Wednesday, April 9, 2014

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: Author Cate Beauman

Cate Beauman, Author
Sixth book of "The Bodyguards of LA County"
Cate Beauman has just released the sixth suspenseful thriller in her series “The Bodyguards of LA County.” In JUSTICE FOR ABBY, Beauman’s protagonist, Abigail Harris, is chased by members of the Mid-Atlantic Sex Ring after she testifies against them. Reviewers tout Beauman’s combination of suspense and romance. She says she enhances suspense through plausibility and romance through 'real' characters.

Beauman currently lives in Tennessee with her family. Music plays a big part in her writing process, and she has offered us a list of the songs that helped her write her latest book. She points out that although JUSTICE FOR ABBY is fiction, sex trafficking is a serious crime worldwide.

Don’t miss the excerpt from JUSTICE FOR ABBY following the interview.

Q: Your best-selling books are part of a series “The Bodyguards of LA County.” Why do you write a series of books rather than independent standalone novels?

Cate Beauman: When I first started my writing journey I had no intention of creating a series. Heck, I didn’t even know I could write! MORGAN’S HUNTER was supposed to be a standalone novel about a bodyguard and the woman he protects in the backwoods of Montana. Hunter’s good friends Ethan and Sarah played very minor roles in the story, but as the manuscript started to unfold, I had this overwhelming urge to bring Ethan and Sarah to life.  At that point, Ethan and Sarah were supposed to be the end of a two-book deal…until Hailey and Austin entered the picture. Halfway through FALLING FORSARAH, I knew I had a series on my hands. Now that I’ve begun research for book seven, I can’t imagine starting another project until all of Ethan’s close protection agents have a turn to share their adventures. Writing The Bodyguards of L.A. County is so much fun.

Q: Reviewers tout the suspense in your books as “a real thrill ride.” How do you create suspense? What contributes to suspense and makes a thriller?

Cate Beauman: I love that my readers find my work suspenseful. I think the key to creating a good thriller is basing a story on plausibility. If the situation couldn’t happen in real life, then it loses a bit of the ‘zing.’ Half the fun of suspense is having an idea of what you think will happen and seeing if it plays out the way you thought it would. Another key component of “a real thrill ride” is believable character development. I basically imagine men or women who embody the worst mankind has to offer. I try to dig deep into what scares most people and bring that to life.

Q: “very suspenseful and believable romance.”  How do you make your romantic thrillers “believable?” How important is credibility to enticing readers?

Cate Beauman: Bringing romance and suspense together certainly has its challenges, but I can’t imagine writing any other genre. I think my thrillers are believable because I try to base them off of some facet of reality. I’m a crime TV junkie. Almost every story I’ve written has been sparked by something I’ve seen while watching one of my favorite shows. It never has to be much. Just recently I watched a program where they showed a bone in a grave and it gave me an idea for a story I plan to tell down the road.

When it comes to the romantic side of storytelling, I try very hard to create characters that are ‘real.’ My heroes and heroines are good people at their core, but they’re flawed just like the rest of us. It’s so much fun to bring two people together and create a love story with plenty of hiccups along the way. Romance is fun, but my heroes and heroines have to work hard to earn their happily ever afters.

Q: How relevant is setting to your books? Are you able to use the background of L.A. to tell your story?

Cate Beauman: Setting is pretty important to all of my novels. What is a story without the details that tie everything together? I like to mix the novels up a bit though. Los Angeles is where Ethan Cooke Security’s main offices are, but Ethan’s agents travel all over to protect their clients. So far my readers have followed the bodyguards to Montana, Mexico, Maryland, Utah, Nebraska, and of course, California.

Q: When writing, are you in control of your characters or do those “bodyguards” push you around?

Cate Beauman: I would say the bodyguards have their fair share of room to grow. It’s not uncommon to rewrite at least half of my manuscript by the time I get to the second draft and really know who each bodyguard and his principal are. I try hard to stick to an outline, but that typically doesn’t last long. As each story grows, original ideas are usually forgotten and the ones that advance the plot and characters are what are used.

About Cate Beauman

I currently live in Tennessee with my husband, two boys, and our St. Bernard, Bear. I recently resigned from my day job to concentrate on this thing I refer to as ‘My Dream Come True’ career!

“I’m a pretty lucky girl; one day I woke up and my entire life changed. I saw the light, so to speak, and decided I was going to be a writer. Now, three years later, I’m working on Saving Sophie, the seventh novel in my best selling romantic suspense series, The Bodyguards Of L.A. County. “

About JUSTICE FOR ABBY – Available NOW!

Fashion designer Abigail Harris has been rescued, but her nightmare is far from over. Determined to put her harrowing ordeal behind her and move on, she struggles to pick up the pieces of her life while eluding the men who want her dead.

The Mid-Atlantic Sex Ring is in ruins after Abby’s interviews with the police.  The organization is eager to exact their revenge before her testimony dismantles the multi-million dollar operation for good.

Abby’s safety rests in the hands of former US Marshal, Jerrod Quinn.  Serious-minded and obsessed with protocol, Ethan Cooke Security’s newest agent finds himself dealing with more than he bargains for when he agrees to take on his beautiful, free-spirited client.

As the trial date nears, Abby’s case takes a dangerous turn.  Abby and Jerrod soon discover themselves in a situation neither of them expect while Jerrod fights to stop the ring from silencing Abby once and for all.

Other The Bodyguard of Los Angeles books

Book One: MORGAN’SHUNTER, the story of Morgan and Hunter.

Morgan Taylor, D.C. socialite and wildlife biologist, leads a charmed life until everything changes with a phone call. Her research team has been found dead—slaughtered—in backcountry Montana.

As the case grows cold, Morgan is determined to unravel the mystery behind her friends’ gruesome deaths. Despite the dangers of a murderer still free, nothing will stand in her way, not even the bodyguard her father hires, L.A.’s top close protection agent, Hunter Phillips.

Sparks fly from the start when no-nonsense Hunter clashes with Morgan’s strong-willed independence. Their endless search for answers proves hopeless—until Hunter discovers the truth.

On the run and at the mercy of a madman, Morgan and Hunter must outsmart a killer to save their own lives.  

Book Two: FALLING FORSARAH the story of Sarah and Ethan.

Widow Sarah Johnson struggled to pick up the pieces after her life was ripped apart.  After two years of grieving, she’s found contentment in her thriving business as photographer to Hollywood’s A-list and in raising her angel-faced daughter, Kylee…until bodyguard and long-time friend Ethan Cooke changes everything with a searing moonlight kiss.

Sarah’s world turns upside down as she struggles with her unexpected attraction to Ethan and the guilt of betraying her husband’s memory.  But when blue roses and disturbing notes start appearing on her doorstep, she has no choice but to lean on Ethan as he fights to save her from a stalker that won’t stop until he has what he prizes most.

Book Three: HAILEY’STRUTH, the story of Hailey and Austin.

Hailey Roberts has never had it easy. Despite the scars of a tragic childhood, she’s made a life for herself. As a part-time student and loving nanny, she yearns for a family of her own and reluctant Austin Casey, Ethan Cooke Security’s best close protection agent.

Hailey’s past comes back to haunt her when her long lost brother tracks her down, bringing his dangerous secrets with him. At an emotional crossroads, Hailey accepts a humanitarian opportunity that throws her together with Austin, taking her hundreds of miles from her troubles, or so she thinks.

What starts out as a dream come true quickly becomes a nightmare as violence erupts on the island of Cozumel. Young women are disappearing, community members are dying—and the carnage links back to her brother. 

As Austin struggles to keep Hailey’s past from destroying her future, he’s forced to make a decision that could turn her against him, or worse cost them both their lives.

Book Four: FOREVERALEXA, the story of Alexa and Jackson.

First grade teacher and single mother Alexa Harris is no stranger to struggle, but for once, things are looking up. The school year is over and the lazy days of summer are here. Mini-vacations and relaxing twilight barbeques are on the horizon until Alexa’s free-spirited younger sister vanishes.

Ransom calls and death threats force Alexa and her young daughter to flee their quiet home in Maryland. With nowhere else to turn, Alexa seeks the help of Jackson Matthews, Ethan Cooke Security’s Risk Assessment Specialist and the man who broke her heart.

With few leads to follow and Abby’s case going cold, Alexa must confess a shocking secret if she and Jackson have any hope of saving her sister from a hell neither could have imagined.

Book Five: WAITING FOR WREN, the story of Wren Cooke and Tucker Campbell.

Wren Cooke has everything she’s ever wanted—a thriving career as one of LA’s top interior designers and a home she loves. Business trips, mockups, and her demanding clientele keep her busy, almost too busy to notice Ethan Cooke Security’s gorgeous Close Protection Agent, Tucker Campbell.

Jaded by love and relationships in general, Wren wants nothing to do with the hazel-eyed stunner and his heart-stopping grins, but Tucker is always in her way. When Wren suddenly finds herself bombarded by a mysterious man’s unwanted affections, she’s forced to turn to Tucker for help.

As Wren’s case turns from disturbing to deadly, Tucker whisks her away to his mountain home in Utah. Haunted by memories and long-ago tragedies, Tucker soon realizes his past and Wren’s present are colliding. With a killer on the loose and time running out, Tucker must discover a madman’s motives before Wren becomes his next victim.


The black bag was ripped from her head, along with several strands of her hair. Abby blinked against the bold light of the naked bulbs hanging from the low ceiling. She glanced around the dingy space in shock as her gaze traveled from girl to girl—six young teens, dirty, bruised, and malnourished, staring up at her through bland eyes while they sat or lay on filthy mattresses on the dirt floor. “What—”

“In.” Victor shoved Abby into a small, windowless room, slamming the door, locking her in with a rusty scrape of something sliding against the heavy metal barrier.

She walked on shaky legs to the wooden chair in the corner and collapsed to the uncomfortable seat, clutching her arms around her waist, shivering as she bit hard on her bottom lip while tears rained down her cheeks. Where was she? What was this place? She shuddered, remembering six sets of listless eyes holding hers. Nothing good was happening here.

She covered her face with trembling hands and gave into her sobs, relieving the worst of her dread, wishing for nothing more than to be home with Lex and Livy. Thinking of her sister and niece, she forced away her tears, taking several deep breaths of stale air. If she wanted to see her family again she needed to pull herself together. She couldn’t get herself out of this—whatever this was—if she didn’t think. There had to be a way out. Her eyes darted around the barely lit space, searching for a weapon, another exit, anything.

The door opened, and she rushed to her feet as a tall, well-built man stood haloed in the beam of light from the room beyond. Abby blinked as he stepped forward. “Renzo?” She bolted from the corner and fell against her friend’s firm chest as a wave or relief flooded her. “Oh, thank god.”

His strong arms wrapped around her.

“I’m so glad you’re here. I don’t know what’s going on. I need help. Can you help me?”

“What happened?” He eased her back some, but she refused to release him from her grip.

“My family—we were on our way home from Virginia Beach. We stopped at a rest area, and two men grabbed me and brought me here.”

“You were with your sister and niece?”

“Yes, Alexa and Olivia. I think they’re okay, but I need to call and make sure. Will you get me out of here?”

“Of course.”

She could hardly believe she was leaving. “Thank you. Thank you.” She hugged Renzo again as tears of gratitude flowed free. “I knew this had to be some sort of mistake.”

“Come on, let’s get you home.” He wrapped his arm around her waist and walked with her to the door. “Oh, wait.” He stopped.


“I can’t let you go.”

The Inspiration Behind Justice For Abby

"Justice For Abby is one of my favorite stories in The Bodyguards of L.A. County series (Okay, they all are, but I really love Abby and Jerrod!). I truly enjoyed writing their adventure. Oftentimes I found myself caught up in Abby’s rollercoaster ride as she heals from her experiences as a survivor of the Mid-Atlantic Sex Ring. At times I cried with her, and at others, I laughed. She’s so strong and sweet, but she’s vulnerable and struggling. Enter Jerrod Quinn, the perfect man to provide her protection and help her overcome her ordeal in his own quiet way.

"Although Abby’s story is one of fiction, sex trafficking is a very real crisis for millions of young women, men, and children all over the globe. My idea for this novel came after a night in front of the television watching crime television. A segment showcasing the mysterious disappearance of a young woman named Amy Bradley bothered me greatly. She vanished from a cruise ship in March of 1998 while vacationing with her family. Unfortunately, Amy has yet to be found, but she is believed to be alive, stuck in the horrific world of human sex trafficking. I immediately began my research into this very troubling epidemic and shortly after wrote Forever Alexa, the story of Abby’s sister dealing with the aftermath of Abby’s disappearance. My readers have requested Abby’s story, and I felt the need to share her experience.

"I hope you enjoy getting to know Abby and Jerrod as much as I enjoyed writing these two fantastic characters."


The Unofficial Justice For Abby Soundtrack

"Music always plays a huge part in my writing process.  With two boys and two dogs in the house, music helps me “get lost” in my story.  I typically listen to Pandora or YouTube and put together a playlist of songs that I feel represent the characters or the situations they face as the novel unfolds.  Here are a few of the songs that I had on “repeat” while I created Jerrod and Abby’s story!  You can listen to them on my website"

The soundtrack, of sorts, for Justice For Abby:
·      Applause by Lady Gaga
·      Safe and Sound by Capital Cities
·      She Is by Ben Rector
·      I Should Go by Levi Kreis
·      The Other Side by Jason Derulo
·      Why Don’t You Love Me? by Hot Chelle Rae ft. Demi Lovato
·      We Owned The Night by Lady Antebellum
·      Stars Go Blue by Tim McGraw
·      Open Your Eyes by Snow Patrol
·      Come Back by Pearl Jam
·      By Your Side by Tenth Avenue North
·      Everything Has Changed by Taylor Swift ft. Ed Sheeran


Social links

Buy links for all five books

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