Spotlight On Cathy McDavid
Cathy McDavid Interview –
March 2021 Calendar Girl
Cathy McDavid has been penning Westerns for Harlequin since 2005. With over 50 titles, she spends her days writing stories about handsome cowboys riding the range, busting broncs, and sweeping gals off their feet — oops, no. Make that winning the hearts of feisty, independent women who give them a run for their money.
- How many different genres do you write?
Currently, only one – contemporary (western) romance. In the past, I’ve written romantic comedy, western historicals and even a paranormal. A handful of those previous titles are available now.
- Tell us about the type of characters you love to write about.
Who doesn’t love a cowboy romance? That’s my tag line, and what I most enjoy writing. Having lived in the country and owned horses most of my life, I suppose contemporary westerns are a natural fit. I often explore the challenges of modern relationships in my stories and what I call family drama: an illness or disability, parenting children, losing/gaining/changing jobs, recovering from a past trauma, to name a few.
- Do you have a new book or series?
I do. Book two of my current Wishing Well Springs series, HOW TO MARRY A COWBOY, will be out April 1st at online retailers and in WalMart stores June 1st. Book three, A SECRET CHRISTMAS WISH is coming November 1st and the last book in the series, as yet unnamed, around mid 2022. Wishing Well Springs is a wedding barn and miniature western town that’s at the center of each book.
- Favorite quote?
Favorite writing quote: If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word – Margaret Atwood
Favorite other quote: You can’t reach out if your arms are crossed.
- What do you do when you just don’t feel like writing?
Marketing, and by that I mean the creative aspects of marketing. I write my monthly newsletter. Make graphics and excerpts for social media posts. Search for beautiful or funny or interesting pictures to use down the road. Read articles online for ideas or inspiration. I find that being creative in a way other than writing can sometimes unlock my brain and allow me to get back into the writing grove.
- There’s a lot of controversy going around about how authors shouldn’t write about things they’ve never experienced, i.e. if you’re not trans, gay, an addict etc. don’t write a character like that…what’s your take on that?
I write everyday about something I haven’t experienced. I’ve never ridden a bucking bull. I’ve never lost my leg while serving as a Marine in the Middle East. I’ve never had breast cancer or been the mother of an autistic child. I’ve never been a wedding dress designer (my current heroine’s profession). Come to think of it, I’ve never owned a wedding barn and miniature western town.
But I’m comfortable writing about these things and feel I can do them justice because I’ve experienced a part of them in my own life. I’ve attended many rodeos, studied the sport and am acquainted with professional rodeo cowboys. I’m good friends with disabled individuals. My son is a former addict (six years sober now). I’ve been married in a unique wedding venue. I have a close family member suffering from serious mental illness. I meticulously research, and that includes deep personal interviews to enhance the authenticity.
However, I never attempt to write something I can’t portray accurately or with appropriate sensitivity or that I don’t feel I have enough personal knowledge to do the character(s) justice. I can’t realistically portray, for instance, a Black or gay main character because I wouldn’t be writing from a place of personal experience. I haven’t been pulled over simply because of the color of my skin or been bullied in high school because of my sexual orientation. I can imagine, but my imagination is minor compared to reality.
That said, I wouldn’t tell an author what they can or can’t write about. The choice is theirs. When I’ve tackled difficult subjects that are beyond my immediate personal experience, such as the book where my heroine had a son with Autism, I used a sensitivity reader. She helped enormously and made sure I not only got the facts right but the mother and son’s emotions, thoughts, and responses to situations.
- Many indie authors don’t get their books edited by professionals. What advice would you give them?
Get your book professionally edited. At least have it professionally proofread. Readers are unforgiving when it comes to unedited books.
- What do you do to go beyond your comfort zone when it comes to writing and life?
Writing-wise, at least once a year, I attempt something completely different. Even if it winds up being just a few chapters. In 2020, I wrote my first ever inspirational romantic suspense. I’m currently playing around with a general fiction book that has a singular point of view throughout the entire story. It’s amazing what a boost it gives my writing and my creativity, even when I go back to writing those cowboy contemporary romances!
Life-wise, I go beyond my comfort zone all the time in little ways. Big ways, too, like trying ziplining a few years ago (I’m scared to deaths of heights). Just this past Monday I reached out to a local film company with the hope of pitching one of my books. That was scary! And, no, they weren’t interested. But, hey, I did it. And I learned something in the process.
- Will you be attending any book signings or conventions?
I will as soon as the pandemic is over, and there are book signings and conventions to attend. I can’t wait!
- Pass on some words of wisdom, please, to aspiring authors.
Find your community and be active in it. There is nothing to keep you on this amazing journey like other authors. Whether you join a critique group or a writer’s group or a professional organization, getting together regularly with your peeps will fill your well.
Personal web page: www.cathymcdavid.com