Interview with Caroline Clemmons

What are your five favorite books, and why?
Narrowing to five is difficult. Julie Garwood's FOR THE ROSES and PRINCE CHARMING, Maggie Osborne's THE PROMISE OF JENNY JONES, Jodi Thomas' TO KISS A TEXAN, and Lorraine Heath's SWEET LULLABY. Each is a western historical, and each of the main characters were unforgettable.
What do you read for pleasure?
I am an eclectic reader of romance, romantic suspense, paranormal, romantic comedy, cozy mysteries, and mysteries. My favorites are western historical romance and Regency romance--especially if they include humor such as Jacquie Rogers and Loretta Chase's novels. For romantic suspense, Amanda Quick/Jayne Ann Krentz is my favorite author.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My Kindle--I love my Kindle because my books take up no room and are easy to carry with me wherever I go. You never know when you'll have a chance to read. Waiting for appointments is less annoying if I have a book with me. My husband is hard of hearing, so it's difficult to converse in the car. I read as we're driving.
Describe your desk
My computer desk is a large corner unit in fake cherry with lots of cubbies and a top book shelf for research books. I love it and am happiest there. I also have a matching desk at the side. My office is small, but cozy, and painted pink. My family call it my "pink cave". The top of a unit that was here when we bought this house is on my wall. The top has glass doors so I can store my knick knacks there. I collect angels, nativity sets, and a particular type of ceramic figure of children my daughter finds for me. The walls are covered with memorabilia, photos, and prints.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Except for six years in Southern California as a small child, I grew up in West Texas. Now I write mostly Texas settings (except for several in Montana, one in Washington, and one in Georgia). My dad used to tell us tales of his family coming to Texas from Georgia, and they fascinated me. I'm sure that fueled my love of Texas history. He also loved reading and encouraged me to read and write. In fact, he taught me to read before i began school. I suspect it was so I would stop hounding him to read me the funny papers each evening.
When did you first start writing?
I do remember printing stories which I illustrated with crayons as a small girl. I was ill a lot and imagination gave me places to go. My stories either involved a princess and a castle or a cowgirl riding to help stop rustlers and bank robbers. They were pretty much all the same. ☺
In school, I loved English classes and essays. Then when I took journalism, I believed I'd found my field. My teacher was wonderful and I became editor and won a couple of state prizes for my editorials. I didn't try writing a book until much later after my mother-in-law encouraged me and brought me a grocery bag of romances.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book, THE RANCHER'S PERFECT WIFE, Loving a Rancher book 7, will be released in June 2018. A FAMILY FOR MERRY, in the anthology UNDER A MULBERRY MOON, releases July 19, 2018 and is a companion to Jacquie Rogers' book in the same anthology, A FAMILY FOR POLLY. Jacquie and I wrote about sisters in the two-book set MAIL-ORDER TANGLE. In September 2018, I'll release a book titled GARNET, a book in the Widows of Cougar Creek series set in Utah, and a second book in that series later, BLESSING.
Many of my books are set in the Palo Pinto Mountains a couple of hours west of Fort Worth. When my husband and I joined a historic tour years ago, we visited the historic Belding-Gibson Ranch and I fell in love with it and returned to take the tour a second year. I used the site as the ranch (with a different house) for BRAZOS BRIDE. The ranches in HIGH STAKES BRIDE, BLUEBONNET BRIDE, and TABITHA'S JOURNEY are near the first and are set in or near the fictional town of Radford Springs and fictional county of Radford. STONE MOUNTAIN REUNION, STONE MOUNTAIN CHRISTMAS, and WINTER BRIDE are set in Radford Springs. The actual ranch is in Palo Pinto and Young Counties. Then when we visited the Mayan Guest Ranch near Bandera, I fell in love with that area. That's where my hill country books are set and those include the Kincaid series as well as the McClintock series. Since I live in Texas, setting books here is easiest for me.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I was published by one of the "big six" New York house, then by The Wild Rose Press. I became an indie author to have full control of the publishing process and receive more of the royalties. The NY publisher did me an injustice, but I loved The Wild Rose Press staff and other authors. Indie simply gives me more control of my books and I love that.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords makes it easier to publish a story once and have it fed to all vendors. I love now that they've begun paying authors monthly instead of quarterly.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Sharing the people in my head with readers. If readers respond, I am over the moon. I love writing and would write even if no one ever read my stories, but sharing them with people who enjoy them is my goal.
What advice do you have for unpublished authors?
1. Study the craft
2. Join a writers group in person or online
3. Get a small critique group of three or four people who can critique your work without being cruel or personal. Choose people who are strong in your weak areas and who can be constructive.
4. Never give up. Don't let anyone steal your dream!
What are you working on next?
As I mentioned, I'm working on DANIEL, book 4 of the McClintock Series. Then I'll write RAFE, book 5 of the Kincaid Series. I love reading and writing series. Revisiting characters who show up as secondary characters in a later book is fun.
Published 2018-05-26.
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