1. Please introduce yourself.
My name is Catherine Rayburn-Trobaugh, and I have been a writer for more than 25 years—sounds a bit like a 12 step program doesn’t it? In addition to teaching college writing for 20 years, I’ve written more than 800 articles, countless print and radio ads, and four books including the Befuddled series. I’m also the owner of Word Branch Publishing. We specialize in giving new and emerging authors a chance at publication.
2. What do you write? Do you have a specific gene?
My articles have been all over the board depending on the assignment, but my favorites are a series of travel articles for USA Today. My books are very functional—reference, but I think I put an entertaining twist on them. It may seem odd, but when I ‘retire’, I’m looking forward to writing true crime books.
3. What are you working on now?
I’m beginning research on a new book for the Befuddled Guides Series: The Befuddled Man’s Guide to Menopause. I’m hoping for an informative and entertaining guide for men living with or running from the women in their lives going through menopause. The project was born from my own husband’s befuddlement of my ‘changes’ and my frustration of trying to explain them.
4. When did you start writing?
I’m not sure, but the first time I got recognition was in third grade. We were assigned an essay, but I blew it off and at the last minute I wrote a poem. I got in pretty severe trouble—not for not doing the assignment but for plagiarism! I remember the teacher accusing me of copying it, and me crying and telling her that I wrote it. My grandmother, my hero and greatest fan, came to the rescue and convinced the teacher that I really did write it.
5. Where do you usually write?
Due to slight arthritis in my hands that only emphasizes my serial-killer quality handwriting, I’m strictly a keyboardist. Most of the time, I have my laptop connected to a larger monitor and keyboard in my home office that looks out on my ‘back yard’—The Nanatahala National Forest. In good weather, I’ll take my laptop out on the deck or down to a creek that runs through our property.
6. Why did you choose to start writing, who or what influenced you?
I don’t remember a time that I haven’t written, but I would say my grandmother was my biggest cheerleader when I was younger. I was, and am, an avid reader, and over the years, I’ve had many authors who inspired me ranging from William Shakespeare to Tolkien and everyone in between. My college writing professor, Bill Guthrie, was a huge influence for my writing, and a grad school professor, Henry Lamouze, taught me how to break down literature for a deeper understanding of my own writing.
7. What advice do you have for other writers?
Hang tough. You’ve chosen a gritty profession, and you had better love it. Writing, and making a living writing, is incredibly hard work and not all of it is anywhere near fun. But I would never think of doing anything else—the outcome is worth all of the agony.
8. What do you do when you are not writing?
Lately? Publishing other people’s books. OK—I get it; I do sort of have a life. Living in western North Carolina, there’s no shortage of outdoor activities. I like hiking and canoeing, and what my husband and I laughingly call fishing.
9. How do we find out more about you and about your books?
You can find out about my publications and the others at Word Branch Publishing at http://wordbranch.com.