Mary K. “Casey” van Bronkhorst, born in Spokane, Washington, moved to California in the early 1970s, and dabbled in writing while pursuing a career in management. Escaping LA corporate life in the mid-80s, she moved to the Mojave Desert and split her time between owning a tavern and working in computer support.
She continues to dabble in writing on several sites and blogs, including the popular Totally Cats blog, which became the inspiration behind the memoir called Totally Cats: Life with Chatterbox, a Tuxedo Tabby – her first book. She and her husband Erik and Growler (a calico cat) live in the high desert, and are resisting the temptation to adopt a few dozen more felines.
What inspires you to write?
Although I’ve been writing since I was a child, this is the first time I’ve worked up the nerve to have anything published (except, of course, for blog posts). I was inspired to write Totally Cats by observing the crazy life of our cat Chatterbox, who spent twelve years with us. When she passed away from cancer in January, I decided to write the diary notes and posts into the form of a book, add her final year, and consider it both an homage to her and much-needed therapy for me. Though her loss is still a raw pain, writing the book helped me immensely.
Tell us about your writing process.
For me, the process is observe, write, edit, giggle, write more. I do use a whiteboard (more exactly, a book of bound-together whiteboards), but more to keep me from drifting off topic. I take notes for years -literally!- then erase the noise and write what shines.
What advice would you give other writers?
Write fiercely, constantly and in broad strokes. Editing as you go may hang a cloud of self-doubt over your desk. Spit it out, turn it real, then edit later.
ALWAYS ask at least one person to proofread for you. Trust me. I proofread as a freelancer and, even after proofreading the entire book on screen and on paper, using spell check and highlighters, I still ended up with errors in my book that a second person saw – my eyes were far too close to the page to see the words.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I am crazy about the Amazon KDP process. It was daunting at first glance, but now that I’ve helped a few others through the procedure, and published one of my own, it’s much easier than it appears to be when you first see it.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Technology gives us such broad opportunities and encourages the industry itself to migrate into new tools and new capabilities. We’d be fools to remain rooted in one approach while the rest of the world moves forward.
What do you use?
What genres do you write?
Pets, humor, cats, poetry
What formats are your books in?