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:
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:
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
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.
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.