Cathy Tully wrote one children’s book, Nebraksa, before turning to the romance and women’s fiction she now prefers. Cathy is a member of Romance Writer’s Of America, The Liberty States Fiction Writers, and The Society of Children’s Book Writer’s and Illustrator

We’re excited to be able to bring you  our conversation with Cathy!

MTAR: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Cathy:  I live in NJ with my husband, and two daughters, and have been writing romance for eight years. My first published book was a children’s non-fiction.

MTAR: Which book do you recommend for a reader that is new to your writing?

Cathy: ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE, my first published romance, because like every book I write, it has a little bit of humor and fun sprinkled in.

MTAR: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

Cathy: Not really. I’ve always been an avid reader and read across the genres. Once I knew I wanted to write romance I honed in on writers I love to read like Lori Wilde and I love Nora Robert’s ability to produce well-written books in such a timely manner. She writes fast…but she writes well. A knack as a writer I hope to one day pick up : )

MTAR: What writer would you consider a mentor?

Cathy: I have a real life mentor, Linda George, a writer/teacher who has taught me so much about writing and is responsible for pointing me in the direction of the romance genre. There’s also my critique group THE GEMS, and The Liberty States Fiction Writer’s.

MTAR: What book are you reading now?

Cathy: How To Knit A Love Song, by Rachel Herron.

MTAR: Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

Cathy: It took three years to publish ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE. Rejected by the first house, I submitted it to the second. The editor wanted three sets of revisions. After the third set, I questioned how many revisions are too many? When you begin to change the characters and their motivations for what they do and why—that doesn’t sit well with me. I will make most plot changes as long as they enhance the book and improve the story, but when asked to change the characters and why they do what they’re doing, I had to stop. I loved the story the way it was and decided to submit it to Astraea Press.

Published friends always say, you’ll find the editor that ‘gets’ you, and I did. Yes, there were more revisions, but they were minor. ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE is with the house that deserves it, because the editor loved it.

MTAR: How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?

Cathy: I use Facebook and my website, www., to promote my work. I’ve guest blogged and done postcard mailings to all my family and friends.  Most importantly, I carry postcards wherever I go, leave them at shops I visit and hand them out to anyone who seems interested.

MTAR: Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?

Cathy: Yes. My first book, Heartstrings, has never sold. I think we get better at writing with each book we write. If I went back to that manuscript today, I would probably make nine million changes : )

MTAR: Can you tell us about your latest book?

Cathy: ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE is about Caitlyn Stiles and Jack DeVane. It tells the story of how she overcomes her resentment towards the company he works for, which also put her family out of business; and how he learns that there’s more to life than work. And all this happens with the help of a Yorkshire Terrier named Little Man.

MTAR: What was your favorite chapter (or scene) to write and why?

Cathy: My favorite scene is when Caitlyn takes Little Man out for his nightly walk and they have a heart to heart talk in the park. Yes, she talks to Little Man, and he understands every word she says : ) I think people relate to dogs and this scene is cute, funny and touching.

MTAR: How did you come up with the title?

Cathy: I usually don’t title a book until I’m halfway into the writing. It comes to me at one point or another. In ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE, when Caitlyn remembers her deceased father saying the secret ingredient he put into every cup of coffee he made was love, I knew the title.

MTAR: Are there certain characters you would like to go back to in this book?

Cathy: No this is definitely a stand-alone book. Although I love Caitlyn’s grandmother, who she calls “Gram.” The woman is warm, loving, patient and kind to a fault. Everyone should have someone like Gram in their life : )

MTAR: Is there a message in your novel that you want reader to grasp?

Cathy: Sometimes even the best-laid plans don’t turn out the way you expect them to. Embrace that change and go with it; you might be in for the ride of a lifetime.

MTAR: What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?

Cathy: That’s a tough one. Probably that I need to take more time..and not rush. I get excited when working on a new project, and my crit partners often tell me to go back in and add more senses, setting, that kind of stuff.

MTAR: What has been the best compliment?

Cathy: An editor once told me that my writing was stellar and my wit and humor shone on the page. I still have that letter, even though he didn’t buy the book.

MTAR: What would your fans be surprised to know about you?

Cathy: I’m a yellow belt in Irryinrhu Karate.

MTAR: Dogs or cats?

Cathy: DOGS, without a doubt.

MTAR: Do you have a specific writing style?

Cathy: I write books/stories that warm your heart and tickle your funny bone.

MTAR: Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Cathy:  I recently sold a novella to The Wild Rose Press. MARRYING MR. RIGHT will be part of a new group of novellas at The Wild Rose Press titled, Dearly Beloved.  It is a touching, but funny look into a legally separated couple’s life and how planning the upcoming marriage of their only daughter helps them see they were meant to be together, after all.

MTAR: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Cathy: I wrote for the college paper back in the day. But when I turned 40 and my youngest sat on my lap and asked me, “Mommy, what do you want to be when you grow up?” I really started thinking.

MTAR: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Cathy: Yes. I never used to outline very much. I was a pantser. But writing took longer, so I decided to buckle down and outline deeper. Now, the writing comes faster because I know where my characters are going, feeling, motivated by, etc., before I begin to write. I’m learning to outline more and more. I won’t start a project without a partial outline of 3-5 pages, and I love when I have an outline of 10+ pages because then I really know where my characters are going and why. The writing is faster and easier for me when the book is outlined thoroughly : )

MTAR:  What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Cathy:  Finding time was a definite factor. But when I started treating my writing as a career, I took time each day to write and it came together faster.

MTAR:  Do you ever experience writer’s block?

Cathy:  Sure. Everyone does. I usually do after a succession of many days of straight writing, so I take a day to myself, get away from the writing, clean, shop, do some cross stitch, watch some mindless TV. Whatever relaxes me.

MTAR: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Cathy: Publishing isn’t for the meek.  Perseverance pays off. I’m living proof : )

MTAR: Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Cathy: Thanks everyone for your support and encouragement without people to read my books, there’d be no reason to write them. Except for getting the people in my head, who don’t stop talking, to leave me alone.