Note: Check the end of the interview for a fantastic contest to win a copy of The Trouble with Cowboys!
The Trouble with Cowboys is a mash-up of western and culinary romance novels, with a cowboy hero who not only raises prime beef but knows what to do with it once it hits the kitchen and a heroine who's a failed reality cooking show contestant (a lá Top Chef) who's returned to her small town home to open a restaurant featuring locally grown food. It's the first of a trilogy.
Amy, the star of the first book, has a serious weakness for everything cowboy. As she tells her sister Jenna, she's the only woman she knows who gets turned on when the song 'Desperado' comes on the radio. She attributes her epic fail on television to a conniving fellow contestant posing as a cowboy and has sworn off cowboys for good to focus on her career. So it figures that her key supplier is Catcher Creek's most eligible bachelor, Kellan Reed—exactly the sort of Stetson-tipping bad boy she finds impossible to resist.
2. What was one of the most surprising things you have learned as a writer?
One of the most surprising things I've learned is how much I adore talking to and connecting with readers and fellow writers. My whole life, I considered myself an introvert, complete with that slightly out-of-place feeling in every situation I was in. As soon as I embraced the romance community and the notion that I was a writer, I felt like I'd finally found my rightful place in the world. Everything clicked, and it's been the most amazing journey ever since. As it turns out, I'm a hardcore extrovert (who knew?!?).
3. What authors or friends influenced you in helping you to become a writer?
Probably the most influential aspect of my "writerly development" wouldn't be a person or specific author, but access to public libraries beginning at a very early age and into adulthood. Growing up, we couldn't afford to buy books, but my mom took me to the library all the time. It's always been my happy place.
Then, when my kids were super little, my local library designated the book shelves closest to the children's section for paperback romances. It was the only adult book section I could browse while still keeping an eye on my kids. I believe I read Every. Single. One. I'd been reading romance since I was a young teen, but there in the library with those paperbacks was when I figured out that if I was going to ever follow my dream and write, it would have to be romance. Life's too short to read books with unhappy endings.
4. What does your family think about your career as a published author?
I'm loud and proud about the genre I love to write and read, and am so fortunate to have had my family and my husband's family support throughout every phase of my writing journey. Trust me, I know how lucky I am to be surrounded by people who not only give me their blessing, but help watch the kids occasionally so I can work. That being said, I'm razzed constantly (and good-naturedly) about my "dirty books" and shirtless cowboys, but it's all in good fun and helps me not take things too seriously.
5. Besides writing, what other interests do you have?
There's more to life than writing? What??? I'm kidding. I play piano and relax by riffing and writing my own songs. I also fancy myself an accomplished amateur bartender. One of my favorite ways to spend Sunday afternoon is to have friends over for cocktails on the patio.
And I love to travel. Melissa fun fact: I've been to more countries than states in the U.S, including Turkey, China, Spain, Italy, Greece, and so on. I'm hoping to balance out that ratio someday, but mostly I'm compelled to seek out the off-the-beaten-path places throughout the world and learn about how people live
6. Can you tell us about what's coming up next for you writing wise?
This November, my first Harlequin Romantic Suspense book is coming out, which is so exciting. Titled Seduction Under Fire, it tells the story of two cops who love to hate each other, but are on the run together in Baja. I live super close to Mexico and spend a lot of time south of the border, so this is a story close to my heart. Then, in 2013, the follow-up to The Trouble with Cowboys, titled The Secret to Loving a Lawman, will hit the shelves.
7. How can readers connect with you online?
I'm online every day and treasure the opportunity to connect with readers, who can find me on Twitter (@m_cutler), Facebook (www.facebook.com/MelissaCutlerBooks), and Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/cutlerromance/ ). Readers can also find out more about me, my books, and my event schedule (including guest blog posts) at www.melissacutler.net or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Time for me to hear from you. Since I'm such a passionate traveler, I'd love recommendations for off-the-beaten-path places in the world I should visit, even if it's a reader's hometown. I'll be giving away a copy of The Trouble with Cowboys to one commentator.Melissa Cutler is a Southern California native living with her family in beautiful San Diego. In 2008, she decided to take her romance novel devotion to the next level by penning one herself. She now divides her time between her dual passions for writing sexy, small town contemporaries for Kensington Books and edge-of-your-seat romantic suspense for Harlequin.
The Trouble with Cowboys buy links:
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-trouble-with-cowboys-melissa-cutler/1110855259?ean=9781420130041