Thursday, August 2, 2012

Interview with Caroline Clemmons

Today we are talking with my favorite author, Caroline Clemmons. Caroline is a Bestselling Author of Western Historical Romance! Caroline Clemmons writes historical and contemporary genre fiction. Her works include historical romances. contemporary romantic suspense, mysteries, and paranormal. I am excited to have Caroline as my guest today. I know you will be glad you joined us to learn more about this talented author. So let's not waste any time and ask Caroline a few questions.

M.A.     Tell us a little bit about yourself.

C.C.     When I was a baby, my parents moved from North Texas to Southern California, where we lived until a couple of months before I was eight.  Then we lived in West Texas, settling in Lubbock when I was ten.  Although I lived a longer time in Lubbock, I remember the years in California as wonderful.  I also loved Lubbock and considered it where I grew up.  I have one younger brother who was born when I was ten.  I also have two half brothers and two half sisters who were near my mother's age and seemed more like aunts and uncles and siblings.  I was always sickly, so became a book warm early in life and never grew out of it.  I still love reading and still have numerous health concerns. (But don't we all?)

My Hero husband and I live in North Central Texas on a small acreage with a menagerie of rescued pets.  Our daughters are grown, but live nearby.  We used to grow peaches, but now we mostly just concentrate on keeping the acres mowed in our home projects.  Hero is very supportive of my writing it helps me create book covers, mainly my website, supplies, computer knowledge, and a million other things.  He also cooks so I have more time to write.  See why I call him Hero?

M.A.     Yes I do!

M.A.     Tell us, who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?

C.C.     The romance author who first inspired me to write was Nora Roberts, and I still love her work. (And wouldn't we all like to be her?  Ah, but that job is taken, so I'm just me.) Julie Garwood, Maggie Osborne, Lewis L' Amour, and Agatha Christie also made a huge impression on me.  Now, I have so many friends who are great authors that I can't name only a few.  My favorite genres or western historical, romantic comedy, and mystery.

M.A.     Do you have a favorite quote that sums up how you feel about life?

C.C.     "Be the change you want to see in the world." Mahatma Ghandi.

M.A.     That is a great quote. How long have you been writing?

C.C.     I've been making up adventures as long as I can remember. Then I worked for a newspaper, and finally decided to write a romance. My first romance, BE MY GUEST, was published in 1998. The rights have returned to me, and it's available in ebook from Smashwords, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo,etc. I'm just proofing the print version, and expect it to be available soon.

M.A.     This is my favorite question. Are you a plotter or a panzer?

C.C.     I am a plotter.  That doesn't mean I'm not flexible.  To me, a plot is like a road map and you are always free to take it due to or before you return to the planned route.  Before I learned of plot, I ended up deleting a lot and or ending up with a sagging middle of the story.

M.M.     Do you use real events or persons in your stories or as an inspiration for stories?

C.C.     I read a story in the newspaper are hear one on TV and think, "That would make a better story if thus and so had happened instead."  I think I probably take mannerisms from various people I've known.  I love watching people in crowds, and pick up conversation and mannerisms there.  Everything is fodder for a story!

I confess that the aunts, Maggie and Lizzie, in the Men of Stone Mountain trilogy or molded after my mom and her sister, Elizabeth.  They were both wonderful women, good mothers, and worked well together.  My mom was the cynical one and Aunt Elizabeth always had something good to say about anything.  I couldn't resist using them in this series.

I also used my mom as she grew older combined with a friend who is 104 as the models for Gigi in the Heather Cameron cozy mystery, DIGGING FOR DEATH.

M.A.       Do you set daily writing goals?  Word count?  Number of chapters?  You get a chance to write every day?

C.C.        I write almost every day and sit weekly or monthly goals.  Right now in yellow Rose or Debbie a chapter, we are sitting monthly goals toward a year early.  Total go.  That doesn't mean I always make my monthly goal, of course.  Writing every day is important, even if it's only a few words.  A page a day is a book a year.  I try to write 20 pages a week.  I've written that many a day and I've been days without writing, but I'm happiest when I write.  All these people in my head are clamoring to get out, and the only way for that to happen is for me to write their books.

M.A.    Oh, I hear you there, sister.  What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

C.C.     Entertainment, a smile, and a desire to read my next book.  I also hope that while the person reads my books, cares or forgotten.

M.A.     What long term plans do you have for your career?

C.C.      I'm writing as fast as I can!  I have several series.  I hope to write.  As an indie published author, I love that I am in charge of how many books I release each year and what genres.  I plan to keep writing until I can't sit at the computer.

M.A.     Would you like to tell us what you're working on now?



C.C.    Right now I'm writing the Men Of Stone Mountain series set in the Palo Mountains on the Brazos River near the fictional town of Radford Crossing.  The first book is about Micah, BRAZOS BRIDE, and is available now in print and ebook.  I'm nearing completion of book two, Zack's book, HIGH STAKES BRIDE. The third book is BLUEBONNET BRIDE, Joel's book, and it will be released in early 2013.  



M.A.     What advice would you give to unpublished authors?

C.C.      Hone your craft, read, read, read, and then write your draft quickly without constant editing until you're finished.  Then revise and revise and revise.

M.A.    Tell us a fun fact readers wouldn't know about you.

C.C.     If it weren't for my sensible husband, I'd have a house filled with rescued cats, dogs, and who knows what else plus a your filled with chickens, llamas, and a goat or two.  As it is, we have two cats and a sweet black Shih Tzu dog.

M.A.     Would you tell us something that would surprise or shock readers?

C.C.     When I was PTA president for my daughter's high school, I received a bomb threat by phone during resignation to remove alcoholic beverage sites from beside the school.

M.A.    That must have been really scary!

M.A.    I understand that your book is a series.  Is it a family saga?

C.C.    Yes, it's a series about three stone brothers in 1870s, Texas.  They grew up in Johnson County, and returned there after the Civil War.  When their parents died, they moved northwest to Palo Pinto County.  I enjoy reading series, and I also enjoy writing them.  Don't you love seeing how the couple from the first book progress in the following books?    

M.A.     Yes, I have always enjoyed reading series as well. I also love it when that first couple progress in an unexpected way.

M.A.     Tell us something you learned researching your book that surprised are interested you.

C.C.   Instead of the traditional old log house, some homes in the book's settings were built a smaller cedar logs.  I was able to visit a historical ranch and see the original cedar log cabin, which has been incorporated into the ranch house as a bathroom.  Realizing how small a dwelling a family lived in was amazing.  The smokehouse and cold room were also incorporated into the home, the smokehouse as a pantry and cold room as a hallway.  The ranch is the Belding-Gibson Ranch in Palo Pinto County, and is a beautiful place.  Last summer's fire burned part of the ranchland, but the home was spared.

M.A.     Can you give readers a blurb about your book?    

C.C.      I'd love to.  Here's the blurb for Brazos Bride:

Hope Montoya knows someone is poisoning her, but who?  She suspects her mother was also poisoned and knows her father was murdered.  Who wants her family eliminated?  She vows to fight!  She realizes she won't last the eight months until she turns twenty-five and her uncle no longer controls her or her estate.  Never will she be dominated by man as she was by her father, as she has seen her mother and grandmothers dominated.  If she marries, she gains control now, but only if she weds a man she can trust.  Only one man meets her requirements.  Can she trust him to protect her and capture the killer...but then, to leave?

Michael Stone has been in love with Hope since the first time he saw her. But he was accused of her father's murder and surely would have hung if not for his two brother's aid. Most in the community still believe him guilty. But the drought has him too worried about water for his dying cattle to care about his neighbors' opinions. When Hope proposes a paper marriage in exchange for land on the Brazos River and much needed cash, her offer rubs his pride raw. His name may be Stone, but his's not made of it. He can't refuse her for long, and so their adventure begins. Micah and Hope have to stay alive and discover the killer before they become victims in the deadly assaults.

M.A.     This is a beautiful cover.

M.A.     How about an excerpt?

C.C.      Of course, but let me set it up. This excerpt takes place on the wedding night of their paper marriage. To make the marriage appear genuine to the townspeople, they have taken a room at the hotel, but Hope has made it clear she expects Micah to sleep on the floor:

     She looked at her hands.  Perhaps she was unreasonable.  Or maybe insane for sympathizing with the man who had to work hard because of his family.
     "I know it is an odd situation.  If – if you wear your shirt in britches, I guess I would be all right if you slept on top of the cover here."  She patted the bed beside her.
      He froze.  Not a muscle moved, and he only stared at her.  Had she misunderstood?  Did he thank her offer too forward?
     She babbled, "That is, if you want to.  You said I should trust you.  Well, maybe you would be more comfortable where you are."  Why didn't he say in something?  Would he prefer sleeping in a chair to sharing the bed?
     From the street below, she heard raucous laughter and someone called to a man named Ben.  Music from a piano, she supposed in the saloon, drifted in through the open window.  A gust of breeze moved the curtains and slid across her skin.  In this room, though, there was no sound.
     Slowly, he rose and extinguished the lamp as he moved across the room.  She slid one of the pillows beside hers then scooted down.  What had possessed her to offer him half her bed?  Would he thank she invited more?
     Too late to take it back now, for the mattress dipped as he stretched out.  Quaking inside at the thought of him so near, she turned her back to him.  She heard his weary sigh, as if he relaxed for the first time in a long while.
      "Good night," she offered, and hoped he understood the finality of the phrase.
      "Yep. Good night, Mrs. Stone."  The mattress shook as he turned his back to her. She felt the soles of his feet, press against her ankles.  He must be several inches too long for the bed and she guessed he had to bend his legs to fit.  She didn't dare turn to see his firsthand.
     She lay perfectly still, afraid to take a deep breath.  Soon his breathing changed she knew he slept.  Outside the open window the town quieted in the distant tinkling of the piano was the only sound.  Light from the full moon illuminated the room and slanted cross the bed.  A soft breeze drifted across her, lulling her into its caress.
     With a sigh, she fought to relax, but abdominal pain kept her awake no matter how her body cried for rest.  Perhaps if she planned, she'd forget the pain in pain that racked her frame.
     Plan, yes.  She needed a plan for food preparation when she returned to her home.  No, Micah said he had a plan.  Oh, dear, once more, he took charge when it was her life, her home.
      Maybe Aunt Sofia and Uncle Jorge would have left by then and things would be fine.  Already she felt more secure.  She sensed her eyelids drifting closed and she sleep's blessed relief approaching.
      A gunshot ripped apart the night.
      The blast startled her and she screamed to something thudded near her head, showering her hair and face with splinters.  Panic immobilized her.  What happened?
     Micah dragged her onto the floor as a bullet ripped into the mattress.


M.A.     I'm sold! Where can we find your books?

C.C.     Right now, both the print and ebook are available only at Amazon:
In late August, BRAZOS BRIDE will also be available at Smashwords and Barnes and Noble.


M.A.    How can your readers learn more about you?


C.C.     Excerpts from some of my reviews can be found on my website at www.carolineclemmons.com
You can also sign up there or on my blog sidebar for my newsletter to receive news of releases, fun contests, giveaways, and recipes. View my blog posts Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at http://carolineclemmons.blogspot.com  and find book reviews, giveaways, interviews, and miscellany.
I love to hear from readers at caroline @ carolineclemmons.com
  
M.A.    Is there anything else you'd like readers to know about you?

C.C.     Thanks to each person who has purchased my book! If you enjoy a book, the kindest thing you can do for an author is to leave a favorable review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or another site.
Keep reading and Happy Trails.

Mary, thanks for hosting me today.

M.A.     Thank you. I have certainly enjoyed our exchange and know my readers have as well. And to my readers, be sure to go to Caroline's blog, http://carolineclemmons.blogspot.com/