Beth Cato -- photograph by Corey Ralston Photography

Chimeric Contributor: Beth Cato

It’s kind of become a tradition that I interview the contributors to my anthologies and share those interviews on my blog. It’s also kind of become a tradition that it takes me a very long time to get them all posted. I plan to continue the first tradition but I’m hoping to avoid the second. Just to be different.

We’re continuing the Chimeric contributor interviews with a familiar name on my blog–Beth Cato. Beth and I first met a long time ago on Livejournal, when Livejournal was still relevant, and even though we live a very long way from one another she’s one of my best friends. She’s also an incredibly talented writer who I would admire even if I didn’t like her on a personal level (which I do, obviously :-p) 🙂

C is for Chimera-Interview

What letter were you assigned?


Did you struggle with the letter you were given?

A little bit, yes. When I think of chimeras, I think of the gremlins in my Clockwork Dagger series, and I really wanted a fresh take on the concept.

What kind of chimera is your story about?

A genetic modification of a little boy who assumes a “tiger” nature in his post-apocalyptic world.

What, other than the letter you were assigned, helped inspire your story?

I write a lot of stories that take place after the collapse of civilization. As I tried to think of a good setting for an ‘S” story, I gravitated to my familiar, horrible places.

Lion, goat or snake–which are you more like?

More leonine, I think. I’m a cat person all the way.

If you were going to be magically transformed into a chimera composed of three different creatures, what would you want them to be?

Gosh, probably cat, horse, and human. Which would surprise absolutely no one who knows me.

What if it wasn’t limited to creatures? What three things would you want to be composed of?

I don’t even know how to answer this one, though I am laughing at the thought of being rendered into some sort of multi-purpose Kitchen-Aid and oven chimera.

Unrealizable dreams have been called chimeras. Taking the ‘unrealizable’ part out of the equation, what is one of your fondest dreams/goals?

Um, I had the goal of being a Nebula or Hugo nominee, and now I’m a Nebula finalist–for a novella about chimeras. It’d still be awfully nice to win one of the big awards.

Can you share a short excerpt from your story?

“Be careful out there, Tiger,” Doctor said, as she did every day when she let Tiger Boy out through the narrow basement window.

“Tiger Boy,” he corrected, as he did daily.

“Yes, Tiger Boy.” Her smile was more wobbly than usual.

He knew she didn’t like letting him out by his lonesome, but he couldn’t stay pent up for days and days on end. He started to get restless and toy around with things, and that was really, really bad in a laboratory. She used to joke that she wasn’t sure if his mischief came from his Tiger or Boy nature, but she hadn’t said that in a long time.

She didn’t say too much at all, these days.


Beth Cato hails from Hanford, California, but currently writes and bakes cookies in a lair west of Phoenix, Arizona. She shares the household with a hockey-loving husband, a numbers-obsessed son, and a cat the size of a canned ham.

She’s the author of THE CLOCKWORK DAGGER (a 2015 Locus Award finalist for First Novel) and THE CLOCKWORK CROWN from Harper Voyager.

Follow her at and on Twitter at @BethCato.

Cover art and design by Jonathan C. Parrish

Find C is for Chimera online:



Barnes & Noble



Barnes & Noble


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