Cate Sawyer

Cate Sawyer

Q&A with Author Cate Sawyer

What inspired you to be a writer?

Storytelling is in my soul. It was never a choice. It is who I am. I love stories in all forms: books, movies, films, artworks, plays, songs, paintings. All my family are creative – we get it from Dad. I love to entertain, and to touch people’s souls with the written word.

What prompted you to write 'Pelican’t Do It'? 

I have two children only 16 months apart in age and I could see the overflow of sibling rivalry on developing personalities. I wanted to write a fun story that validated each of their personalities. My pen name, Cate Sawyer, is derived from my kids’ Christian names. NSW TAFE purchased the rights to Pelican’t Do It to translate it into various indigenous languages, to be delivered digitally into schools as an education tool. The illustrator and I are stoked about this.

Do you have any more books in the pipeline?

I’m in the process of co-authoring a second writing guide with L. E. Daniels. Winning Short Story Competitions: Essential Tools for the Serious Writer has been very successful, and readers are asking for more, particularly in relation to writing memoir, biography and autobiography. Lauren and I like to share the knowledge we’ve learned over our decades of editing. 

I’m also ghost-writing a compelling story about a police officer shot in the line of duty. It’s moments like these, when another person trusts me with their life’s story, that I feel privileged to be a writer.

What is your professional background?

I have a MA (Writing), a Graduate Certificate in Business, and a published portfolio spanning thirty years. I first built my portfolio by writing for my local newspaper, then national magazines. I worked for government, then in a similar vein to the movie I Bought A Zoo, I bought a newspaper. I later moved into magazines, authored my own books, and now am the owner and managing editor of trade publishing house, Hawkeye Publishing.  

Any advice you’d like to give aspiring writers?

Network. Be part of a worthwhile critiquing group. Develop your beta reader network. Attend at least one writing conference or festival a year. And learn – authors spend their entire careers deepening their show not tell. Enter competitions; when you start listing in comps, you’ll know you’re on the right track. And did I mention network? I can’t understate how important it is to move from behind your computer and get out into the writing community.

Who/what inspires you?

Our Hawkeye team. There is so much talent and generosity committed to making Hawkeye thrive. I love being around creative people – they tend to be articulate and gentle souls. And winning. Winning definitely helps. We recently won a Brisbane City Council grant and to have that validation by others that what we’re doing is important to the community, was an energising boost for us all.

What are your hobbies, interests and favourite books?

Movies, walking Lucky (the dog), reading, theatre, sport, going to concerts and stand-up comedian performances. Comedy is my soul refresh. There’s nothing I love better than laughing so hard with a friend that I go home with sore cheeks.

How can readers contact you?

Contact via: Hawkeye Contact Page

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