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Talking with Catherine Bybee about Her New Romance Series

Catherine Bybee's Doing It OverCatherine Bybee's Weekday Brides series made thousands of readers fall in love with the women who ran the Alliance matchmaking agency. Now Bybee takes a new cast of characters—three best friends who grew up in the small town of River Bend—and reunites them ten years after their high school graduation. Much has changed, and these women now have mistakes to overcome and love to find. Catherine Bybee talks with us about her new series, which leads off with Doing It Over.


Adrian Liang: Starting with Doing It Over, your new series is about three women voted in high school "most likely to" do various things: succeed, land in jail, or never leave their home town. What sparked this series idea? And are you thinking of it as just three books, or more?

Catherine Bybee: These three books are so much more to me than just three love stories in a small town. I grew up in a crappy suburb of Seattle from a broken family and more drama than many would believe. I had two very close friends, Kari and Brandy, who were more family to me than my siblings or parents. I had a close neighbor who was a second mom in the ways of support and sound advice. I thought with over twenty books under my fictional belt, it was time for me to dig a little deeper in my author's toolbox and write a few stories that were more personal than any that came before them.

Your heroine Melanie was voted most likely to succeed, but when she returns to her home town of River Bend after ten years, she feels enormously unsuccessful after none of her plans—including going to college—come to fruition. Why did you tackle her story first?

I would love to say I planned her story first for some epic reason…but I never write my books with outlines. I write them with a line or two of an idea. The first chapter in Doing It Over, however, plays in my head all the time. Mainly because I somewhat lived it. I killed my car over Grant's Pass while I was leaving town. Arriving to my destination without transportation or money wasn't something I had to imagine to write as fiction. I can say that as I continue to write the other two books I found a common thread to weave through the books to keep each one connected to the other outside of the friendship of these three woman. So I'm happy Mel's story was first. Her book was first on accident, but the next two are completely planned…but we can talk about that when Staying for Good is released, *WINK*

Your Weekday Brides series had a more urban setting, while Doing It Over takes place in a small town in which everyone knows one another's business. In a time where living in big cities or splendid suburbs and working in big companies are still badges of success for men and women, why do you think romance readers find small-town romances so compelling?

Because not everyone lives in a big city! Even if you don't live in a small-town where everyone knows everything about their neighbors, living in suburbia can be just as entertaining. Community in an urban setting can be with neighbors you share a wall with…community in a small town can be with neighbors you share a property line with. In order for this series to work, it had to take place in a tiny place that has a hard time holding on to their youth. Most of us have visited a town where we scratch our head and ask ourselves why anyone would live there…well, I'm showing you the answer to that question with this series.

In Doing It Over, you demonstrate a strong familiarity with how to properly TP a house. Care to explain?

Because I grew up without a cell phone, the Internet, a zillion channels on TV or DVRs, or home video games other than Pong…remember PONG? [head-desk] My curfew was to get home before my single mother…she tended bar and often stayed late… so if I was home by two a.m., I was safe. Entertainment was a broomstick, a six-pack of toilet paper, and usually a friend's, not an enemy's, house. So yeah…I know a thing or two about tossing toilet paper into trees. A word of advice…the night before a morning rain is always best. That mess is a b*tch to clean up!

Miss Gina, the bed and breakfast owner in River Bend, is a very quirky and opinionated mentor to the women during both their high school years and now, while they are in their late twenties. Was/is she a fun character to write?

She is the bomb! I wanna be Miss Gina when I grow up. I love writing characters who are dancing to the beat of their own drum…excuse my cliché, but they are a blast to write. No mater how outlandish I make them, everyone reading is like…yep, that sounds like something Miss Gina would say!


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