Author Spotlight: Beth Cato

Author spotlights are occasional Q&As with contributors. Nebula-nominated Beth Cato is the author of the Clockwork Dagger duology and the Blood of Earth trilogy from Harper Voyager. She’s a Hanford, California native transplanted to the Arizona desert, where she lives with her husband, son, and requisite cats. Follow her at and on Twitter at @BethCato.

Departure Mirror: Tell us a little about your Departure Mirror poem.

Beth Cato: “Under Tables” explores one of my familiar themes in stories and poems: how children cope with disaster. In this case, a child is taking the time to try to protect neighbors who are otherwise forgotten. To me, this poem isn’t simply about innocence, but about a level of compassion and thoughtfulness that too many of us lose as we age. 

DM: How did you become a writer?

BC: From the age of 4, I was writing and illustrating my own books. I love stories, and I love creating my own. I should note that it is far easier to write than to get published. This is not a gentle industry.

DM: What else are you passionate about?  Tell us about it.

BC: I’m a foodie. At, I maintain a food blog called Bready or Not. A new recipe goes up every Wednesday. I’m infamous for my decadent cookie and bar recipes, but I have everything on there from gluten-free treats to slow cooker meats. I’m also passionate about cheese and aim to try everything out there. Follow me on social media, and you’ll find out about a lot of unique cheese!

DM: Do you have anything you’d like to promote?

BC: I have a short story and poetry collection with Fairwood Press called Red Dust and Dancing Horses and Other Stories. It’s novel-length, and packed with tales that contain a lot of heart. Like other businesses right now, small presses have been hurt by the pandemic and the lack of conventions, so they need some extra love these days — as do their authors!

Thank you, Beth! “Under Tables” can be found in the Spring 2021 issue of Departure Mirror Quarterly. The issue is free to download and to read. If you love the story as much as we do, please tell your friends!