posted by Nancy
Today we welcome RITA winner Catherine Mann for her first appearance in the Lair. Cathy writes both military and corporate romance, and she'll chat with us today about both.
Welcome, Catherine! What's the Dark Ops series, and what inspired you to write it?
The “Dark Ops” novels feature a squadron of top secret test pilots. They’re cutting edge in creating the latest technology. When all other options fail, these aviation pioneers are tapped to try out the latest “toys” from their arsenal!
Who are the hero and heroine of Renegade, and what keeps them apart?
RENEGADE features flyboy Mason Randolph and civilian cop Jill Walczak. Jill knows all about Mason’s heart-breaker rep and wants no part of him. Until he mysteriously lands in the section of Area 51 she’s slated to guard, leaving her no choice but to get upclose and personal when they’re quarantined together.
What bigger challenge do the characters face?
With a serial killer on the loose targeting people connected to the military, Jill and Mason must pool their resources and resist their attraction – especially when the murderer targets Mason.
Can we have a look inside the book?
From Chapter 1 of RENEGADE by Catherine Mann
Set up:In the middle of testing a new hypersonic jet, Tech Sergeant Mason Randolph was forced to parachute out over the desert…
Mason lay on the gritty sand, stunned. No harm in lying still for a few and rejoicing in the fact he would live to fly and make love again. There wasn’t any need to rush out of here just yet. He wasn’t in enemy territory.
Although he didn’t have a clue exactly what piece of the Nevada desert he currently occupied. His tracking device would bring help though. Rescue would show up in an hour or so. Maybe by then he could stand up without whimpering like a baby.
He shrugged free of his parachute and LPU one miserable groan at a time. Already he could feel the bruises rising to the surface. He would probably resemble a Smurf by morning, but at least he still had all his limbs, and no bones rattled around inside him that he could tell.
His teeth chattered, though. From the freezing cold of a winter desert night, or from shock? Either way he needed to get moving. He pushed to his feet, stumbling for a second before the horizon stopped bobbling.
A siren wailed in the distance. Already? Perhaps this flight experience wouldn’t suck so much after all.
He blinked to clear his eyesight. Twin beams of light stretched ahead of a Ford F-150, blinding him the closer the vehicle approached. He shielded his eyes with one hand and waved his other arm. Ouch.
A loudspeaker squeaked and crackled to life. “Get back down on the ground. Lay flat on your stomach,” a tinny voice ordered. “If you move at all, you will be shot.”
What the hell? Had he landed in some survivalist kook’s farm?
But that wouldn’t explain the siren. He must have drifted into restricted territory, not surprising since they flew many of their secret test missions in secured areas. The truck screeched to halt and someone wearing cammo stepped out. A flashlight held at shoulder level kept him from seeing the face, but he could discern an M4 carbine at hip level well enough.
He shouted, “Don’t shoot. I’m not armed, and I’m not resisting.”
“Stay on the ground,” the voice behind the light barked.
A female voice?
Okay, so much for his PC rating today. He’d assumed the security cop was a male, not that it made any difference one way or the other. He respected the power of that M4.
Mason flattened his belly to the desert floor, arms extended over his head. A knee plowed deep in the small of his back. If he didn’t have a bruised kidney before, he sure did now.
A cold muzzle pressed against his skull. All right, then. The knee didn’t hurt so much after all.
“Hands behind you, nice and slow.” The lady cop’s husky voice heated his neck. “So, flyboy, do you want to tell me what you’re doing out here in Area 51?
You have a special knowledge of military life. Could you tell us how that weaves its way into your fiction?
My husband is an air force aviator who has worked extensively with flight tests. He’s a great resource for brainstorming and he always reads my books to check for accuracy. Although he’s been known to raise an eyebrow when I roll out my favorite phrase, “I know it’s not probable, but is it possible?”
How did you and your husband meet?
My hubby Rob has been a bit of a character himself, right from the start. I met Rob when going to visit my future brother-in-law at the Citadel Military College. As I was walking up to the battalion, there was a tall, dark haired cadet standing guard – picking his teeth with his sword. Suddenly he went still, turned his head slightly to look at me. Wowsa, those blue eyes of his twinkled! He stood up straight, sheathed his sword and started toward me. Before he reached me, some other cadets approached. (It was still an all male college then and females were a most welcome sight. ;-) Rob pushed past those other cadets and said, “You can’t have her. She’s mine. I’ve got dibs.” He proposed to me 10 days later… and here we still are together 23 years, 4 children and 9 moves later.
Along with the Dark Ops series, you're also writing for Silhouette Desire, with The Bossman's Baby Scandal out this month. What's the book about?
Nothing had stopped Jason Reagert from making his own millions. And now that he was securely ensconced at Maddox Communications, he was determined to become an even bigger success. Then startling news broke and Jason—along with everyone else—discovered he had gotten heiress Lauren Presley pregnant. He couldn't afford even a whiff of scandal, so he proposed to his lover of one night. Surely she'd agree to a lifetime of convenience, if only for the baby's sake
How do you juggle writing two different types of projects that appear on shelves so close together?
A dear author friend Merline Lovelace once told me that writing different subgenres can really help keep the writing fresh and fun. I totally agree! I also feel the two subgenres help strengthen each other – my Silhouette Desires help me hone the romance elements and the romantic suspense help me pump up that page turning edge even when nobody’s shooting!
What's next for you?
I’ve got a blessedly busy few years coming up! I recently signed on for two more air force books with Berkley Sensation. I’m working with Sourcebooks to develop a new military trilogy. And I have a royal trilogy coming up with Silhouette Desire, all three released within a month of each other. FMI on the upcoming books and contests, check out my website and/or sign up for my newsletter at http://catherinemann.com
Many thanks for inviting me to visit with the Romance Bandits! Y’all rock!!!
Catherine is giving away two copies signed of Defender, the first book in the Dark Ops series (which I've read and which is fabulous). So tell us: What's your favorite romance or romantic story in which technology plays a big role? Who's your favorite military couple in books, films, or life? Do you have a favorite pilot hero or heroine, either in fiction or in real life?