Author Interview: Cat Jordan
Eight Days on Planet Earth is a realistic yet otherworldly novel – magical, funny, and a little heartbreaking about Matty, a guy who discovers a girl in the field next door. She claims to be an alien visiting from another planet. Matty is sure there is more to her story and can’t help but be intrigued.
You can find my full review of Eight Days on Planet Earth here, and The Leaving Season here.
~ Giveaway ~
Keep reading for information on how you can enter to win some of these cute ‘Believe’ buttons.
Cat was born in Europe and raised in America. She now lives in LA. Cat has spent her life in the visual and performing arts as a dancer, painter, and filmmaker. She finds inspiration for her stories and choreography around the world—from Venice, California, to Venice, Italy.
You can visit her online at www.catjordanbooks.com
Hi Cat. Welcome to my blog and a huge thank you for answering my questions.
What was your inspiration for Eight Days on Planet Earth?
I live in Los Angeles and I’m from New York so I’m used to seeing different kinds of people walking on the streets. But one day, I was stopped at a light in a pretty gritty area of LA and I saw a lovely young woman in a bright yellow dress waiting to cross the street. She had a huge smile on her face like she was so happy to be there. I thought, “Only someone who isn’t from around here – who had never even heard of Hollywood – would be so joyful.”
That was when I started thinking about who that girl would be and where she would be from: the other side of the Universe.
The book’s setting, however, was based on the house and small town where I lived as a kid. It’s actually rural Pennsylvania, it had a crick (I mean, creek) and willow trees, and we had a white lab with a golden streak down her back named Ginger. We did have a giant corn field next to us but as far as I know, no spaceship ever landed there.
As an owner of Golden Retrievers, I really loved Ginger and what she brought to the story. So cute.
Have you always been interested in the sky, stars, other planets and the idea that there are others out there?
Yes, absolutely! My interest began with fiction: I was and am a massive fan of “Star Trek” and I grew up with the books of Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, and Isaac Asimov, among lots of other writers. I love it all because it is based in science. There is plausibility to their technology and space exploration.
Much of the book’s philosophy, all of Priya’s talk about the Universe, reflects my own personal belief about our place as humans in the vast Universe. We are all connected – all the stars and planets and people – so why wouldn’t there be more of “us” out there, whatever “us” might look like?
Most of all, though, I want there to be life beyond us.
This book is different from The Leaving Season, and yet it has the same emotional feeling. What was different about writing Eight Days on Planet Earth? Did you prefer writing one over another?
You want me to choose one baby over the other? Ha! I loved writing both for very different reasons. With THE LEAVING SEASON, there was a lot of me in Middie’s character. Although our situations were very different, I was able to write from personal experience, especially in terms of the feelings I had about boys in my life and about myself. And right around age 18, I went through a period of Boho chic too!
In EIGHT DAYS ON PLANET EARTH, on the other hand, I wasn’t at all Matty. I was always a good student, rarely apathetic, and in fact, I was more like his best friend Emily. But boy did I hear Matty’s voice loud and clear – yes, I actually do hear my characters’ voices in my head. As soon as I introduced him to the girl I had imagined from another planet, I saw the story unfold. And when I dared to even think of the ending, well, it made me catch my breath!
In Eight Days on Planet Earth, Matty reflects a lot on his childhood memories of stargazing with his father. Do you have a favorite childhood memory?
When I think of this book, some of my favorite memories with my dad were watching “Star Trek” together (like Matty’s dad, my father hates the new versions of the show!) and also visiting his workshop which is like Matty’s dad’s workshop. Instead of computers and telescopes, though, my father used his for woodworking. I used to sweep up the wood shavings for him and hang out and watch him make things. He was and is an amazing craftsman.
What is necessary for your writing process? Chocolate, a great view, music?
A view! I love being able to look out the window and see the world go by. I really love living in cities because there is so much going on but the part of Los Angeles where I live now is a bit quiet with trees and lawns. Instead of trucks, I watch people walking their dogs – and their kids! – which is pretty entertaining.
If you could travel anywhere (Gliese 581c included) where would you go?
I would absolutely go to the farthest reaches of our galaxy. Whether it’s in a TARDIS or on the Enterprise, I am always jealous of the characters’ abilities to explore the limits (are there any?) of the universe. I love the images the Hubble Telescope sends back to us. Seeing the planets and stars in person would be an incredible thing.
Speaking of science fiction, not long ago I read INVICTUS, a YA by Ryan Graudin. It’s got time travel in it! Oddly enough, the main character’s love interest shares the same name as my main character’s love interest: Priya.
While I tend to read a lot of YA, I love mainstream novels as well: last month, I couldn’t put down Liane Moriarty’s TRULY MADLY GUILTY. Before that it was Wendy Walker’s EMMA IN THE NIGHT and Megan Miranda’s THE PERFECT STRANGER.
Oohh, lucky. I can’t wait to read Invictus. It sounds fantastic.
Matty and Priya share eight amazing days together. What does a perfect day look like for you?
First of all, the day would have to be the length of a day on Venus, which NASA says is 5832 hours long. Alas, since I have no transporter and can’t quickly hop over to Florence, Italy for a cappuccino or even to the east coast to see my family, I will have to stick to the mundane: a delicious cup of coffee on my tiny patio, a walk in the California sunshine with my old dog, writing a couple of perfect chapters on a new novel, taking a ballet class and seeing some good friends, enjoying a book and a picnic at the beach, and finally, cooking dinner filled with lots of fresh vegetables with my husband. If I could share eight days like that with someone, they would know I truly loved them.
What can readers expect next from you?
I’m currently working on a novel about a pair of sisters who inherit a creepy house on a small island off the coast of Maine. It’s not exactly paranormal – but it’s not exactly not. It’s kind of like EIGHT DAYS ON PLANET EARTH is and isn’t science fiction.
That sounds amazing. Another book I look forward to reading.
Thanks again, Cat, for answering my questions and giving us readers an insight into the author behind the amazing books.
You can also find more information about Cat and her writing on her website, catjordanbooks.com and find more details about Eight Days on Planet Earth on HarperCollins Publisher’s website. Add Eight Days on Planet Earth to your to-read list on Goodreads.
Giveaway – Believe pin-buttons and cards
A huge thank you to Cat Jordan for sharing some of her gorgeous Believe pin-buttons. You can enter to win these very cute buttons and cards (open to Australian residents only, sorry). Simply share about Cat Jordan’s upcoming release, Eight Days on Planet Earth, on your favourite social media channel and fill out the form below.