Catherine Mann is in the HOT ZONE!!

>> Thursday, December 08, 2011

It's no secret I'm an Alpha, military-type hero lover, right?  I've probably made that plenty clear somewhere along the way, haven't I?   Well, we've definitely got some yummy Alpha military yumminess going on here today!

Catherine Mann visits with info on her new release, HOT ZONE, Book 2 in her Elite Force series featuring hunky Pararescuemen. And she also shares some fun personal facts as well.

Make sure you comment about your favorite aspect of the military romantic suspense genre
to enter the giveaway for one of Catherine's novels up for grabs today!


Days full of danger…
For Pararescueman Master Sergeant Hugh Franco, it’s all about saving other people’s lives. Then he moves on. But when he pulls beautiful Amelia Bailey and her adopted nephew from the rubble of a catastrophic earthquake, he finds himself entangled in their lives in ways he could never have imagined…

And desire-filled nights…
Amelia’s trip to the Bahamas to help with an international adoption has been no vacation, but the hardest part is yet to come. As Amelia and Hugh are pulled unawares into a deadly smuggling scheme, simmering beneath their growing need to protect each other is a compelling attraction they’re both determined to deny…

“Elite Force” series:
Book 1: COVER ME, July 2011
Book 2: HOT ZONE, December 2011
Book 3: UNDER FIRE, May 2012

“Mann’s tender yet heart-pounding story vividly creates the chaos of both disasters and love.”
– Booklist

Catherine, tell us about your upcoming release, HOT ZONE.
Thanks so much for having me here on your blog today! I’m thrilled to be celebrating the release of HOT ZONE, the second book in my “Elite Force” series about Air Force pararescuemen. They’re also known as PJs, in reference to their earlier days when they were called Para Jumpers.

What’s your favorite thing about HOT ZONE?
Having the opportunity to showcase these unsung military heroes who live by the motto “These things we do that others may live.”

What sparked the idea for this series?
I’ve long been fascinated by this basically unknown military unit – a very small unit. There are only about 350 pararescuemen total and they go through much of the same grueling training as other special ops individuals.

What creates the biggest conflict between your hero and heroine?
My hero falls in love too easily (he’s been married 3 times!) My heroine lost the love of her life and wants nothing to do with that kind of heartbreak again.

What is your strategy in creating villains?
Ahhhh, villains! I love creating villains with unexpected nuances. Villains should have reasons and motivations, even if they’re twisted. And this villain has definitely twisted by years of abuse as a child… But if I say more, it’ll give away part of the story!

What was the hardest part of this book to write and why?
The heroine works with therapy dogs, trained to help military vets suffering from PTSD. As a military wife, writing about that kind of pain carried by our veterans was especially difficult.

What do you love most about this series?
Writing about smoking hot alpha males in uniform!! (And finding the perfect heroine to conquer each hero’s heart. ;)

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Suzanne Brockmann has – without question – been a generous mentor from the very start of my writing career. She has shared her time, her insights, her readers, her support. She’s a gifted and caring person. I can never thank her enough.

How does your family view your writing career?
My kids and husband are every bit as proud of me as I am of them! (And that’s a lot!) My kids love to embarrass me in book stores by shouting at the top of their lungs, “Oh my God! Is that THE Catherine Mann?!”

What entity do you feel supports you most in your writing career outside of family members?
I have the best critique partner a writer could ever ask for! Harlequin Blaze & Historical author Joanne Rock has been my critique partner since long before either of us made that first sale. Now, Joanne’s written about 50 books and I’ve written over 40, and she still has the most awesome insights to share.

What is your writing routine?
Write until my vision blurs? LOL! Okay, seriously, I set page counts for each week. If I meet my goal by Friday, I get the weekend off. If I don’t, I have to work through the weekend to catch up. This also provides incentive to my family to stay out of my hair during the week if they want to play on the weekend.

What are you reading now?
I just finished J.R. Ward’s ENVY.

What is in your TBR pile?
I just preordered Joanna Bourne’s THE BLACK HAWK. (By the time this interview goes live, I will have read it!)

What is your preferred genre to read for pleasure?
Honestly, I’m a very eclectic reader across genres, although I do have to say I’m happiest when a book has at least some romantic thread.

Do you have a second career? (Yes, motherhood counts!)
My flyboy husband and I have four children, although three have left the nest for college now. And I also serve on the Board of Directors for my local Humane Society.

What did you do before you became a full-time writer?
I have a Master’s degree in Theater and I worked as a theater school director in Charleston, SC.

How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
I’m a big fan of Christopher Vogler’s THE WRITER’S JOURNEY. I use it for plotting – great in helping tie in emotional turning points with plot landmarks.

What would you write if you could do write anything you wanted to write?
I’m absolutely blessed to be writing exactly what I want to write. :)

What do you most like about writing? Least like?
I love being able to wear my PJs all day long if I wish. Although sometimes, I miss having people around me. I guess that’s why I spend so much time online!

What would you say is your biggest writing quirk?
I foster puppies and special needs dogs for my local shelter, so it’s not unusual for me to be writing with a pack of 4-6 dogs at my feet.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Read. Watch movies with my family. Walk my dogs. I’m a homebody!

What are your current projects?
HOT ZONE, “Elite Force” bk 2, Sourcebooks – out now!
PROTECTOR, “Dark Ops” bk 4, Berkley, March 2012
HONORABLE INTENTIONS, Harlequin Desire, April 2012
UNDER FIRE, “Elite Force” bk 3, Sourcebooks, May 2012
GUARDIAN, “Dark Ops” bk 5, Berkley, September 2012

Do You Have Any Undiscovered Or Hidden Talents?
I worked as a puppeteer to make extra money in graduate school.

Do You Believe That The Cup Is Half Empty Or Half Full?

Are You An Introvert Or An Extrovert?
I’m a shy extrovert. :)

Are You A Window Person Or An Aisle Person?
Aisle!!! I feel too closed in by the window.

Do You Like Short Or Long Hair On A Guy?
Military cut short or completely shaved. Very hot!

Ever Hit A Jackpot On A Slot Machine?
Nope. Not a gambler. Would rather spend my money on a meal out or a new outfit.

Are You Afraid Of Heights?
Not in love with them.

Do you prefer your mattress soft or hard?

How many pillows do you like to sleep with?
As many pillows as I can fit on the bed.

Which do you like more—rainy days or snowy days?
Rainy days! I’m only a fan of snow on Christmas Day. The rest of the year, I prefer my warm beach.

What is Your Favorite Beverage?
I’m trying to give up Diet Cokes – not easy! So I guess I would say chocolate tea is my current favorite.

Are You A Heavy Or Light Sleeper?
Used to be a deep sleeper, but after so many years of keeping my ears open for the kids during the night, I’ve become a light sleeper.

Are you a night or a morning person?
Night owl. Totally.

At The Beach Would You Rather Play In The Sand, Or Play In The Water?
Read a book while lounging in a beach chair.

How do you keep in touch with your readers?
I can always be found online:
Facebook: Catherine Mann (author)
Twitter: CatherineMann1

USA Today bestseller Catherine Mann has over two million books in print in more than twenty countries. A RITA Award winning author, she writes military suspense for Sourcebooks and Berkley, as well as steamy romances for Harlequin Desire. Catherine resides in Florida with her military flyboy husband and their four children.

What is your favorite aspect of the military romantic suspense genre? 
Comment to enter the giveaway for one of Catherine's novels or bookmarks up for grabs today!


Natalija 4:00 AM  

Fantastic interview, thank you for sharing. Catherine, congrats on your new release, I wish you many sells! I really enjoy reading military romantic suspense because of the men. They are true alphas with a strong sense of duty, loyalty, honor, selfless service & self-sacrifice.

International entry

Anonymous,  5:13 AM  

I am always on the lookout for something neew to read and I think this is it!! I think there is nothing better than a hot military man!! Thanks for a great interview, can't wait to start reading something by Catherine.


Catherine Mann 6:19 AM  

Hi Natalija - You bring up such wonderful and insightful points about why military heroes make for a compelling read! Thank you for reading the blog and posting the first comment!! :) Happy reading....

Catherine Mann 6:21 AM  

Hi Sheryl, so happy to know the blog intrigued you - always super fun to hear about a new reader. :) Please do let me know what you think of the story!! (Hopefully good things! :)

Catherine Mann 6:23 AM  

And many, many thanks to Joan for having me here today! Joan, you are amazing!!! The bookmarks are gorgeous too. What a fun bonus!

Looking forward to visiting with folks. :)

Mujerluminosa 7:14 AM  

Cathy - what a great interview! A shy extrovert, hmm, that sounds like me. I'm shy but I don't want others to be uncomfortable so I try to be accommodating. LOL! You're responsible for making me so sleepy today. I read Hot Zone last night until my eyes crossed! It has me by the throat and I can't wait to get back to it!! Too bad the whole work thing gets in the way. Congrats on a terrific story!
Thanks Joan -- for this fun interview.

Under the Covers 7:20 AM  

Hi Joan!*waves* Hi Ms. Mann!!

Great interview. I would have to say the best part for me is the sense of honor that each of these heroes have.


EllenToo 7:32 AM  

I went to college in a town where there was and Air Force base and got to know many of the men while working at the USO. This was during the Vietnam era and I probably learned more about their bravery and the things they went through than I would have otherwise and many of the things I heard were unimaginable to me.
I love reading stories about military men as a result.

CindyDandy,  7:56 AM  

Thank you both; it was very interesting to hear what you do. I love your books! It's interesting to read about the various branches of service. They are exciting and, while suspenseful, I always know the ending will be good - not so for many of our brave men and women.

Dannyfiredragon 8:54 AM  

It's interesting to learn about the different branches of service, especially if like Catherine the authors have a military background.

Catherine Mann 8:57 AM  

Stephanie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sorry about the sleepy thing - sorta. ;) Glad to know HOT ZONE (and Hugh) kept you well entertained!!

Catherine Mann 8:59 AM  

Hey there, Annie! Great to see you here. I agree that honor is such a deeply appealing quality. :)

Catherine Mann 9:00 AM  

Ellen, that's so awesome you worked with the USO - what a great service!!! Thank you!!

Catherine Mann 9:04 AM  

Cindy, thank you so much for your compliment on my stories! And thank you for noting the ultimate sacrifice so many have paid. That's so very important to remember.

Catherine Mann 9:05 AM  

:::waving::: hey there, Danny! Great to see you here - thanks bunches for stopping by to comment!!

JennEllen 10:37 AM  

I love the military romantic suspense novels for the hero's code of honor, loyalty, commitment, etc. It's Jack Bauer with romance!

Na,  10:48 AM  

I like the thrilling action but even more so is seeing these brave men and women as a "real" human being with vulnerabilities. It makes a story all the more emotional in a good way.

StacieD,  11:01 AM  

Of course I love the bravery of the heroes but I also love the honor code that military heroes have. They are loyal to a fault. I also love how protective they are with the ones they love.

I have Cover Me and I can't wait for Hot Zone!

geishasmom73 AT yahoo DOT com

Catherine Mann 11:03 AM  

OMG, Jenn Ellen - You are NOT going to believe this! When I wrote book 3 in the "Elite Force" series (coming out in May) I had a photo fo Jack Bauer taped to the wall by my computer for inspiration on my hero Liam. Too cool!

Catherine Mann 11:05 AM  

Hi Na! Thanks bunches for stopping by! The action scenes are super fun to write too. ;)

Catherine Mann 11:13 AM  

Hi Stacie D! Thank you so much for picking up a copy of COVER ME and for keeping an eye out for HOT ZONE!! :)

Cathy M 11:27 AM  

I've always had a soft spot for military heroes. Love the alpha qualities, the camaraderie, and the protector aspects of these type of men.

caity_mack at yahoo dot com

Linda McDonald 12:23 PM  

I actually don't think I've read a military romantic suspense yet. Seems like all the romantic suspense I've read the hero has been in law enforcement, such a the town sheriff. Looks like I should start my military R.S. reading with this series which sounds great. Love the covers too.


Joan Swan 1:29 PM  

Hi Catherine,

Sorry it took me so long to get over here! When I was formatting the post and reading your answers I couldn't help but laugh at how similar we are!!

I wanted to ask your take on the state of the romantic suspense market. Traditional publishers are sticking to the story that the are still hard sells, but if you look at the e market, they are one of the highest/best sellers in that market, which tends to indicate that readers are dying for them.

I've heard agents and editors say recently that those who are making it in RS are making it big (which would include you *G*), which also implies that they are the only ones really making it in RS right now.

What is your outlook on the RS market--where it's been, where it is now, where it's going?

Thanks for being with me here! Love having you!



Jane 2:15 PM  

Congrats on the new release, Catherine. I like the action and drama the most, especially the race against time to save the world.

Di 2:32 PM  

I really liked so many of Catherine's answers!
I must have romance & an HEA in the books I read, and military suspense adds adventure, a strong sense of purpose plus the commoradery of a group of warriors.
sallans d at yahoo dot com

Catherine Mann 2:48 PM  

Hey Cathy M (my cyber twin - I grin every time I type your name given it's even spelled the same as mine!) You bring up such a great point about the camaraderie of a military unit. Those scenes when they're all working together or even just hanging out are SO fun to write! The "towel/leaning cottage" scene was absolutely one of my favorite scenes to write in all of HOT ZONE. (Those who've read it will know what I mean! )

Catherine Mann 2:50 PM  

Hey there, Linda! I'm honored to know that my book will be your intro to military romantic suspense! I hope you thoroughly enjoy it. I do believe there are lots of similarities in the heroic qualities of a man in uniform - cop or soldier! (We have both in our family, actually. :)

Catherine Mann 2:51 PM  

Hi Jane! I love how you put that - "race against time to save the world!" It does set the heart racing!

Catherine Mann 2:53 PM  

Squee!! Thank you, Di! Happy to know you enjoyed the interview! I always worry as I'm answering those, hoping I'll have something of interest to share with folks. ;)

Catherine Mann 3:04 PM  

Joan, what a great question about the romantic suspense market! It seems like over the years I hear rumblings about just about every genre/subgenre/niche genre being on the downslide (or it being THE genre on the rise.) While I do want to stay aware of the market and trends, I also believe that chasing trends can be dangerous. a) The trend can change in a heartbeat. b) What's the use in chasing a trend if you're not writing what your voice works best?

So, with all that in mind, I do my best to listen to what's going on in the market, but within that, I've got to write my stories - which happen to be strong alpha male stories, whether they be for military romantic suspense or Harlequin Desire.

On a side note, I love blogs like yours and facebook and twitter which give us all the chance to hear more specifically what it is readers like and are looking for. I think that's awesome for writers, editors, marketing folks... We're getting a nifty new window into reader preferences.

Thank you again, Joan, for having me here today! And thank you for all you do to help spread the word about books to be on the lookout for. :)

I'll check in again later for more comments.... am off to make supper for my crew now. Pizza & hot wings for us tonight! XXOO!

Maureen 6:01 PM  

Congratulations to Catherine on her new book. I would say my favorite aspect of military suspense is the glimpse into the lives of the military.

Joan Swan 7:50 PM  

Thanks Catherine. Great to get the input "from the field" so to speak :^D

Rachelle Ayala 7:53 PM  

I haven't read a military romantic suspense yet, but I've read many international espionage type books written by men. I recently got into romantic suspense. If we're going to have the suspense, let's get some romance going. And yep, the hot, studly alpha types are the best. But beyond the physical action there are the psychological scars to deal with.

My portrayal of King David includes his PTSD. A man has many sides, great leader, strong warrior, but the human costs and emotional needs are also interesting. So yes, action and suspense, but I also enjoy delving into the softer side of an alpha male.

Anonymous,  4:28 AM  

Congratulations on your newest release Catherine!

Love military books. Favorite aspects of them is the thrill of them, can't seem to turn the pages fast enough to see what is going to happen next. The strong personality the hero has, love the alpha traits in the hero.


SiNn 7:06 PM  

Catherine I loveee your books! and thsoe covers r just hot

Emily Tardy 1:44 AM  

I love romantic suspense! I also really love reading about alpha males... Nothing sexier, in my opinion =D
After reading your post, I went ahead a looked up your books on amazon... I couldn't help it! I bought the first in this series "Cover Me", and can't wait to read it. Thank you for the chance to win =D

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