DEB: Carolyn, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
CB: I’m married to a retired school English teacher who never gets to see my work until it is finished because I can’t afford a divorce lawyer. We have three grown children and fifteen grandchildren; twelve of those are girls so there’s lots of whining and giggling when they all come home. The three boys, bless their hearts, have to endure a lot. Someone asked me when I was on the back side of the slope toward fifty what I wanted to be when I grew up. My answer: “Do I have to decide today?” Right after that I sold my first book so I made up my mind to be an author and have been very happy with my decision.
DEB: Tell us a little about your book, Red’s Hot Cowboy? Is it a single title or part of a series?
CB: Red’s Hot Cowboy is the second book in the Spikes & Spurs series but it can be read as a single title. Not reading Love Drunk Cowboy, the first book in the series, won’t cause the reader to stump his or her toe. Pearl Richland inherits a vintage motel from her great aunt and makes a major life change from the corporation world to managing and running the Longhorn Inn. That means giving up her spike heels and cute little power suits for sneakers and jeans. It also means giving up being the party girl of north Texas and working 24/7 at the motel.
Everything is going along fairly well until the lights go out in Henrietta, Texas and suddenly her little motel is booked full except for one room. She is just about to turn on the NO VACANCY sign when Wil Marshall and his dog Digger came in and creates all kinds of havoc in her motel office. The fur settles after the two animals get into it, but the turmoil is just beginning for Pearl and Wil. It is one emotional roller coaster after another. Wil, a tall, sexy cowboy, is determined to show Pearl (aka Red even though she hates the nickname) that life in a small town and on a ranch can be just as exciting as the big city scene. Pearl is just as headstrong as Wil and when their tempers flare up, sparks are bound to fly.
DEB: What was your inspiration for these books? Have you always been interested in Cowboys?
CB: Oh, yes, ma’am. Sexy cowboys and sassy heroines inspire me to write every day. Who could resist a cowboy like Wil (See cover) telling you what happened next in his story. Or a sassy red head like Pearl arguing with him that he wasn’t getting the details right. It was pure fun from start to finish.
DEB: What type of research did you do for your book?
CB: I made several trips to the Red River in all seasons of the year. Love Drunk Cowboy took place in Terral, only a few miles east and then north over the Red River into Terral, Oklahoma. Red’s Hot Cowboy takes place in Henrietta but there are several trips in the book to Terral and to Ringgold so I spend some lazy afternoons in the area doing research. Folks down there are very friendly and forthcoming with information. Recently, I attended the Terral Watermelon Jubilee and signed books for them. They’ve already invited me back next year to sign Red’s Hot Cowboy, Darn Good Cowboy Christmas and One Hot Cowboy Wedding.
DEB: What is your normal writing day like? Do you have things that have to be in place to write comfortably?
CB: I’m fortunate in that I write full time and have an office in my house. So on a normal day I go to my ego room (all my book covers are matted and framed and hang around me in that room) sit my fanny in a chair and simply work. My goal is five thousand words a day when I’m working on a rough draft. When that’s done then I revise and polish, then revise and polish and then revise and polish some more. If I hit a snag while I’m writing then I put on some country music. I like the slow songs better when I’m writing. George Jones, George Strait, Blake Shelton, Sara Evans all help me get through the speed bumps and back into the groove.
DEB: What was it like when you got the word that your first novel would be published?
CB: That would have been in 1997. Hilary Sares called me from Kensington and said that she loved my two manuscripts. BUT (to aspiring writers: you will hear that word often so get ready for it) she would only buy them if I added a few sex scenes. I did my hippo on ice dance. That’s somewhat like the Snoopy dance only with lots more noise and screaming. Then I wrote sex scenes. When Kensington’s Precious Gems died I submitted a manuscript to Avalon and the editor called and said she loved my manuscript and wanted to buy it. BUT (like I said, that word does come up often) I had to take the sex scenes out. So I did and did my hippo dance again. Several years later I submitted to Sourcebooks and got the call from Deb Werksman that she wanted to buy my cowboy romance. BUT (I told you about that word) she wanted a trilogy! The hippo dance was so loud the neighbors thought it was thundering!
DEB: Do have any advice for new writers?
CB: My standard advice is, “Write! Don’t Whine!” Sounds harsh but that’s my advice. When you get a rejection slip you get fifteen minutes to whine and then you have to go right back to writing. If you don’t write, you can’t submit. If you don’t query and submit, you can’t sell. It takes energy to whine and energy to write. One produces a manuscript to submit. The other produces a noise that fades in the wind.
DEB: When you’re not writing, what kinds of books do you like to read? Do you have a favorite author?
CB: Reading has always been a passion and I’m very eclectic but to name a favorite author would be tough. What I’m reading on any given day depends on where the moon is hanging in the sky and if there’s a fairy ring around it or just clouds drifting across it; if the sun is up or if there’s cloud coverage; if it’s snowing or we’re suffering a drought. At least it seems that way but to name a few: Joanne Kennedy (of course since she writes cowboys), J.A. Jance, Carl Hiaason, Randy Wayne White, Sue Grafton, Mary Kay Andrews and right now I’m reading a Mary Balogh. I’m such an eclectic reader that my choice for the day has to have something to do with the moon or the weather or magic.
DEB: What are you working on right now?
CB: Today I’m working on the Christmas book for 2012 which will be the fifth book in the Spikes & Spurs series. It’s about Gemma O’Donnell, the youngest member of the O’Donnell family and Trace Coleman. They’re both bronc riders on the rodeo circuit and in competition for the right to ride in the Pro Rodeo finals in Las Vegas. One of them has the possibility of a very merry Christmas.
DEB: Tell us one thing that people may not know about you?
CB: Oh, dear! I’m pretty much an open book and folks know everything about me. I’ve lived in small towns most of my life and there’s a saying about life in small towns that applies to me: Everyone knows everything about everyone and they just read the local weekly paper to find out who got caught. But some folks might not know that when I started writing I didn’t use my real name. I wrote under the name Abby Gray. I came up with the name because Abby was my one eyed black and white cat and Gray was my maiden name. When I got married, I didn’t change names, I changed colors. So there are four Precious Gems books floating around the used book stores by Abby Gray and she is really Carolyn Brown.
The publisher is offering two copies of Red's Hot Cowboy by Carolyn Brown to two lucky winners from Debbie's Book Bag!
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