Thursday, September 27, 2012

Q & A with Melissa Cutler!



Note: Check the end of the interview for a fantastic contest to win a copy of The Trouble with Cowboys!

1. Tell us about your newest release.

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 cutlermail@yahoo.com.

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.

Bio:

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:






18 comments:

Melissa Cutler said...

My thanks to Patti and the rest of the Romance Reviews Today crew for hosting me. What a fun interview. Since I asked readers for tips on places to visit around the world, I thought I'd kick things off. I have a map of Italy taped to my desk so I can daydream about visiting the island of Corsica. I've already been through much of mainland Italy, but the islands and Amalfi coast are calling to me in big way.

My thanks again to Romance Reviews today! I can't wait to hear from readers.

hugs,
Melissa

Georgie Lee said...

I didn't know you played the piano. Congrats on your upcoming release!

Melissa Cutler said...

Thanks for stopping by, Georgie! I play several instruments, including the cello (I was in high school orchestra) and clarinet, but the piano is my true love.

Melissa

Maureen said...

Rickett's Glen State Park in Pennsylvania is an amazing place to hike with some amazing waterfalls.

L. Goodrich said...

When I graduated from college, I wound up backpacking across the UK with a boy I barely knew. It was December, and we wound up on Inismor, the biggest of the Aran Islands off the western coast of Ireland, for New Year's Day. It's got a population of about 700 people, and a temperamental climate, but it was so quiet and so lovely in the middle of winter. We spend hours just watching the waves and listening to our own thoughts. But as I understand it, it's overrun with tourists in the summer, so book your flight in the off season and pack a rain slicker.

Janet Tait said...

Congrats on your new release!

I know what you mean about opening up and becoming more social once you found your community. I felt the same way when I found my writing communities. Unlike you, I still think I am an introvert (LOL!) but I love hanging out and socializing with my writer friends! I feel like I have finally found my home.

Estella said...

Bandon, Oregon is a great place to visit. Cranberry bogs, cranberry candy, Old Town and the Coquille River lighthouse. Also lots of beached to visit.

Melissa Cutler said...

Thanks to Maureen, L. Goodrich, Janet and Estella for stopping by!

Maureen, I've always wanted to visit Pennsylvania. Sounds so beautiful! I adore waterfalls.

L. Goodrich: That island off the coast of Ireland sounds EXACTLY like my kind of place. And I bet that backpacking trip of yours yielded all kinds of wonderful stories.

Janet: I absolutely agree that I feel like I've found my home. Such an amazing feeling.

Estella: Cranberry bogs and beaches sounds like a slice of heaven.

Thank you all for adding to my wanderlust with those fantastic trip suggestions!

Hugs,
Melissa

Na said...

I like everything about cowboys too! Both the historical and modern ones have traits that make them great heroes. It's wonderful to have your family's support in what you do and that can take you far. I also love to travel but since I can't do much now I do so via the stories I read. I would love to visit Ireland and Scotland one day.

joye said...

Enjoyed reading the excerpt. I really like reading stories with cowboys in them. I grew up reading Westerns by Louis L Amour and Zane Grey so I always look in the stores for these kinds of books.
JWIsley(at)aol(dot)com

bn100 said...

Congrats on the book! National parks are nice places to visit.

bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

Melissa Cutler said...

Na, thanks for stopping by and checking out my interview. I do most of my traveling through books too! And what a wonderful way to go. :)

Joye, you ARE a long time western fan! There is just something about those rugged cowboys that makes them so exhilarating to read about. Thanks for stopping by Romance Reviews Today.

bn100, thank you for coming by the blog. I love National Parks too, but haven't been to all that many. I'm hoping to remedy that soon.

Lisa Kessler said...

Great interview Melissa!!! :)

I had no idea you were so well traveled! Wow!!!

I mean I knew about vacations in Mexico, but you've been to Turkey & China??? WOw!

Congratulations on the new release!

Lisa :)

Melissa Cutler said...

Lisa, Thanks for stopping by :)

Yeah, I've been all over the place. Don't forget Canada (lol)! One of my next goals is to get to Florida because then I'll have been to al four corners of the US (if you count Alaska vs. Washington): California, Alaska, and Maine. Mr. Cutler and I went to Alaska on our honeymoon, then Maine the next year to drive the coast and visit the islands just offshore. So fun!

Thanks again, Lisa :)

flchen1 said...

How cool, Melissa! LOL on reading through the entire PB romance collection while keeping an eye on the kids ;) And wow on the accomplished musician thing, too--an abundance of talent you've got!

Off the beaten path places to visit? We haven't been to too many--China's a huge country though, and while I've briefly visited the Guilin region, Huang Shan, and Xian, I would dearly love to go back. My parents just did a short tour of the "river" section in the south, and found it beautiful as well. My kids want to visit Japan and I really want to see Australia (and meet all the cool Down Under writers! ;))

We live in California, and there are even loads of off-the-beaten path places here to see!

Come visit again, Melissa! ;)

Laurie G said...

I'm all for visiting our countries national parks!

This past summer I enjoyed hiking at Zion and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

In Florida, my son was married in O'Leno State Park outside of High Springs, Florida about 30 miles north of Gainesville. Gainesville has a lot of hiking trails too (avoid football weekends). Stuart, FL has a beautiful beach were you can walk for miles along the Atlantic Ocean (Hutchinson Island).

My hometown, Two Rivers, Wisconsin has Point Beach State Forest to the north and the city of Manitowoc to the south. You can bike or hike over 7 miles in either direction along the Lake Michigan shoreline. Fishing Village Museum, Rahr-West Museum, Berensteen chocolates and the birth place of the ice cream sundae. Cheese, cheese curds.... tour the Coast Guard Station, visit Rawley Point Lighthouse, tour a submarine the USS COBRA. Summers are short and occasionally cool. It's known as the "coolest spot in Wisconsin".

Melissa Cutler said...

Hi, Flchen, I loved the Guilen region of China! Beautiful. But my favorite part by far was Hong Kong. I know, not off the beaten path, but still such a cross-section of cultures. Thank you for stopping by the blog!

Laurie G: Hello! Thank you for stopping by :) And thanks for all the cool ideas of places I need to travel! Wow. I defintely need to get to both Florida and Michigan as soon as possible.

Thanks again you two!

Melissa

flchen1 said...

Melissa, I have to agree--I liked Hong Kong! Besides the crowdedness, it is a very cool place! Loads of excellent food, and a lot of people there still speak Cantonese, the dialect I'm slightly more familiar with. Still not sure I could move to Asia, but HK would be one of the places I think we could consider ;)