Jen: Today we have a special treat for you! Please help me welcome Catherine Mann and Joanne Rock to Romancing the Book. Ladies, will you share a short bio with ?
Catherine Mann –USA Today bestselling and RITA Award winning author Catherine Mann writes contemporary romance for Berkley, Harlequin, Sourcebooks and Tule Publishing. She and her husband have four children and live in Florida, where she is a founding member and president of the Sunshine State Animal Rescue.
Joanne Rock has taken her love of happily-ever-afters to a variety of subgenres from contemporary romance to medieval historicals. A Golden Heart recipient and three-time RITA nominee, Joanne is a dedicated reader and super-fan of the romance genre.
Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from
Joanne: Our latest release, Bride on the Run, is the fourth story in our co-authored Runaway Brides series. The baseball player hero was actually the jilted groom in an earlier story, and readers were eager for Boone to have his happily-ever-after! In this story, he hunts down the woman who broke up his engagement. We had the idea as we were plotting The Wedding Audition. We knew Boone was the perfect hero for the woman who caused him so much trouble:
Valerie Dimitri is on the run from her former fiancé who’d only wanted to marry her for her family’s questionable criminal ties. She also has the perfect cover with an assumed name and a thriving call-in advice show, “Sex Talk with Serena”, until one messy call blows up in her face. When she counselled “Anna J” to break up her with her boyfriend, she had no idea that she was telling a local celebrity to dump the hometown hero ballplayer, Boone Sullivan.
Boone has discovered Valerie’s real identity and he’s determined to expose her secrets… and maybe more. What he didn’t expect was to be blindsided by a crazy attraction to the buttoned-up lady with the sultry voice and a hidden past. He had carefully plotted his revenge, but soon all he can think about is how much he’d like to take Valerie as very own his stand-in bride…
Runaway Brides Series
“Oh my God, it’s Boone Sullivan,” one of them cooed.
“Please take our photo with him,” the other asked, passing a phone in Valerie’s direction without ever looking at her.
“And one on mine, too,” the other one insisted, a second phone now in Valerie’s face.
Dressed to the nines, both women were obviously invited guests at the function and not party-crashers, but it struck Valerie as a bit rude to grope a man who was with another woman. Still, she looked to Boone and he shrugged back at her. Giving tacit permission for the photos?
“I don’t think the photography with the players is allowed outside the donation booth,” she reminded them politely, not taking their phones. “Boone already took a turn to raise money for–.”
The women ignored her.
“Feel his biceps,” exclaimed one, squeezing his upper arm.
“Oh my God,” murmured the other, her face so rapt she looked like she might fly into an orgasm just from feeling up her idol.
Boone’s jaw turned to steel. His eyes narrowed. And Valerie quickly recalled the other reason she’d been invited tonight.
“Okay, that’s enough.” She set aside both phones on a nearby table and took one feminine wrist in each of her hands, plucking both of them off him. “Play time is over and Mr. Sullivan is not your personal pleasure aid.” Her British accent slipped into her speech without her permission. But then, Serena excelled at giving straight forward, practical advice. “Have a good evening, and thank you for helping us to raise money for Stars’ charities.”
Taking Boone’s hand, she tried to lead him away now that she’d freed him, but he didn’t move.
“Um. Boone?” She stopped tugging. Stared back at him while he gazed at her with an unreadable expression. Clearing her throat, she said, “This is our big exit.”
Something flickered in his gaze. Something hot that made her want to lick her lips.
“It’s not us who needs to leave,” he reminded her. And, stepping forward, he wrapped both arms around her waist.
Her heartbeat suspended. Her breath vanished. So when she asked “What are you doing?” it was the barest squeak.
Maybe he’d read her lips though. Because his mouth breathed an answer over hers.
“I’m thanking you.”
One hand skimmed up her spine and cupped the nape of her neck. His other hand pulled her closer with a slight pressure applied to the small of her back. When his lips brushed hers, she gave up making sense of whatever was happening because all her nerve endings were singing. And straining toward Boone.
Jen: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Joanne: I’m a little of both! I like to set a course for the story, lightly plotting out the characters’ journey. However, I give them lots of leeway to tell their own story. Sometimes I’m surprised at where they lead me, but I never regret putting the story in my characters’ hands.
Catherine: Great question! I used to be a rigid plotter in the early days of my writing, but I had an editor challenge me to just fly into the mist with a book as an experiment – and wow! It was quite a journey. Now I tend to be more of a pantser (working from an overall one page synopsis story vision). I think the point is that the writer’s journey is a fluid one. Who knows where my journey may lead me next?!
Jen: What kind of research did you do for this book?
Joanne: My husband is a former sports editor and he remains very knowledgeable about sports, so I enjoy writing athlete heroes because it’s a world that I feel close to. I’ve written about hockey and baseball players in my own books, so it was easy to bring in a baseball star for Bride on the Run. Cathy and I are looking forward to writing a series with football stars for Harlequin Desire next spring. (Learn more below!)
Jen: Do you have a writing routine?
Catherine: Diet Coke. Beach View. Puppy companions. Park butt in chair and write!
Jen: What’s the most challenging aspect of co-writing? Easiest? Most rewarding?
Joanne: The most challenging aspect of co-authoring The Runaway Brides series was simply finding enough time to work together! We have busy individual release schedules (especially Cathy!) so it was tricky trying to make that time to plan and write a series together. However, I will say that the work itself was incredibly rewarding once we made the time for it since we are great friends and have always enjoyed a close working relationship as critique partners. Writing a story together just allowed us to take that working relationship to the next level, which was really, really fun. We got to brainstorm through the challenges as a team, and see the story come together as a team. The actual writing was easy because we have a very intuitive understanding of one another’s voices after reading for one another for many years.
Jen: What do you do in your free time?
Catherine: Uhm, what’s free time? I’m a type A, on the go person. I love staying busy. Between a large family, 4-6 books a year, and running an animal rescue, my life is joyously full! I have started crocheting again though, something I find soothing to do while our family’s watching a movie and hanging out talking. Extended family will be getting lots of scarves, blankets, etc for Christmas this year! (Shhhh! Don’t tell!)
Jen: What’s next for you?
Catherine & Joanne: We look forward to our individual releases – Catherine Mann’s PREGNANT BY THE COWBOY CEO from Harlequin Desire in July, Joanne Rock’s DANCES UNDER THE HARVEST MOON from Harlequin Superromance in October—but our next joint project is a brand new series for Harlequin’s Desire line next spring called Bayou Billionaires, where secrets and scandal are a family legacy! The books will be individually authored, but the series will alternate releases between Cathy and Joanne. Catherine Mann kicks off the series in February with HIS PREGNANT PRINCESS BRIDE, and Joanne picks up the series in March with HIS SECRETARY’S SURPRISE FIANCÉ. We hope readers will check out this exciting new series.