Ask a writer: Cecilia Dominic

MountainsShadow-The72lgToday's prompt for Blog Like Crazy is to do a Q & A with someone I admired. Cecilia Dominic is that person; as a clinical psychologist by day and fiction writer by night, she has committed to her passion by writing every day. This year, her first book was released by Samhain Publication. Called The Mountain's Shadow, this novel features Joanie Fisher, a research scientist who studies an amped up version of ADHD titled Chronic Lycanthropy Syndrome. When her grandfather disappears and his will is read, she inherits the family's manor. The house and sprawling grounds come with a catch: the nearby town's children disappear during every full moon...and her butler turns into a werewolf. After a months' long hiatus from reading fiction, I tore through The Mountain's Shadow in a few hours. Its smart writing and thoughtful dialogue are complimented by Dominic's scientifically precise descriptions. When I spoke with her, she was between sessions with patients at work. Her book is available through all major e-book retailers.

Clair McLafferty for See Clair Write: How did you get started writing?

CD: Apparently I wrote my first story when I was two. I dictated it to my mother, and apparently it was about a bunny. Speaking of, I need to ask her to dig it out because reading it now would be hilarious. After that, I wrote little stories on and off during school. I only got serious about it during graduate school when I needed something to keep me sane.

SCW: What made you choose to write fantasy?

CD: That’s just kind of how it happened. I love to read fantasy, and I really love urban fantasy. I think I always wanted the world to be more interesting than it is.

SCW: How did you connect with your publisher?

CD: It was a slush pile submission. One of the representatives from a publication house, Samhain Publishing, had come to talk to the Georgia Romance Writers. I sent in my sub about six months later, and it ended up on my editor, Holly Adkinson’s, desk. We went from there.

SCW: When did you start blogging?

CD: I started blogging almost six years ago in 2008. In 2007, we had gone through cancer treatments with one of our cats that were intense and eventually unsuccessful. They lasted from March to December, after that whole ordeal was over, I was feeling the need to take care of something. We could either get a dog, have a baby or start a wine blog. We decided that the wine blog would be the most feasible.

SCW: What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

CD: I would say that once you write your first book and are sending it out, don’t wait to write your second book until that one is published. Just keep writing. With every book, you’ll learn something that you can take back and use to revise earlier drafts.

There are things I wouldn’t do again. By the time my first book had gotten accepted, I had written three more. It was great because I thought that made the manuscript better, and when the publisher said that they wanted another one within six momnths, I had the process down. It saved me a lot of stress to know that I could do it.

SCW: Anything I missed or that you’d like to add?

 CD: I am still in search of the perfect writing cocktail.

Have a cocktail for Cecilia? Leave it in the comments!

Happy birthday, See Clair Write!

Photo c/o Christian Smith on my first day at Octane. It's fitting that my blog's birthday falls on the day where the Blog Like Crazy prompt is to talk about your beliefs. See Clair Write has become an outgrowth of those, and I love working to show them plainly.

For me, trust and belief go hand in hand. These internal markers are an excellent way to flesh out the relationships and conversations I have with others. As I've said before, I'm a compulsive list maker. Things as personal as beliefs are no different. Here are some random ones of mine:

  • Cocktails are cultural artifacts. Whether through their origins, backstories or associations, cocktails are a great way to connect with the bright -- and sordid -- moments in our collective history. In a contemporary setting, asking a bartender about a drink's name can spark hours of discussion about their history (or the bar's).
  • I'm a nerd. A huge, flaming, Doctor Who and Sherlock watching, China Mieville reading, football enjoying, drink mixing, cosplaying, music snobby nerd. I can talk for hours about all of these things. However, I'm also nerdy because I keep friends with a lot of people who are outside these fandoms because they have something to teach me and vice versa. It's part of why I fell in love with Adam.
  • When I stop learning, I will die. Overdramatic statement? Maybe, but it's pretty much the truth. Anytime I stop reading or research or writing for more than a day, I feel much less alive. I hadn't realized how much I missed reading fiction until I read my friend Cecilia Dominic's book The Mountain Shadow in two days.
  • I judge our friendship through hugs. I love hugs. They're a good barometer of how trusting and trustworthy an individual is. Though I understand that there's a boundary of not forcing too much physical contact on someone, a bear hug will almost always go a longer ways than a side-hug-slash-pat-on-the-back.
  • Respect, respect, respect. Chances are that we don't see eye to eye on everything and are unlikely to change each others' minds on topics such as religion, politics, sex, etc. Judgment isn't going to win over my heart and mind. If we can't discuss them civilly or intellectually, we won't discuss them at all.
  • Conversation is hugely important. Since the filter between my brain and mouth resembles a sieve, we're probably going to end up talking about religion, politics, sex, etc. I'm always fascinated by others' backgrounds and opinions...until they degenerate into proselytization or judgment. If it gets to that point, I'm out.