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MoA&A Interview #2: Beth Cato

Hello, everyone! Welcome to July, and the Month of Artist and Author Interviews here on the website!

Today’s interview features SF writer and fellow Codexian Beth Cato! Beth was the first one to get back to me with her answer to the Questions of the Month, and so she garnered the coveted First (well, technically second) Interview of the Month! I’m so honored to have Beth here.

So without further ado…

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Author or Artist?
Author

Who are your professional role models?
Elizabeth Moon, as she’s a brilliant writer and also has an autistic son. My son was diagnosed autistic as a toddler, about the same time I was starting to take my writing seriously. At the time I wondered if it was possible to balance the two, but really the writing is what kept me sane during those hard years. I like to think, “If Elizabeth Moon could write prolifically and raise her son with all these obstacles, I can do it, too.”

What’s your favorite writing/sketching weather?
In Arizona, there’s not much choice there–it’s sunny all the time! I do miss the overcast skies from when we lived in Washington. There’s something fiercely cozy about a cold day and gray skies. Makes it easier to burrow into your imagination, whether reading or writing.

Set your current playlist/musical device to “shuffle all” and hit PLAY. What’s the first song that comes up?
Bruce Hornsby’s “The Valley Road.” Which is weird because I’ve had an obsession with this song over the past month and it’s coming up randomly a lot on the radio and while shuffling the songs on my phone. Then–here it is again!

If you could win any award, which would it be?
Nebula Award. I was able to vote for the Nebula this year for the first time, and reading those entries was inspiring and humbling. If a story or novel of mine could make that shortlist… wow.

Would you rather have magical powers, or a spaceship?
Magic powers, no question. I have several novels with healer characters, and my obsession with that sort of magic goes back to when I was 11. If I played AD&D or any role-playing game, I always had a cleric or white wizard.

What was your favorite book as a child?
Oh geez. That’s a tough call. I adored Laura Ingalls Wilder and read her full series a gazillion times. My favorite was always “The Long Winter,” which I suppose is an odd favorite for a kid–a whole city snowed in, starving to death. Guess there’s a reason I write so many apocalyptic stories and poems.

What thing do you wish you could go back in time and tell your 10-year-old self?
“Stay stubborn and don’t let the bad guys win.” My teen years were rough. I was bullied, and my soul was just about crushed. I would wish that stuff had never happened, but then that would create a whole space-time continuum issue; that hell is what made me who I am today. So, I would tell myself to cultivate that stubbornness and trueness to self.

What’s your favorite constellation?
From about age five, my favorite was monoceros. My brother had a brilliant enclylopediac knowledge of astronomy from an early age, whereas my obsession was with horses. He told me about a constellation that was a unicorn, and I knew it was the constellation for me. A few years later, I named a large tree on our property for the stars as well.

What’s your favorite fairy tale?
I have a fondness for Sleeping Beauty, even if she sleeps through the most exciting parts.

What thing are you most proud of?
This may seem an odd answer, but just being alive. I’ve been through some rough stuff and I’m still here to tell tales. I’m grateful for that.

The Colin Harvey Memorial Question: Name 3 things on your List of Things to Do Before You Die.
– Have a novel published through traditional means
– Make that Nebula shortlist
– See my son grow to be a functional adult

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Beth Cato is an active member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. She’s originally from Hanford, California, but now resides in Buckeye, Arizona, with her husband and son. Despite how often her husband’s co-workers beg, she will not quit writing to bake cookies all day long. Information regarding current projects can always be found at http://www.bethcato.com. Sometimes those projects do include cookies.

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