Interview with urban fantasy author Victor Catano

Author Victor Catano is taking time
out of his birthday celebration to chat with me about his urban fantasy novel Tail & Trouble.
Victor Catano lives
in New York City with his wonderful wife, Kim. When not writing, he works in
live theater as a stage manager, light designer, and technical director, working
mainly with dance companies. His hobbies include coffee, Broadway musicals, and
complaining about the NY Mets and Philadelphia Eagles.
Happy Birthday, Victor!
Welcome to Reviews and Interviews! Please tell us about your current
Tail & Trouble is the story of a human named Gabriel and a dog named Orson and their
search for the women they both love.
When Gabriel’s witch
girlfriend doesn’t return from her latest trip, he gets on the road and heads
out to find her. Sheila’s coven is secretive and distrustful of Gabriel, so the
only help he has is Sheila’s familiar, a bulldog named Orson, who is
psychically linked to both of them. 

In Florida, they walk right into an elaborate
plan to steal Orson. A mysterious wizard named Yareth is behind the plot, and
he may also know where Sheila is.

Gabriel and Orson will have to fight for their
lives as they navigate around all the magical roadblocks to force Yareth’s
hand. They won’t give up until Sheila is safe.>

What inspired you to write this book?
This book is inspired by
our late cocker spaniel, Ollie. He belonged to my wife and she had had him for
a while when we met. She swore that he had magic powers since he could always make
food drop out of the fridge or roll off the table and onto the floor. (The rule
of the house: Anything on the floor was his.) She told me that she knew I was a
good guy because Ollie took to be so quickly. Ollie was a messy, drooly,
wonderful dog and he was over 20 when he passed away. We still miss him.
One day my wife and I were
caught in a traffic jam very much like the one I describe in the first chapter
of the book, and I wished I could make all the rubberneckers stop looking at
the fender bender and just drive
already. And then it all kind of clicked together for me. I had the idea for
the book.
Excerpt from Tail
& Trouble
I inched my red Ford Galaxie forward. Orson
lay in the passenger seat, splayed out, with his tongue lolling out of his
mouth. He had dozed off as if he hadn’t a care in the world. The barely there
AC wheezed and whimpered, harmonizing with Orson’s snoring.
The road to Charleston was clogged with
midday commuters and early weekend traffic. Ahead were flashing emergency
lights. We weren’t going anywhere, and we had places to be. Annoyed, I started
to drum my fingers on the wheel. That didn’t last long, as the vinyl was so hot
I was afraid my hand would get stuck to it.
The fan blew hot air in my face. I checked
the temperature gauge. The arrow was creeping up to the red. I sighed. The last
thing I needed was to overheat on the highway.
I tapped Orson on his furry brown leg. He
opened his eyes and favored me with a disdainful stare.
I motioned to the traffic jam. “Little help?”Orson
yawned, scratched behind one ear with a back paw, then gave his privates a lick
to make sure they were still there. Finally,
he glanced up at the road. He barked once, a spark flaring in his eyes.
The police lights went off as the accident
got cleared over to the shoulder. The traffic began to move. As our speed got
back above thirty, the engine cooled a bit.
Happy? Too hot. Let me sleep.
I felt the thought in my head, gruff and
growling. It was like an itch I couldn’t scratch. I patted him on the head.
“Thanks, Orson.”
What exciting story are you working on next?
I really liked writing
about these characters, so I am working on a follow up to this story. The next
one takes Gabriel & Orson to the Maine woods in winter. The working title
is The Winter of our Distemper. I’m
also working on a horror story set in Savannah during the taping of a Big
Brother style reality show set in a haunted house. The working title for that
is called Magnolia Square.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve always written stuff.
I used to write sketches for different comedy groups, going all the way back to
high school and through to my days in New York. I used to write articles and
movie reviews for various giveaway papers in Halifax, NS and Buffalo, NY. The
paper I wrote for in Buffalo was 32 pages long, and fully 16 of those were ads
for the strip clubs across the river in Niagara Falls, Ontario. I’m sure
everyone really wanted to know what I thought about Cronenberg’s movie “Crash.”
But this is my first novel, so this is really the first time I feel justified
in introducing myself as a capital-W Writer.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day
like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to
I do not write full time.
I have a full time job as the Technical Director at a theater, and it can get
awfully busy. I try to write whenever I can, mainly at home, after dinner on my
laptop. I use Google Docs for most of my writing, because that allows me to
edit or write on my phone if I find I have a few minutes. It’s always a
struggle to find the time, especially since there are always chores and work
and laundry to do.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I found that I wrote best
when I was in Florida. My wife works part of the year at Universal, and I got
into a writing routine when I went to visit her. I would drop her off, then go
to the nearby Einstein Bagels and abuse their bottomless coffee while I wrote a
chapter or two. After that, I’d so back to Universal and reward my productivity
with roller coasters. It seemed to rattle loose a few more ideas.
That sounds SO fabulous!
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A paleontologist. I loved
dinosaurs. I just assumed that everyone shared that love as well. My mother was
a health care advocate when I was a kid and she often taught prenatal care
classes in the back room of our house. I would see my mom lecturing to a group
of very pregnant women about health childbirth, and at five years old I would
try to horn in and explain the difference between a diplodocus and a
brachiosaurus. I thought my lecture was much more interesting.
Anything additional you want to share with the
Writing this book and
finding a publisher has been such a rewarding experience to me. It required me
to get over a lot of internal blocking. You
really think you can write a novel? You really think anyone wants to read it?
it turned out, the answer was yes. I’m extremely happy that I’m able to share
my characters with everyone now. I hope you all enjoy the book!
Thanks for keeping the cake crumbs out of the keyboard for
these few minutes. It’s been a pleasure chatting with you!

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