Welcome to Writers' Wednesday! Today's a particularly enjoyable interview for me to share, since it's an author I've done several signings with: Cat Johnson. Before I get to the good stuff about her, let me just say that in person, she's charming, funny, and wears five-inch camouflage heels incredibly well :)
Now...you get to meet her too!
Thanks for joining me in virtual world today, Cat! Tell us about your latest writing project or published title.
A Prince Among Men is my latest release from Linden Bay Romance. It is the newest novel in the Task Force Zeta series. It’s a contemporary erotic military romance.
If I had to put a name to it, I would say that A Prince Among Men was a result of serendipity. I was finishing up edits on the previous Zeta novel, Model Soldier, and as usual I had leaned heavily on a steady stream of reports coming in from my military consultant in Afghanistan, but great details and stories were still coming in and Model Soldier was done.
My soldier was giving me gold daily. Tidbits like about the Taliban harvesting the local poppy crop to make into drugs, the British air support that saved the US forces as well as the Afghan Army and our Romanian allies from attacks, about the PVC pipes sunk in the ground that they all had to pee into on base…vivid colorful details. I realized I still had a lot to say and decided there needed to be a sequel.
I knew I would continue the story from Model Soldier, using one of the squad as the hero for the continuing book, but I wasn’t sure what the main story would be. Then, fate stepped in. As usual, I was in bed in my PJs with my laptop and coffee, checking email while watching one of the morning news shows when the story of Prince Harry’s secret deployment with a unit to Afghanistan broke and I thought, Oh my god! There’s my new book. I don’t want to give the story away, but that is how A Prince Among Men was born. I absolutely LOVE this book.
Military romance sounds like a really interesting genre, especially with all that's going on in the world today. What are you working on now?
Though I will continue with my military romance, I am expanding into another niche genre. I just finished my very first foray into the world of ménage romance. It’s set in the rodeo world. That was interesting, let me tell you, since I knew nothing about the rodeo at the time! I have plenty of military consultants for my fact checking, but since (in a moment of insanity) I decided to make the two heroes in my threesome book rodeo cowboys, I was in desperate need of an expert in that arena. Thank god I found a bull rider on MySpace who didn’t run when a strange romance novelist contacted him out of the blue begging for help. We’ll see, depending on how the public responds, this book may be the first in a series of rodeo stories. And, possibly, another threesome book may also follow.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book(s)?
I’ve learned a lot about myself through my writing, mostly that I’m more multi-faceted and…elastic I guess is the word, than I previously thought. If you had asked me three years ago about the war, I wouldn’t have been able to tell much at all. Today, I correspond with active troops in the war zone who have become my close friends. I read DoD newsletters over coffee in the morning. I can speak the military lingo to a certain extent. I know when there is a “96”, and what a PCS, TOC, FOB and a MOS is. I know the difference between a commissary, an Exchange and a PX and what digital camo looks like. I am just a font of pretty random military trivia. This is NOT impressive for those in military life, but we have to remember, I was a complete and total military virgin (aka civilian, I guess) just a few years ago, so it is impressive for me!
Why the change? It seems the more I learned, the more I wanted to know. I guess it’s because the war now has a face for me. It’s personal, not just a news story.
In the same vein, six months ago, if a rodeo had come on television, I wouldn’t have been able to change the channel fast enough. Now, I can’t wait for televised coverage and I go to websites for updates on competitions I missed. I guess what I am saying is that my interests are a lot more diverse than I ever imagined, I just needed a personal tie to open up these new worlds for me.
Sounds fascinating! So what kinds of books do you like to read? Who is your favorite author?
I read everything from Young Adult (like the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer, and Harry Potter by J.K. Rowlings) to the darker urban fantasy and paranormal (like the In Death series by J.D. Robb and the Anita Blake series by Laurel K. Hamilton) to lighter romantic comedy (Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich or the time-traveling Navy SEALs by Sandra Hill). And of course, I read the competition, like the military romance series by Suzanne Brockmann and Alison Kent. (I’m rolling my eyes at myself because I am SO not competition for those two… not yet, anyway!)
I LOVE reading and I have to say the one downside to being a writer (which means I am also a one woman promotional staff, web mistress, proofreader, etc.) is that it leaves much less time for me to read.
Cat, I'm so glad you shared a peek at yourself today. Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
I’d love to let your readers know that I have a blog on my MySpace at www.myspace.com/authorcatjohnson. There you may find me ranting one day and making jokes the next, depending on my mood.
I also am currently the voice of All Romance eBooks’ weekly “What’s Hot in Romance” Blog Talk Radio Show where I interview romance authors each week live on air. The schedule for future shows and the archives for past show recordings can be found at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/Whats-Hot-In-Romance.
And, of course, you can find out more about Cat's books at her website as well.
Thanks so much, Allie! It’s been a lot of fun!