Cole McCade is a New Orleans-born Southern boy without the Southern accent, currently residing somewhere in the metropolitan wilds of the American Midwest. He spends his days as a suit-and-tie corporate consultant, and his nights writing romance novels in between fending off Tybalt, his geriatric cat. And while he spends more time than is healthy hiding in his writing cave instead of hanging around social media, you can generally find him in these usual haunts:
Website & Blog: http://www.colemccade.com
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Q&A With Cole McCade
1.) How do you get into the mindset of your characters?
Mostly by thinking about what they want most in the world, as that’s going to be what’s motivating them throughout the story. I think about what they want, and how it would feel if I wanted that so deeply that it influenced every part of my life. From that core of emotion I start thinking about how they would react to things differently than I might, because they’re different people with different experiences and different preferences; they might care about some things more than I would, or brush off something that would completely set me off. Then I take that and apply it to their feelings about what they want…and then I start thinking about what’s stopping them from having that one thing they desire, and how they feel about that. You combine yearning with frustration, and it gets you pretty deep into someone’s head.
2.)Describe how you write your story’s plot line?
I can’t, because I don’t. I don’t plot. I don’t even pants, as at least pantsers tend to be a little linear. I just kind of fall and crash into these ideas and let them drag me around like a runaway horse. Scenes come in patchworks and I just write them and stare at them and try to figure out how to make them fit together in a way that makes sense, and why scene A would lead to scene E and what the hell is wrong with Character B and why does he keep doing that? It’s a tangled mess of intuition and instinct and random creative bursts that doesn’t even make sense to me. I can’t even write a linear story. I think if I tried to write a story from beginning to end without jumping ahead or jumping back I’d just print the pages out, set them on fire, and walk away.
3.) What is the best part of writing for you?
Losing myself in it for hours. I have to gear myself up to write as if I don’t want to do it, and those first few hundred words feel like pulling teeth. Then something happens, the engine shifts into gear, and it just goes, and I look up and the whole day has passed and I’m hollowed out and drained from feeling other people’s emotions and putting them on the page. It’s exhausting, but the best feeling.
4.) Describe what made you decide to write.
Oh, this is a weird story. I mean, I’ve been writing since I could pick up a pencil. All kinds of odd little tales, including Dolores the Hamster (don’t ask, just fucking don’t). But I never thought of it as something I could do, even though in school my AP English teachers were always praising my creative writing and fighting to get me to consider majoring in Language Arts in college instead of where I was determined to go, technology and neuroscience, before I ended up in computer animation and graphic design (among other things—I changed majors so many damned times). But my first job out of college, I ended up a data analyst for a major international corporation. And somehow I ended up editing technical manuals, and everyone was like “Wow, he’s such a good writer, he should write this.” So I started writing them, and accepting that maybe I was a decent writer who can maybe string a sentence together and should possibly try it when it’s about something other than oilwell drilling systems. And on the side I’m drawing these little illustrated stories but never thinking about writing them, but slowly it starts coming together that I could finish a book much faster than I could finish a comic, and really I was a better writer than artist anyway, so…that was how that seed got planted, and it just bloomed from there.
5.) Do you have any suggestions to beginning authors?
Don’t ever assume your readers are stupid. I’ve seen people talk with contempt about how they have to strip this or that out of a story, or dumb it down, because readers are too stupid to get it. No; no, they’re really not. Readers are probably the most intelligent people you’ll encounter because, hey, crazy idea: readers learn things from the books they read. I wrote about astrophysics in A Second Chance at Paris and didn’t even hesitate to include things like Kelvin-Helmholtz instability, because I knew even if my readers didn’t know the specific science, they would get the idea from context and if they were interested enough, go look up the details. And so far people have loved the science. In a romance novel. Because readers are not stupid, and they can tell when an author is talking down to them as if they have the IQ of a dung beetle, and it will annoy them enough to put your book down and never come back.
A Second Chance at Paris by Cole McCade
One week in Paris. One chance with her childhood crush. And one lie that could ruin it all.
Before she was Dr. Celeste London, Astrophysicist, she was Mary Celeste Haverford: dork, loser, the geek formerly known as Hairy Mary. But she’d left all that behind—and left Ion Blackwell behind, nothing but an unrequited crush and the memory of a high school field trip, a night in Paris, and the words Celeste had never had the courage to say. She’d never expected to see him again…until a surprise encounter on a Parisian riverboat tour brings him back into her life, and gives her the opportunity to start over as someone new. Someone Ion doesn’t recognize, transformed from a social outcast into a polished, professional woman that Ion doesn’t realize is the girl he’s been longing for since childhood, the ideal he’s dreamed of his entire life.
Suddenly this vivacious (if charmingly awkward) “new” woman is teaching him that real love is better than any dream—but Celeste is hiding more than her identity. Hiding something that makes it hard to trust her increasingly erratic behavior, and her frequent secretive phone calls. When the truth comes out, the deception could shatter them both…unless they can give each other a second chance, and take a risk on love.
With a smile, Celeste leaned on the rail. She’d been a silly girl, heart on her sleeve, but she kind of missed that. Falling in love was never the same—never as light, as sweet, as guileless, the emotion not as raw or real when it became about work schedules and who paid for dinner and whether it was too soon to have sex. Mundane things took the romance out of it, when at sixteen it had been about wishing for that one perfect, breathless, magical kiss with that special someone who didn’t even know she was alive.
Now she just had a half-dozen ex-special someones who said she was an amazing friend, but a lousy girlfriend.
Her eyes stung. She should be standing here with…someone. People did that; they fell in love and took romantic trips to Paris, and cuddled on dreamy moonlit boat tours. But even then she’d have been worrying over her presentation for tomorrow, wondering if Ophelia gave their father his meds, pondering wind speed for Kelvin-Helmholtz instability in Jupiter’s Red Spot, picking out constellations…and never quite here with the imaginary boyfriend.
She really wasn’t cut out for relationships.
She lifted her gaze to the sky and picked out Venus. It hurt, when she smiled. “Guess I wasted a wish,” she whispered. “Do I get a do-over?”
The soft scuff of a sole against the deck warned when someone approached. She straightened, rubbed her eyes, and pulled her hoodie tighter around herself. Last thing she wanted was to ruin some happy couple’s romantic Parisian night when they stumbled on a single woman on the verge of a nostalgic crying jag. They’d probably think she was pulling a Rose, about to fling herself dramatically over the rail of the mini-Titanic.
The footsteps stopped at her side, barely a foot away. She caught a sense of height, masculine body heat, a quietly commanding presence. A low voice rolled over her, husky baritone like whiskey and silk.
“Belle nuit, n’est-ce pas?” he asked, softly accented inflections agonizingly familiar. Celeste looked up, her heart tumbling to the very bottom of her chest and constricting painfully tight.
Fathomless blue eyes looked over the water, set in an elegantly sculpted face: ten years older, more weathered, tanned complexion darkened by the shadow of stubble—but so distinctive she’d know him anywhere. She clutched the railing with fingers almost numb to the cool metal, blood draining to leave them rubbery. She knew him. She knew him, but there was no way it could be him. It was impossible. It was incredible. It was absolutely unbelievable, and she had to be hallucinating.
It was Ion Blackwell.