A Day in the Writing Life of … Cathleen Ross

WARNING : Please note some content may be unsuitable for those under 18 years of age.

Today we welcome, Cathleen Ross, writer of contemporary, fantasy and romantic suspense erotic stories, to our blog.

In one or two sentences, please tell us what genre you write in and what made you decide that particular one is your calling.     Erotic romance. Most of my story ideas seem to centre on romance but the heat level is always high. At the moment I’m obsessed with medieval knights and crocodiles though not for the same book. My Forbidden Fantasy line is doing well, plus I am still targeting single title publishers, but only the larger ones. I find I sell easily when I write erotic romance, so I guess it chose me, rather than the other way around. I love the romance genre, read widely and write in both historical and present day settings.

What time of the day do you write?     I try to write six days a week because I can keep the flow better. I write whenever I can. Mornings work well because my husband is at work and my daughter at university. If I have the house to myself I can get more done. For some reason my family still find me fascinating. I have no idea why, except I’m a good cook and my daughter enjoys my psychic predictions. She likes to do her study by my side but sometimes I think I’m getting a degree in law. I already have two degrees and two diplomas so I don’t feel I need anymore.

I try to write until lunch, have a quick break, then go on until the afternoon, then stop to make dinner. After dinner, I usually do editing for clients because I can do it while my husband watches whatever sport he is interested in on TV and he’s happy because I’m in the same room. Mentally I’m not with him, but he doesn’t care if the sport is on.

Where do you write?     I lost my office when I sold my last house. Although I have a desk, I use the back sitting room and write on my laptop. I also just bought a county house, which has a lovely view. I prefer to write up there when I go away, though I seem to come back to a lot of housework that is not of my own making. I can’t write when the house is a mess, which means I’m constantly doing jobs and writing.

Are there any particular rituals you do to set the mood / harness your muse?      I always check my emails but I try not to spend too long on it even though I enjoy it or an hour or two can slip past when I should have been writing. Sometimes, I try to leave blogs, book reviews etc until the weekend. It’s important to me to support other writers, so I try and read at least one of each RWA author’s books. I only leave a review if I like it, which is why my reviews are often 4 or 5 stars.

What’s the first thing you do before you begin to write?

I always have the scene in mind. At the moment I can see a burning castle set in the north of Scotland, a young terrified woman from the enemy clan cowering from the Douglas knight coming into her bedroom to kill any of the clan who haven’t escaped. Fortunately for her he can’t kill a woman and he’s hot. My knights are always gorgeous.

Do you spend much time reading over the previous day’s work?     I edit my work on the next day, filling in scenes or taking them out. I find it helps me get into the story better. If I’m organised, I try to aim for a thousand words. If I do that consistently, then the work builds quickly. If I’ve reached my word count, I move on to editing a client’s work or preparing my cover for the next Forbidden Fantasy. I also have a couple of books from my backlist to get up. They don’t make money sitting in a drawer.  I’m mindful that this is a business and I treat it as such. I’ve become very careful about the clauses in publishing contracts, especially reversion of rights clauses. There are authors making a lot on money publishing their backlist now. I’m also working on a single title Australian romance set both in Sydney and in Cairns. Plus I’ve just finished revisions for my agent for a paranormal romance set in New York. I’m used to juggling and having a lot on. With self-publishing, I give the publisher a certain amount of time. If I haven’t heard, I self-publish the work. I’ve had offers after waiting two years but for me, that’s too long to get back to an author. This is a business and I’m not prepared to wait that long.

To learn more about Cathleen, please visit her web site : www.cathleenross.com

Thank you Cathleen for sharing a day in your writing life. We wish you all the best with your new releases.

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  1. Hi Cathleen,

    loved reading about your day-to-day writing life, you’re very busy!! And thanks for taking the time out to do reviews =)

  2. Hi Cathleen,

    It was lovely to read about your day-to-day, your life and self publishing!

    • Thanks Susan
      I’m really glad I decided to self publish especially as my title list grows, I sell more over time. I would well recommend doing it because publishing houses are merging and soon there won’t be many to sell to.

  3. You’re welcome, Mel. I know you understand as you’re just as busy. Love reading for you. Keep going on dimensional.

  4. Wow. Your timetable is very full Cathleen!

  5. I love those *cough* covers with the bare chested males. I’m not really a cover person as in choosing a book based on the cover but these certainly get my attention. Thanks for sharing your work process.

  6. I loved learning more about you, Cathleen. Your writing process sounds very similar to mine – especially not being able to write when the house is a mess. I find that if my house is messy my brain feels messy. Love that you give your daughter psychic predictions.

  7. It’s worked very well for me, Barbara. It kept her safe all through her teenage years. She listened to me as a psychic and let’s face it, it’s so easy to predict what is going on for teens, psychic or not.

  8. Cath Evans

     /  November 23, 2012

    I loved learning more about you, Cathleen. You have so many genres and times and story ideas all with erotic romance – that’s wonderful. Hope your daughter’s law degree isn’t too taxing 🙂

    Cath xo

    • Hi Cath
      I used to think I’d never be successful as a writer because I couldn’t stick to the same genre but the erotic link is the key. I can see that now, my body of work has grown. Everything has a high heat level because that’s what brings my work to life and makes it cohesive as a body of work. It’s so important to follow one’s muse.

  9. Natasha Devereux

     /  November 23, 2012

    Hi Cathleen,
    I really get your idea of treating writing as a business and your need for everything to be in its place. Don’t laugh (too much) but at the moment I’m living in a curtained off area of my daughters house with two adults, 3 teenagers (plus blow-ins), my cat and parrot, her turbo’d kitten, 2 quails, 4 weiros, a lorrikeet, and then there is the aviary outside my window, a demanding outside cat and 2 poodles. Not conductive to peace, quiet and concentration LOL. I am therefore spending my time reading articles and blogs and getting to know my fellow writers while jotting down ideas and plots for future works.
    Much of what you have said resonates with me. Like finding what works for you as a writer. It looks as though you really know yourself and that it is paying off for you. Keep it up!

  10. Hi Natasha
    Your house sounds more complicated than mine, mind you, I haven’t mentioned my pet chicken who lives outside my bedroom window or the dog and cat. I muddled my way through submitting, getting loads of rejections until I toughened up and didn’t feel utterly depressed for days when I got them. Now I can see that I had a purpose and it works, but I didn’t earlier, just had the obsession to write. If I wrote I was happy, If I didn’t, I was frustrated. It was that simple.
    Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy that menagerie. You’d be surprised by how much you can write even with noise.

  11. Hi Cathleen, I’ve always admired your ability to get down and write amid so many family distractions! Glad you’re focusing on erotic romance, you write the hot stuff so well.

  12. I love your no-nonsense attitude to business, Cathleen. You’re out there doing it for yourself and not relying on the whims of the publishing industry! That is so cool.

    • I can’t write category after category well like our wonderful Australian Harlequin authors do. I seem to bounce from genre to genre, time period to present. Ironically, I’ve just received a request from the Harlequin London and my muse seems to be behaving itself. Hope it stays that way until I finish the book. It’s annoying but I’ve had to learn to live with what I have – a muse on speed.

  13. You know you’re good when you come with a WARNING label =P

    Great to read about your writing life, Cathleen. I can’t write in a messy house either.

  14. I loved this comment Cathleen – “he’s happy because I’m in the same room. Mentally I’m not with him, but he doesn’t care if the sport is on.” Sounds like my hubby too 🙂

    It was great to learn more about you – I’m impressed by your writing schedule!

    • Hi Kez
      Glad to have you back with us. i think our husbands must be used to having writers as wives. He used to complain about me being on the laptop but I figure he doesn’t have the right considering watching television with him in unwatchable anyway as he only watches sport or channel surfs.

  15. Loved learning more about you, Cathleen. I love that photo – Looks very serene. And I didn’t know you had 2 degrees and 2 diplomas – you high achiever you. Keep those great books coming…. 😀

  16. Hi Eleni
    Thanks for stopping by. It’s funny, we all know each other as writers. I did most of my post grad study in my late twenties and early thirties, but it has come in handy as it was in editing and training. I utilise this when I’m giving courses. My colleagues tell me I pace my sessions well but I’m used to teaching adults. I’m delighted to have my farmhouse. You’re right. It is serene. I get a lot of writing done when I’m there.


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