Marriage with Benefits author Kat Cantrell Interview

By Susan Taylor
It's been a real pleasure following this author.

Kat Cantrell was a 2012 Golden Heart Finalist and won Harlequin's So You Think You Can Write Contest (SYTYCW) in 2011 earning a publishing contract for her manuscript, Marriage with Benefits in the Harlequin Desire imprint.

Kat is a busy author, wife, and mother sharing her thoughts on being a writer.

1.       What part of your background has helped your writing career? 

Interesting question. I have a degree in Literature and that sure helped. But honestly, nothing helped as much as the thousands of romance novels I’ve read! I lovelovelove them all and over the years, I think my brain absorbed things unconsciously, which I can now replicate without really being able to explain how I do it.

2.       As the winner of the 2011 SYTYCW contest, any advice for those interested in next year’s contest?

See #1. J I cannot fully express the importance of loving the genre and reading everything you can get your hands on. But don’t just read. Study. Learn. Practice what you see other authors do well. Also, don’t give up. The manuscript I entered in SYTYCW was my fifth.

3.       Panster or plotter. How would you describe yourself as a writer?
I am a neurotic plotter. I always start with a concept and then work from there to develop the characters. For example, in Marriage With Benefits, I knew I wanted to write a marriage of convenience story. So I started brainstorming on what sort of modern-day people would agree to such an archaic concept. Once I had the characters down, I started thinking about plot—because characters have to drive the story. By the time I type Chapter One, I have character sheets, a full outline and a synopsis written.

4.       Where do you write and what does that space contain?

I write at the kitchen table, so I’m constantly tuning out the rest of the people in my house, the dishwasher, the ice-maker, etc. Since I can’t leave stuff strewn about, I’ve learned to keep everything inside my brain or saved to my hard-drive. I don’t have sticky notes or printed pages everywhere. It’s all digital, except my writing books, which I read and then return to the shelf.

5.       What was one of the biggest research challenges for your writing?

I rarely find research challenging because I love it! However, Marriage With Benefits features the inner-workings of a women’s shelter and that was something I no experience with. So I deferred to my friend Morgan Scott Matthews, who has a background with victims of domestic violence, and she told me where I went off the tracks. I hope I did her knowledge justice.

6.       What interesting tidbit would you like to share with your readers about one of your novels?

My family and I have an inside joke. When my kids ask me to help them with math problems (help = tell me the answer), I always say the answer is forty-seven so they get the hint to figure it out for themselves. Somewhere along the way, my brain spit that number out into my manuscripts. I just started writing my eighth book and every single one thus far has the number forty-seven in it somewhere. I’m toying with the idea of having a contest one day to see who can find the references. J

      7.       Favorite line from one of your books?

“Your wardrobe is a cardigan away from an episode of Grandmas Gone Mild.” —Lucas Wheeler, Marriage With Benefits

8.       What do you do to unwind?

Watch TV with my husband. We are huge Survivor fans, and we’ll watch almost anything on the History or Discovery channels. We just watched the Men Who Built America series and it was fascinating!

       9.       What is your favorite quote?

I am a Friends junky. I can respond to almost any situation with a Friends quote. My absolute favorite is from the first episode, when Ross says, “I just want to be married.” And Rachel comes into Central Perk wearing a wedding dress. Then Chandler says, “And I just want a million dollars.” I say that to my kids almost daily when they ask for ridiculous stuff.

10.   Tell us about any future project you’d like to share.

My second book with Harlequin Desire comes out in March, called The Things She Says. I started writing it a looooong time ago and finally found an editor who could see its potential. It was a true collaborative effort! I love this book and I am so excited to share it with readers. Here’s the unofficial blurb:

Her Knight in a Shining Yellow Ferrari…

One wrong turn on a Texas highway and heartthrob director Kristian Demetrious is breaking his first rule: don’t get involved. Beautiful, sassy VJ Lewis needs his help—and a ride to Dallas. Kris wants to give her both….Yet his career depends on arriving without giving in to the passion VJ ignites in him. And denying temptation gets harder with every mile. VJ insists the heart of a hero beats beneath Kris’s suave exterior—and she intends to prove it, one hands-on lesson at a time. Suddenly this road trip is taking a whole new direction….


February 2013 
 About the Author  
KAT CANTRELL read her first Harlequin novel in third grade and has been scribbling in notebooks since she learned to spell. She majored in literature, officially with the intent to teach, but ended up in middle management, until she became a stay-at-home-mom and full-time writer. She was the 2011 Harlequin So You Think You Can Write winner and a 2012 RWA Golden Heart finalist for best unpublished series contemporary manuscript. Kat, her husband and their two boys live in north Texas.



Thank you Kat for your sharing your time with us. We wish you the best in 2013 with your book releases.

My recommendation for the holidays!

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