What a fantastic lineup we have today! Critique partners Joanne Rock and Catherine Mann stop by for a visit while they discuss their September releases- GUARDIAN for Cathy and FULL SURRENDER for Joanne.
Tell me how you got started writing military romance? How many books have you written?
CM: Hi Sharon! Thanks so much for having us here today to visit on your blog! In answer to your questions, my hubby served in the Air Force for over 20 years as an aviator. So USAF heroes are a natural fit for me. I’ve written over fifty novels for Harlequin, Berkley and Sourcebooks.
JR: I started penning military heroes when Harlequin Blaze began their popular “Uniformly Hot!” miniseries. I’d been a little in love with Cathy’s military heroes for years and thought I’d try writing one of my own. She has been a wonderful resource for me. I’ve written over sixty books in a variety of formats counting digital releases (like Harlequin Historical “Undone” stories) and novellas.
Why do you think these Alpha military heroes (and heroines) are so popular? What makes them heroes?
CM: Alpha military heroes are the go-to guys in a crisis, the ultimate protectors. Yes, they can be a bit arrogant with their swagger and confidence needed for extreme circumstances. But that makes finding the marshmallow side of any alpha hero oh-so rewarding and heart melting!
JR: I think military heroes have experienced a real surge of interest as so many of our friends, family and neighbors have spent time in deployments in the last decade. They are heroes because of their selfless service, and reading their stories is a way to celebrate all they do for us.
How do you compliment the heroine to a strong alpha military guy? Do you write them strong? Compliant? Kick-butt?
CM: Absolutely the heroine must be equally as strong, but her strengths may be in other arenas. Dare I say it…? They complete each other.
JR: What Cathy said! I like looking at character profiles like horoscopes, enneagrams or even Myers-Briggs personality indicators to remind myself what “types” of characters complement others. I find it fun to play with those types to see how one bolsters the other.
Do you like writing in series, or single?
CM: I definitely lean toward writing connected stories. That’s also another reason it’s awesome to have such a stellar long-time critique partner like Joanne. She knows all my stories and all my characters. While I don’t expect her to remember every detail, it’s very helpful that she’s familiar with the “world” I’ve built in a series. Joanne is a brainstorming maven and I’ve been the lucky recipient in many a looooong phone conversation!
JR: I don’t have the same long standing connections in my books that Cathy has created, mostly because I am continually charmed by new kinds of stories (suspense one day, a time travel another) and that makes longer series more difficult to pull off. But I do love connected books. FULL SURRENDER is loosely linked to several other stories following the Murphy brothers.
Who is your favorite character you've created? Why?
CM: How about I choose some of my favorite couples in Joanne’s books? I especially enjoyed the chemistry between Navy Lt. Brad Riddock (explosives expert) and Nikki Thornton (professor chronicling her aunt’s erotic diaries) in HIGHLY CHARGED. And Joanne’s book UNDER WRAPS has awesomely crafted secondary characters as well – a rocking awesome strength Joanne brings to her stories.
JR: How cool for you to remember those secondary characters in Under Wraps, Cathy!! I particularly enjoyed Cathy’s risk-taking “Postal” Ruznick and Dr. Grace Marie Lanier in BLAZE OF GLORY because of the way they balanced each other out (and I love a hero who’s “on the edge”). But I also loved Kate Harper in HIS THIRTY-DAY FIANCEE, who scales the hero’s mansion walls for a photo op. I wish I’d written this gutsy heroine with so much at stake!
If you could have a date with one of your characters, which one would it be and why? Where would you go?
CM: I’m going to flip the question again and choose one of Joanne’s heroes. I adore Lucian Barrett in her medieval historical THE WEDDING KNIGHT. I fell in love with that hero from the first line and adored him through every stage of his character’s healing and redemption. I would go ANYWHERE with a man like him. J
JR: Oh this is fun. I’m going to ask for Hugh Franco from HOT ZONE because underneath the darkly magnetic charm, he is so selfless and dedicated. This is true of so many of Cathy’s heroes, but with Hugh, I felt like we got a glimpse of his heart early on and I loved that.
Tell us something about you that most people wouldn't know or guess about you?
JR: I am a soft spoken girly-girl who likes pretty things, but I am married to an earthy man’s man who is an extroverted, noisy sports fanatic. He is the most surprising thing about me!
CM: I love to swim – pool, river, ocean - but I do not dive. The thought of plunging head first into the water freaks me out. And while Joanne says there’s nothing surprising about her, I’m not letting her off the hook that easily! I know that on vacation she once trekked a narrow rocky path along a cliff wall behind a waterfall. She’s FAR more daring than I am!
my husband coerced me into it!!
What have you read recently that you enjoyed?
JR: I adored Winnie Griggs’ HANDPICKED HUSBAND (HQ Love Inspired Historical, September 2012) and Maya Rodale’s THE TATTOOED DUKE (Avon, Feb. 2012).
CM: One of my favorite parts of being an author is getting ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) from other authors. Over past few months, I lucked into three really wonderful ARCs I highly recommend:
Julie Walker’s HELL ON WHEELS(Aug 2012), the launch book for her “Black Knights, Inc. series.
Virginia Kantra’s first “Dare Island” book, CAROLINA HOME (July 2012).
And just this week I read the latest in Holly Jacob’s “Everything But…” series called EVERYTHING BUT A DOG (Dec 2012).
What are you working on now?
CM: LOL! Today, I’m a bit scattered, juggling a bunch of different projects at once – plotting a synopsis for my next “Alpha Brotherhood” book, writing my next “Elite Force” PJ book, and working on a super-secret project I’m not talking about yet. ;)
JR: I’ll let you in on a not-so-super-secret tidbit… Cathy’s “scattered” days are more productive than most people’s average days! She is a creative force to be reckoned with and I love to hold out a net and catch the ideas that spark whenever she’s around. As for me, I revised a Blaze (with Cathy’s final tweaking help!) and submitted it to my editor for release next June. It’s a bit different for me because while the hero’s point of view is told in traditional third person, we get to meet the heroine via first person. It was really fun to write.
CM: And Joanne’s latest Blaze was really fun to read! How cool that I get an advance peek at her stories and can call that “work”! (Okay, I know technically I already answered this question but I just had to pop in after Joanne’s last post.)
Thanks again for having us here, Sharon! Your questions were great fun! And for the folks visiting today, what’s something we would be surprised to learn about YOU? One lucky commenter will be chosen at random to win a copy of both FULL SURRENDER by Joanne Rock and GUARDIAN by Catherine Mann.
Ladies, it's been my complete pleasure having you here today. I'm a gushing fan, and I agree these military alpha heroes are the best of the best. I share your joy that we get to write and celebrate these wonderful men and women.
Please be sure to leave your comments below with your coded email so you can win these fantastic reads. And let's show these ladies some love!
Excerpt: GUARDIAN: http://www.catherinemann.com/guardian/
USA Today bestselling author Catherine Mann writes military romantic suspense for Berkley and Sourcebooks, as well as steamy romances for Harlequin. A RITA Award winner (and six time RITA nominee) Catherine lives in the Florida panhandle with her flyboy husband, their kids and a menagerie of shelter pets.
Joanne Rock writes contemporary romance and medieval historicals for a variety of Harlequin lines. She looks forward to the release of a Young Adult romance series in the summer of 2013 under the pseudonym JK Rock with her sister-in-law, Karen. When she’s not reading or writing, Joanne is on the bleachers cheering for one of her three sons who are continuously involved in sports too numerous to mention.