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Catherine Bruns: Bestselling Author on Publishing

This week I’m very happy to have USA Today Bestselling Author Catherine Bruns join me. Welcome Catherine!

Catherine is the author of nine bestselling cozy mysteries, including her most recent, Silenced By Sugar, which launched January 16.

Bonus! If you purchase a copy of Silenced By Sugar, you can get a copy of her short story, Formals, Fortune Cookies & Fraud through Instafreebie, click the link here.

Catherine has lived in Upstate New York her entire life. Her brood consists of a male dominated household: husband, three sons, and several cats and dogs. She hold a B.A. in English and Performing Arts and is a former newspaper reporter and press release writer.

When she’s not writing and has spare time, she enjoy traveling, shopping, and of course, a good book.

She loves to hear from readers. Please feel free to connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, send her an email at or leave a message on her blog!


You have had a number of books released in a very short time, what’s your secret?

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was eight years old. After I graduated from college, real life took over and I ended up procrastinating for over 20 years until writing my first novel. I think that this is my strange way of attempting to catch up! It’s funny how something I spent so many years avoiding is now a permanent part of my life. If I go a couple of days without writing, it feels like an important piece of me is missing. I just can’t imagine doing anything else and wouldn’t want to.


Your work combines some of my favorite things: food, Hawaii, and quirky characters. How did these things all come together for you as a writer?

I really enjoy writing culinary mysteries. I have two series currently out, the Cookies & Chance books about a young woman who runs a bakery in Buffalo, and the Carrie Jorgenson mysteries, part of the Aloha Lagoon multi-author series which features a young waitress in Kauai. I have high hopes that there will be a third culinary series releasing in the next year or so!

I love the fact that one of my series is set in Hawaii since I’ve been there twice and adore everything about the island. If I’m going to write about a certain place, I need to have visited it first. As for quirky characters, culinary or not, all of my books have them and I believe that they always add something integral to the storyline.


Tell us about your road to publication:

How much time do you have? 🙂 I didn’t seriously pursue the field until five years ago. I wrote my first book, Killer Transaction, about a down on her luck real estate agent, back in 2013. I was fortunate enough to find an agent soon after I started querying. Unfortunately, we were not a good fit and the relationship did not last long. On the positive side I learned quite a bit about the publishing business from her.

The day that we terminated our relationship, I sent Killer Transaction and my newest book, Tastes Like Murder, to Gemma Halliday Publishing. GHP is a boutique publisher and Gemma herself is a New York Times Best Selling Author. Gemma is amazing to work with and the fact that she’s a writer herself is a huge plus because she completely understands what you’re going through. After about two months, she got back to me with some suggestions for revisions on both books and the rest, as they say, was history. Tastes Like Murder was the first book to be released in September 2015 and sold over 14,000 e-book copies during its first month. Talk about a huge shock factor for me!


What has surprised you the most as you’ve gone from unpublished writer to USA Today Bestselling author?

Some days I still can’t believe that I’m a published author. When you’ve wanted something for so long it can take a while for it to sink in, even two years! That’s the moment I think back to when I was querying my first novel and impatiently waiting for publishers to reply. I probably would have given the book away for nothing back then because I wanted to be published so badly.

You’ve already reached some amazing benchmarks in your career, what would you like to achieve as you move forward?

Well, that’s a problem for me. The more I have, the more I seem to want! I have a bucket list with “writer only” goals. One of them is to make the New York Times list someday. I think it’s safe to say that most authors dream about it at one time or another. My publisher and I once talked about it and her exact words to me were, “I know you’ll do it someday.” That’s one of the biggest compliments anyone has ever paid me.

What are you working on now?

I contracted with an agent a couple of months ago and we are preparing to query a new series with traditional publishers this time around. Fingers crossed! I’ve also just started writing the sixth book in my Cookies & Chance series, which will be out in the fall of 2018. The third book in my real estate series, For Sale by Killer, will be released in the spring.

Final words of wisdom:

Don’t give up. Continue to write every day, even if it’s only a paragraph. The more you do, the more you will learn and continue to improve your craft. Try not to get discouraged by rejections. We all get them. The most difficult part for me was (and still is) learning to have patience. It’s necessary though, because the publishing world can move very slowly at times. The fabulous Sue Grafton once told me, “Writing is all about failing and falling on your face.” Pick yourself back up and continue on. If you want it badly enough, you’ll get there one day.

Elena Hartwell

Author and developmental editor.

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