When she isn't spending time with the love of her life, dancing with her kids to Duran Duran or watching a soccer game you will probably find Kat Cantrell busy writing another bestselling romance novel. With over 30 published books, Cantrell is a very popular author (although she still refuses to call herself that). Her secret to success? Making her readers think "there is NO WAY things are ever going to work out between these two!". As our Author of the Day, Cantrell reveals the inspiration behind her heroes, talks about her career as an author and why she thinks men in uniform are so popular.
Please give us a short introduction to what Claiming Her SEAL is about?
Claiming Her SEAL is a story about a man struggling with his identity, which is my all-time favorite theme to explore. Dex is a highly decorated sniper, but it’s a double edged sword because he hates that his talent is killing people. So he’s seeking to reconcile his past with his present, where he’s attracted to this woman, Emma, but can’t see how to get past who he is to give her what she deserves.
Why do you enjoy writing romance so much?
I love that we all know how the story is going to end, but I get to stretch my storytelling abilities to give readers something unexpected along the way. If you have that moment when you gasp and think, “There is NO WAY this is ever going to work out between these two…”, I know I’ve done my job. The world is a pretty dark place for a lot of people and romance is so hopeful. I try to share a little of that hope with each story.
Was there ever a specific moment when you suddenly realized: “Now I am an author.” - as in, this is now my career?
No! I still don’t believe I write stories that people read. I’ve written 30 books and I still can’t introduce myself as an author. Maybe when I hit 60, that’ll be the magic number. lol
Tell us a bit about Dex and Emma. Why do you think they make a good match?
They both have to learn that the past doesn’t define us, and that we can open our hearts to someone else with the capacity to love us unconditionally, without fear of being judged or disappointed. They have to teach that to each other and they can’t learn it from anyone else. It’s their unique experiences that allow them to each see through the front the other has put up. Plus, they just have that chemistry, you know? It’s there from their first moment together. All I had to do was stand back and let them sizzle.
Dex and Emma both have a troubled past. Do you believe that love can heal pain from the past and make better people from us?
I do believe that! In real life and in my story worlds. In fact, I like to explore what I mentioned in the last question, which is that only THIS person can heal the wounds. Why only this person? Well, that’s what makes the story great as that question is answered in both of their minds.
What do you think makes a man in uniform so hot? Why do women like men in uniform so much?
Because they’re so good at following orders. J Also, my men in uniform are honest to a fault, loyal, trustworthy and quick to protect those they love. Who doesn’t like that in a man?
Do you believe that true love exists in real life?
Absolutely. All good fiction is based upon real emotions or we wouldn’t get so engaged in the stories.
What was the most romantic thing that you have ever experienced yourself?
Honestly, I find the little things romantic. My husband is the basis for every hero I’ve ever written and he constantly does things I find romantic like cooking dinner or surprising me with a gift. But his best skill is making me laugh, and that makes even a trip to Walmart fun. That’s romance in my book.
Talk to us about your writing routine; what’s a typical writing day for you?
I have a day job and two boys so I get up at 5 a.m. to write. I also try to take time at night from about 7:30-9 but that doesn’t always work out. At 9:00 p.m. I shut off everything because that’s when I spend time with my husband.
What genre of books do you like to read? Do you limit yourself to only the genre that you write yourself?
I really only read romance novels, which has been true as long as I can remember. I do tend to read contemporary though. I like it the best which is why I write it.
What are your 3 favorite books —and why?
I don’t know if can name my 3 favorite, but I know my absolute favorite. It’s Birthright by Nora Roberts, which is about a woman struggling to reclaim her identity. If you go back to my first answer, you’ll recall that’s my favorite theme and she does it brilliantly in that book. It’s what I strive to do with my own stories. I think we all sometimes question who we are and whether we really know ourselves, what we’re capable of, how far we can fly with the right encouragement. I want to tell that story over and over.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I’m pretty good at Mario Kart as long as I’m not playing my ten year old! I can’t beat him no matter how many times I play. I don’t mind. I just enjoy spending time with him.
What are you working on right now?
I’m writing the next book in the ASSIGNMENT: Caribbean Nights series, which is Jack’s book. I’m having fun with it because I’ve built him up as the guy who can fix anything, so of course I gave him something super difficult to fix: a childhood friend in need of a husband.