Jumping for Joy in Half Moon Bay, California.

Jumping for Joy in Málaga, Spain.

An Interview with Catherine Bybee

Catherine Bybee

I’m excited to have Catherine Bybee with me today—a New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Amazon best selling author. Before I was published I read Not Quite Dating and loved it! 🙂 Since then I’ve enjoyed several of her books and have watched her popularity explode in the contemporary romance world.

I’ve bumped into Catherine more than a few times at the Romance Writers of America National Conference, as well as at several author events in San Jose and San Francisco. She has been generous with advice to those starting out in the industry. She believes in paying it forward. 🙂 Before I get to the interview, here’s her Bio.

New York Times bestselling author Catherine Bybee was raised in Washington State, but after graduating from high school, she moved to Southern California with hopes of becoming a movie star. After growing bored with waiting tables, she returned to school and became a registered nurse, spending most of her career in urban emergency rooms. She now writes full-time and has penned the Not Quite series, the MacCoinnich Time Travel series as well as the Weekday Brides series.

Rich: Welcome, Catherine! I’m so excited to have you here today! Please make yourself comfortable. Can I get you a glass of your favorite wine?

Catherine: Is the Pope Catholic? Of course you can . . . something red, please.

Rich: You got it. Here’s a little Manchego cheese to go with that. Okay, let’s get started. I first want to start off talking about friendships. There’s an old saying, “You can’t choose your family, but you can choose your friends.” You seemed to have chosen very well. I read somewhere that you have friends that go as far back as elementary school. Please email any three friends right now and ask them each to describe you in one sentence. I apologize in advance for giving you homework.

Here’s what Catherine’s friends said . . .

Kari: “Catherine is funny, warm, loving and a loyal person and friend.” Kari also said “She’s transparent, beautiful inside and out . . .” but she’s not a writer and couldn’t figure out how to put all that in one sentence. (All her words)

Marina: “That’s an awful lot of awesome fit in one sentence.”

Sharon: “Catherine is sassy, strong, take-charge, but caring and loves others without compromise.”

Rich: You have indeed chosen your friends well. It’s obvious they love you very much. Speaking of being popular . . . You are currently ranked among the Top 50 authors in the entire world. Crazy and amazing! How does it feel to know that over two million people are enjoying your books?

Catherine: Humbling is the short answer to your question. And super grateful, too. I never saw myself where I am today. I mean, I guess I saw it, but I had no idea how it would feel to be in Bybee’s shoes until I put them on.

Rich: Since we are on the topic of shoes, it is commonly heard that they make the man. What is the first thing you usually notice about a guy?

Catherine: His smile. No, really . . . because guys can look good everywhere but if they aren’t smiling that’s a total “Left Swipe” for me.

Rich: Good to know. Hopefully you notice the big smile on my face as I ask this next question. 🙂 What were you like in high school?

Catherine: I was a mix and a mess in high school. I was too afraid to do anything truly crazy for fear of getting caught, but I was balsy enough to assert myself when I knew I was right.

Me with Catherine Bybee in San Diego at the RWA conference.

Rich: Describe your perfect day.

Catherine: Right now? One without the beeping noise of construction that isn’t going to improve my home at all . . . rain without risk . . . and quiet writing time.

Rich: Oooh. Quiet writing time is always nice. Tell me something most people would be surprised to know about you.

Catherine: I know the taste of government cheese and was once in foster care as a child.

Rich: Yup. You surprised me with that one. You’ve come a long way and I love how you believe in paying it forward. Let’s talk a little about your writing process. Do you have daily word count goals? Any quirky writing habits? Do you write in the same place every day?

Catherine: My daily count is math. How many words left in my manuscript divided by days left until deadline minus known days off.

PS . . . I hate math!

No habits, really, as evidence by the fact that I’m always frazzled that I won’t finish the book before deadline. And the truth is, this past year a couple of my books have been late.

I write on my MacBook as well as my desk top . . . depends on what stage of the book I’m in and if I need to lock an office door to get anything done.

Rich: LOL. I think we’ve all had our days of frazzlement. Is that a word? Hey, I think I just made up a word! Moving on . . . What are you working on now?

Catherine: The first book in the spin off series from the Brides. And that’s all I’m saying until this is done and turned in. 🙂

Rich: Well, don’t let me keep you. Get back to work! And thanks so much for stopping by!

Catherine: Thanks for having me, Rich. Meeting you and Silvi has been a highlight in my career. Lucky for me, I have the opportunity to meet lots of writers and readers and I’m always thrilled when those people are just as genuine in person as they are online.

Rich: Awww. That’s very sweet. Thank you for the kind words. 🙂

Connect with Catherine Bybee online

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Twitter

Website

All of Catherine’s Books on Amazon

Local Literature Day at the San Jose Public Library

We were thrilled to attend the Local Literature Day event at the San Jose Public Library. I signed copies of my books and sat on a panel where readers had a chance to ask questions about writing and publishing romance novels. 🙂

A new sweet contemporary romance!

I’m so excited to announce that my hot Spanish wife, Silvi Martin, has a new sweet contemporary romance out! I’m so proud of her because it’s her second book in the Coronado Island series. It’s called The News Girl. I love the story and I’m sure you will too! 🙂

Book Descriptionnews-girl-copy

Free-spirited reporter Mia Carrera doesn’t believe in fairy tales or in dating single fathers. After her boyfriend dumps her to go back with his ex, Mia quits her job and moves to Coronado Island. She’s determined to make a fresh start at the local paper and become the star reporter she knows she is, only to discover that her new boss is the heartless man who fired her ten years ago in New York.

Single father Alex Mitchell recently accepted the position of editor-in-chief of the Coronado Eagle & Journal. His stable life is challenged with the arrival of new reporter Mia Carrera, the feisty dark-haired rebel who manages to push his buttons in and out of the office.

When their worlds collide, an undeniable attraction develops between them as they drive each other crazy.

Will the magic of a small island bring them together, or will life pull them apart once again?

Grab a Kindle copy of the book here and enjoy! 🙂

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An Interview With Tracy Brogan

tracy-brogan-headshotI first discovered Tracy Brogan about two and a half years ago, before I published my first romantic comedy. I stumbled upon her book Crazy Little Thing on Amazon and thought it looked like something that was right up my alley. I was right! I enjoyed the story very much—especially the fun, quirky characters. It’s such a pleasure to have Tracy here on the blog with me today! 🙂 Before I get to the interview, here’s her official Amazon bio.

Tracy Brogan is a three-time nominee of the Romance Writers of America RITA award, first for her debut novel CRAZY LITTLE THING (Best First Book, 2013) and again in 2015 for Best Contemporary Romance, THE BEST MEDICINE. Her third nomination was in 2016 for LOVE ME SWEET. She’s a Wall Street Journal Bestseller, earned the coveted Diamond Award from Amazon Publishing, and earned a spot on the Kindle Top 100 List in both 2013 and 2014. Her bestselling novels have sold more than a million copies internationally, and have been translated into several languages including German, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Turkish, Hungarian, and Japanese.

Brogan lives in Michigan, the state shaped like a mitten, and is therefore prone to pointing to the palm of her hand when explaining where she lives.

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Tracy and me in New York at the Romance Writers of America 2015 conference.

Rich: Welcome, Tracy! Yay! I’m so excited you’re visiting me today. I promise I’ll make this interview as painless as possible.

Tracy: I’m sure it will be entirely a pleasure! Thanks for inviting me to visit!

Rich: Okay, first let’s talk about Crazy Little Thing. The book currently has over seven thousand reviews on Amazon. Insane! What do you think it is about the book that resonates with so many readers? What were your thoughts when the praise and award nominations started pouring in?

crazy-little-thing-by-tracy-broganTracy: Crazy Little Thing was the first manuscript I completed writing (after starting and abandoning about 982 others.) Since the story is light-hearted, PG-13 fare during an era of all things Fifty Shades, and since I was a debut author, my goal was to sell at least 6000 copies, thinking that number exceeded the number of relatives I have and so if I could sell that many, I could hold my head up. When I surpassed that sales goal in the first two weeks, I thought, “Hmm…. That’s peculiar.” And honestly, that’s still how I feel! I’m thrilled this story has resonated with readers and I think it’s because there is a little bit of neurotic Sadie Turner in each of us. She’s almost a caricature of all the goofy, debilitating, and hilariously human thoughts we have. My favorite compliment from a reader continues to be, “Oh, my gosh, your book made me laugh out loud!”

Rich: That’s my favorite compliment too! Speaking of funny…how many characters in your books are based on family members, relatives or friends?

Tracy: If I answer this honestly I’ll end up in big trouble… so let’s just say I infuse my characters with personality traits that I have witnessed up close and personal. There is a little bit of me in most of them, and certainly family stories and catch-phrases have found their way into my stories. The late, great Nora Ephron used to say, “Everything is copy,” and my kids know this. If they say something funny, it’s bound to end up in a book. Now they’ll actually come to me with suggestions, which I often accept!

Rich: Your kids are practically cowriters! But seriously, how hard is it for you to write with them in the house? Do you have a special hiding place?

Tracy: Hah! See above. If my kids are around, I make them plot with me! I have a home office and they do seem to congregate there so sometimes I have to shoo everyone away. And when I’m on deadline, they voluntarily stay out of my way because things can get a little tense. We call it The Cone of Hostility and they’ve learned to give me space or accept the consequences.

Tracy Brogan with Piper

Rich: Sounds worse than a dunce cap. Switching gears, let’s talk about doggies! Rumor has it you have a new Great Dane puppy at home named Piper. I cannot reveal my sources! 🙂 Please share a picture and tell us how it came to be. What has the experience been like so far? Also, did you forget how big those dogs get?

Tracy: Hard to keep a secret on Facebook! 😉 I have always wanted a Great Dane so when I was feeling particularly emotional a few weeks before I turned in my most recent manuscript, I was looking around online trying to find something that might cheer me up. What’s more cheerful than pictures of puppies, right?? The next thing you know, it’s 3:00 a.m. and I’d found a breeder with a litter ready to find their forever homes. We went and picked one out two days later. She’s a big, clumsy moose and she’s just going to get bigger and probably clumsier. As you can see, though, I’m making great use of her crate.img_1217

Rich: LOL. Cute kids. Let’s talk about your writing process… Has it changed since your first book? Do you have daily goals for word counts or pages? Do you listen to music while you write? Any writing habits?

Tracy: I listen to white noise while I write. I can’t have anything with lyrics or I just start singing and don’t get any work done. Plus, my caterwauling bothers the neighbors. As for a change in process, I do have daily word count goals, but mostly I’ve learned to respect my natural circadian rhythm. I can struggle all day trying to get 500 words in, or I can wait until 8pm and then get 2000 words out in a couple of hours. If I hit a groove, I keep going. Last week my daughter got up at 6:00 a.m. for school and I was at my desk. She said, “Wow, you’re up early.” And I said, “I never went to bed.” It’s not a system I recommend! But it’s what works for me.

Rich: That wouldn’t work for me at all! I could never stay up all night writing. My brain starts slowing down around eleven, so I’m usually in bed by then. Besides, I need my beauty rest. 😉 Okay, describe your perfect day.

Tracy: Honestly I would depend on my mood. I love a cold, rainy day when I have no plans and I can justify spending hours under a warm blanket, reading a great book. Exciting, right? But I suppose even better than that is a sunny day when I can open all the windows, hear the wind in the trees… and spend hours reading a great book. I sense a theme here. Perfect days also include coffee, my kids, a good word count, and time with friends.

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What a pleasant surprise seeing Tracy last week in San Jose!

Rich: Just one more question before I let you go… What can we look forward to reading from you in the near future?

Tracy: My Trillium Bay series starts with MY KIND OF YOU, a story about the three Callaghan sisters who grew up on a small island in Northern Michigan. Brook is the smart, dependable sister, Lilly is the pretty one, and our heroine, Emily, is the rabble-rousing troublemaker. Or at least she was. Now she’s back on the island after a seven-year absence. She’s divorced, in financial trouble, and has a twelve-year-old daughter full of opinions. With plans to “flip” her grandmother’s cottage into a lucrative rental property, Emily runs into opposition from a sexy, ambitious hotel developer but some surprising circumstances force them to become unlikely allies. Ultimately, it’s a story about love, forgiveness, romance, and coming home again. I’m so excited to share this series with readers! I hope they like it.

Rich: I’m sure they will. Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy day to visit!

Tracy: Thanks for inviting me!

Connect with Tracy 
Tracy loves to hear from readers. Visit her on Facebook or Twitter.

For a complete list of Tracy’s books, click here.

Jumping For Joy in Santa Cruz, California

img_1273I did this jump at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, a very important setting in my romantic comedy Coffee, Tea or Me. This is where Jack takes Susie on their first date. It was one of her favorite places to visit when she was a little girl. 🙂

My first public reading. Lit Crawl 2016

d00a8360It was one of the most anticipated literary nights of the year in the San Francisco Bay Area and I’m honored I was asked to be a part of it, along with five other authors from the Silicon Valley Chapter of Romance Writers of America. 🙂

Lit Crawl attracts close to 10,000 people, and is the world’s largest such event. I had a chance to read an excerpt from my fourth romantic comedy Mr. Crotchety. People braved the stormy weather and the almost-impossible-to-find parking spots to come out and enjoy this amazing event. It was such a great experience and my first time reading in public!

I have two more readings this year and I’m looking forward to those as well. More details coming soon. 🙂