Metastasis Contributor Interview: Beth Cato

Metastasis Cover - artwork by Jonathan Parrish, Cover design by Carol HightshoeOver the past couple days I’ve been sharing super short interviews with Metastasis contributors. The next in our series is of Beth Cato. Beth has not just one, but two poems in this collection and I’m pretty sure you’re going to love both of them. I do.

Who was the inspiration for your poem in Metastasis?

I have two poems in the anthology, and one of them is personal. “Hunter” is directly inspired by my cat Palom, who succumbed to cancer last year. He was a meddlesome brat–the sort who stuck his nose in every grocery bag and delivered terror to Christmas tree ornaments–and also the most lovable, social cat I’ve ever known. He greeted everyone at the door, inspected purses and shoes, and groomed people if necessary. I miss him every single day.

When it comes to cancer, what gives you hope?
That science fiction is becoming fact. That when a family member of mine had prostate cancer, a robot removed his prostate without any issue–and the man remains healthy several years later. That my mom had benign lesions growing in her eyes and underwent radiation to save her sight. This technology didn’t exist ten years ago. It makes me excited for what will come next–and who it will save.
You write a lot about healers. Is that because of a personal connection to cancer?
Yes. When I was four, my grandpa was diagnosed with myelofibrosis, a severe bone marrow disorder, and was told he had six months to live. He lived another seven years. Because of immune issues, he also was fighting valley fever, cancer, and other ailments by the end. I grew up with the awareness that he was dying. Soon after his death, I discovered role playing games and the healer archetype: white wizards, clerics, priestesses, etc. They’ve been something of an obsession for me ever since. My steampunk novel due out next year has a healer as a main character. If I could have any superpower, without any hesitation I would ask for the ability to cure the sick.
Palom napping


Beth Cato’s debut steampunk novel will be released by HarperCollins Voyager in late 2014. She’s originally from Hanford, California, but now resides in Arizona with her husband and son. Her short fiction, poetry, and tasty cookie recipes can be found at





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