Interview & Contest: Carolyn Brown

Jen: Today we are excited to welcome Carolyn Brown to Romancing the Book. Carolyn, will you please share a short bio with us?
CB: Many years ago (date not released to protect my daughter from anyone knowing her age) when my third child was born and refused to sleep at night, I picked up a spiral back notebook and sharpened a few pencils. I loved to read and figured I could write a book if I had to stay awake all night anyway. Visions of movie contracts and red carpets danced in my head, but alas, if there could be a mistake, I made it. If there couldn’t, I made it anyway. The book gathered enough rejection slips to scare many a national forest. When all the trees in Texas and Oklahoma had sacrificed their lives to make paper for rejections then the big forests began to shudder.

Then my daughter started sleeping at night and I put away the writing to raise three kids but there came a time when they were grown and the desire to write was still there. So out came the typewriter: Husband found it at a yard sale and I thought I’d died and gone to heaven and visions of my own computer danced in my head instead of movie contracts and red carpet.

I wrote two romance books and sold them in 1997 under the pen name, Abby Gray! Writing was going to be my secret vice but my sister was so excited that she called three local newspapers and the secret was out! The line died after four books were published. I had sold a sweet romance to Avalon at that time so I settled in with that company and wrote 43 more books for them, and with my first advance I bought a computer. Then in 2008, an author friend and I had breakfast together and she mentioned that she was pitching to Sourcebooks that day and sang their praises so high that I decided to send the editor an email with one of my sassy cowboy romance ideas. She loved it and Lucky in Love was published in September 2009. Now 12 books later (Mistletoe Cowboy) and 13 books later (Just a Cowboy and His Baby) I’m off and running with cowboy romances and having a wonderful time.

You can find me at:

Website | Facebook

Jen: Tell us about your newest releases, Mistletoe Cowboy and Just a Cowboy and His Baby, and where the ideas came from.
CB: Mistletoe Cowboy is Creed Riley’s story. He wanted a ranch of his own and he didn’t mind getting away from Ringgold, Texas to find it if that’s what it took. He’d been looking around for a while but when he stepped foot on the Rocking C Ranch, out in the Palo Duro Canyon, he knew he’d found HIS ranch. The only trouble was that it came with a sassy artist named Sage Presley and fate threw them together in a hellacious snow storm. It’s kind of hard to run from what’s right in front of you when you have to live together in a small house for three weeks. Sage was determined to run him off and she and I had some serious conversations while the book was bring written, but Creed was just as determined to buy that ranch so he wanted his side of the story told just as much as Sage wanted hers told.

Just a Cowboy and His Baby came about because Gemma had been pitching a Texas sized hissy for her own book. I’d thought originally that she and Creed Riley might go past the flirting, get serious and settle down right there in Ringgold on a ranch. But he’d gone out to the Palo Duro Canyon and bought a ranch. And besides, Gemma declared that she’d never had intentions of marrying Creed anyway; that her dream was to win the big buckle and the purse for saddle bronc riding at the professional rodeo in Las Vegas come December. Trace Coleman had the same dream and they clash horns from day one on the rodeo tour. Gemma had no intentions of letting Trace or any other cowboy into her heart while she was chasing her dream. Trace’s ranch was at stake so he had no intentions of letting anyone get between him and his dream. Fate had different ideas altogether.

Jen: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
CB: I’ve been asked this question before and the only way I know to answer it is that I’m both. It’s kind of like this: I’m the pilot of a gorgeous, all decked out, airplane filled with all the characters from whatever book I’m working on at the time. They are seated from front seats to back in order of their importance in the book with the hero and heroine on the front and the secondary characters falling in behind them. I know exactly where I’m flying that jet airplane, how long it’ll take to get to the destination (the end of the book) and what sights we’ll see along the way. We are fifteen miles on the trip (about chapter three) and the characters hijack the plane! Boom! Everything changes and it looks like musical chairs back behind me. We are suddenly off in a whole new direction and go on the most amazing trip ever and when the trip is over we’ve seen things I never dreamed of!

Jen: Since we’re in the holiday season, what are your favorite holiday traditions?
CB: Thanksgiving is our family holiday. The kids all come home and it’s a zoo around here. I usually call the police department in advance and tell them that it’s going to be very noisy at the gray house on Sixth Street. They have been known to come by for a piece of pecan pie but so far no one has gotten a “disturbing the peace” citation. Then at Christmas, Husband and I give each other two weeks on the beach for the holiday. Nothing settles me and puts me in the mood to write like listening to the ocean waves slapping against the sand.

Jen: Do you have a favorite holiday treat recipe you’d like to share with us?
CB: My momma’s pecan pie is always a favorite around here:
PECAN PIE
1 cup of dark Karo syrup (do not substitute any other kind or use the light Karo)
1 cup of sugar
2 T. melted butter
1 t. vanilla
3 eggs
1 ½ cups of finely ground pecans (grinding the pecans is the secret according to Momma).

Mix all together and put into a deep dish 9 inch pie shell. Put it on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for an hour.

I did try a new recipe this year that the grandkids loved.
SNICKER SALAD
1 package of instant vanilla pudding mixed with 1 cup of milk.
Fold in one container of whipped topping, 3 diced apples and 10 -12 miniature Snicker bars cut into diced sized pieces.
Chill at least three hours before serving.

Jen: If you could spend the holidays with one author, living or dead, who would you choose and why?
CB: Margaret Mitchell. I’ve read Gone with the Wind at least a dozen times…which reminds me, I need to put it in my TBR beach bag for the trip this year. I’d just love to talk to her over a piece of southern pecan pie and a glass of sweet tea about why she stopped writing after only one fabulous story.

Jen: What’s next for you?
CB: In January, I have a sweet romance coming from Montlake Romance, Life After Wife, the final installment of the Three Magic Words trilogy. THEN in March, drum roll please, my debut women’s fiction book, The Blue Ribbon Jalapeno Society Jubilee, will be on the market. I’m so so excited about the opportunity to try my wings at writing women’s fiction. The rest of the year (so far) lines up like this: June: Billion Dollar Cowboy (the kickoff book for the Cowboys & Brides series). August: The Cowboy Seeks a Bride (working title of the last Spikes & Spurs which is Dewar’s story). October: The Cowboy’s Christmas Baby (second book in the Cowboys & Brides series).

Thank you so much for letting me prop up my feet and visit a spell at your site today. It’s a real pleasure to be here at Romancing the Book to talk about my two newest Spikes and Spurs books! After these two there’s only one more left in the series but don’t put your spurs away or hang up your hats, there are more cowboys on the way, folks.


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40 thoughts on “Interview & Contest: Carolyn Brown

  1. First, thanks for the simple recipe for Pecan Pie. I have some pecans from my parent’s tree in West Texas and plan to make a pie. I could not find my mother’s recipe and this sounds similar. She always cooked her syrup a little before putting it in the shell.

    I will make Swedish meatballs for the Scandinavan dinner for Christmas Eve. All I do is buy the pre-mixed meat, roll the meatballs and cook. Brown gravy is used. The place to buy is Ingebretsens in Minneapolis where people stand outside in the cold in a long line to get their food.

    • Carolyn Brown says:

      Leona, I don’t know how in the world I got Jen out of your name…but the following comment was for you! In my defense, I didn’t have coffee yet when I typed. A mistake every time. LOL

  2. Carolyn Brown says:

    Jen: Thank you for stopping by this morning! I’d love to listen to the conversations from the folks standing out in the cold waiting to get into Ingebretsens. Bet you could pick up lots of cooking tips there!

    • Carolyn Brown says:

      Alisha: Husband’s grandmother made the best gingerbread squares. Recipe on my website: http://www.carolynlbrown.com
      She got the recipe from her mother and was most likely passed down for generations. It always makes me smile when I see 1 pint of lard…of course, I use Crisco and it works fine!

  3. May says:

    I don’t cook… unless you count heating things from frozen food section. 🙂 I do love baking cookies and eating them though! 🙂 No recipes from me since I just buy the mix from grocery….

    • Carolyn Brown says:

      May: In the south frozen food and mix is fine. You just put it in a fancy container or pretty platter, dust a little flour on your forehead and everyone will think you’ve cooked for days. Remember though, when they ask for the recipes, to whisper, “It’s an old family recipe and my grandmother swore she would haunt me if I ever told anyone the secret ingredients!”

  4. My Mom made Pecan Pie too, she used to take orders and sell them to friends around the holidays. She has been gone for 4 years now so I make them. The only differenc is that she always made her own crust and I don’t do that…I cheat. I changed things up this year and added chocolate chips to the bottom of the crust before I poured the pecan mixture in, I use dark chips. It is so good you have to try it…Have a great Holiday

    • Carolyn Brown says:

      Oh, my, that does sound good. And yes, ma’am I will give it a try. It sounds especially good in those little pecan tart shells to serve individually. Thanks for the tip.

  5. JoAnne says:

    Great interview and post. Enjoyed Mistletoe Cowboy and have to go back and read the others in the series now.
    I cook all the time for friends and family. I don’t cook fancy but enjoying entertaining whether it’s a barbeque,holiday or Sunday dinner or just because.
    I have Christmas Eve at my house and we’re Italian. I don’t do the 7 fishes but do try to keep it to all fish except for the antipasto which has tons of meats, cheeses, salamis, olives, artichoke heats, etc.
    I make fried shrimp and fried cauliflower every year along with shrimp scampi. Some years we have lobster tails too and other years clams or mussels.
    Then the homemade Christmas cookies courtesy of other family members along with Italian pastries and cookies. Of course there’s plenty of wine flowing throughout as well.
    Too difficult to give all the recipes here though.

      • Carolyn Brown says:

        JoAnne: So glad that you are enjoying my cowboys! And what time do I need to knock on the door? I’ll be the short gray haired lady with a pecan pie in my hands! Lord have mercy, but that sounds like a feast.

  6. Bethany says:

    My favorite holiday is Christmas and my favorite holiday treat is my grandmother’s chocolate pie! Nothin’ is better than that. But i cant give away the recipe. It’s a family secret. Sorry to disappoint!
    I’m a chocoholic who loves her some cowboys.
    I just LOVE the Spikes and Spurs series! I think you are a fantastic author, Mrs. Carolyn, and I am so glad you picked up writing when you did. Your novels are so great!

    • Carolyn Brown says:

      Bethany: Mmmm, chocolate pie! Glad that you like the O’Donnell and Riley wild bunch from Ringgold. They were such fun to write about.

  7. Jolene A says:

    I’m not much of a cook, but Christmas for my family growing up always consisted of my grandma’s echilada’s for Christmas eve dinner. It just wasn’t Christmas without them. Though she doesn’t cook anymore or get around very well, my sister and I have picked up that tradition. My sister made it last year and though it didn’t taste like my grandma’s, we figure we have a few years to perfect it 🙂

    • Carolyn Brown says:

      Jolene: Keep the torch burning, darlin’. Grandma has to be proud of you for keeping tradition alive and kickin’!

  8. erinf1 says:

    Thanks for the fun post and congrats to Carolyn on the newest release! It sounds fantastic 🙂 I always look forward to my mom’s sugar cookies. They are to die for and she only makes them at Christmas.

    • Carolyn Brown says:

      erinf1: Thank you! I LOVE sugar cookies. My son-in-law makes some that melt in the mouth and we always look forward to them on holidays.

  9. Barbara Elness says:

    I don’t cook, but I always look forward to my pumpkin pie with whipped cream. And store bought is just fine with me, I love it all the same. 😀

  10. Diane Sallans says:

    I always make a Vegan (no dairy or eggs) Applesauce Cake with Orange flavored frosting for a family member with severe Dairy & Egg allergies. There aren’t many good baking recipes that don’t call for eggs – they really help with the lift.

  11. chris bails says:

    This book sounds good. Love carolyn’s books and love, love cowboys.
    My receipe to share is super easy peanut butter cookies. Preheat oven to 350-degress. 1 cup sugar. 1 cup peanut butter. 1 egg. I usually triple the receipe. Spoon into 1 oz balls. Press down with fork. Cook 8 to 10 minutes
    Best cookies ever.

    • Carolyn Brown says:

      Chris: Those cookies sound scrumptious! Thank you for reading my books…Merry, Merry Christmas to you!

  12. pc says:

    I don’t cook much…meaning I like to cook but I haven’t found my cooking groove yet! I love chocolate chip and mint cookies—luckily I can buy them at the grocery store as a break and bake but unluckily they’re seasonal and only come around Christmas and sell out fast! I was lucky enough to get the last pack at my grocery store last week and I’ll be scouting there again to see if they restock.

    • Carolyn Brown says:

      pc: Chocolate and mint…reminds me of those Girl Scout cookies we used to get when our girls were younger. Had to hide them, but not from the kids…from ME!! I do believe I could eat a whole box in one sitting!

    • Carolyn Brown says:

      Angela: We have one granddaughter who joins you in that! Her favorite treat for any holiday is Nobake cookies! They are pretty tasty!

  13. Joanne B says:

    I don’t cook a lot but for Christmas I always make ham and scalloped potatoes. The potatoes aren’t hard to make just time consuming. Thinly slice sweet onions and potatoes. Butter a baking dish and layer the onions and potatoes with butter and salt and pepper. End with a layer of the onions. Pour some milk in the dish, down a side so you don’t disturb the other things to about a third of the way up the side. Put in a 350 degree oven for about one and a half hours, uncovered. Yum!
    I love the Spikes and Spurs series. Can’t wait to read the Cowboys and Brides series.

    e.balinski(at)att(dot)net

    • Carolyn Brown says:

      Joanne B: That recipe sounds scrumptious. I’m keeping it to try at our next BIG family gathering! Thanks for sharing. Glad you are enjoying the Spikes & Spurs!

    • Carolyn Brown says:

      Jen, I’ve got to try those cookies. I love sesame seeds and coconut. Doesn’t sound a bit weird to me! And since it is Christmas, that means the cookies cannot possibly have calories!
      So glad that you like my ramblings. Gemma is elated and Trace sends a big flashy smile! Creed and Sage are already in the kitchen arguing about whether to put the nuts in your cookie recipe. Betcha Sage wins!

  14. Michelle Fidler says:

    No special holiday dishes that I make, but one time I did make some peppermint and chocolate cookie bars. I got the recipe out of a Joanne Fluke cozy mystery.

    I also love to eat Pumpkin Pie!

    • Carolyn Brown says:

      Michelle: Those sound wonderful. Love that you got them from a mystery book! And pumpkin pie…mmmmm!

  15. Patti p says:

    Thanks for stopping by. I now have new recipes to try and new books to add to my have to read list!
    I don’t think it gets better than that.
    Patti

  16. I can barely follow recipes..I just throw stuff together until it tastes good! Thanksgiving is my favorite time of year to cook because I can make homemade mashed potatoes, a variation of my mother and grandmother’s stuffing {the key is always yellow mustard}, my aunt’s squash {pats of butter in the corners of the pan filled with frozen squash that’s been thawed, sprinkled liberally with brown sugar}, and whatever else my husband and I think should be cooked.

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