Dreamspinner Press author Skylar M. Cates says her ideas come to her most often when she’s swimming laps. Which could be considered peculiar because in her debut novel “Exposed” her main character Daniel is a golfer. Residing in South Florida, Cates claims she’s from all over previously pitching her flag in New Jersey to Arizona.
She’s a mother, a writer, and formerly a Christmas elf in one of those smelly candle stores. She’s rallied support to keep the oceans clean, and she’s taught poetry to Alzheimer’s patients. From A to Z, to there and back again, Cates has done it all and maintains her superpowers are top secret.
Cates’ novel “Exposed” follows Daniel and Rafe. Daniel lives in a life of privilege from being a professional golfer. Rafe is a journalist looking for dirt on Daniel and quickly gets in over his head. And then things really heat up.
But here’s the question, of all sports professions, why golf? Cates explains.
“I actually prefer and know more about team sports, but I realized quickly that would never work for the novel,” she said via an email interview. “Daniel would never walk away from his team! I needed a solo sport. I needed a sport, too, that made tons of money. I had a pretty short list at that point: tennis or golf.”
Instead of tennis, she reveals how she got to golf.
“I had read a few romance books with tennis players, but I had not seen one about a golfer,” she said. “I was fortunate that my good friend is a golf fan and guided me with some of the information. Additionally, I wanted to explore the price of fame.”
On Making Words
Cates in one word describes herself as “Mayhem” and elaborates on what happens when she’s overcome with the urge to get words onto the page.
“I can remember getting pretty obsessed,” she said. “I’d think about Daniel and Rafe constantly. I’d wake up in the night with a scene. Or I’d be swimming laps and some of their problems would come to me. I always had to get out of the pool, dripping wet, and write it down. I’d burn dinner, forget laundry, and miss phone calls. I was in what my husband calls my ‘zone.’”
Despite forgetting the crescent rolls in the oven, Cates went on to talk about what most writers dread: Revision. She says she doesn’t have a “set number of times” she revises, but claims there’s several passes involved.
“If I were to read Exposed right now, I’m sure I’d want to take it back and revise it again,” she said. “I feel rather protective of it. Yeah, though, at some point, you just have to say, ‘I did the best I could right now’ and let go.”
And in the revision process, Cates found an issue with the plot. She explains what it took to solve it.
“One big pain in the ass was Rafe’s being on the yacht,” she said about a particular plot point of “Exposed.” “Getting him on was difficult. At one point, I thought about having him just work in Daniel’s household, but that was totally wrong. For one thing, the press would get in too.”
Cates took the time to mull it over and came to a solution.
“More importantly, I quickly realized I needed them in a very intimate setting,” she said. “The yacht was tough though. My first draft had Rafe having way too much introspection because he was on the yacht without a friend. In my second go, I added Hector onto the yacht. I realized that I needed to give Rafe a friend to confide in. I revised the entire thing from there.”
On The Future
As Cates balances family life with her writing life, she talks about what else she has in the works.
“I’m working on one about a guidance counselor and his wonderful, slightly wacky family,” she said. “I enjoy books with crazy families, but families who love each other too. The other main character is in the military and needs some love.”