Tell us about yourself and what inspired you to start writing.
I was born and raised in Chicago until my mother decided to move our family to St. Paul, MN in the early 1980s. I would live in the lovely and quiet town until 1991, the year that I returned home to Chicago to stay, permanently. As far as my writing goes, I started out as only a songwriter. And it had been “Our Love,” a song by Natalie Cole that encouraged me to answer the writer call. The first time that I heard the song, a thought entered into my mind that said, Cat, you can write a beautiful song like that. It was at that moment when I knew I had been given the gift of wisdom to become a writer. I will never forget that day.
Tell us about your books.
My debut effort, Reviews by Cat Ellington: The Complete Anthology, Vol. 1 was released in April of 2018. Reviews by Cat Ellington: The Complete Anthology, Vol. 2 will be released very soon, and The Making of Dual Mania: Filmmaking Chicago Style, a composition that I co-authored with Joseph Strickland and B.J. Patterson, will immediately follow.
How did you go about getting published?
I am self-published through my own publishing entity, Quill Pen Ink Publishing – a house that I founded in 2005.
What is your writing process? Do you have a time, day or place you like to write?
No, not all. When my right hand starts to itch, regardless of my physical location, I pull out my pen to record the words (particularly for a poem or a review) on a slip of paper. I use my mini recorder to orally record words and melodies if the work is a musical piece and I just so happen to be away from home when I receive it. One cannot choose when the inspiration to write will fall upon them, but they may have a special place where they prefer to compose their works. And in that case, I am no different. I like to sit in bed with my large keyboard, my notebooks, my pens, my recorder, my coffee, and my bubblegum – you know, all the essentials. And when the creative juices start to flow, I’m all systems go.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Full-time job, pets, hobbies?
I have a pooch, a Pomeranian named Aspen. He’s a Sagittarius just like me. My hobbies? Well, I have an insatiable (and that’s putting it lightly) passion for charm bracelets; I love to collect them. Be they vintage or modern, it doesn’t matter to me, so long as I have them. I enjoy buying charm bracelets, but I sometimes make my own. I recently bought a vintage Cameo and Lucite charm bracelet at auction that I’m so proud to have in my collection. Thank God I didn’t get outbid. My other hobbies include watching Lifetime Movies (I just love me some LMN), jet skiing, collecting handbags (another insatiable passion of mine), playing tennis (I ain’t no Venus, Serena, Chris Evert, or Billie Jean King, but I try), cooking (my macaroni and cheese deserves a Blue Ribbon, baby), baking (my caramel cake deserves a Blue Ribbon, baby), and eating. Yes, I love to eat. I’m a Chicagoan. And we love to eat.
Any advice for authors about book covers?
Oh, I love that question! I am a woman with extreme cover love; I see a gorgeous cover and I melt. But sometimes book cover art can be very tricky because the story inside may not be the most enjoyable to read. On the contrary, a book with seemingly basic cover art may turn out to be a sheer masterpiece. So, as the old saying goes, ‘You can’t judge a book by looking at the cover.’ But if I had to advise any of my fellow authors about book cover art, I would tell them to follow the creative vision of their story and work to visualize it through the artwork. If the manuscript is a horror composition, design a horrifying cover, and so forth. I opted to use watercolor flowers on a solid white background for the Reviews by Cat Ellington Complete Anthology series because I feel they represent me and everything that I stand for as a creator of the written word: beauty, artistry, and uniqueness. I also like elegant, feminine script fonts and a neat font size. My name doesn’t have to be HUGE on the cover, only large enough to be legible. But to each his own. Follow your individual vision when designing your cover art as it should represent who you are as a writer – and the stories you tell.
Any marketing tips you’d like to share with other authors?
Create your author pages! Take care of business. Submit your book(s) to sites like Goodreads, LibraryThing, and BookLikes. Also, book promo sites like Book Reader Magazine, Awesome Gang, eBooks Habit, Pretty Hot, Book Goodies, My Book Place, Read Write Club, etc. Authors can never receive too much exposure, especially not in this day and age. And the aforementioned locations are superb outlets in themselves because they encourage promotion. They help to raise awareness about your works.
What’s your favorite book?
The Holy Bible.
What are you reading now?
J159 by Renee Logan.
What’s your next book project?
Whereas Reviews by Cat Ellington: The Complete Anthology, Vol. 1 covered the years of 1979 – 1996, and Reviews by Cat Ellington: The Complete Anthology, Vol. 2 covered the years of 1996 – 2010, Reviews by Cat Ellington: The Complete Anthology, Vol. 3 will cover the years of 2010 – 2013. And like volumes 1 and 2, volume 3 will feature fifty (50) literary examinations. Oh, I can’t wait!