Welcome once again back to Duck Chat!
Today Carolyn Brown is joining us to talk about her Lucky series that’s now on the shelves and also to give us an update on her upcoming series, and, boy, do they sound like a lot of fun.
Texas-born Carolyn now lives in Oklahoma with her husband and their huge family, you know, one of those families where there’s always laughter and love running amuck – three kids, fifteen grandchildren, two great grandchildren. How’s that for a houseful?
Her first book, a Precious Gem by Kensington, was published in 1997 and then later Avalon and Sourcebooks joined her bandwagon to push her book count up to forty as of today. It’s the emotion that Carolyn loves about writing romance — love, hate, anger, laughter and so much more. And the relationships, men and women still falling in and out love since the first one in the Garden of Eden.
Be sure to leave Carolyn a comment or question today because one lucky commenter will win the entire Lucky trilogy. Sorry, U..S. and Canada only.
Now le’ts chat!
DUCK CHAT: Welcome to TGTBTU, Carolyn. Let’s jump in and talk about your Lucky series. You’ve said you have a big family (15 grandchildren, my goodness!) and they give you ideas right and left when it comes to your writing. Is this series plucked from the goings-on around your home? Or did it come from someplace totally different this time?
CAROLYN BROWN: Thank you for letting me stop by TGTBTU today. It’s a delight to be here to discuss the Lucky series. Getting Lucky just hit the market on January 1 and it’s already getting good reviews. My fan base has been eager to get their hands on it so I’m glad to see it on the market. I do have a big family and there really are 15 grandchildren. Six of those I got with a marriage license instead of a birth certificate but both are just pieces of paper so it doesn’t matter how I got them. And yes, they are responsible for ideas. Maybe even more so for attitudes and character development. Twelve of those fifteen are girls ranging from almost two to twenty-two. If I need to know how a girl acts in between those two ages all I have to do is sit back at a family gathering and watch that grandchild. Actually, this series didn’t get jerked up from the roots from around my home but it grew in my overactive imagination!
DC: If you could retire any question and never, ever have it asked again, what would it be? Feel free to answer it.
CB: That would be “How many books have you written?” The reason I don’t like the question is because I can’t answer it off the top of my head. I keep a running total of how many books I’ve sold but not how many I’ve written.
DC: I’ve heard writers often say their stories take them in surprising directions, or dialogue flows from some unknown place. Is it the same with you? Do your characters surprise you sometimes?
CB: I’m not a control freak with my characters. They always have input and yes, ma’am, their dialogue flows from the deep character well very frequently. I’ve learned to treasure those moments when it does because it always adds dimension to the storyline. My characters always surprise me. We’ll be getting along just fine with me telling their story and them standing behind me when suddenly I get a tap on my shoulder and a whisper in my ear that tells me to use the backspace key and retell that portion of the story.
DC: Lucky in Love is the first book in your trilogy where we meet Beau and Milli. Would you tell us a little about them and their relationship?
CB: Beau and Milli met at a wedding. He was drunk and in emotional pain. She wasn’t drunk but in just as much emotional pain. More than two years later they found each other again but they had to overcome many obstacles before they realized they’d been meant for each other from the very beginning. Beau is lucky in everything but love until he meets Milli, the sassy half Hispanic lady from the ranch next door to his. Milli can mend a fence, ride a horse or shoot the eyes out of a rattlesnake but she has trust issues.
DC: Do you ever argue with your characters while you’re writing? Who usually wins?
CB: Oh, yes. We have long conversations where they tell me how it happened and I tell them I won’t write it that way. And I never win. Oh, I might for a little while just to keep my ego intact but when I think about it, I go back and write it the way it really happened! Shhhh … don’t tell my characters. I’ve got my bluff in on them.
DC: What is sure to distract you from sitting down and working/writing?
CB: Distractions are pesky little devils who would like me to spend more time in the kitchen making fudge or whipping up a dinner for thirty. But I can usually outrun them by shutting the office door and getting down to business. Dust bunnies and vacuuming can wait and fast food is a way of life when I’m writing a book.
DC: What has been your favorite book cover from all of your releases and why?
CB: Oh my! Oh my! How could I ever choose among more than forty books? I love the Lucky series covers and my readers have really liked them. Some of them have said that they’d buy the books just for the covers!
CB: That would be Emma’s Folly, my first historical. The artist had a wonderful idea but the cover turned out to be so dark that the name of the book was totally lost.
DC: How do you feel your male or female characters have evolved over your career? Do you think you write them differently now than you did when you started?
CB: Characters take on their own personality and face their conflicts within the realm of that personality. Writing historical characters is definitely different than writing contemporary ones but human nature is the same no matter what century or time frame an author is writing about. So while I hope my writing has evolved and gets better with each book, I hope my characters always remain loveable, likeable and realistic.
DC: Slade and Jane are featured in One Lucky Cowboy, and they have one volatile relationship! Would you give our readers some insight into their story, please?
CB: Jane is on the run from a very bad relationship in which her groom turns out to be an assassin and she’s the target. She ends up on a ranch in Ringgold, Texas that Slade and his grandmother own and operate. Slade thinks she’s a con artist out to fleece his grandmother, who is a sassy old girl and couldn’t be conned even if Jane did have that in mind. They lock horns from day one. She wants a place to hide for six weeks. He wants her gone. When push comes to shove, it’s Slade who she turns to with her heart as well as her protection.
DC: Is there a genre you haven’t tackled but would like to try?
CB: A humorous time travel trilogy is hiding in the back of my mind.
DC: What advice would you give to your younger self?
CB: To keep writing and not put it all away for more than twenty years.
DC: If you were a book, what would your blurb be?
CB: Carolyn Gray, a rebel from Texas boards a Greyhound bus to Pennsylvania to marry a man she’s never met. Will it last? Can it be possible she can find love in the arms of a Yankee?
DC: What would be your “voice’s” tagline?
CB: Sassy, brassy and full of spit and vinegar.
DC: There’s a lot of misconception going on in Getting Lucky, which was released this month. Would you tell us about Griffin and Julie?
CB: Julie had filed for divorce from her cheating SOB husband and had a one night fling. Cheating SOB Husband talked his way back into her life but nine months later when the baby was born it was plain that the little girl didn’t belong to SOB but rather to One-Night-Stand with that white forelock. That time SOB divorced her. Six years later Julie moved to St. Jo, Texas for a new start in a place where no one knew about the scandal around her daughter’s birth. She’s a kindergarten teacher and the very first day of school who should arrive but another little girl who is the image of her Annie and a man who should remember her from a hotel room in Texas but doesn’t. The rest is figuring out the misconceptions as Julie digs her heels in and Griffin tries to make her life miserable enough that she’ll get the hell out of St. Jo. Neither make any headway with the job and both of them, along with three little children, wind up getting very lucky.
DC: Your Honky Tonk series is due to be released this year. Is it possible to get a sneak peek into what it’s all about?
CB: The four book Honky Tonk Series is set in Mingus, Texas, population less than four hundred, in the Honky Tonk, an old beer joint built in the sixties. It’s the stories of four barmaids who are determined to never leave the Honky Tonk and the four cowboys who change their minds. Look for I Love This Bar in June, followed by Hell, Yeah, My Give-A-Damn’s Busted and Honky Tonk Christmas.
DC: If you had never become an author, what do you think you would be doing right now?
CB: Probably still working at the local newspaper and writing a humorous weekly column.
DC: It must be the Texas and Oklahoma in you, writing westerns and sexy cowboys. Did you ever consider writing in some other genre way back when? Or are westerns just too ingrained in your soul to think about anything else?
CB: Westerns are ingrained into my soul. I really enjoy writing them but I have written a few that weren’t westerns. However, I have to admit most of them were set in Texas and Oklahoma! Trouble in Paradise is one that comes to mind and one of my first written under the pen name Abby Gray, For the Love of Mercy.
DC: You have another new trilogy out later this year titled Outlaws and Angels. May we also have a bit of a sneak peek of what readers can expect?
CB: Outlaws and Angels is a trilogy set in Texas during and right after the Alamo. Captain Lavalle has three grown daughters and wants to get them out of the area before the fighting begins. He hires three outlaws to take them home to Louisiana. The outlaws, Tyrell Fannin and his two younger cousins, Micah and Isaac Burnet, just want to get home to Mississippi. They have no idea that the three sisters they have agreed to escort home are really not Sisters in the religious sense until they’ve been on the road a week. From Wine to Water is slated for a December release with Walkin’ on Clouds and Trick of the Light to follow.
DC: What else is on the horizon for Carolyn Brown?
CB: There’s a humorous mainstream women’s fiction my agent is getting ready to throw out to the publishers. And there’s always that time travel thing in the back of my mind plus a seven book series I’ve got on the back burner set in the late 1800’s. And then there’s a few single titles in my idea book which keeps growing every few weeks.
– dark or milk chocolate? – Milk
– smooth or chunky peanut butter? – Smooth
– heels or flats? – flats
– coffee or tea? – coffee
– summer or winter? – winter
– mountains or beach? – beach
– mustard or mayonnaise? – mayonnaise
– flowers or candy? – candy
– pockets or purse? – pockets
– Pepsi or Coke? – Pepsi
– ebook or print? – Print
And because we still enjoy the answers we get:
1. What is your favorite word? – Darlin’
2. What is your least favorite word? – Whatever
3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? – Country music
4. What turns you off creatively, spiritually or emotionally? – The telephone
5. What sound or noise do you love? – Ocean waves
6. What sound or noise do you hate? – That little bleep when the computer crashes
7. What is your favorite curse word? – Dammit!
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? – I’m right happy where I am. Don’t think I’d like to learn a new trick at this point in my life.
9. What profession would you not like to do? – Anything that involves blood or needles … doctors, nurses, etc.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? – I believe it exists and I’d like to hear the gates open and a big voice saying, “Come right in. We’ve been waiting for you!”
DC: Carolyn, thanks for all the fun today!