Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Writing Buddy Wednesday: Cate Ellink

Welcome to another Writing Buddy Wednesday post. Today, I have the fabulous Cate Ellink joining me. I've known Cate for a number of years via Romance Writers of Australia. She is one of the sweetest people I know and makes everyone around her feel important. Great gift to have. 

Enough from me - over to Cate.

The Author and CFS

Eleni and I both have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and there are quite a few RWA members who have it too.

The symptoms are exactly the name - fatigue after doing things, that never goes away. 'Doing things' can be as simple as getting out of bed for some people. Unless we're really bad Eleni and I are both better off than that - thank goodness!

My CFS came about after I had Glandular Fever and Ross River Fever in 2005. I've never picked up. In hindsight, I ran myself into the ground for the eighteen months prior to getting sick - actually I was always running myself into the ground. Just this time it was the straw that broke the camel's back.

Prior to CFS I was too busy to be creative. I was focused on my agricultural science career. All my creativity went into experiments and getting out messages about what was found.

Once I was sick, I lost myself. My identity was my science career, I didn't know who I was without it. I no longer had that, I had to find me.

I'd always written. When I was seven I was going to take over from Enid Blyton and penned me first story, Ebi The Wishing Dog. My dog was Ebi, and I'd just read The Wishing Chair and I hadn't heard of plagiarism! Somewhere in between uni and working, all my creative writing morphed into science writing. I'd written some erotic stories but never shared them with the world.

In 2005, a friend also wasn't well. She's a journalist by trade and also had a yen to write a book. So in one of our brainstorming discussions (we had hundreds of these discussions) she challenged me to write a book. We settled on a category romance because they we short, had a plan (meet, fall in love after some troubles, live happily ever after), and had to be easy. Famous last words!

So I wrote my story - of course I thought it was brilliant, I had not yet joined RWA - and I sent it away to be published after much encouragement from Helen. It was rejected. I was dejected but not deterred. The writing bug had bitten hard.

Having CFS has allowed me to find my creative side. It's made me learn to be patient, which is something a writer needs in bucketloads, and has allowed me to find a different path in life.

Creativity seems to be something a lot of people with CFS get involved with. I've been a part of two projects with other CFS sufferers, called Creative For A Second. The first project resulted a print book to showcase the talents of CFS sufferers and included things like poetry, pictures, photos. (I proofread it because I had no creativity at that stage.) The second project was journals that travelled around the world, to a dozen people per journal, and were made into electronic books.

I can't say I'm happy to have CFS because it's an awful thing to live with but it has allowed me to find new things, make new friends and explore another part of myself. 


Thanks for sharing, Cate.
I agree with you - I may not like that I have CFS but I've learned a lot from it. 

You can find Cate on her blog.

Check out her Hot Down Under story, A Real Online Fantasy at Momentum.


Joan Kilby said...

Great blog, Cath. CFS is a poorly understood condition. Thanks for shedding some light. It's nice to know that something good came out of it, namely your writing. I would never have guessed you had it from the hard work you do on HeartsTalk.

lily malone said...

Hi Eleni and Cate
This is my first visit to your Taverna, Eleni. Now I have to start my read through your fascinating site!
Isn't it funny that so often, it takes an illness to make people take stock of their life and choose a new path. (Well it isn't funny exactly, but you know what I mean).
I'm sorry to hear about your battle with CFS (both ladies); but I'm glad you've found these creative outlets also.
Thanks for sharing,
Lily M.

alissa callen said...

Hi Cate and Eleni, such a lovely interview! Hugs to you both - your zest for living and the endless things you do for RWA is a credit to both of you.

Cate Ellink said...

Hi Joan,
Thanks for coming by and learning a bit about CFS.

Cath xo

Rachael Johns said...

I knew that Eleni had CFS but I never knew you did Cate! Am so glad you are both making the most of a bad situation and are writing great books. You are inspiration with all the energy you put towards RWA!! x RAch!

Cate Ellink said...

Hi Lily,
The Taverna is a happening space :) Glad you dropped by! Now you'll have more things to read!

I'm glad I found a creative outlet too :)

Cate xo

Cate Ellink said...

Hi Alissa,
Thank you.

Hugs to you too,
Cate xo

Cate Ellink said...

Hi Rach!
I try to ignore that I have it (very bad of me)... but since Eleni asked me here, I thought it was a good place to "out" myself :)

Thanks for coming by.

Cate xo

Eleni Konstantine said...

Thanks to everyone for popping and saying hi to Cate.

Joan - I agree with you- Cate does so much on Hearts Talk.

Lily - welcome! I'm glad you've found the Taverna. Usually it is something like illness that makes you stop and look around. And the creative outlets do help in the ongoing fight. :)

Alissa - awww, thanks. That is lovely. And I'll take that hug, I'm sure Cate will as well. :)

Rach! - hey there. Thanks.

Eleni Konstantine said...

Cate - thanks for using my blog as the forum to talk about this subject. It's really hard to first admit to the outside world - mainly I think because once people hear CFS they think you can't do something.

And yes, we tend to still push ourselves - though as we both know we need to rest.

Take care.

Serena Tatti Story Editor said...

Hi Cate,
Like most of the others, I had no idea that you have CFS. I've always applauded the fact that Eleni (Hi!!) talks about her CFS and helps us understand what sufferers have to go through. It's great that you have now outed yourself as well. I agree with the others that I would never have guessed it of either of you. You both work so hard a long.

And now I find out that Cate has a book out? I don't remember you mentioning it, Cate? All the best with the sales. I'm heading over to buy my copy now :)

Great blog.

Cate Ellink said...

Hello Serena,
Yes, I'm a CFS sufferer with Eleni, and I try to hide it! For me I still have that "yuppie flu" feeling from years ago, when they thought CFS was fake. Stupid I know.

Gosh, I thought those Hot Down Under books got flogged to death... guess not! LOL. Gee I'm useless at promo if you didn't know, Serena!

Thanks for stopping by.

Cate xo

Suzanne Brandyn said...

Hi Cate and Eleni

It it surely true then. One door closes another opens.

I contracted Chronic Fatigue many years back after a bout of Glandular fever. It was labelled Yupie flu where they didn't have much understanding or knowledge of the disease. I was lucky it lasted about a year. During that time I pushed myself so much to keep going. I could only vacuum a few rooms at a time and had to take a break. Gradually I got better. I'm glad to learn you have found alternate life goals and wish you both all the best. I know what you're experience and it's a credit to you both to keep doing what you are doing.

I can vouch for you both being steadfast. And I bet you probably push yourself to the max. Take care :)

Cate Ellink said...

Thanks, Suzanne. It is true about those doors.

I'm glad you recovered from CFS. It's not a fun thing.

Thanks for visiting,

Cate xox

Beverley Eikli aka Beverley Oakley said...

Hi Kate, Hi Eleni,

My goodness, I had no idea you both suffered from CFS and nor would I have guessed in view of what you've achieved.

What an interesting interview. Thank you, both of you, for shedding some light on what I know so little about, through sharing your story.

And if you haven't read Cate's book, then you absolutely have to get a copy of 'A Real Online Fantasy'. It's fabulous!

Cate Ellink said...

Hi Beverley,
Thanks for stopping by and I'm glad it was interesting.

Thanks for the book plug too. I'm glad you liked it. Your Saving Grace Hot Down Under story is beautiful.

Cate xo

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