First, if we were meeting at a coffee shop I’d be drinking a Latte 🙂
What would you order? I’d be drinking something potent, like a triple macchiato or a hammerhead (coffee with espresso shots in it). I can’t get enough espresso!
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer a few questions. For readers who are not familiar with your books, you write both contemporary and romantic suspense books with characters that have a wide range of careers and some even have physical limitations that challenge all of the characters in that particular book.
I do love to write a wide variety of characters and I like to give them careers that I, personally, find fascinating. I discovered early on that I vastly prefer writing about working-class characters and blue collar heroes, such as soldiers, construction works, firefighters, law enforcement, cowboys. I find wealth so damn boring…unless it causes deep internal conflict for a character.
Congratulations on the recent release of Game Changer which is the third book in your Bomb Squad Hockey Series. It was the first book I’ve read from your book library and I LOVED it. I can’t wait to read Books 1 and 2! What inspired you to write this series?
Thank you! I’m so glad the book resonated with you. It was such a pleasure to write and has ended up becoming one of my favorites in my book library. My inspirations for this book were like a bunch of cosmic threads that all came together in a kismet-like braid. I follow photographer Michael Stokes on Facebook, and so watched with fascination as he started turning his lens on male models who are amputee veterans of combat. I knew when I saw model Alex Minsky’s image that I wanted to write about men like him. So, really, Brandon–the hero of book 3–was my original inspiration to write about wounded warriors.
Another ‘cosmic thread’ was watching the last winter Olympics. I stayed tune after that ended to watch the Paralympics, and the moment I watched the first sled ice hockey game, that I knew what I wanted my wounded warrior heroes to do. Around that same time, I was researching the Erie Canal because I had decided to set a series along its banks. What better place for a wounded warrior ice hockey team to live?
The final cosmic thread was a vivid dream I had. I woke up gasping, shot out of bed, and wrote the whole thing down. It became the first scene in book 1 of this series (with lots of tweaks branching away from my dream, of course). In the dream, I was Allison and I had my children with me, and it was pouring rain. I watched my husband being taken away in a patrol car and I thought “My life will never be the same again.”
The covers are fantastic – did you have any input with them? Thank you! I did not have any input. I was lobbying hard for the publisher to use wounded combat vet male models.
Will there be any additional books in this series? I sincerely hope so. Olivia, Presley, Kayla, Gabe, and Will need to have their stories told!
While clicking about on your website I read your recent March blog post (Link: https://www.melissacutler.net/blog/) It was revealing, inspiring and very poignant. You spoke about body image, perception and acceptance. There is something valuable in what you said and transfers into your characters.
Thank you! I like to be open and vulnerable with my readers, so it came naturally to me to pull back the curtain about the personal journey I’m on. In fact, I was writing GAME CHANGER while I had those personal epiphanies. Writing the book helped me work through a lot of my own opinions about self-love, body acceptance, and the direction I needed to take my life in. In the months since I posted that, I’ve kept my journey going and I’m in such a great place right now, mentally and emotionally. I feel fierce and beautiful for the first time in my life.
There is a scene in Game Changer that’s so raw (and without giving anything away) I’m amazed at how well that turned out. It was the first time I’d read a scene like and thought it was written perfectly! I could feel every emotion, including the awkwardness that made it so unique in a romance book. Most books these days do not deal with scenes with that much description. Were you afraid to write it? Is there a way to answer without giving any spoilers? 😉
It tickles me to hear that you’ve never read a scene like that. I get that a lot, and because of that it’s one of the scenes I’m most proud of with this book. I reached the decision to create that scene (it happens at the 30% mark in the ebook) because these characters had been circling each other for the first two books. Readers who’ve been following their story could probably predict the trajectory of Book 3, which I couldn’t let happen. So I thought, what’s the most powerful and unexpected way I can explode this predictable trajectory? Once I made up my mind to write the scene, it wasn’t difficult. I blocked out the choreography and location ahead of time, then went into my writer zone/trance to get at the emotional truths of the scene…and the first pass of the scene is what readers get. I didn’t revise it because I didn’t want to tinker with the rawness of the moment.
10 Tantalizing Tidbits:
1. What is your must read book and why? THE SECRET by Julie Garwood. Best. Book. Ever. I love highlanders, and I love bold, smart heroines, and this book combines them perfectly.
2. What is one place I should see if I visit your hometown? I live in San Diego, so I’ll say the beach, of course!
3. What is one thing readers would be surprised to know about you? I play piano by ear and can play almost any song you throw at me.
4. If you listen to music while writing, what songs are on your most recent playlist? I do write to music, but it has to match the tone and message of the book I’m writing. I’m presently writing a contemporary western romance that riffs on the “Bro Country” idea of pick up trucks and girls in daisy dukes and weekends spent tubin’ on the river. So I’m listening to a lot of Florida Georgia Line, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Randy Houser, etc.
5. If you had an all expenses paid trip anywhere in the world for research, where would you go for research? Brazil. For fun? Japan.
6. What is your guilty pleasure? I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. Just pleasure.
7. What are you afraid of? Dolls and clowns. Don’t even get me started on marionettes and puppets. *shudder*
8. Binge watcher or weekly viewer? Which show(s)? I’m a weekly viewer of The Flash, Arrow, New Girl, Big Bang Theory, Naked and Afraid (Love this show like hella), Jimmy Fallon, and The Daily Show. And I’m presently binge watching Gilmore Girls for the first time. I’m in season 5 right now…
9. What’s your favorite movie of all time and why? Bull Durham. It’s funny and smart and sexy and magical. I never get tired of watching it.
10. Would you rather see a movie in the theatre or at home on DVD and why? In a theater. I like the sensation of losing myself to the experience, which is tricky at home.
THANK YOU SO MUCH for your time.
I Look forward to “chatting” with you soon 🙂
Thank you so much. This has been a blast. I hope you enjoyed your latte
Melissa Cutler knows she has the best job in the world writing sexy contemporary romances and romantic suspense for a variety of publishers, including Macmillan, Berkley, Kensington Books, and Harlequin. She was struck at an early age by an unrelenting travel bug and is probably planning her next vacation as you read this. When she’s not globetrotting, she’s enjoying Southern California’s flip-flop wearing weather and wrangling two rambunctious kids. She loves hearing from readers at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Facebook (www.facebook.com/MelissaCutlerBooks ) and Twitter (@m_cutler). Visit www.melissacutler.net to learn more about Melissa and her books and don’t forget to sign up for her newsletter: https://bit.ly/16mkpCs