Friday, October 14, 2011

Interview with Carolyn Brown

I’d like to welcome our guest again today, Carolyn Brown. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

Good morning, MCTT!! It’s great to be here again. I always love coming back to Much Cheaper Than Therapy because the folks are great and the chocolate is fan-tab-u-lous! Okay, let me lick the chocolate off my fingers. I don’t believe in wiping it off. That’s such a waste, and I sure don’t want to get chocolate on the book cover when I hold up Darn Good Cowboy Christmas so y’all can see the hot cowboy on the front. Wonder what on earth is in that little box he’s holding? Hmmmm!

I understand you have a new release out called Darn Good Cowboy Christmas. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Liz Hanson was raised in a traveling carnival and all she ever wanted for Christmas was a house without wheels and a sexy cowboy of her very own. Her Uncle Haskell Hanson left her a house and twenty acres right in the middle of the O’Donnell horse ranch (Love Drunk Cowboy) but catching Raylen, the hotter-than-hell cowboy next door, might just take a little holiday magic.

Raylen O’Donnell is one smokin’ hot cowboy. He could have any woman in Montague County, Texas, but he’s never been able to forget a certain dark-haired girl who he met back when they were just kids and then she disappeared. So when she returns to Ringgold, Texas, Raylen’s not fixing to let her get away again.

Darn Good Cowboy Christmas is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

Actually, the name comes at the end of the book and with that in mind, I guess I worked backwards. I wondered what it would take to make a woman who’d never had stability and roots to settle down. Would a good old cowboy and the magic of Christmas do it?

What made you decide to write in this genre?

This is my tenth cowboy romance but many of my previous books are created around the home fires of a ranch or even cowboys. I like the cowboys’ attitude and the way they treat a sassy woman. Likewise, I like the way a cowboy is tamed by a sassy woman.

Are you a plotter or a pantser and how did it affect the writing of this book?

As I’ve mentioned before I don’t think I’m either. Publisher’s Weekly says that Darn Good Cowboy Christmas is carelessly plotted. And they are right. I don’t think life is a plotted affair and it sure doesn’t go by the calendar so why should books? A months worth of hard planning can all be tossed in the trash in a thirty second phone call. With that in mind, my books can easily be described as careless plotting. Life throws out speed bumps…it’s a fact! So hit ‘em at sixty miles an hour and wreck or hit ‘em at five miles and hour and get past them. I write about life and sometimes it does take on some drastic turns. Maybe reading about that is what brings my readers back for more.

Did you have to do a lot of research for the book? What are your favorite research books or sites?

I watched hours of belly dancing on the internet and made several more trips to Ringgold. You’d think I’d have that little town of less than a hundred people memorized down to the color of the trim on every house. But it helps refresh the mind to drive down there, sit at the crossroads and just look around. And there were trips to Wichita Falls, to Henrietta and to Terral…again!

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

My editor called me one morning and said she wanted a Christmas book. Did I have time to write it? Oh, yeah! I could write one. Which O’Donnell brother should I write about? She left that up to me so I decided to write about Raylen since it should have been Dewar getting his HEA next in line. One of those careless things that life throws at us! That very day we had to make a trip north to Norman and on the outskirts of our little town, there was a carnival setting up. The whole story flashed through my mind line one of those things you read about just before the end comes around. Lizelle Hanson was from that carnival and her Uncle Haskell owned the ranch next to the O’Donnell’s. She’d only been allowed to visit it twice in her life because her mother was afraid she’d want to settle down rather than stay with the carnival. It was all there. I just had to write the story.

Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?

Liz was my favorite in this book. She had to learn that you can’t really have wings and roots both and had to figure out which one was most important. Thank goodness Raylen was there to encourage her toward giving up her wings. But then I’d have to mention Blaze and Colleen, who had a little subplot. Blaze was one of those bad boys that is so much fun to write about.

Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research affect your character development?

I don’t do much developing of characters beyond a physical description. Those I keep on note cards in a plastic recipe box for quick reference. Their character flaws and strengths are revealed to me much like they would be if we were getting to know each other in a very real world; on a day to day basis.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Every author I have ever read has inspired me in some way or another. Some to write better and tighter. Some to tell a better story. Some to make my writing more entertaining. Some to purely entertain me between my own deadlines. To each I owe a big thank you!

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?

Word of mouth. I love it when readers tell each other and they tell more and those spread the word and pretty soon everyone is wanting to buy a book. But I also depend on FB, websites and of course wonderful blogs like MCTT that help promote my books.

What do we have to look forward next?

As some of you know, I also write sweet romance for Avalon. So there’s an Avalon book coming out in the middle of October titled The Ladies Room. Then in December there is the debut book, A Forever Thing, for the Three Magic Words Trilogy. We kick off 2012 in April with One Hot Cowboy Wedding and also the second in the Avalon trilogy, In Shining Whatever. Then in August the final book in the Avalon trilogy, Live After Wife. On the cowboy side there will be two fall releases, an October Christmas book that has the working title, Star Studded Christmas Cowboy (Gemma O’Donnell’s story) and a fall book with the working title, Just a Cowboy (Dewar finally gets to tell his story). The debut of my first woman’s fiction book, Sinful Delights, will be in the fall of 2012 also. I’m very excited about all of the releases!

I’ve laid the book down now and have another piece of chocolate in my greedy little fingers but I can answer questions. Comments anyone? Questions?

Thanks, Carolyn!

To celebrate her book release, Carolyn is offering a free book of Darn Good Cowboy Christmas to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (please check the blog Monday night to see if you won. Chances of winning determined by the number of entries.)

She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

NYT and USA Today best selling author, Carolyn Brown, has sold 64 books in the past 14 years. Fifteen have been printed in large print. The first four were translated into nine foreign languages and two have been redone into Manga format. Several are available in ebook format as well as print. She and her husband, a retired English teacher, make their home in Davis, Oklahoma. They have three grown children and too many grandchildren to list!

Check out author’s website at


girlygirlhoosier52 said...

I like that you don't 'over plot' and let life happen, complete with the totally chaotic changes that occur in everyone's life. I'm always amazed at people's lives and how they change with one simple incident...

Carolyn Brown said...

girlygirl: Thank you. I wouldn't know how to overplot. To me a story should happen like life to make it real! And yes, I've seen life completely turn around in the course of a one minute phone call.

Jody T said...

I really enjoyed reading your interview. It was interesting to learn how you come up with descriptions of your characters. Also, you are right about life having speed bumps that is why I enjoy reading your books. They are not all "Flowery" with life being perfect.


great interview and i love your books!!!

Carolyn Hughey said...

I so enjoy reading your interviews, Carolyn and always leave with some little tidbit to make my life easier. Using the cards for your characters is an awesome idea and one that I'm going to adopt. Now that I'm writing a series, I'm forever having to go back into the published books to check to see what street they live on, etc :-)

Maybe your next interview should be about all the time-saving tips you use.

Great interview. Can't wait to read your book!

Carolyn Brown said...

Jody: Thank you for stopping by and commenting! Life isn't perfect and it can be messy at times and funny when it's supposed to be romantic. That's just the way it is!

Carolyn Brown said...

Regina: Keep your boots on. There's more cowboys on the way. Jasmine and Ace are up next with Gemma and Trace to follow, along with Dewar and Haley and then Creed (Ace's brother) and Sage!

Carolyn Brown said...

Carolyn: Thank you and writing a tip blog is a great idea. For those of you who don't know Carolyn Hughey, she writes amazing books for Avalon about hot chefs in New York City! (And she really does give out her own recipes in the books and she IS a chef).
I'd be lost without my card box when I'm working on a series. In addition to that I've built a family (and friends) tree on a manila folder to go in my file cabinet. That keeps marriages, births and relationships in line for upcoming books at a glance.

Kim Watters said...

Good morning Carolyn and everyone. Sorry to join the party late, I-um-overselpt. So glad they allow you to schedule posts for the middle of the night on Blogger. :) Good thing I left the chocolate out and that the kittens didn't get to it. I love your books, Carolyn, and I'm sure Darn Good Cowboy Christmas won't disappoint me, either. Especially since it's a Christmas book. Just curious since you're so prolific, how long it takes you to write each book? I'm on a yearly schedule these days. Enjoy your day with us.

Carolyn Brown said...

Kim: I have the wonderful privilege of being able to write full time. The kids are grown and Husband is retired. So most days I can write until my eyes and brain are tired.
This year I have three Sourcebooks and four Avalons. Next year (2012) it reverses with four Sourcebooks and three Avalons. So six or seven a year is what I've been doing but I'm thinking about slowing the wagon down to about four or five a year. Shhhh...don't tell my characters who are lined up behind me holding numbers for their stories to be told.

Sandy Cody said...

Love this interview - the "sassy lady" behind it shines through in every word. Agree About careless plotting and how it reflects life.

Carolyn Brown said...

Thank you Sandy! That red glow down toward Texas is me blushing!
And thank you for agreeing with me about life and writing about it. I started not to mention that PW review but when I realized they were right on in their comment, I had to bring it to the top!

Estella said...

I love this series!
I love learning little bits about the authors I read.

Carolyn Brown said...

Hello Estella! So nice of you to stop by today. It made me smile when I saw your name. Glad you are liking the new series.

catslady said...

Oh, sounds like a wonderful read just in time to get in the Christmas spirit!

CrystalGB said...

Great interview. Darn Good Cowboy Christmas sounds wonderful. I love cowboys.

Carolyn Brown said...

Hi catslady! Just in time for the holidays is right. Toss a sexy cowboy and a belly dancing carnie into the same small town and it's holiday magic.

Carolyn Brown said...

Hello Crystal! Cowboys are, sweet, kind and I did mention sexy didn't I? Glad we're on the same page about them.

Di said...

I didn't know about this series! I'll be looking for it. Here's my question: did you have to do research into life in a carnival for this story?

Carolyn Brown said...

Di: Yes, I did and into belly dancing and their costumes. It was all fascinating!

Carol L. said...

Hi Carolyn,
I enjoyed your interview.This is just in time for the holidays. I absolutely love the titles you have in this series and those sexy cowboys as well. :) I would love to read Darn Good Cowboy Christmas. Thanks for the opportunity.
Carol L
Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

Carolyn Brown said...

Carol L: My fabulous editor helps with the titles and I'm grateful to her! If my idea for a title isn't strong enough she comes up with an awesome one that fits perfectly!

Author Kathryne Kennedy said...

Welcome to a fellow SB author! So great to see your interview here, Carolyn!