HL: I'm thrilled to welcome Caroline Clemmons to be my special guest today. First of all, Caroline, Congratulations on your Release Day. Grab a celebratory virtual Marguarita, Make yourself at home and tell us a little about yourself. For instance, what do you do for fun when not writing?
CC: When I was a child in California, I wanted to grow up to be Dale Evans. When I realized that job was taken, I decided to ride the range with Dale and Roy Rogers, saving the West from rustlers and bank robbers until my dad clued me in that was strictly in the movies. Later in Texas, I wanted to be just like Nancy Drew and planned to open my own detective agency with my best friend Karen when we were old enough. We skulked around looking for clues to who knew what until we drove our parents and neighbors nuts. You see that I'm not that into reality, so it's only natural that I became a fiction writer. Now I can daydream all day as long as my fingers are attached to the keyboard.
When I'm not writing, I read, read, read and watch movie DVD's. I love spending time with my family. One of the things I especially enjoy is browsing antique malls. My youngest daughter and I used to have three antique booths. If we ever win the lottery, we'll go back into the antique business until all the money is gone. Okay, so we weren't the best businesswomen ever. Actually, we realized that we loved the buying part; the selling, not so much. My husband also enjoys reading and watching movies on DVD, so that works out well. I am into family history. My brother and I are writing a book on our father's family and my daughters help with that. My husband and I both like to travel. Our last overseas trip was to England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. What a lovely trip that was! We hated to come home.
HL: LOL, your childhood fantasies sound very much like mine! I'm so glad you enjoyed your trip to these shores. When you're starting a new book, what comes first: the plot or the characters?
CC: The characters show up first. Usually a strong hero or heroine lets me know the opening scene and it appears like a movie in my head. I find out his or her problem and then I plot the book. My next time travel is TEXAS SHOWDOWN, a work in progress, and is also about a woman who comes forward in time. She starts out running from rustlers in a heat lightning storm in 1896 and arrives at her home in a rainstorm in present day only to find someone else living there. The heroine is named after my new sister-in-law, Penny Jane, but Penny is not a time traveler as far as I know. In fact, she lives in North Carolina and seems to be a nice and above average individual.
HL: What a great tribute to your new S.I.L., and Texas Showdown sounds just my sort of book. I like to start with characters too - let them tell the author the story, it's so much easier! LOL. Tell us about your new release and what you think readers will enjoy about it.
CC: OUT OF THE BLUE is a time travel about a clairvoyant healer from 1845 Ireland. The local bully has incited a mob charging her with cursing their rotting potato crop. They are in a remote fictional village named Ballymish and don't realize the potato blight is nationwide. When she leaps off a cliff to avoid the mob, she lands in a present day Texas lake beside the bass boat of a police detective. What's fun about it is that the detective, Brendan Hunter, is an uptight guy who always follows the rules. Thanks to the time he spent with his rigid grandparents, there are no gray areas for him--it's all black or white. Into his life comes this beautiful woman, Deirdre Dougherty, who says she's from 1845. Not in a million years would he believe that's possible. So, one of the things he has to learn to accept is that he can't control everything and she has to learn to rely on her instincts. There are some fun characters in it, such as Brendan's former hippie mom, Blossom, who owns a health food store. It was such a fun book to write. My friend Sandy Crowley helped me plot it and it was the easiest book I've ever written.
HL: Oh that sounds fantastic, Carline. OK, if someone were to play one of your characters in a movie, which character and what actor would it be?
CC: I think Keanu Reeves would be good as Brendan Hunter, the hero. He wouldn't even have to talk--we could just watch him throughout the movie. Ashley Judd could play Deirdre Dougherty except Deirdre is um, er, um, well-endowed.
HL: Following on from that, who is your favourite hunk - film star or personality?
CC: My friend Ashley from the La Madeline group gave me something of her late mom's. It's an autographed photograph of Gregory Peck in western attire. Ashley thought the photo looked like the kind of hero I write, and he does. I know he is older now, but in this photo he is such a hunk! It inspires me. Knowing that Ashley is so supportive of my writing that she would share her dear mom's prize with me also inspires me. How could I let her down by not doing my very best?
HL: Oooh, I loved Greg too! What a great gift. So what have you learned about writing that surprised you the most?
CC: When I first began writing, I wanted to make big bucks and be famous. I especially wanted to make enough money to buy my husband a nice car. Ridiculous, right? Now, I just want people to read my stories. It surprises me that the money is not more important. Okay, I'd definitely enjoy reaping big bucks (who wouldn't?), but that simply would be an added benefit. Mostly, I just want people to like my books and get what I'm trying to say. Thinking of big bucks reminds me of seeing Janet Evanovich speak several years ago. According to the press, she'd just signed a $7,000,000 contract and paid her daughter $300,000 a year to be her webmistress. My elementary school librarian daughter who accompanied me to the lecture said, "Oh, Mom, I'd work for you for so much less." So would I. Wait, I DO work for less. Much, much, much less.
HL: *Grin* Absolutely! I think most of us would. Getting back to writing though, what’s you’re writing process? Has it changed since writing your first book?
CC: My process has changed big time. When I first started, I knew the beginning and the end but struggled with the middle and the books turned out to be too short or too slow paced. Also, I wasn't mean enough to my characters. I liked them, right, and didn't want them to suffer. Ouch, no pain, no book. Years ago I attended an all-day workshop, "Story Magic," given by Laura Baker and Robin Perini. Lights flashed, bells rang, and I GOT IT! Fortunately, several of my friends attended the same workshop and also "got it." I don't always have to use a plotting board now, but the thoughts are organized in my head as if I had used the plotting board.
HL: *Sigh* It's a hard lesson to learn to be mean to our characters isn't it! But we just have to make sure their reward at the end is worth it. :) Do you have a support system? Did you have a writing community? What valuable lessons have you learned from them?
CC: I'm blessed with terrific support groups, which includes my husband and daughters. Also my writing friends: my friends in the Yellow Rose RWA chapter, my online group at the slipintosomethingvictorian blog, my Raven Mavens mystery group (who are willing to critique romance with only minor snide comments), my LaMadeline group (we meet at a restaurant by that name), the wild writers, The Wild Rose Press writers, Jeanmarie Hamilton and Sandra Crowley. Plus my husband is always willing to handle those pesky computer problems that crop up as well as handle some household chores to free up my time. In fact, he just brought me my supper so I wouldn't have to stop and deal with those nasty four-letter-word kitchen things like cook and clean.
HL: Aw bless! Well that's quite a list, and it's great to have the support of friends on and offline, and a supportive husband is probably the best of all! And following on with that, what is your personal definition of success?
CC: Being happy with what you have. I am a happy person.
HL: Simple - yet very profound! Now a fun question to end up with - if you were an animal, which one do you think you would be, and why?
CC: Probably an indoor cat. Naps, petting, food, petting, naps, petting, food, naps. Doesn't sound bad, does it? No, I'd rather be me.
HL: True - 'family' cats have a great life - but they can't write can they!
Well sadly this brings us to the end of the interviw. Thank you so much for sharing your release day with us, and giving us a little insight into Caroline Clemmons the writer, and your new book 'Out Of The Blue'. Now we've just got time to get changed and head off to your Release Party at the Author Roast and Toast.http://authorroastandtoast.blogspot.com/
Come on folks, you're all invited!
(Sharon Donovans sexy butler is serving marguaritas!)
'Out Of The Blue' Purchase Link