“The Dragonrider in the Highest Tower” by Cat Lemonade (found at DeviantArt.com)
This month’s featured artist is fellow friend, writer, and artist, Cat Lemonade. Cat and I first met last year when she needed someone to critique her delightful fantasy manuscript. The rest is history. Thank you Cat for coming to my blog to be interviewed! I am very happy to have you here.
Please tell the readers a bit about yourself.
Well, I’m a kind of a sour puss—but only a bit, because if I were a total sour puss my name would be Cat Lemon. (Wah wah wah…)
On a more serious note, I’m an aspiring novelist, a hobbyist photo-manipulation artist, and a part-time indie web and graphics designer.
On a less serious note, my favorite colors are candy-hued mellow yellow and gray, I have a cat that likes to play fetch (seriously!), and I’m obsessed with Toothless from How To Train Your Dragon (the movies, not the books—the Toothless from the books is an intolerable little snot!).
You have some terrific art over at your new blog, can you tell us about some of your pieces?
Most of my work right now are mock-up covers for the series I’m writing. I have 90% of all five books written in my head, so when I needed to take a break from getting those stories out of my head and on to the page, I decided to photoshop some covers together for funsies.
I’ve also been working on some non-book related artwork which I plan on selling on my DeviantArt page, but unfortunately I’ve been having some computer problems and so my beauties are going to have to remain a Work-In-Progress until I can fix the glitch. I’ve actually been going through photoshop withdrawal—it’s driving me crazy!
You also have been working on a few other creative projects, please tell us about some of your writing.
The big project I’m working on now is The Dragonrider series. It’s a five book middle-reader series that’s a bit different from what you’re used to seeing. The Dragonrider, herself, isn’t so much the main character, but a consistent supporting character that helps the different main characters of the first four books in their individual quests. In the fifth book, however, all of the main characters have grown up and their paths end up crossing in one giant epic and you get to see how the influence of The Dragonrider’s presence during a pivotal moment in their youth has shaped their adulthood.
And of course there’s way cool awesome stuff like dragons, magic, mermaids, pirates, zombies, and cannibals all wrapped up in good vs. evil power struggles and topped with snark, wit, and a good heaping of comedy. It’s like a quintuple scoop ice cream sundae oozing with fudge and drowning in nuts and sprinkles…but for your mind!
You can read more about the series, along it’s short story sibling series, The Three Princesses, over here.
I also have an idea knocking around in my head for a magical detective novel—a sort of Charmed/Harry Potter meets CSI/Castle thing—but I’m saving that one for when I finish The Dragonrider and The Three Princesses.
As an artist, what inspires you?
Oooo…so many things! I think music tops the list, though. I’m a huge fan of symphonic metal. I get so swept up in the musical arrangements and the topics of the lyrics and the scope and power of it all that my brain converts what I hear into pictures of far-off places and fantastical circumstances and fascinating people. Sometimes those pictures get turned into a piece of visual art, like a piece I’m working on now, and other times the pictures will cascade together into a plot or a theme or an emotion that can drive a story.
Some of my biggest inspiration comes from bands like Epica, Xandria, Delain and ReVamp.
In ten years where do you hope your talent will take you? What are your goals?
Hopefully at the top of the New York Times Best-seller list—but don’t all aspiring novelists wish that? (laughs) Honestly, I’d really just like to get my stories out in the world and doing well enough they’re still being read by someone, somewhere after I’m ash and dust. I know that sounds a little macabre, but as someone who struggles with a disability that makes it difficult to even get out of bed some days, I’ve always felt like I wasn’t doing my part in making the world—or even just my community—a better place. Maybe one day my stories can inspire in others what I’m unable to do myself.
When it comes to creating art, whether it be visual or written, what advice to you give to those just starting out?
My advice is a little antithetical, come to think.
If you’re doing visual art, ignore the critics. Visual art should be an expression of your feelings and your thoughts and your unique vision and no one has the right to criticize you for that because no one can think, feel, or see what you can. And that’s what makes art beautiful.
On the flip side, when it comes to writing, criticism is your best friend. I really can’t stress that enough. I actually just wrote a blog post about it last week! I’ve noticed that a lot of people are afraid of editing—and thereby, finishing—their stories because they’re afraid of the criticism that comes along with it. But criticism is what makes writers write stronger stories. Embrace it, love it, and be better for it.
My favorite piece of advice about writing/editing—and one that has been most helpful in my own synthesis—is a quote attributed to Joss Whedon:
Where can we go to see more of your work?
You can find me at my blog, on DeviantArt, Pinterest, and Ello –although I’m still not really sure what I’m supposed to do with Ello yet!
In April and July you can find me at Camp NaNoWrimo. I actually like Camp better than regular NaNoWriMo, so if you’re writing fantasy/adventure/sci-fi middle-reader stories, give me a holler!
And then I am almost always on Twitter–if I’m at my computer, you can bet I’ve got Twitter open. I’m told I’m great fun to tweet-chat with. (Whether it’s true or not is debatable, but that’s what I’m told!)
If you couldn’t be a writer, artist, or web designer, what would you be?
Well…as a kid I wanted to be a Power Ranger stationed aboard the USS Enterprise, serving under Captain Picard as the assistant to Chief Security Officer Tasha Yar. But then Tasha died and people told me Power Rangers aren’t real. I’m still not quite over all of that, to be honest.
But in the event none of my aforementioned endeavors pan-out, I’ve put in a application at Hogwarts for the position of Muggle Studies Professor. I’m still waiting to hear back from them. You don’t think they’ll hold the fact that I’m a squib against me…do you?
Cat Lemonade is kind of a sour puss.
But despite that, she keeps writing silly stories for kids.
When she’s not writing, she’s playing fetch with her kitten or trying to figure out how to optimize the RAM on her computer so she can listen to music AND design graphics and websites simultaneously.
Other skills include being an expert listener of fine music, an appreciator of black cats, and an enthusiast of the color yellow.
Her favorite made-up words are flustrated, announciate, and centrifocal.
Thank you again, Cat, for coming to chat with us today! Support Cat in her endeavours by clicking on her links, and liking and following her!