It’s guest post time again! This week, I’m welcoming Catherine Rull to the blog. She’s an Ozzie author of The Fat Chicks’ Club series of books and we had a little chat about all this books!
So, tell us more about The Fat Chicks’ Club Series. How did these stories come about?
Well, the general concept came to me in about 2007. I was talking about the bridesmaids of someone I knew and how all of her friends were slim. And it made me realise that my circle of friends in high school were all chubby, including myself. It made me ask myself the question—Were we friends because we were fat?
And that’s how the books began. I wanted to tell the story of these four fictional girls, who were all plump in high school, and how they each perceived their bodies then and now as adults. The books are really about their attitudes to being curvy women, and the evolution of their body image over the years. Plus, the hot guys who fall for them, of course! It was important for me to show that fit guys don’t just fall for slim girls.
And book 3, No Friend of Mine, was just released in January, 2021, but I understand it’s a four book series?
That’s right. Four unmarried friends, four books about how they find their Happily Ever Afters. I actually completed The Fat Chicks’ Club in the second half of 2012. I attended the Romance Writers of America’s national conference in Anaheim, California that year as a Golden Heart® finalist, and pitched a book to an agent from St Martin’s Press. They wanted to know what other books I had so I told them about this series in my head. When I got home, I picked up the five pages I wrote in 2007, and finished the first draft in a few weeks. I wrote the next three in 2013.
That’s a lot of writing!
Well, of course it helps to be inspired. I felt like I knew these characters and their basic stories were already in my mind. I’ve had that same feeling before though, and I have about twenty unfinished manuscripts to prove it. The difference this time was, I just didn’t stop writing. There’s that saying—Inspiration needs to find you working, or something like that. And it’s so true.
The more I wrote, the more ideas came to me. I set myself a minimum daily word count. I should mention that at the conference in Anaheim, one of the speakers at a workshop said that if you want to write as a career, as a full-time writer, you need to be able to complete three books a year. And that was the challenge I set myself.
So, back to that word count—I made it 800 words a day. Some days, I wrote more. Other days, I didn’t go to sleep until after midnight because I hadn’t reached my target yet. There were times I fell asleep at my computer and I would wake up with a row of “bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb” where my hand had rested while I was sleeping. But then I’d just keep going again until I reached that 800 mark. I finished the first rough draft of each manuscript in about 8 weeks.
Those days when it was difficult to reach my minimum word count, I pushed through the doubts, and ignored my inner critic that what I was writing wasn’t any good. After all, it’s much easier to edit something than a blank page. Besides, there were many times when I surprised myself when I reread those parts and they weren’t as bad as I thought.
I should also mention that it helps to have a supportive critique partner. Mine is military romance writer, Heather Ashby, author of the Love in the Fleet series. She is so good at reading my manuscripts a chapter at a time, as I write them, and giving me feedback and encouragement to let me know if I am on track. Knowing she’s waiting for the next chapter is also good motivation for me to finish the next one!
Did you plot the whole book first before you started writing?
Not at all. I have a general idea of the main characters: their personalities, how they look, their jobs. I also know how they meet and that they’ll eventually get together. I might know some fun things that happen to my hero and heroine somewhere in the book. But I’m a “pantser”—that means I like to write “by the seat of my pants”. I find that this gives me space to surprise myself. I personally find plotting very restrictive, and for me, predictable. “Pantsing” allows the characters the freedom to get themselves into trouble, instead of me plotting their challenges. I especially like it when they say something that is difficult to take back because it means I’ll have to figure out a way to get them out of trouble 😊
When can we expect the fourth book of The Fat Chicks’ Club Series to come out?
As I mentioned, I’ve already written Book 4. I’ve even edited it a couple of times already, and I have to say, it’s one of my favourites in the series. But right now, I don’t have a title for it yet, so the artwork for the cover hasn’t begun. My plan is to release it in the second half of the year. I have two other books coming out before it. The next one is, Mr. Write (Book 1 of The Right Guy Series). That’s coming out in April. And the next book after that is It Takes Two (Book 2 of the Swim Bike Run Series).
That’s a lot of books. Well, all the best with all those projects!
Thanks, Katie. And thanks again for having me.
The Fat Chicks’ Club Series by Catherine Rull is available in ebook and paperback from Amazon, Ingram Spark, Book Depository and Barnes & Noble.
If you’d like to contribute a guest post to the blog, then feel free to contact me via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.