Cathy: First, I'd like to say, thank you so much for having me here. I really appreciate the chance getting to know new people (and new authors). It's always fun!
I've been writing for Harlequin American for the past six years — hard to believe it's been that long — and my July release, Aidan: Loyal Cowboy is my twelfth book for them (and my second continuity). While I did write for a few other publishers before Harlequin American, I couldn't be happier with them. Being a small town girl at heart and lover of all things western, Americans are exactly the type of books I love writing — and reading!
Sara: Please tell us about your new release "Aidan: Loyal Cowboy".
Cathy: Aidan: Loyal Cowboy is book one in Harlequin American's newest continuity, the Harts of Montana. I'm really thrilled (also a little nervous) to be book on in this series. The Harts are truly a modern day cowboy family. The problems they face are realistic, and I think most readers will identify with them. The books also contain lots of handsome men and the women they love in the exciting setting of ranch life and rodeos. A continuity is a little different than a regular series. Though each book is stand alone, there is a broader story that continues book to book, in this case, how the Harts recover from the financial disaster than nearly ruined their ranch.
Sara: What where the challenges you faced in bringing this book to life?
Cathy: The first challenge was to create the family and the six-book story. I'm fortunate to have worked with some great ladies (authors of the other five books). Also, when writing our own story, we had to not only create our individual romance, we had to include elements from the other books and "set up" the next story in the series. As book one and the person kicking off the series, that was very challenging for me. There were lots of characters and situations to juggle. I loved it!!
Sara: What is involved in writing a Series such as "Harts of the Rodeo".
Cathy: All of the above :) Also, there is a fair amount of research involved. After all these years, I'm fairly knowledgeable on rodeoing. But, for my book, I had to spend some time researching Montana, a place I've never been, and horse breeding. Also, communication, communication, communication. We six ladies talked — via email — a lot! Every day. We had to hammer out plot problems, brainstorm ideas, and make sure we were treating the other author's characters the way they envisioned them. I think with this series, we burned up the Internet.
Sara: What inspired you to write your first book?
Cathy: I'm almost embarrassed to admit this, it's so pitifully cliche. While I started writing in high school (short stories, essays, poetry), I actually wrote my first book in college. It was based entirely on a crush I had on one of my professors and, I'm sure, total drivel. The manuscript got lost somewhere along the way. What I wouldn't give to have it back. It was, however, the start of my romance writing career, though I didn't take up writing seriously till many years later.
Sara: What comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
Cathy: Almost always, for me, the idea for the novel comes first, though it's usually a teeny, tiny seed of an idea. And because I write Harlequin American, I usually start thinking about the community next. Then, I wonder what kind of compelling characters would populate my story. I'm a collector of interesting people and ideas. When I come across something that strikes a spark with me, a news article, a person I meet, a story someone tells me, I stick it in my idea folder. Later, often years later, I might pull an idea from that file to use in a new story.
Sara: Take us through a typical day in the life of "Author".
Cathy: Well, like a lot of writers, many people I suppose, I start out my day checking emails and taking care of the "business" side of writing. I wish writing was all fun and story crafting, but there are a lot of dull, dreary things associated with it, too. After a break to do chores and feed/walk the dogs, I get to my favorite part of the day, which is writing. Depending on where I am with the book, anywhere from creating a new proposal to writing pages to final editing, I sit my butt in the chair and stay there for a couple hours. After lunch, I either work for another couple hours or, usually three days a week, I head to the office where I continue my old job on a consulting basis. If I'm on a book deadline, I will edit for an hour or two in the evenings and continue this same schedule on weekends. If not, I still usually write a couple pages or edit a bit on the weekends. I like to stay in the story as much as possible.
Sara: What do you do when you are not writing?
Cathy: Chill. Seriously. I just came off a deadline and spent a full twenty-four hours doing nothing much but vegging on the couch and catching up on sleep. Then, I had to spend the day after that catching up on all the things I let slide during the deadline. Laundry, yard work, grocery shopping. Which doesn't make me sound like a fun person. Actually, I'm very involved in my local writer's organizations. I also do a lot with my family and friends. I'm a social person and get out whenever I can. Movies, live theater, sporting events, coffee houses. My favorite place to go is Young, AZ, where I have a small house. It's much cooler than the Phoenix area and very laid back. I go up there as much as possible to get away and unwind.
Sara: What's Next? Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Cathy: Most exciting is that the prequel to the Harts, "Wyatt: Return of the Cowboy" is available for a free download from Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. It's probably available free other places as well. Wyatt: Return of the Cowboy is a novella that will introduce readers to the Hart continuity, though it is also a stand alone story. The main characters are new, they don't appear in the rest of the series. But several characters from the series do make appearances in the novella! And, it's FREE. I did mention that, didn't I? :)
Also, I have book four in my own series, Mustang Valley, coming out early 2013. This book will wrap up story of the last wild mustang in Mustang Valley, Arizona. I'm really excited to have had a chance to write another book in this series and tell the story of yet one more sexy cowboy. Whoo, hoo! I have the best job in the world.
On a Lighter Note...
Sara: Which of your characters would you most/least like to invite to dinner?
Cathy: I'd invite Aidan. First off, because he's gorgeous, and who doesn't want to spend dinner sitting across from a gorgeous man? Secondly, I'd love to hear about his work. He's a large animal vet, and I really wanted to be a vet when I was a kid. I think it'd be a great job, and he'd have lots of interesting stories to tell. Lastly, I'd ask him how he let a great gal like Flynn go? Is he an idiot? Okay, yes, he ends up with her at the end of the book but, seriously, she's a catch.
Sara: If you were stranded on an island....
Cathy: I'd make sure I was stranded with SurvivorMan as I know almost nothing about getting along in the wild.
Sara: If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you like to see play the lead rose as you?
Cathy: First choice: Sandra Bullock. Second choice: Julia Roberts. Now, let's ask the more interesting question. Who would I want to play my love interest????
Sara: Would you rather sing in the rain or dance in the streets?
Cathy: Oh, I'd do both in a heartbeat. Ask my friends.
Sara: Vanilla or Chocolate?
Cathy: Vanilla shakes are my favorite shake. Other than that, it's chocolate all the way.
Cathy will be giving away a Copy of "Aidan: Loyal Cowboy". To one lucky winner.
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