Cate Gardner

My first experience with Cate’s work was to read Strange Men in Pinstripe Suits.  I remember opening the package in my hallway and then reading a good half dozen of the stories right there in my coat surrounded by the torn wrappings.  It was great, like stepping sideways into a world I’d always suspected was there – I just needed someone like Cate to show me.

Here she talks about her latest novella.

Over to Cate:

“The Travelling Theatrical Tour: That November Spell”

First off, thank you to Ray for inviting me onto his blog to celebrate the release of my novella, Theatre of Curious Acts. It’s an honour to spend a moment on one of my favourite writer’s blogs. For this part of my tour (ooh, that sounds so rock star), I thought I’d talk about Theatre’s genesis from novel to novella.

For me, Theatre of Curious Acts is my first published novel, which is odd as it isn’t a novel at all. But it was. Theatre was a madcap NaNoWriMo book.

When I completed the first draft in November 2008, it scraped in at just over 50,000 words. After subsequent drafts and edits, Theatre headed out into the world toting with it a guide on how to decapitate zombies. It would survive. It had guts and determination. Soon after leaving, the novel moved in with a publisher and lived with him for quite some time. Finally, after being let go, it trudged across the electronic wasteland dejected. By the time it had arrived home, poor little Theatre had lost some of its bulk.

I decided it needed to lose even more.

Theatre agreed it had eaten far too many words and together we trimmed it down to 43,000ish words. Happy with its new trim self, Theatre head out into the world, this time toting a guide on how to remove the cast of the Breakfast Club from your life. Now, having arrived at Hadley Rille Towers, Theatre only comes back for short visits.

I suspect those in the know are thinking, ‘But poor little Theatre is still a novel. Only just a novel, but we’ve counted the numbers and we deem it to be so.’ You’re wrong.

Theatre worried and worried so. What if it took too many words to warn people about the Horsewomen of the Apocalypse? Thus, we set to removing more words and this time shaved off an extra 3,000. Now Theatre could rebrand itself as a novella. Quite frankly, it’s so proud of its new status that it can be quite insufferable–I’m constantly having to push it back into place on the bookshelf; one day, it’s going to fall off the edge and crease all its pages and that’ll be the end of its preening.

And that is how Theatre of Curious Acts came to be – discounting the blood, sweat and tears.

And now, if you so wish, you can read Theatre’s tale of pirate ships, Great War Soldiers, and the end of the world in all it’s paper or digital glory. Theatre of Curious Acts is available from all good online bookstores and more information can be found at

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3 Responses to Cate Gardner

  1. Jeff Coffield says:

    Cate, I look forward to seeing what your child, Theatre of Curious Acts, became after so many years of development. The poor thing will be delivered to my doorstep by The Amazonians very soon.


  2. debs says:

    Excellent. I love hearing about process. It started life as a nanowrimo novel? Blimey. That’s incredible. I wonder if there’s hope for my sad 2010 effort.

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