I’m very happy to be hosting the release party for Kat Cantrell! She and I finaled last year in the Golden Heart contemporary series category, and we also both happen to be Dallas girls (both of which makes us awesome, by the way ).
Her newest release is THE THINGS SHE SAYS, a March Harlequin Desire. Be sure to read all the way to the bottom to find out how you can win a copy!
One wrong turn on a Texas highway and heartthrob director Kristian Demetrious is breaking his first rule: don’t get involved. Beautiful, sassy VJ Lewis needs his help—and a ride to Dallas. Kris wants to give her both….
Yet his career depends on arriving without giving in to the passion VJ ignites in him. And denying temptation gets harder with every mile. VJ insists the heart of a hero beats beneath Kris’s suave exterior—and she intends to prove it, one hands-on lesson at a time.
Suddenly this road trip is taking a whole new direction….
You went from being unpublished on January 1 to having back to back releases in February and March. What has the experience been like? How cool is it to call yourself a published author? Any surprises – good or bad? What have you learned in the past month that’s helping you this month?
In a word, it’s been CRAZY (but so cool!). I’ve always hoped for success, but I could never have predicted that I’d sell so many manuscripts so quickly. It’s a little surreal. I still have to remind myself sometimes that I’ve really done it! The biggest surprise is how wonderful Harlequin has been to work with. You hear the horror stories about editors who either don’t edit or try to ruin your book with suggestions you don’t like. I hit the editor lottery. Mine is exactly what I would have hoped—she gets my stories, gets my voice and is a really fun person on top of that. How lucky am I?
My debut in February was full of firsts and honestly, I think everything helped me learn what to do with my second book, but unfortunately, I needed those lessons like four months ago in order to apply to my March release. I thought I’d wait and see what panned out before committing in the future. Big mistake! EVERYONE schedules so far in advance that I can’t do the same promotions for The Things She Says that I did for Marriage With Benefits. Hopefully, people will buy The Things She Says because they liked Marriage With Benefits and I’ll find truth in the adage about more books being the best promotion.
*takes notes* Now, let’s talk about your latest release, The Things She Says, which stars a Greek hunk, who works in Hollywood as a movie director and a mechanic from a small town in Texas. It doesn’t sound like they’d have anything in common, but they totally do. What was your inspiration for the book?
The premise was inspired by the Cause and Effect song called You Think You Know Her. The song is about not really knowing the person you’re with and that’s the story I started out to write. Originally, Kris (the hero) was driving to Dallas to reunite with Kyla, who left him because he didn’t “see” her, but VJ (the heroine) muscled her way onto the stage, and that was that. LOL As for the characters, I knew that Kris absolutely HAD to be a director like the hero in my favorite book, PERFECT, by Judith McNaught. Past that, my imagination pretty much just took off!
Did you mention PERFECT, quite possibly the most perfect romance novel ever? The book that had me doing the ugly cry? I guess we can squee about that book later. Back to your book…your hero, Kristian is drool-worthy (hello, he’s Greek!), but I absolutely adored the heroine, VJ. She immediately begins to flirt with Kris when they first meet and speaks her mind throughout the book even when she knew embarrassment was a definite outcome. How did you come up with her? What makes VJ VJ?
Keep in mind, The Things She Says was my fourth manuscript. The first three had a common element—everyone hated the heroines! When I sat down to write VJ, I wanted to create someone likeable but also relatable (because who HASN’T said something they regret to a good-looking guy?) and I’m so happy to hear I was successful. As far as being outspoken, that comes from VJ’s upbringing in a small town and having four older brothers. She had to learn to stand up for herself or allow others to swallow her. She definitely chose the former and I love writing heroines who rescue themselves.
Without giving anything away (unless you want to, of course), VJ attempts to teach Kris something. There are stages of her plan. I was highly amused. How did you come up with them?
I basically did exactly what VJ did. J She discovers Kris is very cynical about love and wants to teach him that romance is real. So I thought about the progression of romance as presented in romance novels and tried to figure out how a sheltered heroine might approach them in “real life” (while still sticking to the confines of the romance novel I was *actually* writing). I had a lot of fun with Kris’s reactions to her carefully plotted out stages. He never knew what hit him, even as he was convinced he had VJ’s number.
Another aspect of the book that I liked was the idea that everybody doesn’t belong in a small-town when in most contemporary romance novels, small towns are often presented as utopian societies. Was this a conscious decision on your part?
Actually, no. I did want to write a book about escaping a small town but honestly, I didn’t set out to be “anti” small town. It just worked for VJ’s particular journey. But now that I think about it, VJ’s best friend Pamela Sue’s story might be similar. Maybe it was more conscious than I realized. LOL
Okay, the floor is now yours. Anything you want to add about The Things She Says or something that you’re just dying to share with us.
Thanks! I hope everyone loves this book as much as I do. I even love Kyla, who is really the villain, but I feel for her because she genuinely wanted to have something with Kris. Maybe I’ll figure out how to redeem her in another book. Perhaps she should go to Little Crooked Creek and discover the utopia of a small town?
Thanks for sharing my release day, everyone! *throws confetti*
I’ll give away a print copy of The Things She Says to a US resident, randomly selected from the comments. Just answer one question: Which song would YOU like to see turned into a romance novel?
Buy The Things She Says: Amazon | Harlequin | Barnes&Noble
Kat’s bio: Kat read her first Harlequin novel in third grade and has been scribbling in notebooks since she learned to spell. What else would she write but romance? She majored in Literature, officially with the intent to teach, but somehow ended up buried in middle management at Corporate America, Inc.
Kat became a stay-at-home mom and devoted naptime to writing. After many thousands of words, her dream of publication finally came true. When she’s not writing about characters on the journey to happily ever after, she can be found at a soccer game, watching Friends or dancing with her kids to Duran Duran and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Kat, her husband and their two boys live in North Texas. She’s a proud member of Romance Writers of America®. Kat was the 2011 Harlequin So You Think You Can Write winner and a 2012 RWA® Golden Heart® finalist for best unpublished series contemporary manuscript. She’s represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Agency.
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