The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe

The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe: Beth Cato

Welcome back to The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe, a recurring series here on Tor.com featuring some of our favorite science fiction and fantasy authors, artists, and others!

Today we’re joined by author Beth Cato! Beth hails from Hanford, California, but currently writes and bakes cookies in a lair outside 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. Beth’s debut novel, The Clockwork Dagger, is available now from HarperVoyager. Check out an excerpt from the steampunk fantasy here on Tor.com!

What is your ideal pet (real or fictional)?

All my life, I have been in desperate need of a magical talking horse of my very own. Its ability to run on rainbows or engage in interstellar travel is optional. I don’t want to be too picky.

Do you have a favorite word?

My favorite word is “bustenhalter.” It’s the German word for bra. I learned it many years ago from the hilarious (and very politically incorrect) British comedy Are You Being Served? in an episode called “German Week.” Go watch it on YouTube. If you don’t laugh/cringe at the sight of Mr. Humpheries in lederhosen, you’re not human.

The Clockwork Dagger Beth CatoWhat was your gateway to SF/Fantasy, as a child or young adult?

I was born into geekdom. As a baby, my first words were “Mom,” and then “Star Wars.” My household was pretty dedicated to Star Wars, Star Trek, Back to the Future, all of that, but I found my own niche at age 11 when I fell in love with Final Fantasy II for Super Nintendo. That led to Dragonlance books and so much more.

Strangest thing you’ve learned while researching a book?

I read an old book about kitsune (mischievous Japanese fox spirits) and found out they can be identified in human form by their flatulence and extra hairy nature. I’ll just leave it at that.

Name your favorite monster from fiction, film, TV, or any other pop culture source.

Slimes from the Dragon Quest video game series. They look like little blue Hershey’s kisses with googly eyes and red mouths. In most of the games, they are the first monster you encounter in battle. DraQue was the first big RPG series in Japan and they have a cult status there. I currently have over a hundred plush slimes ranging from bean bag chair size down to key chains, and lots of other Dragon Quest memorabilia and manga as well.

If you could open a new shop in Diagon Alley, what would you sell?

Magical baked goods. I love baking. I love feeding people. If I could work enchantments into the stuff? Oh man. I’d make everyone so happy.

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