Danita Cahill is an award-winning writer and photographer. She lives in the Pacific NW on a small Oregon farm with her husband, two sons, and their menagerie of animals. Besides running children to and fro and caring for her gardens, critters and family, Danita stays busy eating dark chocolate, working on magazine assignments and dreaming up love stories for her next books.
A member of the Central Oregon Writers Guild and the Willamette Writers Guild, Danita grew up on the Oregon coast. She’s had several interesting occupations, including working as a crab shaker at a fish plant, owning and operating a retail plant nursery, working as an artist for a porcelain ceramics studio and covering the crime beat for a daily newspaper.
Tell us about your new release and why you chose this genre. I write romance because love is all that really matters. Affection for family, friends and community, and all the other noble stuff like faith, hope, kindness and generosity – it’s all based on love, right? On the flipside, love can produce a stampeding herd of negative emotions – jealousy, anger, hatred and heartache. Conflict is what drives a story, what keeps it interesting. Negative emotions add delicious conflict.
There is much conflict for heroine Leah Poole in Cowboy, Remind Me, my newest release. Readers see a dark side to Leah’s fiancé that Leah doesn’t see. Her overwhelming attraction to her fiancé’s cowboy brother riddles Leah with guilt. And memory problems brought on by trauma don’t help matters for her. Cowboy, Remind Me is a sweet, clean contemporary western romance and the fourth title in the Bellham Romance series. Bellham Romances are connected through characters and locations, but each can easily be read as a standalone book.
Tell us about the different genres you write. My first book, Mist, is a paranormal romantic suspense. I’ve also got two humorous nonfiction titles out and have five humorous nonfiction stories included in two anthologies. My nonfiction writing urge comes from decades of writing for newspapers and magazines.
What do your life experiences bring to your storytelling? I’m a small-town girl. Literally and at heart. All of my reporting experience is with community newspapers. Firsthand, I’ve seen how small towns operate – the politics, the gossip, and the way community members band together to help one another in times of need. Altogether, it’s distressing and touching, frustrating and amazing. I wanted to share that genuine, small-town atmosphere and emotion in a series. So, I created Bellham – a small fictional town tucked into the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. To give my characters and readers a change of scenery, I’ve also come up with Bellham’s sister city, Pine Creek, a little fictional mountain town in Western Montana. Cowboy, Convince Me is set mostly in Pine Creek. I’m an animal lover. I keep a horse, 10 alpacas, two guinea pigs, a couple of dogs and too many cats. Or maybe they keep me – I’m still trying to figure that one out! You’ll find many animals in my stories, including those on cattle, horse and alpaca ranches. Bellham also has an animal mascot – a duck named Harvey. Harvey is a charmer and a real hoot to write. He makes at least a cameo appearance in each Bellham Romance.
As for writing contemporary westerns, it’s a perfect fit. I’ve had horses nearly my entire life. The horse currently in my heart is a chestnut mare named Koko. My daughter rode Koko in 4-H and entered her in horse shows. For over six years I rode Koko as a volunteer deputy with the Linn County Sheriff’s Office Mounted Posse. Our main mission was doing wilderness search and rescue on horseback. But we also did mounted, armed security for local events, and rode in parades. My daughter is grown now. She works on a cattle ranch and is a horse trainer and a barrel racer. Her husband rides bareback broncs in a northwest rodeo circuit. I’m immersed in the western/cowboy lifestyle.
What social media do you participate in? I have Pinterest, Google+, Instagram and Linked in accounts. I dabble in Twitter. But Facebook is my top social-media love. You’re most likely to catch up with me there.
What’s next for you? I’m working through the final draft of the next Bellham Romance, Cowboy, Convince Me. It’s very closely connected to Cowboy, Remind Me, but is Shay and Denver’s story. Shay and Denver have wriggled their way deep into my heart the same way Leah and Clay did as I wrote their story. My hope is that these cowboys and cowgirls touch the hearts of readers, too.