I have to tell you, I love introducing you to new local authors. Cathy Shouse lives in my state and we’ve met up several times through Romance Writers of America and local author events. She is charming and fun and we had a great chat recently.
Cathy writes inspirational cowboy romance. Her Fair Creek series, set in Indiana, features the three Galloway sons of Galloway Farm. Much like the characters in her stories, Cathy once lived on a farm in “small town” Indiana where she first fell in love with cowboys while visiting the rodeo every summer.
N: Welcome to the blog, Cathy! I’m so delighted to have you visiting today. So, what inspired you to start writing?
A: When I was very young, I would write long letters to my aunt who lived across the country. (Remember snail mail? LOL) I wrote stories to her in the most interesting way I could think of. Fast forward to high school when my favorite class was journalism/newspaper, and I became the managing editor my senior year. I wrote some wicked editorials about how school should be run! Yet I dreamed of novel writing.
N: Your Billionaire Cowboys contemporary romance released October 4—that’s so exciting! What is the most surprising thing you discovered about yourself while writing The Billionaire Cowboy’s Second Chance?
A: I surprised myself in that I was willing to take a risk with a character who is not the typical romance heroine. How do I know? Because I once entered Sierra’s story into a national contest. Although I didn’t win, someone told me the judges had argued about Sierra’s attitude about her health situation, and whether it was believable.
Given that I’m a Goody Two Shoes with a deep need to be liked (and by extension, needing my characters to be liked), I put the manuscript away. But last year, I received a grant to produce a novel, and decided to take a chance that readers will relate to her as much as I do!
N: Talk to us about writing the Galloway series. How did these brothers come to you?
A: I’ve been fascinated with billionaires since reading my dad’s Forbes magazines as a kid. When I started writing the series, the male character was a cowboy who came onto the scene wearing a cowboy hat. I grew up on a farm, loved going to the rodeo, and adored wearing cowboy boots (long into adulthood). The story evolved naturally and the Galloways would, obviously, be a large farm family with brothers, who would be competitive with one another. (And a spare daughter who is a rebel with serious struggles.)
I’m a pantser, and write by the seat of my pants, with little planning ahead. In fact, one day in my writing session about Wyatt, his toddler, Max, showed up, too! (Might be another generation of brothers in a future series?)
N: The Billionaire Cowboy’s Second Chance is part of your Fair Creek Romance series. How many books in the series and who else will we meet in this book?
A: I’m committed to three books (not including the prequel that is already out: Her Billionaire Cowboy’s Twin Heirs: Christmas in Fair Creek). We’ll see about more. J In this book, Wyatt’s brother from the prequel, Caleb, plays a role as well as Caleb’s serious girlfriend, Annie. The town of Fair Creek is almost like a character, especially the half dozen retired guys—with Ted Mitchell as the ringleader–who are regulars at Sierra’s inherited business: Delaney’s Diner.
N: Give us three words to describe your character Sierra—love that name, by the way. Three words to describe your hero Wyatt?
A: Sierra: big-hearted, bold, brave
Wyatt: loyal, loving, lavish
N: I’m intrigued with Sierra’s health issue—can you talk a little about that without giving away too much of the story?
A: It wasn’t my intention to make it a big secret. Although, my good friend calls me “The teaser.” Would you believe she wrote that on the envelope of my card?
Given that Sierra’s attitude toward her health issue may be unique (see question #2 above), I feel protective of her. Originally, I didn’t want readers to form preconceived ideas. She is not defined by her health issue, and deserves to be “seen” in the pages of the book, not labeled. No one wants to be stereotyped, which so often happens.
Okay, since you’ve begged me. She is hearing impaired and wears hearing aids for the first time as the story opens.
N: What do you like to do when you are not writing?
A: Besides reading? Ha. My husband and two grown kids are my favorite pastimes. I also love spending time with friends and family. I have a big, close-knit extended family that lives near and I’m with my aunts and cousins a lot.
N: What did you want to be when you grew up?
A: A schoolteacher, when I was young. Then an oboist in a symphony orchestra. (Thus the Indiana University music degree, which spawned an essay about meeting Leonard Bernstein, and was published in my hometown newspaper. My best grades were in creative writing classes I took as electives!).
N: Favorite book when you were a kid?
A: Stuart Little by E.B. White. I have some passages nearly memorized to this day. My aunt (the same one who received my lengthy letters) gave me the book for my seventh birthday. I clearly remember being filled with awe and wonder as I read it aloud to my mother. I’ve never forgiven the author for the ending of Stuart basically wandering off!
N: And here is my signature question that everyone loves: If you could choose three people, living or dead, to invite to a dinner party, who would they be and why?
A: I would invite Jo March, because I’ve always admired her spunk and talent. Oh, she isn’t real, you say? Then maybe Louisa May Alcott, the author, who was supposedly like the character. Alcott wrote the first 400 pages in six and-a-half weeks and I could use tips on increasing my writing speed, as well as we could have a fascinating conversation on family dynamics.
Doris Lessing, the British novelist. I read The Golden Notebook each of three summers while in college. I actually hand copied my favorite passages from the book, all of them offering insights on relationships between men and women. Perhaps these were the roots of my becoming a romance writer?
E.B. White, (for reasons referenced above). I keep a children’s book of his biography, Some Writer! The Story of E.B. White, by Melissa Sweet, on my coffee table for inspiration. My favorite E.B. White quote: I feel that a writer has an obligation to transmit, as best he can, his love of life, his appreciation for the world.
Her Billionaire Cowboy’s Second Chance
The last person Wyatt wants to see after sixteen years is Sierra Delaney. He hurt her once and never wants to again. But Sierra has returned home to save Delaney’s diner, which she inherited. She’s catering at the farm when she unexpectedly meets up with Wyatt.
In addition to struggling to keep the diner, Sierra faces a recent health issue that makes everyday life more challenging, and has her questioning her purpose. When Wyatt shares his reasons for leaving, and she sees a little boy in need of a mother, her attitude softens.
As Wyatt and Sierra lean on each other and look toward the future, can they find their way back to one another?