Let's start with you telling us a little bit about yourself, CC.
Thanks so much for having me here for this interview. A little bit about myself … hmm.
Well, I have a corporate type day job that keeps me busier some times than others. When my day job heats up, my writing time is limited, which I don’t love. But other than that issue, I like balancing the day job and the writing job because it keeps things interesting.
I’m a home body by nature. I don’t love traveling away from home or being in crowded settings. I do, however, love spending time with friends and family.
I’ve been a vegetarian for over half my life. I love salt and vinegar potato chips and berry pie.
What would people be most surprised to learn about you?
I’m an open book in my day-to-day life except when it comes to books. Or, more particularly, the fact that I write books. I think people would be surprised to learn that about me.
When did you start writing, is it something you've always been interested in, or did it develop later in life?
My writing path developed later in life. I wasn’t someone who dreamed of being a writer as a kid. I did the school-corporate job path and I’ve never regretted that.
I think I mostly came to writing from movies, which is funny. I love reading, of course, but back when I had more free time (before I started writing), I watched a lot of movies. Time and time again, I saw the gay characters in movies being beaten, killed, abandoned, drugged, etc. To me it felt like they were being punished for being gay and I wanted to see something different, something more closely resembling so many people in my world who are happy, healthy, and gay. Without really thinking about it, I started writing that story in my head and then on my computer and … well, here I am.
Has it been everything you thought it would be or not?
Writing has been more than I ever thought it would be. Much more. I started out writing a short story online, which later because a much longer story. It was fun to write down the characters and ideas that had been bouncing around in my head, but I never imagined making a career of it. I’d never read any romance novels at that point and I had no idea gay romance novels existed. Now being a writer in this genre is one of my greatest joys.
How did it feel when you realized that your very first book was going to be published?
My first published book was Home Again and I was really excited about that. I loved the idea of a cover for my story and for it to be formatted and available in one spot. But I was still very new to romance novels at that point – I didn’t even own a Kindle – so it took time before I truly realized what path I was on.
What's your favorite part of writing a book?
My favorite part of any book is the characters. I love getting to know my characters, who they are, who they’ll be, what they want, and how they’ll act. My books are all very much character driven. External plot elements, while they exist to some degree in every book, are not the focus of my writing or my passion. I enjoy exploring people who find their strength and build their lives and happiness.
Do you get time to read for pleasure? If so, which books do you enjoy?
I don’t have as much reading time as I wish I had, but yes, I make time to read. Right now, I tend to read gay romance novels. Being a writer in this genre has allowed me to learn about so many wonderful authors and books and I love reading them.
Are there any other genres you'd be interested in writing?
I’m very happy with this genre. Gay romance novels are my passion and so far, I haven’t been interested in exploring anything else. My list of to-be-written books in this genre is way too long to abandon.
Please tell us a little about your most recent release.
My newest release is In Your Eyes, a standalone shifter novel in my Mates series. Samuel and Korban are two men who grow up in neighbouring wolf shifter packs. Both are the sons of Alphas, but their fathers, families, lives, and personalities are very different.
Samuel is smart, dedicated, hard-working, and laser-focused on learning to be a great Alpha for his pack. Korban is charismatic, friendly, well-liked, and immediately throws the unflappable Samuel off-balance. The book focuses on watching these boys grow into men and these seeming enemies grow into much more than friends.
What can we look forward to in the future from you?
In addition to In Your Eyes on July 14th, I have a contemporary novella called McFarland’s Farm being released on September 10th and a standalone novel in my Family series called The Half of Us being released on October 10th.
Anything you want to say to your readers?
I would love to thank my readers for their support of my writing. I get such uplifting comments and emails from people and so much support that I’m grateful every day!
Cardeno C.’s recent releases:
In Your Eyes
Raised to become Alpha of the Yafenack pack, Samuel Goodwin dedicates his life to studying shifter laws, strengthening his body, and learning from his father. Taking control comes easily to Samuel, but relating to people, including those he's supposed to lead, is a constant challenge.
When Samuel meets Korban Keller, the son of a neighboring pack’s Alpha, he reacts with emotion instead of intellect for the first time in his life. Resenting the other shifter for putting him off-balance, Samuel first tries to intimidate Korban and then tries to avoid him. What he can’t do is forget Korban’s warm eyes, easy smile, and happy personality.
When a battle between their fathers results in tragedy, Samuel and Korban are thrown together. With his world crashing down around him, Samuel must save his pack and show them he can lead. But first, Korban needs to save Samuel by inspiring him to feel. Two very different men with a tumultuous history must overcome challenges from all sides and see past the rules they’ve been taught to realize they are destined to fit together.
Hollywood royalty Jeremy Jameson has lived a sheltered life with music as his sole focus and only friend. Before embarking on yet another international concert tour, he wanders into a bar in what he considers the middle of nowhere and meets a man who wins him over with his friendly smile and easy-going nature. Accountant slash bartender slash adventure-seeker Reg Moore has fun talking and drinking with The Jeremy Jameson and can’t say no when the supposedly straight rock star makes him a once in a lifetime offer: keep him company on his tour by playing the part of his boyfriend.
Listening to music, traveling the world, and jumping off cliffs is fun. Falling in love is even better. But to stay with Jeremy after the stage lights dim, Reg will need to help him realize there’s nothing pretend about their relationship.
All of Me
Bonded by their parents before they were conceived, Abel Nasa and Zakai “Kai” Berura adored each other since they were children. As teens, the two future Alphas took the next step in their bonding process and vowed to remain true to one another until Kai came of age. But when tragedy struck, Abel felt betrayed and ran from Kai instead of completing the mating bond.
Years pass with no contact between the two, but Abel never stops yearning for the man who was supposed to lead by his side. When Kai returns, broken and on death’s door, Abel must look past what he saw and trust his heart so they can fulfill their destiny and merge their packs.
Excerpt from In Your Eyes:
Some questions sound simple, but they’re hard to answer. I had always prided myself on my strength, knowing it would be valuable for my role as Alpha of my pack. And I was quick to get defensive if I felt that strength was questioned, including by Korban. But with him standing naked in front of me, firm muscles on display, power rolling off him, I couldn’t deny his strength. I even admired it. Was I stronger than him? Did I want to be?
“You look like you’re about to fall over,” he said. He sounded concerned, not like he was mocking or judging me, so I didn’t argue. “You haven’t slept in days, have you?”
I shook my head and focused on keeping myself upright.
“Well, that explains why all that tightly held control finally snapped.”
Wincing at the reminder of what I’d done to him when I lost my control, I lowered my gaze and started stepping away so I wouldn’t crowd him.
“No.” He grasped my shoulder and then eased his hand onto my back. “That wasn’t a complaint.” He sighed. “We need to talk, but first we need to get you operating on all cylinders, which means sleep. Where’s your room?”
Pride should have kept me from letting him decide what I needed and when. Instinct should have prevented me from leading him to the place where I slept and was most vulnerable. Self-respect should have stopped me from giving in to my exhaustion by slumping my shoulders and shuffling my feet as I neared the bedroom. And yet I did all of those things without a second thought or a hint of hesitation.
When we got to the bed, he dropped his hand from my back and waited for me to get in. I shivered, suddenly cold in my core. I looked at him, not sure what I wanted, but certain he could provide it.
“I’m filthy,” he said, gesturing to his blood- and dirt-covered body. “You lie down and I’ll go wash up.”
He was right. I could only imagine how he felt, coated in filth and grime. “I’m sorry. I should have thought to… I shouldn’t have put you… I—”
“Shhh.” He cupped the back of my head and massaged my scalp. “You need sleep. You can’t complete a thought or think straight.” He tilted his chin toward the door at the end of my room. “That’s the bathroom, right?”
“Take your clothes off and get in bed. I’ll be right back.”
It wasn’t until my shoes and pants were pooled around my ankles and I was stripping my shirt off that I realized what I was doing. Why on earth was I listening to what he said? Why was I putting myself in an exposed and vulnerable position? Why was I letting him bathe in my shower when I normally couldn’t stand anyone in my personal space?
“You know why, Samuel.”
I darted my gaze up and saw Korban standing in the bathroom doorway, looking at me.
“Did I say that out loud?” I asked. “No.” He shook his head.
“Then how did you—”
He smiled at me, his expression soft. “Sleep, Samuel. You know all of this in here.” He tapped his hand against his chest. “You just need to let go of the things you’ve learned in here”—he tapped the side of his head—“to realize it.”