F A Q 's about Catherine E. McLean
Besides being a wife and mother, I have ridden and exhibited Morgan Sport Horses. I'm an avid clothing and costume designer, an award-winning amateur photographer, a retired 4-H leader, and a Red Hatter who loves bling. I am married to a mechanical engineer and have one daughter.
I live on a farm nestled in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains of Western Pennsylvania. In the quiet of the countryside, I write lighthearted tails of phantasy realms and stardust worlds (in other words - fantasy, futuristic, and paranormal stories of adventure and often with a romance). My days are interrupted by the shenanigans of Mojee, a dust mop on four legs ( a thirteen-pound Schnauzer-Bishon Frise) and a pair of black cats (no white at all), one male and one female, but thankfully since we cannot tell them apart, both answer to Kitty-Kitty. (Photos of the critters are on my photography page.
I've earned ribbons and championships with our Morgan Sport Horses (western, hunt seat, saddleseat, dressage, and sidesaddle) and made and tailored my own show attire. I've won at pleasure driving, obstacle driving, and competitive trail. Of all these endeavors, driving obstacles is my favorite. I'm also a Reserve National Champion Competitive Trail Rider.
My most prized sewing project: a Christmas Apron that won me a Special Prize for "Best Embellished Garment." Of late, I've been sewing Erte (the Father of Art Deco) fashions and other "designer" outfits for Darq, the doll that, after the book was published, became the avatar for my novel JEWELS OF THE SKY. For the tale of how a doll became an avatar and see her costumes go to http://jewelsofthesky.wordpress.com/
My most prized photograph: A pink iris that, when I had it made into a black and white photograph, won first place ribbons at two fairs as well as ranked highest at a camera club contest. (That picture is on my photography page.)
My vices are books, buying fabric (I have a bin overflowing with material for all sorts of projects).
Cravings: It's a toss up between Hershey's Milk Chocolate with Almonds bars and Lay's potato chips. Now that I'm a type two diabetic, I don't get such treats very often.
I love flowers and nature (mostly rocks), which are the usual subjects for my photography.
I love books that take me on an adventure. I also love my local libraries (there are two), Pennwriters (my writing group at www.Pennwriters.org), Space Opera and Sci-Fi (Futuristic) Space Drama (books and movies), Regency, medieval, other historical romances, and in general, any good story that has great characters and an intriguing plot.
My favorite cartoon character: Marvin the Martian (so cute and indomitable, especially with a raygun in hand). I'll even confess I'm a fan.
I'm fascinated by robots, aviation, astronauts, stars, planets, and all things outer space plus geology, archaeology, ancient civilizations, modern technology, religions, myths, legends, and things Medieval. Even factoids intrigue me.
I don't dance – I could never get the feet to go where they should. It just seemed better to spare my husband's toes and not dance. Although, I did, once upon a time, attempt square dancing.
ABOUT MY READING AND LOVE OF BOOKS
When did I fall in love with reading?
When my third grade teacher read us Charlotte's Web. Up until then, I didn't know stories existed other than the Bible stories my mom read to me and my siblings. Growing up, books to read were a luxury item. That is, until I discovered the local library and books could be lent out for free!
I would be in my late teens when I discovered novels. The Moon By Night was the first novel I ever read, and it wowed me, capturing my imagination and emotions. The book also had a romance subplot, but it was the interesting set of characters who faced a dilemma and insurmountable stakes that had me turning pages all the way to 'the end.'
From that point on, I began reading various genres of fiction. To this day, I have eclectic tastes and do not follow any one author. To me, it's the well-written and well-told story that counts.
What books profoundly affected me and my thinking?
The first novel I ever read: The Moon By Night
Others: The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, I Robot, Men and Women Against Rape, Chariots of the Gods
What books do I reread again and again?
Jane Ann Krentz's Shield's Lady, Justine Davis's The Skypirate, Catherine Asaro's Primary Inversion, Ann Bishop's The Jewels Trilogy.
A few other books that I like very much: The Horatio Hornblower series by C. S. Forester. The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling, The War God's Own and Path of the Fury by David Weber, and Vatta's War by Elizabeth Moon. I like the Civil War romances stories of Kathy Otten. Other books that I liked and gave good review to can be found on GoodReads.
Catherine E. McLean