Visiting this week is multi-published, award winning author Caroline Clemmons.
Caroline Clemmons is an Amazon bestselling author of historical and contemporary western romances whose books have garnered numerous awards. Her most recent novel, BLUEBONNET BRIDE, is a poignant tale of tender redemption. A frequent speaker at conferences and seminars, she has taught workshops on characterization, point of view, and layering a novel.
Caroline is a member of Romance Writers of America, Dallas Area Romance Authors, Yellow Rose Romance Writers, and Hearts Through History Romance Writers. Her latest publications are the acclaimed historical Men of Stone Mountain series: BRAZOS BRIDE, HIGH STAKES BRIDE, and BLUEBONNET BRIDE.
Caroline and her husband live in the heart of Texas cowboy country with their menagerie of rescued pets. When she’s not indulging her passion for writing, Caroline enjoys reading, travel, antiquing, genealogy, painting, and getting together with friends. Find her on her blog, website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.
Hi, Caroline. I’m so glad you could join me today.
I’m happy to be here, Lyn.
Please tell us about your typical writing day. What’s your best time of day to write? On average, how many hour a day do you write?
I do most of my marketing and social media early in the morning. I write most of the day, but I do my best work between seven pm and one am. I am at my computer from five to twelve hours a day.
Those are some long days. I often work late into the night too. Do you prefer quiet or do you listen to music while you write?
I write to classical music from Pandora online radio. Classical music keeps me from being distracted by the lyrics. I believe it also helps the rhythm of my writing. When I’m involved with online marketing/promotion, I listen to an eclectic mix of artists like Carole King, Ella Fitzgerald, Rascal Flatts, Maroon Five, and many more.
I love your mix of music! You’ve also had a mix of publishers, I understand. Please share your experiences if you don’t mind.
I don’t mind a bit. I began with Kensington (bad experience) for three books and a novella. After a period of discouragement, I moved to a small press, The Wild Rose Press (wonderful people!). Due to the opportunity to increase my royalties, I am now self-published and love it. I still have one contemporary western romance and one historical novella with The Wild Rose Press, but the rights will revert to me this fall.
Higher royalties are a big incentive to self-publish, I agree. Does your significant other and/or family support your writing career?
I’m very lucky. My husband is unbelievably supportive and even helps with covers and uploading book to the various vendors. Both our daughters are encouraging and helpful.
Yes, you’re very lucky. Do you have critique partners and/or beta readers?
I have the world’s best critique partners who encourage and support me. They are strong in my weak areas and definitely make my writing better. They also hold me accountable so I don’t goof off. ☺ Our critique sessions also involve a little group therapy.
LOL! I know what you mean. I’m curious, do you prefer writing and reading books in a series, or “stand alone” books?
I love writing and reading books in a series. Since I love my characters, I hate to let them go. I enjoy revisiting them to update what has transpired in their lives.
Do you hear from your readers? If so, please quote your favorite fan letter.
My favorite is a note from a fan about BRAZOS BRIDE: “This was soooooo good. I love this book so much I’ve read it about twenty times.”
Wow, what a compliment! I’m sure your fans eagerly await your next book. What project(s) are you working on now?
I’m writing the third book in the historical Kincaid series. The hero is Storm Kincaid and the title is THE MOST UNSUITABLE COURTSHIP. As with all but one of my books, it’s set in Texas. I expect to release it in September. I also plan a Christmas novella in the Stone Mountain series, CHRISTMAS ON STONE MOUNTAIN, to be released early November. This novella will feature Sheriff “Buster” Parrish. Maybe we’ll learn his real first name.
Sounds like you’re super busy. How about a blurb from your latest release?
Sure. This blurb is for Tabitha’s Journey.
Would you become a mail-order bride?
Tabitha Masterson is certain whatever awaits her in Radford Springs, Texas will be better than what her brother and that awful William have in mind in Boston. After her father’s death, her brother has become a tyrant. She escapes to begin her new life in Texas, but trouble can’t be far behind. She believes if she’s married when trouble arrives, she’ll be safe. But her fiancé is reluctant to accept her as a substitute for the mail-order bride he’d courted.
Bear Baldwin is crushed when he receives a wire notifying him that the woman with whom he has corresponded for almost a year has passed him off to her friend. Do the two women believe he’s like an old shirt to be handed down? His mother urges him to give the substitute fiancée a chance, but his pride is stung and he hasn’t decided.
Tabitha sat in the Witt family’s parlor and wiped tears from her face. “I’ve never been so miserable. Prissy, what am I going to do?”
“Are you certain he’d send you to an asylum if you resist?”
“Yes, but I don’t know which would be worse—being married to William or being locked away. The man gives me shivers in the worst way.”
“Me, too.” Priscilla paused and smoothed the folds of her yellow and black plaid taffeta skirt. “I-I’ve had another letter from Tobias.”
Her attention captured and anger deflected, Tabitha leaned toward her friend intent on hearing the missive’s contents. “Did her send for you?”
“Yes.” Suddenly, Priscilla’s face puckered as if she, too, might cry. “Oh, I don’t know what to do.”
“Prissy?” She leaned back to stare at her friend. “What do you mean? I thought you’d accepted his proposal.”
Tabitha was half in love with Tobias Baldwin herself. Already she knew they shared many interests. Priscilla had shared each of his letters, and Tabitha had assisted Priscilla in answering them. Assisted so much, the writing became Tabitha’s heartfelt missives to him.
“I was all set to leave, just as I said. But…oh, Tabbie, Virgil Allsup has finally spoken to Papa for me. If only Virgil had come forward sooner I never would have answered that mail order bride agency’s advertisement.” She sniffed and dabbed at her eyes with a handkerchief. “You know I’ve yearned for Virgil ever so long. By now I thought he didn’t want me.”
“What are you going to do?” Tabitha knew what she’d do. In her way of thinking, a man who dragged his feet as Virgil had all these years couldn’t begin to measure up to Tobias as a husband.
“That’s just it. I-I accepted Virgil’s proposal.” She sobbed into her handkerchief.
Tabitha couldn’t help her own tear-filled eyes widening in surprise. “You’re engaged to two men? Prissy, that’s—“
“Unethical? I know.” Priscilla waved her handkerchief. “I think it’s even illegal. Breach of contract or something.” Priscilla met Tabitha’s gaze. “But don’t you see? This could be a solution for your problem.”
Tabitha sighed and shook her head. “I don’t think mine has a solution.”
“Since you hate living with David and Bertha, and you always thought so much of Tobias, maybe you’d like to take my place.” She chewed at her lip as she glanced at Tabitha.
“Me? Go to Texas and marry Tobias?” Incredulous as the idea sounded, already Tabitha’s mind considered the option.
I couldn’t help wondering about your experience with the traditional publisher. I hope you share your experience in a blog sometime. I would also love to read your experiences in self-publishing.
I am very interested in your November release of Christmas in Stone Mountain (hope I got that title right). I love Christmas stories, expecially set in the west.
I enjoyed reading your wonderful excerpt from Tabitha’s Journey.
All the best to you.
Wow, that was quite an excerpt! Looking forward to reading this one.
Thank you, Ally. I hope you enjoy it.