Earlier this month, I had the privilege of reading Hot Zone, a romantic suspense novel by Catherine Mann. It totally blew me away, from one of the most gripping opening scenes I’ve ever read all the way to its poignant ending.
I loved it so much, I seethed with jealousy that I didn’t write it myself.
I’m so happy to have Catherine here today, giving away a copy of Hot Zone and answering my nosy questions. Welcome, Catherine!
Thanks for inviting me to visit on your blog – and thank you very much for your cheers for HOT Zone!
1. You started off with a career in arts and teaching. You’ve got degrees in theater and fine arts, and you’ve taught at advanced levels. Can you tell us how you transitioned from that career into a writing career, especially one where you write gritty military suspense novels?
I’ve always been an avid romance reader, since my early teens, and even tried to write a novel in junior high school. But I tabled the dream and tucked away that first attempt, because hey, what are the odds of selling a book, right? My creative outlet then turned to the theater, which in hindsight I see now that somehow I seem drawn to careers that are difficult to break into. But my mother always said in choosing your career, follow your dreams, your passion, and the rest will fall into place. (Thanks, Mom!)
2. How has your theater background helped you as a writer? Do you find yourself incorporating theatrical skills (like storyboarding or having a keen eye for setting) when writing your novels?
I love this question – I recently answered it in an interview for USA Today’s Happily Ever After blog, where I discussed a good bit about setting. So I’ll go for a different answer here. 🙂 Definitely I have used my theater training in characterization. Constantin Stanislavski’s Method Acting approach involves the actor immersing himself/herself deeply into a memory to evoke an emotion, engage the senses. In turn, my characters need to have those pivotal memories to immerse them (and hopefully the reader too) in the emotional journey.
3. You’ve taught a workshop on “high-octane heroes” at RWA’s national conference, and after reading Hot Zone I know what you mean by high-octane hero, but could you explain a little how you create one? What makes them so compelling?
I divide the military hero’s characterization into six elements: Prowess, Focus, Camaraderie, Ego, Compassion, Selflessness. Those elements are part of who they are, even when they’re not in uniform. I consider them high octane because they live life completely on the edge in all fronts, no holds barred. They are in your face, in the thick of the battle, and when it comes to heroine, they commit to love with that same all-out intensity. High octane men are exhausting, but mesmerizing.
4. How do you manage to write for three different publishers (Berkley, Sourcebooks and Harlequin Desire)? Do you get to explore different kinds of stories and characters through each one?
Writing for different publishers gives me the opportunity to shift gears, which keeps me from slipping into a rut. I’m a driven, Type A personality, and I consider myself very blessed to have publishing homes for all the stories whirling around in my head.
5. Hot Zone is set in the Bahamas after a devastating earthquake, and I’ve read that you wrote it after the Haiti earthquake. The novel explores a horrific problem that comes up after every major disaster: how can we protect children in times of chaos? Was this an issue that particularly inspired you to write this novel? Or did it come out as you researched disaster response?
As I watched television footage, the faces of the orphaned/lost children really reached out to me as a mother of four. Thinking of being unable to reach my kids, to have to trust strangers in chaos… that really hit me. The story came to life from that seed. Then, I dug in on the research!
CM: Thank you so much for having me here to visit on your blog!
KL: Thanks for coming, and for the giveaway, Catherine!
USA Today bestseller Catherine Mann writes military romantic suspense for Sourcebooks and Berkley, as well as steamy romances for Harlequin Desire. A RITA Award winner, she resides in Florida with her military flyboy husband and their four children. Check out her upcoming releases – PROTECTOR (March), HONORABLE INTENTIONS (April) and UNDER FIRE (May.)
For those of you who would like to learn more about the pararescue world, here’s an AWESOME youtube clip from the History Channel’s MAIL CALL. Stellar footage of incredibly brave servicemen.
Catherine’s giving away a copy of Hot Zone to someone who leaves a comment here, telling us what your favorite holiday gift or memory is this year.
I’ll announce the winner on Tuesday, January 3. Good luck, everyone!
Favorite would be when the grandkids on the west coast hooked up the webcamera so we could watch and hear them open their gifts from the east coast. it’s the closest we can get to them during the holidays due to spouses work schedule.
Book sound like a really good read, thanks for the contest.
I bought myself an iPad! I love it! I can read 24/7 if I want, but it ticks off my family. Oh well!
I got a beautiful sterling silver wolf ring. I love all things with wolves and dragons.
Probably favorite gift has been the joy of helping my sons play with their toys at their request..
My favorite memory was watching my cousin walk thru my door,with 2 other marines form Iran. He’s been over their for so long and glad they are home for good, safe and sound! that was my surprize christmas present!
I took advantage of all of the Christmas Day ebook deals and loaded up my Kindle. I made a huge dent in my wish list. Happy New Year!
My favorite gift this year was a blu ray player that is wi fi enabled. Now I can watch the episodes of Glee on Netflix that I’ve missed. My daughter and son in law gave me this.
seriousreader at live dot com
Watching my son’s reaction to the 1254 piece Millenium Falcon Lego set given to him by his sisters. Mind you, he’s 40 years old, and his sisters are 36. He made it very clear to his 4 year old son that “this is Daddy’s present, and you can WATCH.”
That and watching our grandson handing out presents, and the expression on his face when I read him the card, and said, “Do you know anyone named Elissa,” and he beamed and said, “My mommy.”
(He does know how to read his own name, so those presents were easy.)
My favorite gift is my new Kindle Fire.
Love your high octane heroes, Catherine.
caity_mack at yahoo dot com
Hi Julie! Aren’t web cams awesome? What a fun treat to see your loved ones open their gifts!
Shelley – Enjoy your iPad! What a great gift!!
Danny – The wolf ring sounds gorgeous, and how nice to get such a personal gift. 🙂
Doug – Sounds like you have wonderful kids!
Carole – Wow!! That must have been such an emotional moment!!
Stacy – How fun! I intend to do some Kindle shopping myself today.
Linda – I adore my Netflix!!!! Am watching something with my kids as I type this now, lol!
Terry – ROTFLOL – my adult sons still enjoy Legos too!
Cathy M – I’ve been very curious about the Kindle Fire – looking forward to hearing more about what people think of it.
Glad to hear folks had a fabulous holiday week!!! Happy New Year to all!
My favorite gift, besides being with my family, was all the Barnes and Noble gift cards I received!!! All loaded in my nook and ready to go pruchase some books. Can’t wait!! Happy New Year!!!
My favorite holiday memory was sharing Christmas Dinner with the unaccompanied service members left in my housing compound in Saudi Arabia. Most of them had gone home (or out in the field) for the holiday so there were only about 4 of them here and we spent dinner remembering all the GREAT things about the military!! Thanks, Cathy, for giving us all those high-octane heros (GREAT Title for a book, High Octane about an air refueling crew)
spent the day shopping…..yay!!!!
My favorite gift this year was two $100 gift cards to get food from Walmart. We got them from someone at our church. They were badly needed since I am disabled and my DH doesn’t have a job, so money is tight.
Congrats on the new release, Catherine. My favorite gift this year is a cute little tote bag. You can never have enough purses.
Patti – I adore being able to get books I want anytime of the day, downloaded right away. 🙂
Nancy, that really is a special memory!! I hope you have a photo.
Kris – Cool! We did a little shopping today too – picked up some sale items.
Cathy P – What a great idea for a gift! The grocery cart sure does fill up especially fast this time of year.
Jane – A new purse is fun! It makes the whole wardrobe feel new. 🙂
I got tickets to a concert that I’ve been longing to attend for quite some time now. Hope your holiday was splendid!
My favorite gift was the 2011 Holiday Barbie and the Barbie Sunglasses. Had a very good time with my family.Was able to cherish beautiful moments with my aunt and cousins that I had not seen for about eight months. Its a beautiful feeling when everyone is all together singing karaoke and just having a good time..Looking forward for New Years Eve 2011..
Hi Cathy! I loved reading this interview and learning more about how you write your amazing heroes. I absolutely adored Hot Zone. It is one of your best books. Period. I can’t wait for all the good reads from you on the way for 2012! Congratulations on Hot Zone, it’s amazing.
Julie – Concerts are SUCH fun! What a cool gift!
Yaitza – Family time sure is what makes an event. 🙂
Thanks, Stephanie!! XXOO right back atcha!!
My favorite thing that happened this Christmas is how excited my best friends son was with the reusable heat packs I gave him. He’s 21 years old, but you would never have guessed it, lol. First he clicked the little metal disc & played with the heated pack for about 5 minutes, then ran to the kitchen to boil it so that he could do it again.
drainbamaged.gyzmo at gmail.com
Awww! How cool, Kathryn! It’s such a great feeling when a gift is appreciated. 🙂
My husband and I agreed for our 15th anniversary this year our gift to each other would be to go to Sturgis, SD for Bike Week. We found someone to watch our 5 kiddos (not easy!), loaded up the camper and bike and off we went for 5 days! That’s the first time in 17 years we were able to do something like that, so yeah… it was special for us.
My very good friend gave me the basic Kindle. I am so psyched! I know that I’ll still think buy books but now I can buy books only published as ebooks which include great books I read back in the 70’s. I also can take advantage of special offers Amazon has from time to time.
I hope that you and your family, including the furry ones, had a great Christmas.
I hope that your grandfather’s surgery goes well. Your family is in my prayers.
Thank you, Marijane! It seems to have gone very well. Hopefully he can start recovering now and start the new year at home instead of in the hospital.
Thank you, everyone, for your thoughts and prayers! I really appreciate them.
So glad to hear it. The new year will begin on a very good note.
I really hope the surgery went well
My favorite memory this year….the first time i won in a giveaway, it’s alaso my first signed book so i was and still am overjoyed
My favorite holiday gift was a hand made Cooper art hanging decoration made for me by my nephew. Very talented artist.
Hope you have a great new year!!
It’s been a peaceful, family-oriented holiday. My daughters helped with Christmas dinner. My son and husband cleaned up. My husband and I have “found” “Dexter”. We’ve watched all of Season 1 and are almost done with season 2….
Loving it! Not exciting holiday, but good.
Happy New Year!!!
I hope that your grandfather is continuing to do well. Glad the new year is looking to be happy,healthy and blessed