Cross My Heart by Catt Ford
Cover Artist: Catt Ford
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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Catt Ford here today. Welcome, Catt.
~Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words interview with Catt Ford~
I like a lot of my stories, but I love The Last Concubine. That one holds a special place because it was such a challenge to write.
A friend had asked me to write a story about a man who liked to dress as a woman. Not a trans person, just a man who enjoyed living his life as a woman, not as a sexual fetish, just because he liked it. I wanted to do my best for her and write the story with respect for the man’s choice.
While I was preparing, I happened to see a show that mentioned a Chinese warrior princess who fought beside her husband, the king of the province. I asked what if this princess wasn’t really a woman, but a man who chose to live that way. I could see the natural competitive drive that would drive him out to the battlefield in disguise.
I love historical romance and China provided a great background for a story, full of power, politics and intrigue. I started the research, reading about the historical acceptance of homosexuality in China and the passion of the cut sleeve, where the Emperor Ai of Han was supposed to have cut off his sleeve, rather than wake his male lover when he had to get out of bed.
And then Lan’xui was born. I could see him touching the silk of his robes, putting on makeup and jewelry, and feeling pretty. I felt the overpowering need for Lan’xui to give up the privilege afforded to men and choose to live a life with less opportunity and freedom, but still longing to be seen and loved. In a sense, Lan’xui’s disguise is a metaphor for how we all hide ourselves and long for acceptance and love.
The story is set in one province, and I loved creating the ambiance of the court and the harem, and all the characters that Lan’xui interacts with as he struggles to keep his secret and yet expose a part of who he is.
When I go back and read it, sometimes I can’t believe I wrote it. I still get drawn along to find out what happens next.
I think the experience of writing this book opened the way to write Cross My Heart, which is a contemporary romance with the same theme of a man who lives and dresses like a woman.
As a professional graphic artist, I do my own covers so I usually know what I want and just go for it. For The Last Concubine, I looked for a photo of an Asian man who could pass as a woman, with a little help from hair and makeup. Yes, that is actually a man on the cover. I just painted him up and dressed him in women’s clothing. I loved the secret insular look of the front cover and the wide, open spaces on the back.
And my friend really loved it. Success!
Bio: Catt Ford lives behind the orange curtain in southern California with a partner and two familiars in the form of cats whose fur is as black as their evil little hearts. She is a graphic artist by day and a storyteller by inclination. Catt enjoys the research required for writing a believable story. She is a rabid card-carrying fan of bull riding and also enjoys swing dancing. She gets drunk on words and sometimes over imbibes, but loves to write about love and happy endings.
Latest Release: Cross My Heart
Do you believe in love at first sight?
Roland Reynolds—or Lana Renault, as she’s now known—knows that life is no fairy tale. Fortunately she has her trusted friends, nicknamed the dwarfs, to keep her company. She lives her life to the fullest while keeping what’s beneath her skirt to herself.
American painter Daniel Hunter is no stranger to adversity either, and it’s left him with not only strength but secrets. Unlike Lana, he remains aloof, content to observe life and beauty from the sidelines… until the first time their eyes meet on a crowded Paris street.
Cupid’s arrow finds its mark in Daniel, but while Lana longs for romance, she knows there’s no prince in her happy ever after. If their story is to have a fairy-tale ending, Daniel will have to convince Lana to let down her walls—and, in the process, reveal what he fears sharing the most.
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