By Cate Ellink (who wrote the angst) and Lily Malone (who added humour and perspective)
Jealous of yourself. Sounds weird, doesn’t it? But let me explain. Way back in 2010, I realised I had to pick a genre (and subgenre) and write in that, not cross genres and subgenres like I was wanting to do. I decided on one genre and two subgenres, and set to work. I also decided on two separate and distinct writing names. My erotic work would go under the writing name of Cate Ellink (she’s the Ninja!) and my other work, rural romance, would be under another name, Cath. Two Caths/Cates, one real ‘me’. (And no, I’m not giving this book a plug. This is about me, Cate, not Cath!)
The raunchy Cate Ellink got published first with a short story in an anthology at the end of 2011. Cate’s had 7 short stories, 2 novellas and a novel published (plus she joined the Naughty Ninjas because Cath was waaaay to goody-two-shoes to ever be cool as a Ninja). But it is probably fair to say that Cate Ellink’s work never took off like, say, you know – that other erotic book – what’s it called? Yeah. Fifty Shades of Grey.
Then, very recently after a long time trying, Cath got her rural romance published.
Now, Cate was oh so cool… “yeah, so a published book is no big deal… I do it all the time.” Cath was jumping up and down, “OMG WOW! A print book that’s clean and sweet and all those non-erotic things people can cope with.”
Cath’s book came out and all of a sudden family and friends bought it and talked about it. The support has been nothing short of stunning – emails, phone calls, Facebook messages all keeping Cath busy. They’re spreading the word, buying and reading.
And don’t get me wrong… this is wonderful for Cath, but Cate is going all green and snarly. Cath is selling more books that Cate ever has. Darn her eyes!
Cate is trying to pull her big girl panties up about it, you know, blow it off, be cool… but inside, she’s seething. Who is this upstart rural romance writer? Why don’t MY books sell so well?
This is what it’s like inside my head right now:
Well-meaning friend asks Cath: What does it feel like to be a real author?
Me (Cath): It’s fantastic. (gives a smile)
Me (Cate, although not out loud): I’ve been a freaking real author for the last 4 ½ years and you wouldn’t talk to me. Why the heck not? Am I not real because I write about hard cocks and dripping cunts?
Me (Cath): Ahem… this is about ME, Cate!
Well-meaning friend: Cath, your writing is great.
Me (Cath): Thank you (try for another smile)
Me (Cate, although not out loud): Oh, and my writing isn’t? Too sweary/sexy/sweaty for you, hey?
Well-meaning friend: Oh, Cath, your book’s on a bookshelf. You must be so proud! That must be fantastic.
Me (Cath): Really exciting (another smile)
Me (Cate, although not out loud): Well, my book was on a bookshelf too, not that anyone seemed to want to buy that, or acknowledge it even existed.
Both mes: Sigh.
Cate blames Cath.
Cate/Cath (oh hell, both of us) come from a very conservative background, so family and friends all cringe about the sex writing. Cate/Cath (oh hell, “we”) work for people who may not be too happy about the sex writing either, should they find out. So both of me hasn’t plastered Cate’s work all over everything out of respect for others. But now I feel like I’ve hidden the Cate part of myself, jeopardising Cate’s success to pander to other people’s sensitivities. And that really irks me, the Cate me.
I don’t really know how to process these feelings. It wasn’t something I expected to happen. I’ve never felt it for anyone else largely because they write differently to me – but this is me. All me. Both me. Just with or without sex and swearing, and is that so terrible?
I should be happy – I’d always intended to write in two subgenres, which I’ve now achieved. I shouldn’t be feeling slighted because the Cath half of me is doing better than the Cate. But I am.
We (Cath and Cate - lord, this gets confusing doesn’t it?) had a chat to Dad today because he’s one of the few people who has read Cate and coped with her (even if he did share Cate’s book with his mates by passing it over in a brown paper bag!). Aside from thinking I’m nuts, and telling me I shouldn’t feel like this, he said that Cate is a persona I’ve developed and not the ‘me’ that other people see. So they can’t relate to Cate. They also would never have read anything like the writings of Cate, and so have no frame of reference to comment about the calibre of that writing. Cate’s very confronting for them, and I need to realise that.
Cath concedes Dad has a point.
Cate reckons Dad underestimates how many friends and family might have read Fifty Shades of Grey… (See? She hasn’t quite tamed the green beast inside yet.) ☺
Anyone got any advice for my split personality?