DUCK CHAT: Heading West with Caroline FyffeWednesday, July 21, 2010 10:00
Today we’re wandering into the historical romance world with Caroline Fyffe.
Caroline’s second book is ready to release next week, so if you’re looking for sweet, heartwarming westerns, you should definitely pick up her first book, Where the Wind Blows, and you’ll be set for Montana Dawn next Tuesday.
We’re set for a full day with Caroline today. She’ll be here throughout the day to respond to your comments and answer any questions you might have. Here’s your chance to get to know an author you might have missed otherwise. Caroline is also giving away a copy of both of her books to two lucky commenters.
Now let’s chat!
Caroline Fyffe: Thank you, Sandy. I’m excited and thrilled to be here.
DC: First, I want to let our readers know where a part of your love of writing western romance has come from. You are also an equine photographer, so you’ve been immersed in the western industry, so to speak, for a long period. Tell us how you got into photography and how your business evolved into what it is today.
CF: During college I took a photography class just for fun. Then, every once in a while, I’d go with my sister, who was a freelance writer, and I’d take the photographs that she needed. I think we just like to travel around and hang out. Later, when I was out of college and working in sales, I took a two-day seminar on equine photography. I enjoyed that so much, I did some research and found a big name Texas photographer that gave a five-day course that was limited to about six students. When I came home from that, I just started out shooting ranch calls and horse shows.
DC: For readers who love horses, photography, or just beautiful things, do take a look at Caroline’s photography website.
Caroline, your photos have also graced numerous magazine covers. Do you remember your first cover? What was that like for you? Was it on the same level as finding out your first book was going to be published?
CF: I do remember my first cover very well. It was taken up in Santa Rosa, California, of Carrie von Uhlit when she was about five or six years old. She’s sitting on a rock wall and her little mare with the blazed face is looking right at the camera. If I think long enough I’ll remember the mare’s name. Over the years I’ve photographed her many times and she’s gone on to win numerous World Championships. I will admit that it was exciting to see one of my photos on a cover of a magazine for the first time, but it does not compare to what I felt after getting “the call” in 2008.
DC: Did the thought ever cross your mind perhaps you could take the photos for your romance novels? LOL, if not, how about now?
CF: LOL—It’s never even crossed my mind. But now that you mention it, why not? I think that’s a very good idea, Sandy.
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?
CF: My characters shock the heck out of me more often than not. Many times I wonder where the ideas are coming from. For me, the really creative stuff comes after I have the story done and I’m going through it, editing. I’ll come to a scene and then it just starts transforming into something much different than when it started, and I usually love it when it’s done.
DC: Do you ever argue with your characters while you’re writing? Who usually wins?
CF: Oh, all the time! They’ll start going in some direction the story just isn’t ready for and I’ll have to rein them in, so to speak. They’re usually pretty cooperative, but not always. I’d say the outcome is about 50/50.
DC: What is sure to distract you from sitting down and working/writing?
CF: Gosh, not too much. I’m pretty disciplined and love to write. If I had to say something, it would be when my sons are at home for a visit—to be with them as much as possible.
DC: Your debut book, Where the Wind Blows, is a lovely, heartwarming story of two strangers thrown together by circumstance, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Would you tell us about Chase and Jessie.
CF: Sure. Chase is the ultimate loner, not by choice but by circumstance. Not knowing his mother or father, he’s been on his own his entire life. That’s why when he comes upon Jessie in the cabin he’s taken with her warmth and honesty. He enjoys the feeling of trust he see that she is seeing in him—that she’s counting on him and he doesn’t want to let her down. And Jessie has issues of being abandoned by her mother at an early age. She’d been left at an orphanage, with a promise from her mother that she’ll be back. Well, that day never happened. But, Jessie isn’t hardened by it at all, she’s just sad. When Chase shows up on her doorstep in her moment of need, everything in their lives is turned upside-down.
DC: Is there another genre you’d like to try your hand at one day?
CF: Yes. And, actually I have two completed manuscripts. One is an inspirational western historical and one is a contemporary women’s fiction.
DC: What advice would you give to your younger self?
CF: Boy, would I love to turn back the hands of time. There was a span of a few years when I stopped writing. I really wish I hadn’t done that. I’d tell myself to follow my dreams with confidence and enthusiasm. Writing isn’t easy. Sometimes one can second guess themselves to death. I’d tell myself to trust my instincts and to get good critique partners. LOL
DC: You now have two books out, and we’ll talk about the second in a moment. I know most authors learn plenty of lessons between that first and second book. What’s been your most valuable lesson learned or advice received during that time?
CF: I’d say not to let the promotion thing steal too much time away from writing. It’s a temptation that’s easy to fall into. But without another good story one won’t have anything to market. I do believe promotion is very important, don’t get me wrong, but it can sap the life out of you if you let it.
DC: If you were a book, what would your blurb be?
CF: ROTFL! Oh, my, gosh! How can I answer that? Hmmmm….If I were a book I’d be boring, like a dictionary, so I wouldn’t have a back-cover blurb.
DC: What would be your “voice’s” tagline?
CF: Oh gosh, that’s a hard one too….something like, “Lonesome Dove and 3:10 to Yuma” meets “Little House on the Prairie”
DC: Your new book, Montana Dawn, will be on the shelves July 27. This is a beautiful story of love, romance, trust, family, all those things we need in our lives. Please give us a sneak peek at Luke and Faith.
CF: I started this story when I’d just finished Where the Wind Blows, which, as you know, has a limited number of family characters. I wanted my next story to be filled with people, siblings and friends. So Montana Dawn was born. It takes place in the little town of Y Knot, Montana in the late 1800s.
The McCutcheons, a cattle ranching family, have carved a dynasty from the wilderness by the sweat of their brow and honorable values. Luke McCutcheon, the third brother and hero of this story, is the only one who was sired by an American Indian, when his mother was taken captive. He’s the trail boss for the once-a-year cattle drive that the McCutcheons make. It’s during the drive that Luke stumbles upon a dilapidated wagon where he meets Faith Brown, in labor and needing his help. After the delivery, he offers to bring her along where one thing leads to another and soon all the trial hands are trying to catch the beautiful new mother’s attention, much to Luke’s dismay.
I love stories about big families. I wanted to give Luke as much unconditional love as he needed to battle his own ghosts about his heritage. John McCutcheon, the youngest brother, is foreshadowed in Montana Dawn, but you don’t actually meet him until my next book, Once Upon a Texas Twilight, planned for next year.
DC: If you had never become an author, what do you think you would be doing right now?
CF: Oy. Have I told you yet that you ask really hard questions. LOL….Hmmm. Maybe to own my own gelato ice cream shop. I think that would make me really happy. Or, perhaps, a trail guide for horseback trips in Montana or Wyoming.
DC: What’s on the horizon for Caroline Fyffe?
CF: I hope just more of the same. It’s been so wonderful to achieve my goal of being published, that, truly, I’m still pinching myself. I love my life.
- dark or milk chocolate? – Milk
- smooth or chunky peanut butter? – Chunky
- heels or flats? – Flats
- coffee or tea? – Coffee
- summer or winter? – Winter
- mountains or beach? – Mountains
- mustard or mayonnaise? – Mayonnaise
- flowers or candy? – Flowers
- pockets or purse? – Purse
- Pepsi or Coke? – Coke
- ebook or print? – Print
And because we still enjoy the answers we get:
1. What is your favorite word? – Love
2. What is your least favorite word? – Hate
3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? – Happiness.
4. What turns you off creatively, spiritually or emotionally? – Argumentative people.
5. What sound or noise do you love? – The sound of birds waking in the very early morning.
6. What sound or noise do you hate? – A Bug Zapper
7. What is your favorite curse word? – Damn
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? – Archeology
9. What profession would you not like to do? – Dentist (I guess someone’s got to do it…but not me)
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? – I do believe heaven is real, so if I’m lucky enough in the end to make it there I hope I hear…..”Well done, my good and faithful servant, well done.”
DC: Caroline, thank you so much for being with us today. It’s been a pleasure.