I'd like to welcome Catherine Schaff-Stump to the blog! Read on to find out more about her and one of her characters, a gnome inspired by her mechanics' shop.
What are you working on right now?
I am finishing up a Gothic Werewolf novella set in Southern Iowa. I have just finished a middle-grade book about young monster hunters called Abigail Rath Versus Blood-Sucking Fiends. I have just begun researching and writing a book about demon binders in the 1840s, which requires a lot of research.
What's your pre-writing ritual?
I’m afraid like many writers, I goof around on the Internet. I usually do a little research, and then I open up Scrivener, and I start in.
What is one of the most surprising/interesting things you've discovered while doing research for a story?
Just this weekend, I discovered that Venice was part of Austria for a long time. This means I have to rethink Venice during the time my characters visit.
Tell me about your favorite story that you've published. What inspired it, and what does it mean to you?
So far, my favorite published story is a piece called The Love Song of Oliver Toddle. My husband and I use these wonderful mechanics who have a shop that is constantly humming. It’s a shop that is a chain, however, and they keep it clean and neat. I thought, how might that happen? Oliver Toddle became the house gnome character who lived in the garage and cleaned it. In order to pass the time, because gnomes never leave their home, he reads poetry on the Internet. And then he and a female mechanic start leaving poems for each other. They become love poems. And the story goes from there.
You can have lunch with any writer, living or dead. Who would it be, and why?
I would really like to sit down with Alexandre Dumas. I know he was a colorful story teller, and I would like to ask him not only about his elaborate plotting skills, but also about his vivid characterizations and integration of history. I also know he was very good at planning elaborate entertainments, so I couldn’t lose.
What's one of the best novels and/or short stories you've read recently?
This is a hard choice, but recently the best novel I’ve finished is Beth Bernobich’s Passion Play, which is a story about loss and redemption, love and the past. It’s very good.
Writing is a sedentary endeavor. What do you do to stay healthy and active?
That’s an excellent question! I have just recently developed osteoarthritis from an old running injury, so my diet is undergoing a complete makeover. I would say I could support a small family garden now given the amount of produce I eat. I walk mostly, and I do tai chi. I am hoping for more yoga and weight training as my knee becomes better at adapting to its new condition.
To find out more about Catherine, what she's written, and what she does when she's not writing, visit her website.