At some point in every writer’s life they hit a turning point. It may be when they discover a story they know must be told. Or it could be finding the perfect agent or publisher to steward their novel through the publishing world. And for some writers, it might be the time they decide they want to take their publishing future into their own hands and self-publish. Today’s featured author, Cait Greer, has done just that with her debut novel, EYRE HOUSE. I admire Cait for her dedication to her craft and for having the tenacity to stick with the story and make sure it was finally published. Her second novel, PARAWARS:UPRISING, releases this month, and I’m sure it will be just as big a success as EYRE HOUSE.
Many thanks to Cait for sharing her writing journey today…
When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
Oh, goodness. I always enjoyed writing when I was younger, even penned a few stories beyond our creative writing assignments. But I lost track of it for a while around the end of high school/college, and only picked it up again around 25. I was driving home from taekwondo class and had this idea tackle me at an intersection…and right then, I knew I needed to write it.
Was EYRE HOUSE your first completed manuscript?
Heavens, no! I had, let’s see… *counts in head* 4 complete mss before it? I think? No, 5. And at least 2 incomplete. I get lots of ideas.
How long did it take to complete?
The first draft was finished in 3 weeks. Which is the fastest I’ve ever finished a draft, but this one just poured out of me.
Did you use critique partners for EYRE HOUSE? If so, how did they affect your writing process?
I still have a hard time imagining there are writers out there who don’t use crit partners! Yeah, I use them a lot. EYRE HOUSE even had a few brainstorming partners, who helped as I was writing. I don’t think I could’ve written it without them, and it certainly wouldn’t have been any good without CPs after the fact. I did about 4 heavy revision rounds, and the book is much different from what it was drafted as. It’s also about 30k longer!
The choice to self-publish can be a difficult one. What helped you decide to take this big step?
It was a hard decision. I spent more than 6 months from start to my last rejection with EYRE HOUSE, and that coming on the heels of a previous 8 months with the last mss. I’d come so close. With both of them. I’d had 4 R&Rs on EYRE HOUSE alone, and each of them came back with the dreaded I really loved this, but I’m going to have to pass. I even got told in a contest that male POV was too hard to sell. And after the last rejection, where I was told I’d absolutely nailed the revision, but there was still something about it and the agent was going to have to pass, I was completely at a loss. This was my 3rd queried mss, and I felt like a total failure. I had 2 months where I couldn’t even write.
But during those 2 months, New Adult became a real thing, and the changes in publishing became noticeable. A friend of mine had been trying to convince me to self-pub EYRE HOUSE the entire time, and I finally hit the point where I could look at it without all the emotional baggage I had tied up in it—and I realized it would make a much better New Adult story than YA. So I revised it, and we got moving on self-pub.
What were some of the biggest challenges you faced after choosing to self-publish?
Money. I hate to say it, but it’s a big factor. The other big one was that I’m about the biggest introvert you’ll ever meet. Which makes it hard to put myself out there, to promote and push the book. I’m great at technical, behind-the-scenes stuff. But ask me to actually approach people, and I start quaking in my boots!
Was there ever a time you thought about giving up on your writing dream? If so, what helped you push through that moment?
Yeah, after the last round of rejections on EYRE HOUSE, I was pretty close. But I have some amazing writing friends who didn’t let me quit, and I found my way back by writing something TOTALLY outside my wheelhouse. I recommend it as a great take-a-break and find-your-way-back technique.
Besides being a writer, you are also a photographer. I know that takes a lot of skill and I wonder if it helps you visualize a scene better?
I hadn’t thought about it before, but it really does. I frame scenes in my head, watch them play out. I’m a very visual person, and I think my writing style reflects that. If I’m struggling with a scene, I set it up in my head the way I would a scene I’m photographing.
If you met a fellow writer on the street and they told you they were on the brink of giving up on their publishing dream, what advice would you give them?
Take a breath. Take a step back. Take a break. Do something different, whether it’s write something different just for you, or just take a holiday from writing. For most of us, writing is in our blood. It’s not something we can just stop. And usually, taking that break will remind us of why we do it, and why we need it.
Cait writes Young Adult and New Adult stories that range from sci-fi and fantasy (because she loves making worlds and things up), to contemporary (because she kind of sort of fell into it and discovered she’s not half bad). Her best friends growing up were the combined works of Robin McKinley, Madeline L’Engle, Anne McCaffrey, Andre Norton, and too many others to mention.
She drives a Jeep, loves the outdoors, takes pictures of everything she can, and writes obsessively. A martial artist and a former teacher, Cait is owned by two cats who started out incredibly small, and are now incredibly huge.
When eighteen-year-old orphan Evan Richardson signed up to work at Eyre House, on the sleepy tourist getaway of Edisto Island, SC, he never expected to find himself dodging ghosts. But Eyre House seems to have more than its fair share of things that go bump in the night, and most of them seem to surround his employer’s daughter.
Back from her freshman year of college, Ginny Eyre is dangerous from word one. She’s a bad girl with ghosts of her own, and trouble seems to follow her everywhere she goes. But living or dead, trouble isn’t just stalking Ginny. When her ex-boyfriend is found murdered in the pool, Evan knows he’s got two choices – figure out what’s going on, or become the next ghost to haunt Ginny Eyre.