Friday, June 19, 2015

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: Cate Beauman, Romance-Suspense Author

Cate Beauman, Author
Bodyguards of L.A. County Series
Cate Beauman returns to feature her latest romantic suspense novel, ANSWERS FOR JULIE, Book Nine in the Bodyguards of L.A. County Series. Inspired by FBI statistics on the likelihood of the return of an abducted child, this just-released novel features a massage therapist/yoga instructor as a heroine and a bodyguard returning to a small town where his grandmother just died.  

Although romance and suspense are key attributes of her books, Beauman also likes to create characters with flaws because “readers can relate to flaws.” She develops romantic relationships and elements of the story specific to each mystery and character.

Beauman is now working on the tenth Bodyguard book, and lives in North Carolina with her husband, their two boys, and St. Bernards, Bear and Jack.

Don't miss the excerpt from ANSWERS FOR JULIE following the interview.

Q: I know you like your heroines to have interesting careers. For ANSWERS FOR JULIE, Book Nine in the Bodyguards of L.A. County Series, what inspired Julie’s career of massage therapist/yoga instructor? They seem fairly benign careers and do not necessarily suggest romantic suspense.

Cate Beauman: I love for my heroines to have interesting careers. There are so many options to choose from. Luckily, women can be whatever they want to be. When I think up careers for my characters, the goal isn’t to have their professions fit the romantic suspense genre; they have to fit the person I’m creating. Julie’s very sweet, funny, and pretty laid back. Being a massage therapist and yoga instructor meld well with who she is as a person. The dangerous circumstances she finds herself in as the story unfolds won’t have much to do with how she makes her living.

Q:  Tell me about Bakersfield, Washington. Does the setting help to tell your story?

Cate Beauman: Honestly, in this instance, Bakersfield, Washington is a figment of my imagination. It’s rare that I get to create my own settings. Many of the bodyguard stories take place in cities that actually exist. When I have the opportunity to make up my own place it’s so much fun. The town gets to be what I need it to be to help tell my story instead of me having to make my story work around an area that truly exists.

Q: In past interviews, you’ve talked about mixing romance and suspense—which is paramount in your books—in addition to the need to assure authenticity, use humor to create characters, and make characters as “human” as possible. What else do you use to help readers embrace your characters so that we want them to succeed?

Cate Beauman: I think what makes my readers embrace my characters is the fact that they’re flawed. Everyone can relate to flaws and imperfections because there is no such thing as perfection. Julie and Chase have made mistakes in their pasts. They continue to make mistakes throughout the novel. That’s real. Struggling and growing through tough situations is part of the human condition. Conflict is key in every story. I like each work of fiction to mirror reality as closely as possible.

Q: How do you build the romantic relationships? Do your characters love each other at first sight? Do opposites attract? Does the suspense increase the romantic interest?

Cate Beauman: It really depends on each story. Every couple is different—much like they are in real life. Sometimes people see each other and know they’ve found “the one.” Other times friendships build into something more. On occasion, some people think they loathe each other only to realize there was an attraction there all along. I think suspense has the opportunity to bring a couple closer together. But the stress can also strain a relationship and pull people apart. I like to use the circumstances in the story to help me decide which way things will go for the current couple I’m writing.

Q: What do you believe are key elements of an alluring mystery—in addition to suspense and romance? Do you like to include villains? Red herrings?

Cate Beauman: I try really hard to make each of the stories in the Bodyguards of L.A. County series different. I’m a big fan of villains, and a red herring certainly can add a lovely twist in any plot. The couple and the circumstances really help me decide what elements will add to the mystery in their adventure.

Q: What inspired ANSWERS FOR JULIE?

Cate Beauman: I often get my story ideas from watching crime documentaries, but the plot for ANSWERS FOR JULIE came together after I read some sobering FBI statistics in a magazine about the odds of a missing child coming home. Unfortunately, many children are lost forever. The wheels began spinning quickly after that, and a few weeks later, the story was well on its way.

About Cate Beauman

Cate currently lives in North Carolina with her husband, their two boys, and St. Bernards, Bear and Jack. She is the author of the international bestselling and award winning romantic suspense series, Bodyguards of L.A. County.  Before her career as an author, Cate worked in special education for 12 years.

“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, five years later, I’m working on my tenth novel! I remain so very grateful for the support and success that I have had.”

Julie Keller relishes the simple things: hot chocolate on winter nights, good friends she calls her family, and her laid-back career as a massage therapist and yoga instructor. Julie is content with her life until Chase Rider returns to Bakersfield.

Bodyguard Chase Rider isn’t thrilled to be back in the town where he spent his childhood summers. His beloved grandmother passed away, leaving him a house in need of major repairs. With a three-week timetable and a lot to do, he doesn’t have time for distractions. Then he bumps into Julie, the one woman he hoped never to see again. Chase tries to pretend Julie doesn’t exist, but ten years hasn’t diminished his attraction to the hazel-eyed stunner.

When a stranger grabs Julie’s arm at the grocery store—a woman who insists Julie’s life isn’t what it seems, Chase can’t help but get involved. Julie and Chase dig into a twenty-five-year-old mystery, unearthing more questions than answers. But the past is closer than they realize, and the consequences of the truth have the potential to be deadly.


“Good night.” She turned on her side as Becky left and snuggled into her covers, listening to the music from downstairs while she stared at the white lights twinkling on the baby Christmas tree she and mommy had decorated for her room. Noah’s excited voice carried from his room, and her eyes drooped in the warmth and comfort of her bed. Her mind drifted to the Grinch and Cindy Lou Who, and her eyes flew open when her bedroom door creaked shut. She didn’t like her door closed.

Sitting up, Alyson relaxed when she realized she wasn’t alone and looked at the woman dressed in a black coat and hat, Becky’s friend who liked to come and play with her and push her on the swings at the park.

“Hi, Ally,” she whispered, stepping farther in the room, looking over her shoulder.

“Hi.” She yawned. “Did you come to play with me?”

“Whisper,” the woman said, glancing over her shoulder again.

She smiled. “Okay.”

“Do you want to come with me? We could go to the park.”

Alyson glanced out the window at fat snowflakes falling in the dark, pushed off her covers, and stood. “I have to ask my mommy.”

“She said it’s okay, but we have to hurry and be very, very quiet.” The woman moved to the bed, grabbed two teddy bears and laid them down, pulling the blankets up and over the stuffed animals. “It’s a secret game.”

Becky and Noah’s voices were muffled through the wall, and Alyson pressed her hand to her mouth, suppressing a giggle. “I like secret games.”

“Me too. Come on.” The woman took something from her pocket with gloved hands and unfolded it, laying a piece of paper flat at the foot of the bed.

“What’s that?”

“A note so your mommy will remember I took you to the park.”

“I only want to play for a little while. I’m going to see Santa with mommy and Noah.”

“Just for a little bit,” the woman assured with a smile. “Let’s hurry.” She lifted Alyson and bundled her under the pink and purple blanket Grandma Porter made for her when she had been a teeny, tiny baby.

“I need my boots and coat.”

“I have some for you at my house.”


The woman walked to the bedroom door and stopped, holding a finger to her lips. “Shh.”

Alyson grinned and said “Shh” back.

The woman stepped into the hallway and out the French doors that opened to the large balcony Alyson and Noah weren’t allowed to play on and hurried down the long sweep of stairs.

Alyson clung tight to the woman taking her to the park. She stared back at her huge brick and pillar house lit with hundreds of Christmas lights as Becky’s friend ran with her into the shadows of the street.


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  1. Hi Cate! I always enjoy reading about your inspiration for writing each new book! Each book truly is so different from the last, and that's one of the things that makes this such a great series. And you always give us interesting and lovable characters :)

  2. Hi Amanda! Thank you for the kind words - you always know how to make my day!

    I hope you have a great weekend,


  3. Hi Joyce! Thanks for having me back! You always ask wonderful interview questions - thank you for the time and thought you put in to them!