SPECIAL INTERVIEW WITH CAT JOHNSON
Cat Johnson’s super hot contemporary romances have thrilled readers for years. This fabulously ‘no holds barred’ writer started out in e-books and has gained a loyal following. Now a best selling writer for Kensington Publishing, she has a new and scorching cowboy romance called One Night with a Cowboy coming out this year. Yippee!
I was excited when she graciously agreed to tell us more about her writing and how she has become the well known author of extra steamy books today!
1) What makes writing romance so important to you? I mean, getting published is tough, did you get discouraged when you first started writing?
Cat Johnson: Actually, my path to publication was kind of twisted. It started easy, and then got hard. Long story short, I graduated with a degree in English and within a few weeks, I had contracts for 3 Young Adult series in my hand. Twelve books later, those series concluded, and breaking into a new series, and getting a book published in a different genre, proved too discouraging for me. I entered the corporate world for about 15 years and made use of my other degree in marketing. Then e-books opened up the publishing industry, and I decided to try getting published again, this time in adult romance, which is what I loved to read. In April 2006, I got a contract with Linden Bay Romance, a small press. 3 years later that publisher sold to Samhain, the second largest digital-first publishing house. They already had a large stable of best selling authors, and that’s when my sales really took off.
To answer why I write romance… I think every person, women especially, need an escape from reality sometimes, and I’m happy I can give that to them.
2) I have to ask where do you get the inspiration for your steamy scenes? Is the word ‘tame’ even in your vocabulary?!
Cat Johnson: I’m smiling at this question because it seems I had to grow into the ability to write hot. In 2006, I genuinely thought that first story I wrote and had published was hot. Looking back, it really wasn’t. It seems with each book, it’s a little easier to push the boundaries a bit farther, but I still have my limits. I tried my hand at erotica a few times. Those stories turned out to be just really hot erotic romance, but there was still a committed relationship and a happy ever after. I guess I’m just a romantic at heart.
As for the inspiration. I do have a very vivid imagination! And I’ll admit I’ve researched some of the more technical, physical aspects online. My Google search history is pretty crazy. I also only write heroes who I find sexy, which makes it a lot easier to create hot situations for them to star in.
3) I’m curious, when you write your books do you ever feel embarrassed when writing the sex scenes? Is it difficult to bring the emotion between the characters into them?
Cat Johnson: The emotion isn’t hard because well-written erotic romance depends on the sex being character-driven and necessary for the story. But yes, I have felt embarrassed a few times. When my mom first started reading my stuff, it nearly crippled me when writing thinking about that. And starting with a new publisher and picturing a new editor reading the sex scenes kind of freaks me out too. You just have to get over it and write through it.
4) Makes sense! You started out writing e-books, do you think they will ever take over print books? :( Do you prefer to read e-books or print?
Cat Johnson: I think there will always be physical, bound-paper books. However, I think these books will be limited to titles on a reader’s “Keeper Shelf”, and beautiful classics displayed in bookcases. In the old days, only the wealthy owned books, and they were treasured objects. I think “real” books will continued be collected. Where I think e-books will take over is in the paperback market, the mass market prints readers buy cheap, read once, and then pass along.
I do love reading on the iPad. It’s so nice to know that no matter where I am I have a pile of books with me. The TBR pile of dusty stacks of paperbacks I come home from conventions with can get overwhelming and stifling. But when I read for research, I buy the paper book and stick hundreds of sticky notes in spots I might need to reference later. And I usually take a paperback on airplanes because I live in fear of a dead iPad battery.
5) Can you tell us what your favorite book to write was and why?
Cat Johnson: I do love my newest release, One Night With a Cowboy, however, I can’t say I particularly liked writing that one because I was out of my comfort zone. If you’ve read me before, you know I have stories ranging from a few thousand words, to 50,000 or 60,000. So I found being contracted for an 80,000-word novel was a little scary! I’m a wimp that way.
So I have to say A Cowboy For Christmas was probably the most fun to write. It was just so crazy. I did a live reading at a club in NYC in October, and a publisher was there and asked if I’d write a cowboy Christmas story for them for release that December. I finally said okay. I figured they’d want a short story on that short notice. Turns out, by the time we ironed out the details, they wanted 50K…by December 1st. Luckily for me it was now November, which is also NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) so I had plenty of writing support. In addition, the Hallmark Channel was running their Countdown to Christmas movie marathon. I had a great story idea, as well as the mental image of a sexy as sin alpha cowboy hero. I hunkered down and though I never got a Christmas tree put up in my house, I finished that story with 10 days to spare before the deadline. I love that story! Now all I need is to get it to Hallmark to be made into a Christmas movie (with the smoking-hot sex scenes removed, of course).
6) I noticed you have written several hot cowboy romances. What makes them the ideal hero in your mind? Do you have a cowboy you particularly like?!
Cat Johnson: There is just something about a cowboy that makes a woman feel taken care of. They’re strong, polite, hardworking, rugged, and ready to take on anything…and the boots and jeans don’t hurt. There are plenty of real life bull riders and calf ropers who have inspired my fictional characters, but I don’t play favorites. I mean, who could choose just one? ;)
7) I have to ask, can you please tell us about your new book One Night with a Cowboy?! What makes your hero Tucker so special?
Cat Johnson: Tucker is very special. You’re right, I have written lots of cowboys, and I wanted Tucker to stand out. I wanted him to have another dimension to him. Tuck’s a bull rider, but he’s also an active duty soldier, and that career takes him away from the heroine and puts him in one of the most deadly regions of Afghanistan. I feel that the chapters set in the war zone that show Tuck as a soldier fighting for his own life and those of the men in his unit added an important element of depth to the novel. And how his girlfriend, Becca, deals with the separation and fear takes their love to another level.
I also love the old “fish out of water” and “opposites attract” classic romance tropes. You can’t get much different than a New York English professor, and a bull-riding soldier from Oklahoma.
8) You have another series by Samhain called Red Hot and Blue. Will you continue this series? What inspired you to write about sexy military men in particular? Do you feel cowboys and military men are more ‘alpha’ heroes and therefore more attractive to many readers?
I loved reading military romances by Suzanne Brockmann and Alison Kent so I decided to try my hand at writing one back in 2006. I fell in love with the genre and the alpha heroes in it, as well as with the real men of the military who inspired my fictional stories.
I think readers do love an alpha man. I attribute the insane popularity of the 50 Shades trilogy to readers’ love of a take charge hero. I definitely have a thing for alpha men, and though I have written a few heroes who weren’t, I seem to keep going back to uber-alphas. And yes, cowboys and military men both seem to fit into that category nicely. The life and death nature of military romance adds instant tension and urgency to the relationships the characters form.
What will happen with the Red, Hot & Blue series? Sigh…that’s a very good question. I am still in the agonizing process of reworking the out-of-print stories from the original Linden Bay Romance series so they can be rereleased with Samhain. I’ll admit rewriting is much harder than writing new, so I’m probably not in the state of mind right now to answer if I’ll continue the series.
I don’t know if there will be more in the Red, Hot & Blue series, but I can guarantee I’m not done writing military romance. As I mentioned, Tuck is military, and so is the hero for Book 2 in the Oklahoma Nights series. I may start fresh with a new military series rather than continue Red, Hot & Blue. Something to think about. Either way, looking forward is exciting.
9) Okay, I am a sucker for the paranormal and really interested in your Loves Immortal Pantheon series, can you tell us about it? How did you come up with the idea for this series? Do you have plans to write more of them?
Cat Johnson: I’d only dabbled in paranormal before that series. I’d written one short story about a witch who turns a warrior into a cat. It’s one of my Free Reads—Black Cat and I love that story, but I’d never had any plans to write more. That is, until author Stella Price, who I’d been doing book signings with, told me she was planning a new reader/author convention and the first year was for paranormal authors only. She wanted me there so I had to write something paranormal, and she just happened to be coordinating a series of anthologies featuring the gods for Tease that year. So I broke out this old paperback I had about different gods from different cultures, and the myths surrounding them, and I wrote the first story, Erato, about the muse of erotic poetry. It was easy to spin off the other stories. With all those decadent gods and goddesses running around Mount Olympus making trouble, all I had to do was pick who I wanted to write about next. So there are two stories about Eros, and a story about Bacchus. I tried to put a new spin and twist on the old myths, so they’d feel new and different.
It was kind of freeing actually. After writing contemporary romance for so long, where I always had to make sure the characters’ motivations rang true for the reader, it was nice to be able to open Erato with a good old fashioned orgy and not have to worry about it!
10) And finally, what other ideas do you have planned… or is that top secret?!
Not secret. I don’t even know myself sometimes! Just when I think I have no more ideas, or that I’m too busy to take on anything new, something comes up. Apparently all I need is a tiny nudge, such as Kensington emailing me to say there was a spot in a mass market beach read anthology with Linda Lael Miller and Jill Shalvis and if I wanted in it, I had to write a story centering around summer and water, so I wrote one.
So to kind of answer your question, I have plans for Book 3 in the Oklahoma Nights series with Kensington, and for another bull rider book for the Studs in Spurs series with Samhain, and from there I’m going to take it one day at a time. I can make plans, but they’ll just change, I’m sure. Best laid plans and all that… The best way to keep up with what’s happening is at my site at CatJohnson.net. I try to keep the most up to date information on the Coming Soon page.
Wow! Thanks so much! I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions. I really feel I learned a lot about your writing and I can’t wait to get my hands on your next book!
Cat Johnson: Thanks so much for having me!
Interviewed by Steph from the Bookaholics Romance Book Club
For Additional Information about Cat Johnson you can check her out at:
She also has FREE READs you can check at:
Recent and Upcoming Romances by Cat Johnson
Oklahoma Nights Series from Kensington Brava
One Night With a Cowboy, Book 1 (coming Feb 26, 2013)
Two Shots With a Soldier, Book 2 (coming Fall 2013)
“Fish Out of Water” in a Mass Market Anthology w/ Linda Lael Miller, Jill Shavis, Lucy Monroe, July 2013
Contemporary Cowboy Anthology from Kensington Aphrodisia (Coming Fall 2013) “Two for the Road” M/F/M Menage
Three Weeks With a Bull Rider, Book 3 (Coming 2014)
Studs in Spurs Series (pro bull riders), Samhain Publishing
Unridden (Book 1-Slade, Mustang) e-book & Print
Bucked (Book 2-Mustang) e-book & Print
The Rookie (Deleted Scene from BUCKED-Mustang & Chase) FREE e-book
8 Second Ride (Short Story-Chase) FREE e-book
Ride (Book 3-Chase)-e-book & Print
Hooked (Book 4 – Luke)-e-book & Print
Flanked (Book 5-Garret)- e-book available, Print Aug. 2013
Red, Hot & Blue Series*, Samhain Publishing
Trey (Book 1) e-book
Jack (Book 2) e-book
Jimmy (Book 3) e-book
NOTE: Trey, Jack & Jimmy are bundled in PRINT as RED BLOODED
BB Dalton (Book 3.5) BONUS READ
Jared (Book 4) e-book -formerly “The Horseman”
Cole (Book 5) e-book -formerly “The Ballplayer”
Bobby (Book 6) -formerly “The Deputy”
NOTE: Jared, Cole & Bobby will be bundled for Print as SMALLTOWN HEAT in 2013
A Few Good Men-A RHB NOVEL (Book 7) e-book available, print in 2013
Model Soldier- A RHB NOVEL (Book 8 ) e-book available, print 2013
A Prince Among Men-A RHB NOVEL (Book 9) March 12 e-book, print 2014
Bull (Book 10) – awaiting release date
Matt (Book 11) – awaiting release date
The Commander (Book 12) awaiting release date
NOTE: Bull, Matt, The Commander will be bundled for print as TRUE BLUE
*The Red, Hot & Blue series was originally the Linden Bay Romance Task Force Zeta Series
Love’s Immortal Pantheon Greek Gods Series from Tease Publishing
Erato (Vol. 1-Erato/Acantha)
Eros’ Valentine (Eros)
Bacchanal (Vol. 2-Dionysus/Ariadne)
Bliss (Vol. 3-Eros/Psyche)
The Trilogy Collection (Rereleases of out-of-print Linden Bay Romance Backlist)
Opposites Attract (Trilogy #1)- Brad/Alyssa, Troy/Amy, Antonio/Maddy
Nice & Naughty (Trilogy #2)- appearances by Troy and Antonio and their firemen friends
Black Cat- (FREE READ) Belinda and Lar’s story featuring Donna & Grace from JUST DESSERTS
Just Desserts (Trilogy #3)-Donna’s and Grace’s stories
TEXAS TWO STEP from All Romance e-books’ Perfect Strangers line
1. Texas Two-Step (Wes/Maryann/Shooter, M/F/M)
2. Texas Two-Step: Cowboy Shuffle (Shooter & Ellen)
Stories from the MAVERICK RANCH from Ravenous Romance
1. A Cowboy for Christmas (Cattle boss Bonner Blue Boyd & Casey, M/F)
2. Valentine Cowboys (Ranch hands Justus & Dakota, M/F/M menage)