasy/adventure novellas for young adults as a break from my heavier adult material. I feel that the novella is a sadly under used format, so I’m hoping to revive some interest with a six part novella series. (Two have already been published and I’m currently writing the third.) If the novellas don’t catch on independently, I will probably re-publish them as a novel at the end of the series. For now, I’m not afraid to experiment.
Where can we learn more about you?