Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Interview with urban fantasy author Victor Catano

Author Victor Catano is taking time out of his birthday celebration to chat with me about his urban fantasy novel Tail & Trouble.

Victor Catano lives in New York City with his wonderful wife, Kim. When not writing, he works in live theater as a stage manager, light designer, and technical director, working mainly with dance companies. His hobbies include coffee, Broadway musicals, and complaining about the NY Mets and Philadelphia Eagles.

Happy Birthday, Victor!

Welcome to Reviews and Interviews! Please tell us about your current release.
Tail & Trouble is the story of a human named Gabriel and a dog named Orson and their search for the women they both love.

When Gabriel’s witch girlfriend doesn’t return from her latest trip, he gets on the road and heads out to find her. Sheila's coven is secretive and distrustful of Gabriel, so the only help he has is Sheila's familiar, a bulldog named Orson, who is psychically linked to both of them. 

In Florida, they walk right into an elaborate plan to steal Orson. A mysterious wizard named Yareth is behind the plot, and he may also know where Sheila is.

Gabriel and Orson will have to fight for their lives as they navigate around all the magical roadblocks to force Yareth’s hand. They won’t give up until Sheila is safe.>

What inspired you to write this book?
This book is inspired by our late cocker spaniel, Ollie. He belonged to my wife and she had had him for a while when we met. She swore that he had magic powers since he could always make food drop out of the fridge or roll off the table and onto the floor. (The rule of the house: Anything on the floor was his.) She told me that she knew I was a good guy because Ollie took to be so quickly. Ollie was a messy, drooly, wonderful dog and he was over 20 when he passed away. We still miss him.

One day my wife and I were caught in a traffic jam very much like the one I describe in the first chapter of the book, and I wished I could make all the rubberneckers stop looking at the fender bender and just drive already. And then it all kind of clicked together for me. I had the idea for the book.

Excerpt from Tail & Trouble:
I inched my red Ford Galaxie forward. Orson lay in the passenger seat, splayed out, with his tongue lolling out of his mouth. He had dozed off as if he hadn’t a care in the world. The barely there AC wheezed and whimpered, harmonizing with Orson’s snoring.
The road to Charleston was clogged with midday commuters and early weekend traffic. Ahead were flashing emergency lights. We weren’t going anywhere, and we had places to be. Annoyed, I started to drum my fingers on the wheel. That didn’t last long, as the vinyl was so hot I was afraid my hand would get stuck to it.
The fan blew hot air in my face. I checked the temperature gauge. The arrow was creeping up to the red. I sighed. The last thing I needed was to overheat on the highway.
I tapped Orson on his furry brown leg. He opened his eyes and favored me with a disdainful stare.
I motioned to the traffic jam. “Little help?”Orson yawned, scratched behind one ear with a back paw, then gave his privates a lick just
to make sure they were still there. Finally, he glanced up at the road. He barked once, a spark flaring in his eyes.
The police lights went off as the accident got cleared over to the shoulder. The traffic began to move. As our speed got back above thirty, the engine cooled a bit.
Happy? Too hot. Let me sleep.
I felt the thought in my head, gruff and growling. It was like an itch I couldn’t scratch. I patted him on the head. “Thanks, Orson.”

What exciting story are you working on next?
I really liked writing about these characters, so I am working on a follow up to this story. The next one takes Gabriel & Orson to the Maine woods in winter. The working title is The Winter of our Distemper. I’m also working on a horror story set in Savannah during the taping of a Big Brother style reality show set in a haunted house. The working title for that is called Magnolia Square.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve always written stuff. I used to write sketches for different comedy groups, going all the way back to high school and through to my days in New York. I used to write articles and movie reviews for various giveaway papers in Halifax, NS and Buffalo, NY. The paper I wrote for in Buffalo was 32 pages long, and fully 16 of those were ads for the strip clubs across the river in Niagara Falls, Ontario. I’m sure everyone really wanted to know what I thought about Cronenberg’s movie “Crash.” But this is my first novel, so this is really the first time I feel justified in introducing myself as a capital-W Writer.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I do not write full time. I have a full time job as the Technical Director at a theater, and it can get awfully busy. I try to write whenever I can, mainly at home, after dinner on my laptop. I use Google Docs for most of my writing, because that allows me to edit or write on my phone if I find I have a few minutes. It’s always a struggle to find the time, especially since there are always chores and work and laundry to do.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I found that I wrote best when I was in Florida. My wife works part of the year at Universal, and I got into a writing routine when I went to visit her. I would drop her off, then go to the nearby Einstein Bagels and abuse their bottomless coffee while I wrote a chapter or two. After that, I’d so back to Universal and reward my productivity with roller coasters. It seemed to rattle loose a few more ideas.
That sounds SO fabulous!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A paleontologist. I loved dinosaurs. I just assumed that everyone shared that love as well. My mother was a health care advocate when I was a kid and she often taught prenatal care classes in the back room of our house. I would see my mom lecturing to a group of very pregnant women about health childbirth, and at five years old I would try to horn in and explain the difference between a diplodocus and a brachiosaurus. I thought my lecture was much more interesting.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Writing this book and finding a publisher has been such a rewarding experience to me. It required me to get over a lot of internal blocking. You really think you can write a novel? You really think anyone wants to read it? As it turned out, the answer was yes. I’m extremely happy that I’m able to share my characters with everyone now. I hope you all enjoy the book!


Thanks for keeping the cake crumbs out of the keyboard for these few minutes. It’s been a pleasure chatting with you!

1 comment:

Victor Catano said...

Thanks for the interview! Such a nice present!