Jen: Today we welcome Carolyn Brown back to Romancing the Book. Carolyn, will you share a short bio with us?
Carolyn: Good morning and thank you so much for inviting me to stop by your site and visit a while about Hot Cowboy Nights. I am so excited about this book. Lizzy and I argued a lot about the way she let her fiance treat her in Wild Cowboy Ways, so it’s been fun to see her regain her sass in Hot Cowboy Nights.
Carolyn Brown is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author and a RITA finalist. She’s published more than seventy books which include romantic women’s fiction, historical, contemporary, cowboys and country music mass market paperbacks. She and her husband live in Davis, Oklahoma that only has one traffic light. They have three grown children and enough grandchildren to keep them young. When she’s not writing she likes to sit in her gorgeous back yard with her two tom cats, Chester Fat Boy and Boots Randolph Terminator Outlaw and watch them protect the yard from all kinds of wicked varmints like crickets, locusts and spiders.
Jen: Tell us a little about your newest release.
Carolyn: Hot Cowboy Nights is the second book in The Lucky Penny Ranch Series. It follows Wild Cowboy Ways (December, 2016). Number three, Merry Cowboy Christmas, will arrive in September and the final book in the series, Wicked Cowboy Charm, in January, 2017. The idea for this series came about when Mr. B, my husband of almost five decades, and I was driving through north central Texas. Mesquite and cow tongue cactus covered the rolling hills so thick that sometimes the barbed wire fence separating pastures wasn’t even visible. A vision popped into my head of the Dawson cowboys, coming to Dry Creek, just north of Throckmorton, to attempt to make a success of a ranch that had a good name, The Lucky Penny, but a horrible reputation for being right the opposite. Blake, Toby and Jud would buy the ranch together and Deke, the guy who lived on an adjoining place, would become their friend.
Jen: What what age did you discover writing? Tell us your call story.
Carolyn: I discovered writing when I was in the first grade and learned how to read. I wanted to write stories for other people to love as much as my new found passion. My brother and sister, who were both younger had to sit for hours and listen to my made up tales. In order to keep them listening I had to weave in a few humorous events but it was worth it.
When my youngest child was born and would not sleep at night, I picked up a sharpened pencil and a spiral notebook and began to actually write a story. Twenty four years later, after too many rejection letters to even count, and multiple times of giving up even trying to get published, but then going back to sending out more query letters, a friend said to me, “Carolyn, you’ve done so many things, what are you going to be when you grow up?” My answer was, “Do I have to decide today?” I was almost fifty that year and the next week I got a call from Hilary Sares who was an editor at Kensington. She loved both the books I’d submitted and wanted to buy not one, but both! That was eighteen years ago and Hot Cowboy Nights is my seventy-seventh published book. I made the decision that minute that I was going to be a writer and never looked back or had regrets.
Jen: Are there any other writers, published or not, in your family?
Carolyn: My husband, Mr. B, that would be Charles C. Brown just published his seventh mystery book: Best Served Cold. He’s a retired high school English teacher and no he does not read my books before they are published.
Jen: Do you have a writing routine?
Carolyn: Yes, on a good day, I write about a thousand words before breakfast. After that Mr. B and I retreat to our own space and write until noon (or else he goes out to his shop to build a piece of furniture). At noon my goal is to have another two thousand words done and then after lunch I finish up my five thousand for the day goal. That is a good day and there are not seven of them in every week. Life has a way of getting in the way of schedule some times.
Jen: If this book was made into a movie, who do you see playing the main characters?
Carolyn: Seeing this series in a movie would be simply awesome. I can see Josh Turner playing Toby if we could drag him out of the recording studio and off his music tours long enough to do that for us. And Lizzy, with her sass, could be played by Rachel Bilson.
Jen: How do you come up with characters names?
Carolyn: Now that is a process because the name has to fit the person perfectly. Most of the time when a character comes to me, they bring their name with them but there are times when I have to do a lot of research. My daughter lives in southern Oklahoma, not far from the Red River and she’s always calling to say that she’s found another cowboy name to put in my notebook. For my next series, I went to my editor, Leah Hultenschmidt, and we brainstormed for a while. We came up with Brody, Nash and Jace and I can’t wait to get started on their stories which should arrive in 2017.
Jen: What’s the most interesting comment you’ve received about your books?
Carolyn: There are several that come to mind. One was from our local librarian who said that I should never, ever stop writing because there were several people who were now checking out all my books who she could never get interested in reading before. And the other was from a fan who said she’d never read an entire book before she picked up one of mine and now she owns everything I’ve ever written and has read them each over and over again. Another lady told me that she was depressed after her divorce and couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel but when she read one of my books, she began to come out of the depression. To think that my books would have an impact on a person’s life is very humbling.
Jen: What do you do in your free time?
Carolyn: Every time I finish a manuscript, I promise myself that I will take a week away from the computer and do something amazing just for me. The first day I usually clean my office which looks like a dump ground for papers and notes by the time a book is finished. The second day I begin to pace the floor and plot the next book. By the third I have a new notebook out and I’m writing character descriptions. But maybe you mean in my free time each day, after my word goal is met? I spend time with family, do a lot of Texas travel on research trips, and read. Right now John Grisham and I are having a good time with Rogue Lawyer.