Complementing my interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the two hundred and ninety-ninth, is of paranormal / historical romance author and interviewee Catherine Greenfeder. If you would like to take part in an author spotlight, take a look at author-spotlights.
Interest in the paranormal goes back to her childhood and listening to her grandfather’s ghost stories of Ireland.
Currently a full-time teacher in New Jersey, Catherine writes novels and stories in her spare time.
Married to her high school sweetheart and soul mate, Catherine lives in New Jersey.
She’s the mother of a young adult son.
When not teaching or writing, Catherine enjoys theatre, travel, yoga, zumba dancing, and walks with her black Labrador retriever, Murphy.
And now from the author herself:
On Becoming a Novelist
As a child growing up in New York City I loved going to the library and discovering new books. I enjoyed the smell of library books and the act of escaping into a fictional world. My favorite authors included Dr. Seuss, Maurice Sendak, Jack Prelutsky, and Beatrice Potter. As I got older, I enjoyed reading the Nancy Drew mystery books, stories by Edgar Alan Poe, and comic books. I also enjoyed books on art, famous people, and ghost and holiday stories.
I wrote my first book, Gold Dust, when I was eight years old and living in Greenwich Village, a haven for artists, writers, and actors and a melting pot of different ethnic groups. Gold Dust was a picture book about a girl and her pet pony. It got lost when I moved with my family to Staten Island.
As a child I suffered from chronic bronchial asthma. As a result, I had to stay in bed, do makeup schoolwork, and read. I also enjoyed making up stories using my paper dolls and puppets as characters in the plots.
During my early teens I poured my feelings out in a diary. I also wrote poetry in composition books. I wrote love poems, sad poems, and poems in imitation of my favorite poets Robert Frost, Emily Dickenson, and Edgar Alan Poe. Poe’s dark style influenced my interest in writing paranormal stories.
I majored in English at St. John’s University in New York City. My English professor encouraged me to write for the school’s literary magazine and newspaper. I learned to interview, write concisely, and meet a deadline. I graduated with a B.A. in English, but instead of going into education for which there were few jobs at the time, I went into the business world.
I worked as a secretary in a pharmaceutical company and then as an ad placer for the corporate in-house advertising agency. The agency’s creative director encouraged me to pursue my plans to become a copywriter. He also encouraged me to consider fiction writing. I went to work as a publicity assistant and wrote press releases and product publicity for a small public relations firm. JC Penney hired me to write catalog copy which I found less creative, but it helped me learn to write concisely and persuasively. When the corporate offices moved to Texas, I was part of massive layoffs. Given a severance package, I got my first personal computer and began to write my first novel, a historical western romance set along the Oregon Trail in 1848. I titled it Love’s Converts. I also wrote about a dozen stories and poems.
I became a parent in 1989 and took time off to be an at-home mother. I joined the New York City chapter of Romance Writers of America (RWA-NYC) whose membership provided support, education, and encouragement. I wrote for the chapter’s newsletter and contributed to its production. I continued to write short stories and poems and read a lot of romance novels.
In the early ’90s I decided to become a teacher. I got a Master of Arts in Education in 1993 from Montclair State University. I completed the draft for my second novel, Sacred Fires, a paranormal romance set in Mexico. I worked for a while as a substitute teacher, wrote when I could, and raised a family.
After three years, I became a full-time language arts teacher in a middle school in Cranford, New Jersey. Teaching is a demanding profession, yet I continued my involvement in the writing groups and found a few mentors through the RWA-NYC. Fellow writers, chapter members, and friends Kathryn Hayes and Michael Powazinik provided encouragement and advice as I pursued my dream of becoming a novelist. Rita Rinaldi, a friend, writer, and mentor, also helped with my revision of Love’s Converts, my first book, and encouraged me to rename it Wildflowers.
Alice Orr, a published novelist and former agent and editor, once gave me a small poster with the words “Do It Anyway”. It became my mantra and boosted my morale. Alice Orr now offers on-line motivational workshops and is an active member of the RWA-NYC chapter, and I consider her one of my mentors.
So, after many years of trial and error, ups and downs, I finally got my first novel published in 2006. Angels Among Us features a psychic artist uncovering her past with the help of her guardian angel and rekindling a romance with a high school love interest was republished this year by Sweet Cravings Publishing. Wildflowers was self-published as of 2011.
Sacred Fires, my third published book, features the reincarnation and romance of soul mates out to investigate the same case of stolen antiquities and murder in Mexico. That book published by Secret Cravings Publishing in 2012, won first place as best paranormal romance by Chanticleer Blue Ribbon Book Reviews. My first young adult paranormal,
A Kiss Out of Time, about a teenage girl who’s torn between attraction to the ghost of a young Civil War soldier and her long-time friend and fellow ghost buster, was published in July 2013. I am currently working on two novellas, a women’s fiction book set in Ireland and New York City, and a family cookbook with recipes and anecdotes of life growing up in New York in the 1960’s.
You can find more about Catherine and her writing via…
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As I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t unfortunately review books but I have a list of those who do. If there’s anything you’d like to take part in, take a look at Opportunities on this blog.
I welcome items for critique for the online writing groups listed below:
Morgen’s Online Non-Fiction Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Novel Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Poetry Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Script Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Short Story Writing Group
We look forward to reading your comments.