Love not only stings when you lose it, when it’s ripped away, but when it first sinks its teeth into you, it can cut just as raw and sting just as deep.
Unfortunately, I had forgotten that.
I was allegedly South Dakota's most famous Old Lady.
Fifteen years ago I had survived my Old Man’s murder and swore to myself never again.
Never again surrender my heart.
Never again sacrifice to the Club.
But that all changed in one night.
I came home and crashed into him,
and my past and present blew up in my face.
Both of us lonely, running on empty, and unwilling to admit it.
I feel things I'd forgotten about, want things I had cut out of my insides.
Who holds the keys to betrayal? To suspicion? To trust?
To brotherhood? To family?
To a bleeding heart?
Right now, I just might.
I suppose some of us have to get really dirty before we can become truly clean.
About the Author:
Cat Porter was born and raised in New York City, but also spent a few years in Europe and Texas along the way. As an introverted, only child, she had very big, but very secret dreams for herself. She graduated from Vassar College, was a struggling actress, an art gallery girl, special events planner, freelance writer and had all sorts of other crazy jobs all hours of the day and night to help make her dreams come true. She has two children’s books traditionally published under her maiden name. She now lives in Athens, Greece with her husband and three children, and freaks out regularly and still daydreams way too much. She is addicted to the History Channel, her iPad, her husband’s homemade red wine, really dark chocolate, and her Nespresso coffee machine. Writing keeps her somewhat sane, extremely happy, and a productive member of society.
How did you come up with the idea for this story?
It was about a year and a half ago, I got tired of reading biker books where the heroine was a young girl and a newbie to biker culture, scared out of her wits and horrified with their lifestyle and whining about it- the crime and the crudeness of life on the fringe. Or a story about a young thing who wanted to walk on the wild side with a biker dude. An image of a world weary been-there/done-that older woman stuck in my mind and wouldn’t go away. What if one day, out of the blue that woman walked back into her old clubhouse after being away for a long time? What would the guys say? How would they react to her now? Why is she back anyway? That was the story I wanted to read. It immediately became the story I had to write.
Where do you find your inspiration?
It’s this strange weave of feelings, experiences past and present twisted with evocative images or situations I see/read/hear on television or in books or in music. I make odd connections and then through that an idea hits me in the gut and buzzes there, that’s when I know.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Turning off my analytical mind and just “listening” and letting it happen and not editing myself as I spit it out on the page. Now that I’m writing full time, it’s not such a hurdle anymore. But that willingness to be free is special. I remember while writing L&K I was buzzing along and there were crazy moments that came up and I thought “I can’t go there-Oh, hell yes, I can!” and it was great to just get it out and let it happen and play with the new, surprising things that came up for the plot and the characters.
What are your current projects?
I have a new book coming out in November, “Wolfsgate” a romance drama set in 18th century England. I’ve had an obsession with the 18th century since I was a little girl watching Masterpiece Theatre with my parents every Sunday and I enjoyed reading the classics and historicals from a young age. The notion of an arranged marriage used to fascinate me to no end. What happens if the husband and wife actually, truly, fall in love and how does that happen? I’m currently writing the second book of the One-Eyed Jacks series and planning on releasing it this winter.
Tell us about your first book. What would readers find different about the first one and your most recent published work?
My first (traditionally) published book is a religious children’s myth, so it’s very different from “Lock & Key”! But the differences between L&K and “Wolfsgate” aside from the obvious- a bike club in contemporary South Dakota and upper class society of 18th century England- is a remarkable two sides of the same coin idea, I think. In the bike club there are no rules or restrictions (just those of their “tribe”), they live on the fringe of society and their moral compass is off the standard chart.
In the 18th century it’s all about the formal rules and restrictions of society. People then spoke indirectly about the stuff bubbling under the surface. In the bike world, they bluntly lay it out in a raw, unabashed way, do what they want, take what they want. In the 18th century world, there may be rules and restrictions (and bindings on their corsets, but no panties!) Yet there is so much implied and not said outright in their fancy speech and formal behavior, so much struggling to get through, so much crudeness and rule bending going on underneath the gilded niceties. All that fascinates me just as much as the raw, brash in-your-face-no-shame culture the biker world represents.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
In L&K Grace and her sister sacrifice in order to protect each other all their lives, from parents who abandon them and turn to alcoholism, from loss, depression, cancer, the threat of death, you name it. It’s noble and it drives those two women, and unfortunately the men around them often use it against them. The same goes for Miller and his older brother Wreck. There’s also the notion of identity- the use of their names, their biker road names, their real names. There are the ideas of family identity and cultural identity at play here too. When Lock first meets Grace he decides to use his real name and that’s how he wants it between them. He doesn’t use a nickname for Grace other than “babe” or “baby” unlike her first love who had had several nicknames for Grace. But this is a different time and place in both their lives- they’ve both reached this point of Brutally Real or Nothing at All.
The other idea is that both Grace and Miller are both living with their heads down in a mediocre glide through life. When they first meet they joke about that cliché “change keeps the blood flowing” but it proves to be true for both of them, because for years their blood has not been flowing, and that needs to be changed. And in order to push through and stand up for what they want after all this time, they have to get dirty and taste ugliness in order to fully realize their truths, know their worth, and be able to stand up and say “No more. This is what I want, what I need and I want to live it now. Screw you and screw everything else.”
Does music play any type of role in your writing?
Music is really important to me when writing. I generate playlists for every story choosing songs according to the time period, mood, character journey or the atmosphere of a scene. I can sit there and have one particular song on replay for a long time as I write. Other times I need silence. I’m always listening to the playlist when I workout, walk home from taking my kids to school or while I’m doing housework...it keeps me in the “zone” of the story.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your life?
I’ve experienced a lot of death in my family and a few friends over the years, so I understand the bite of that kind of loss, the way it makes you look at everything in your life in a new way both good and bad.
What books have influenced your life most?
My first big classics, I think. Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Pride & Prejudice, Persuasion, and Edith Wharton’s novels and A Tale of Two Cities, War & Peace, Crime & Punishment. The haunting, bittersweet scenarios, these strong characters who are trying their best and have these huge needs and wants for themselves, and especially the women who have to overcome such harrowing odds. Historical fiction I adored the Kristen Lavransdatter series set in post Viking/medieval Scandinavia- talk about world building! Also modern works like Henry Miller’s books recounting bohemian random wanderings and musings but so tightly written.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I really enjoy Kristen Ashley’s early work, the Rock Chick series and the Colorado and Dream Man books and a couple of the ‘Burg and the Fantasy books. Shay Savage is a wonderful writer. She freaks me out in the best way. As I’m reading I panic thinking “oh no, really? No way! How’s he going to get out of this now?!” And yep, she gets her hero out and over each and every time. I love love love her male POV. Her heroes are unrelenting bastards with full, broken and very needy hearts who meet their good woman. I shudder while reading, I tell you! I really enjoy the way Madeline Sheehan lets it rip, I must say. My TBR is pretty long, I still have a lot of authors to discover!
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
After having abandoned her hometown fifteen years ago upon the murder of her husband a club officer, former old lady Grace Quillen returns and immediately becomes ensnared in betrayals, suspicion and ancient club rivalries along with club member Miller or “Lock”, a man intertwined with her past. Both Grace and Lock struggle with their shared emotional past, unexpected desires of their demanding present, and an overwhelming yearning for redemption and a better future. Risky schemes, explosive secrets, and flawed decisions force past and present into an inevitable, volatile confrontation for Grace and Lock within a bike club that is fighting for its own survival.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I want to thank my readers for their support and all their good wishes, they mean so very much to me! I very much appreciate that they took a chance on “Lock & Key”, and I hope they take a chance on my historical. I really enjoy hearing from them and being in touch. Social media never ceases to amaze me as an immediate gratification outlet for our enthusiasm. xxoxx !!
How can readers discover more about you and your work?
I finally have my site up and running which has links to all my social media!
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