From the Sock Drawer to the Shelves of Chapters: Catherine Cerveny Writes

Photo Karen Graham. Novels by local author arrive soon at Chapters.

It takes a lifetime to write your first book and six months to write the second, so the story goes.  For Catherine Cerveny, that will also be true for her third.

A self-professed nerd, Catherine has been writing all her life, and has a sock drawer full of unfinished stories to prove it.  They include novels and short stories with a consistent theme of fantasy and science fiction, disasters, future societies and a bit of romantic tension.

Her stories are set in different societies, populated with traditional characters in unusual circumstances.  She likes to incorporate core science fiction elements like space travel and gene manipulation with mystical elements and romance, mixing reason with emotion.  In her stories, the anachronistic confronts the ultra-modern, for unique combination that in these days of runaway hits like Game of Thrones, is hitting the right notes.

She may write fiction, but Catherine lives in the real world.  She took her love of reading to Trent University, where she earned two degrees, in English/History and Library Sciences. Like most who work in the culture industry, Catherine has a day job.  Skills she uses in her field of logistics naturally spill over into her personal life, and when she approached the task of finding a publisher for her first book, called The Rule of Luck, she was methodical.  As most publishing houses prefer to deal through an agent, her search began with agents.  Starting with a list of 100 potential candidates, she systematically worked her way down the list, targeting those who deal with the science fiction/fantasy genre, eventually securing an agent in Jerusalem in February of 2014.  By the fall, Orbit Books, a subsidiary of the publisher Little Brown in the UK, was circulating a synopsis of her book to contacts to determine the level of interest.  By January 2016, it had been launched as an e-book.

In between, there were a number of re-writes.  Those on the sales side of the equation focused on maximizing a book’s commercial appeal asked for some changes, requiring Catherine to strengthen a female character and, oh yes, add some sex.  Getting comfortable writing those scenes required some research to get the right tone. These requests are not to be interpreted as significant criticism.  When Orbit signed Catherine, they did so for a two book deal.  This presented an unexpected challenge as she did not have a sequel in mind, and faced a short deadline to deliver the first draft of book two.

Encouraged by the success of her first book which has earned rave reviews in science fiction circles, her publisher is launching it in paperback which will hit the shelves at Chapters’ in November, followed by the sequel, called The Chaos of Luck, which will arrive in December.  They have also signed her for a third book with a draft deadline of December 11th.

She is still writing feverishly during the evenings, but this time the pressure is external.  With her busy schedule, it helps to have a supportive spouse.  Her husband Steve Suszko is no stranger to hard work, spending the week as a Pharmacist in Millbrook and at other pharmacies in the area for much of the weekend.  He is delighted by the recognition Catherine’s work is attracting.

The couple is lucky to have a peaceful environment in the country to rejuvenate when they do take the time to put up their feet, but based on their current commitments, that might not be until sometime in the future.  But for a writer whose stories take place in the year 2950, Christmas might not seem so far away. KG

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