Q&A With Cathy Yardley

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Q&A With Cathy Yardley 

Cathy Yardley is the award-winning author of contemporary romance, chick lit, and urban fantasy. Her work is Role Playing, the Ponto Beach Reunion Series, The Fandom Hearts Series, Prose Before Bros, among others


Q: Cathy, what do you enjoy most about writing romance?

A: I like that there is always a happy ending, whether it’s an implied “happily ever after” or “happy for right now.” There’s enough negativity in the world, and I don’t agree that tragedy is the only way to make something important or worthwhile. I also like creating the reader’s experience of falling in love. In horror or thriller, you want to be scared. In mystery, you want to feel that accomplishment as you try to solve the crime alongside the sleuth. For romance, you feel butterflies, that rush and swoon. If you don’t feel that reading my books, I’m not doing my job! I love that feeling.

Q: Since you write urban fantasy, chick-lit, & romance, if you were to explore writing in other genres other than those three, which ones would you choose and why?

A: I haven’t written much urban fantasy, although I might go back to it, and chick lit has gotten rolled into romance for the most part, or absorbed by women’s fiction. If I were to write in another genre, I would try horror, perhaps. I have a story idea that’s been percolating for a while. It would be more humor-horror, if that makes sense… a commentary on my lived experiences, mostly because it’d be a good challenge and it’s not a story that translates to romance.  I also would love to try screenwriting! 

Q: In your opinion, what are the key ingredients to writing great romance?

A: Making sure your characters are well-rounded and nuanced. People who either don’t read the genre or who are in a hurry might rely on the tropes for the story and use stock characters, relying more on the situation rather than digging deep into the people who are living the story. Also, making sure that they have good GMCs (Goal, Motivation, Conflict) that aren’t simply related to getting the love interest. You want to create a story where they have their own direction and solid backstories, and very good reasons why they’re good for each other and fall in love (as well as solid reasons why they aren’t simply in love from the first chapter!)

Q: What helpful advice would you give to new and aspiring authors on how to deal with criticism whether it’s online trolls, negative reviews and family and friends who aren’t supportive of their writing goals?

A: The very first thing I’d advise is to get a support group of fellow writers. This can be a critique group, or a writing chapter (online or in real life), or even a class to start… anything that’s supportive and interactive. Then connect with other writers on a regular basis. They’ll understand what you’re going through, more than any non-writer ever could. Make sure you’re being supportive to them as well when they’re going through rough spots. (And make sure they’re actually being supportive! It’s a bit like dating… it might take a while to find the right mix.) Beyond that, ignore online trolls, period. Block, block, block. You don’t owe them anything, and trying to convince them or apologize to them is a waste of your time – time you could be spending writing. As for reviews, don’t read them. (You can read the 5 stars if you like! But anything lower, avoid. Generally speaking, they aren’t going to be valuable critiques, and they shouldn’t be viewed as such. They are by readers, for readers, not for you. If you need critiques, you can find helpful writers.) Finally, if your family and friends aren’t supportive, don’t talk to them about your writing. As the saying goes, it’s like going to the hardware store for bread. You’re not going to get what you need there. That’s what the support group/writing friends are for.

Q: Whether Hollywood has the rights to your work or not, who would be your dream cast to play the characters you created?

A: For my latest book, Role Playing, I would love to see Maggie Q as Maggie/Bogwitch, and Dash Mihok as Aiden/Otter. 

Q: When you create new characters and worlds within your books, do you use bits and pieces of real people and places? Its always amazing when an author creates something they use bits of real life and then spin it into something to create a story. 

A: I definitely use bits of real places, because it’s how I’m able to bring a sense of realism and grounding. Different people can influence my characters, as well, and sometimes some funny or quirky situations I’ve been in. I also know that I bring parts of myself to every story, whether it’s funny or painful. That emotion is where the power of any story is, in my opinion.