I was a child of the ’80s and grew up with a firm understanding of rules and boundaries and what those restrictions meant to my life. Breaking the rules had consequences I’d rather avoid. I didn’t want my mouth rinsed out with soap, so I didn’t use curse words. I didn’t want to see the hard end of a wooden spoon, so I didn’t chat back to my mother. And I definitely didn’t want to miss out on dessert, so I ate what was put in front of me at dinner time … most of the time. Swallowing and choking on brussels sprouts just wasn’t worth the sweet stuff. Sorry, ma.
Adolescence hit with a hefty side of rebellion. I was that girl – you know, the one that seemed to have all the bright ideas about pushing the boundaries. My geography teacher disliked me so much, she spent parent-teacher night bitching about me to my aunt who had turned up to discuss my cousins academic progress. That went down well. The phone line was red-hot that evening. Maybe I should have thought twice before slicking the teacher’s chair with superglue and darting wet paper bullets through straws all over her classroom.
Hmm. No comment.
Once I passed those rebellious teenage years and emerged into adulthood, I realized the rules for adults were slightly less forgiving and accompanied with much higher stakes. The government want to meet their revenue quota. I don’t want to help them achieve that. I don’t want to go to prison either.
I’m still a rebel at heart. I’m a risk taker, a visionary; a dreamer. I’ll take that leap and bound full-force into unknown territory – even when it terrifies me. For me, life isn’t about conforming or pleasing other people. I’m considerate, compassionate and sympathetic, but being subservient to those traits won’t allow me to shine. Loving and honoring the people in my life doesn’t mean that I have to deny that which lights me up on the inside.
This is how I’m wired. This is why I’m finding that I’m meeting new people that feel and share similar qualities as me – likeminded souls that run full pelt into love and care less about the opinions of others; deep thinkers unashamed of who they are or what they want out of life.
Those rules – the ones that are written, the ones that are not – still exist. We know them and live by them even when we question them. Without them, havoc would reign supreme. Or would it?
Catherine Evans has a vision to change the world.
It should because you’re here too and so is your legacy. Changing the world sounds like a momentous task, but I’m going to tell you that it’s not. It begins with the small stuff. It begins with you and me, and the choices we make daily. If every one of us can deliberately compel ourselves to accept all love, kindness, faith and hope, and reject all suffering, sorrow and depression, then perhaps that is how we begin to change the world – from the inside out.
Catherine Evans wants to become whole. She wants to do what lights her up inside and make a difference in the world. I am proud to call her my friend as much as I am proud to introduce her to you.
I write under two pen names, which in some ways is good because it allows readers to find the books they want to read (or more correctly, avoid the books they hate). But there’s a part of me that’s saddened by this.
Let me give you a brief summary of me. I’m the eldest child, born into a conservative Catholic family. I am an introvert who avoids conflict, a rebel who doesn’t understand societal rules and strictures. There are two sayings that resonate with me. One is – “Learn the rules properly so you know how to break them.” It hung on my office door for years. It’s one of my beliefs.
For me, the introvert avoiding conflict doesn’t go well with a rebel. My rebellions have been rather small and personal. For example, I rarely wear dresses or make-up, and have no clue about fashion. I have long hair that’s not dyed and going gray. I worked in science where most of my colleagues were men. I had sex before marriage. I have no kids. I gave up religion. I kept my surname after marriage – and if it wasn’t for my husband’s strongly held belief in marriage, I would not be married.
I hate labels, categories, boxes, systems, rote, generalizations, and rules. I hate mindless following.
I love deep thinking and deep discussions, especially where you disagree but keep talking to find out why. I love challenging myself and my thinking.
When I started to write for publication, I didn’t realize that books had genres and subgenres and that these had rules. How I didn’t know this is quite amazing because I had read books all my life. In my defense, I submit that I read widely without caring about the genre. The only option is that the book is interesting. Libraries are set up so the non-fiction is categorized by topic, but fiction is just alphabetical order. To me, that means story books are story books.
Not so. I had to learn what box I wanted to write in when I didn’t believe in boxes. I went with romance because I found Romance Writers of Australia who offered help and feedback online. When I narrowed it down to romance, I thought I was right, but no. I learned that I wrote cross-subgenres, which made it hard to market your book.
By this stage, it was doing my head in. My stories didn’t fit into niches. I hated niches.
While I was writing rural romance incorrectly, I realized I could write erotica and there were far fewer rules with that. When I wrote about sex, and included swearing [cursing], and was thinking about publishing this, my family were appalled. They asked me not to use my name; not to tell anyone; to hide this side of me.
I became two writing personalities.
Over the past eight years I have realized that all the little rebellious parts of me have become Cate Ellink. The parts of me that conformed to my family/society wishes have remained with Catherine Evans.
I bloody love Cate Ellink. She’s written smoking hot sex. She lusts after footy players and dreams happy stories. She unashamedly explores fetishes, taboos, spirituality. She questions her thinking about society norms. She wants to change the world. Keeping quiet and fitting in is not really doing it for me anymore. I’m getting to the point where I need to become whole. I’m of the age where I really don’t give a damn about others’ opinions, and we need change in the world before it’s a catastrophe for humankind.
It’s difficult to buck the system. It’s even harder to stand strong when people belittle and ridicule you. I’ve been incredibly lucky to have readers and writers who don’t care what I write, they just accept me. That’s been such a strength to me, allowing me to think I need to be whole outside of this reading/writing world.
Now Kim is tempting me into the paranormal. It’s not somewhere Catherine or Cate has gone before, and yet I love reading paranormal and my belief is in the paranormal. When I write in that subgenre, I won’t be able to manage three distinct personalities. I’m going to have to join all my parts together, allowing the different names to distinguish which part of my mind you’re comfortable reading! But I’ll be me, Catherine, Cate and whoever else I write as. It’s as exciting as it is daunting.
Do you have any tips for me?