Due to techo difficulties inside my own head (wedding stuff fogging), I'm late getting this blog up. I apologize to Caroline. She is a dear on-line friend and has the most beautiful cover I've ever seen for her new release Texan's Irish Bride. I hope she forgives me.
I asked her a bunch of questions and well, she answered them all. Great gal. Please help me in welcoming Caroline Clemmons.
1) You recently had a new release. Could you tell us a little about it?
Thank you so much for asking. THE TEXAN'S IRISH BRIDE is a September 2010 release from The Wild Rose Press. Set in 1885 Texas, the hero is rancher Dallas McClintock. He has spent years working toward building his reputation as breeder and trainer of the best horses around. He believes neighbors are finally accepting him and he's earning their respect for his talent with horse. Just when things look great, he is trapped into marrying Cenora Rose O'Neill. She and her family travel with a band of Irish Travelers, thought they are somewhat outsiders. When they were turned off their land in Ireland, they had nowhere to go and fell in with the Travelers. Cenora's Da is a champion talker, plays musical instruments, but has no other skills--none that would support his family. Dallas ends up taking Cenora and her eccentric family to his ranch.
2) Did you have to do any special research for the novel?
Yes, I did a lot of research on the Irish Travelers. Looking into this group was fascinating, but I didn't need all I learned for the book. Still, research grounded me in the culture and helped me make the book more authentic--at least, I think so. I also made a trip through Bandera, Medina, and Lost Maples State Natural Area. All of those are in Texas and near where this fictional ranch and town are set. Researching Irish superstitions and blessings was fun. I learned some of my grandmother's superstitions are Irish. Although she said she was not superstitious, she was. So am I. My husband and I made a couple of trips to Ireland, which inspired me to have an Irish heroine. In fact, this is my second Irish heroine. Can't let all that research go to waste, can I? My family stayed at the Mayan Dude Ranch at Bandera, Texas for a few days when our daughters were small--7 and 10. That inspired a love for that area of Texas. I loved everything about researching this book. I hope readers will love it as well.
3) Why do you write in the genre you do?
I write in those genres I enjoy reading--historical, contemporary, and paranormal. It would be difficult to write in a genre which I didn't enjoy reading, don't you agree? I love history, especially Texas history from 1870 to 1900. I read other periods, but that time is what I enjoy writing. The first time travels I read were by Kathleen Kane, and I fell in love with the idea of a person thrust out of his or her time into another. You start off with built in conflict. I also enjoy contemporary books, so I write those, too. All of my books are set in Texas, even though some have portions in another place.
4) What was the hardest scene to write?
I suppose the sex scene when they arrive at Dallas' home was hardest. I wanted it to be fresh instead of the same old, same old. I really worked on it and I hope it comes across as credible and enticing.
5) What was your favorite scene to write?
I think the ones with the heroine's father. He was a fun character--all blather, but he truly loved his family and tried his best to protect them. He had a blessing for everything and never used one word when a hundred would do. Such fun!
6) You have an amazing backlist. Would you like to tell us a little about it?
Thanks for asking. My first book was BE MY GUEST, which I sold to Kensington in 1998 for their short-lived Precious Gems line. My next sales were THE MOST UNSUITABLE WIFE and THE MOST UNSUITABLE HUSBAND, which were released in 2003 by Kensington. A novella, HAPPY IS THE BRIDE, was in the bridal anthology GOING TO THE CHAPEL in 2004. In 2009, I participated in a Civil War anthology with some friends, NORTHERN ROSES AND SOUTHERN BELLES, and my novella was LONG WAY HOME. This year OUT OF THE BLUE, a paranormal time travel, and this western historical, THE TEXAN'S IRISH BRIDE, were released. Release date for my next book, HOME SWEET TEXAS HOME, has not yet been announced.
7) What do you consider your strengths, in terms of writing?
I think characterization is my strength. I love my characters, and they become real to me while I write. I've been told I make them come alive on the page, and I hope that's true.
8) What do you consider your weakness and what strategies do you use to overcome it?
Writing sex scenes is my downfall. Since my character become alive for me, I feel as if I'm intruding on my characters. Plus, there are only so many ways to insert Tab A into Slot B. I'd really prefer to just close the bedroom door.
9) What is the best writing advice you’ve received?
Never give up.
10) What is the worst advice you’ve heard, to you or an author?
I know of someone whose writing I loved but whose critique partner told her she kept making the same mistakes and should just quit writing. Unfortunately, she has.
11) What kind of books do you read?
I read historical, contemporary, and paranormal romances as well as mysteries. What I read depends on what mood I'm in. I never read books that end badly--at least not if I know it before the end. I want books with happy endings. If I wanted to be depressed, I'd watch the news. For me, reading is relaxation. A book may stay with me mentally for a long time, but that would be because I loved the characters. I re-read favorite books to see again how the author worked magic with her words.
12) How do you spend your down time?
With family, reading, with friends, travel with my husband, browsing antique malls and estate sales, and family history/genealogy. I had already completed and published a book on my mother's family and one on my mother-in-law for her family. My brother and I are compiling a book on our father's family and it's taken a lot of our time. We hope to finish the book and send it to the printer this year! Genealogy is like crack cocaine--once you start, you can't quit. There's always one more couple, one more record, one more thing to discover.
13) Are you a goal setter?
Yes, but that doesn't mean I'm a goal finisher.
14) What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve done?
I suppose hiking through ruins in the Desert Southwest. Although, I drove on the Autobahn in Germany, which turned out to be much easier than weaving through some of the very narrow streets in older parts of the towns.
15) What advice would you like to offer to aspiring authors?
Persevere. Hone your craft. Fine good critique partners who will offer constructive criticism and who will encourage you in your writing. Remember what Winston Churchill said, "Never, never, never give up." Don't let anyone steal your dream!
16) How can readers contact you?
My email is email@example.com
http://slipintosomethingvictorian.wordpress.com on the 20th
http://seducedbyhistory.blogspot.com on the 7th
http://www.incurablediseaseofwriting.com on the 11th
Facebook Fan Page
Twitter as CarolinClemmons with no E in Caroline
17) Do you have a writer’s cave or are you able to write anywhere anytime?
I prefer to hibernate in my pink cave. It used to be my youngest daughter's room. She decorated it with romantic prints one year for my birthday. It's a pleasant room and I enjoy spending time there. All my research books are there, my CD player, my PC, and a good desk chair. I do have a laptop and use it when I'm traveling.
18) Conferences: What advice can you offer to author’s attending them?
Conferences are a great way to network and learn new craft and business tips. I've been to RWA Nationals and always loved it, but I have to say I've really received more benefit from small conferences. With fewer people at a more intimate conference, I think I've been able to make more friends and learn more. Dreamin' In Dallas ia my favorite, but San Antonio RWA chapter's, NOLAStars, and the two in Houston are very good. Yellow Rose RWA has had some great small conferences, too. I urge writers--especially pre-pubbed or recently pubbed--to attend as many of the small conferences as possible. Usually the speakers are great plus I was able to meet people informally. Wherever you live, there will be conferences in your area. It's best to spend the night at least one night if you can afford it and make time in your schedule. So many things go on after the actual seminars--like dinner, sitting around talking--that you miss out if you don't stay overnight in the hotel.
19) Write the book of your heart. What does that mean to you?
Not writing to trends, but writing what I really want to write. At the present time, I'm working on another time travel, but there are western historicals and contemporary stories I plan to write asap. If your heart isn't in the book's premise, you won't do your best work. I used to be a featured columnist and reporter for a newspaper. I can give you however many inches you want for a newspaper pretty darn quick. A book is different. Unless the author cares about the premise and the characters, he or she will not do his or her best work.
20) What is your most valued writer’s memory and why?
I suppose it's a photo of my mom holding THE MOST UNSUITABLE BRIDE. She was so proud of me. She's just beaming in the photo she asked me to take. It's a terrible photo because she'd just had a really bad fall and split her mouth and lip so badly she required plastic surgery in the emergency room. She didn't care that her lip wasn't completely healed, she wanted a photo with my book. The heroine of that book, Pearl, came from a tiny kernel of a story my grandmother told about a girl in her town who quit school because the kids made fun of her. I decided Pearl needed a happy ending, so I wrote the book. She gets her happy ending all right, with a handsome husband who eventually cherishes her. Of course it takes a while for him to figure out he can't order Pearl around like a servant, and to realize he loves her. Lots of fun making him suffer.
Bio for Caroline Clemmons
As long as I can remember, I've made up adventures. Okay, I admit the early creative stories featured me riding the range with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans and saving the West. What a disappointment to learn that Roy was exclusively committed to Dale! Eventually, my best friend from across the street and I decided to become better detectives than Nancy Drew. We drove our parents and neighbors crazy sticking our pert little noses where they didn't belong. About that time I started writing down my adventures, but mostly I was a reader. Not until I read Nora Roberts' early novels did I decide to create my own romance manuscripts. My road to publishing was a lot slower than Nora's was. No surprise there! I still read Nora's books—as well as those of countless other authors—but now I write full time. Unless life interferes, that is.
My Hero and I live one a small acreage in the ranching and horse country of North Central Texas. Our two daughters are grown, and supportive of my writing. Living with Hero and me now are Webster, our sweet black Shih Tzu, and our two shorthaired cats: Sebastian, a black and white tuxedo who thinks he's our watchcat; and Bailey Erin, a shy apricot tabby. When I'm not writing, I love spending time with family, reading, traveling with Hero, browsing antique malls, and digging into family history and genealogy. Writing about strong heroes and heroines who overcome amazing obstacles to forge a meaningful life together is my passion.