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ImageOur Lives Are Our Own

Its January and we don’t owe anyone any explanations.

The World Is Our Oyster for the next 12 months and whether or not we know (or want to acknowledge) it- the people in our worlds are anxiously waiting for what we are going to do next.

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Cathy T. Colborn at Coffee Beanery reading in Media Dec ’13. Photo by Shawn Colborn

So, Fresh Starts.

WRAGS Ink.. got a chance to meet a handful of locals whose writing pierces through the mundane minutia of ironically jumbled words. Among the new school of scribes, Cathy T. Colborn, author of Historical Fiction of the Marquis De Sade and Rose Keller made herself known not only to us Vigilante Publishers, but also the handfuls of souls that braved the wintery weather of late December and stumbled on our humble readings.

The ever-present Kathryn Ombam sat down with Cathy in order to give future fans some insight on her absorbing short story.

Four Questions with Cathy Colborn

by Kathryn Ombam

The moment in time you create is fantastic. Heroic, ordered, then chaotic and sensuous. What drew you to this time period and this scene?

I was in France with a writing group when the idea came to me. The mix of sensuality and perfection of Paris filled the holes in a plot that I longed to finish. The story was about the Marquis de Sade. He had a Jekyll and Hyde persona that always intrigued me. His truth was exposed. My Rose Keller’s truth needed to be exposed. I realized that all the characters in my world had to embrace a split-persona.

Why historical fiction?

The Marquis de Sade was an awful man. He may’ve written some cool stories, but he hurt people.

I think with historical fiction, it’s the ability to manipulate such creatures in history that lures me. I have a collection of historical fiction pieces, but I also enjoy writing poetry, horror, adventure. I’m working on a New Orleans steampunk series right now, which gives me the ability to manipulate Victorian America (but only to a certain extent). You can’t disappoint avid readers of the genre.

The Victorian period is so fascinating, how much historical research do you have to do as you write?

It depends. You have to find a balance of what fans enjoy in the established genre and what you can manipulate to make the universe your own. I had to do a little more research with Thorn but it was easier. There really wasn’t much about Rose. But I wanted to make her my own anyway- younger, wealthier, bolder, stronger. I had room to play with the story. Sometimes it’s the obvious research detail that makes any genre feel right, like a horse-drawn carriage and the mention of teatime or a belief system.

Your Rose Keller is seemingly an interesting set of contradictions: young but curious, concerned with her honor but easily enticed, naive but able to defend herself. Why did you give her such a strong identity?

Until recently, the story of the real Rose Keller was missing. It’s said she was a beggar or prostitute, but it is known that she was ‘the one that got away’ from the Marquis. She was disgraced after her escape. I wanted to open up the possibility that she was a strong spirit who had her own goals but was faced with the same romantic ideals as women of her time.

This was my moment, my “What if this happened?” moment!

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Besides her steampunk series, Cathy is working on a novella about a group of women in Vietnam. She also has some flash fiction which will appear in Apiary (April 2014). Check out further links to her work at http://cathytcolborn.blogspot.com
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