Thursday, October 2, 2014 | By: The Write Way Cafe

An Interview with Caroline Clemmons

The Write Way Café welcomes author Caroline Clemmons. Caroline writes from the heart and people and experiences in her life may show up in her stories.

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?
I always enjoyed making up adventures but hadn’t written them down until my mother-in-law suggested I write a book. Since she never really approved of me, I was surprised. My husband also encouraged me and still does. The first book I wrote was pretty lame. Until I joined RWA and attended a local chapter, I didn’t understand sexual tension, character arc, and all the other components of a good story.

What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do?
Gabe Kincaid required unique research because it involves a traveling circus—not one like P. T. Barnum but a small, less exotic show. The nineteenth-century circus was a bit different from those we see today. That’s especially true of those that relied on horse-drawn wagons rather than railroad cars.  As for publishing, I’ve been with a traditional New York publisher, a small press, and self-published. I am only self-publishing now. The control and rapid process empowers an author. Of course, I still have an editor check my book before I publish. Kim Killion did the cover for the Kincaid books and I really love them. 

Where did the idea for your story come from? 
I wanted Gabe to be the hero, but he was far too serious a young man. To liven up his life, he needed a heroine who could incite all his emotions. She initially appears in her home, and we next meet her in Kincaid Springs. For a hero who takes life much too seriously, what could be better than a circus fortune teller as his heroine? Of course, she is only masquerading in the circus to escape the two men determined to kill her, but Gabe doesn’t know that when he meets her and is assigned to represent her after a brawl at the circus.

Why did you pick the setting you did?
The town of Kincaid Springs was established in the first of the Kincaid series, so I only had to bring the characters together there. As I mentioned above, the circus was just to mix up Gabe. Kincaid Springs is fictitious, but supposedly thirty miles from Austin, Texas in the central hill country. The first book in the series was set in 1878 but now we’re up to 1887 and more books are planned for this series.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
My family say we are each the sum of all our experiences. I believe all my characters are a reflection of myself and people I’ve known or read about throughout my life. However, each is entirely fictional and in general, no character represents an actual person. The possible exception is that the first Kincaid novel, The Most Unsuitable Wife, was based on a brief anecdote my grandmother shared with me about a girl from her tiny Tennessee hometown. She didn’t know what happened to the girl, so I decided she deserved a happy ending. In addition, I named a character in Save Your Heart For Me after my mom, but the character is really not like her. Two characters sort of patterned after my mom and her sister are the aunts, Maggie Jo and Lizzie Mae, in the Stone Mountain series. When they were together, my mom and aunt could be such fun. Either one would have done anything for her children. Even though they are secondary characters,  those two are among my favorites.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
I do have a laptop, but prefer to use my desktop PC. My office is small, but I love my “pink cave” and enjoy writing there. The space includes a wall of book cases, my corner computer desk with shelves, a large desk for my printer and my cat, and glassed-door shelves over the desk for my mementos. My desk chair is comfy, and I can happily spend most of each day sitting there. The rest of the walls are covered with prints, family photos, and other objects that give me pleasure.

What are you working on now?
Right now I’m completing a Christmas novella titled Stone Mountain Christmas, which will be released in a few weeks. The Stone Mountain series is set earlier than the Kincaid books. The Christmas novella is set in North Central Texas in 1874 in the Palo Pinto Mountains. Although geologically they’re mountains, for the most part  they resemble large hills.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why? 
I’ve dabbled with contemporary romance and mysteries and have a women’s fiction plotted. The problem (although it’s hardly a problem) is that I enjoy writing western historical romance more than anything else. For now, why change? We do have to keep stretching and growing, though, and I’ve recently been involved writing one of a linked duet with Jaquie Rogers titled Mail-Order Tangle. That was a fun project and we are pleased with the way our books turned out. Mine is first and set in Texas (where I set all my books), Mail-Order Promise.  Her Mail-Order Ruckus is set in Owyhee County, Idaho and takes up where mine stopped—and we think she does so seamlessly. The heroes of the two books are cousins and the heroines are sisters.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
I can’t imagine not writing, but I suppose an antique dealer. My youngest daughter and I used to have antique booths in a couple of malls and enjoyed ourselves even though we weren’t the best at it.  We wanted to keep all the neat stuff we found instead of selling the items. ☺  She’s still in the business in addition to her job as a school librarian, but I concentrate on writing.

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
Social media and marketing. I just want to write, but the aforementioned is time consuming. Basically, I’m introverted and not great on social media, appearances, etc. They’re a part of the business, though.

About Caroline:  Caroline Clemmons is an Amazon bestselling author of historical and contemporary western romances whose books have garnered numerous awards. Her latest release is Gabe Kincaid, book four of her popular Kincaid series. 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 and the Romance Writers chapters of Yellow Rose, From The Heart, and Hearts Through History. Her latest publications include the acclaimed historical Men of Stone Mountain series:  Brazos Bride, High Stakes Bride, and Bluebonnet Bride and the audio books of Brazos Bride and High Stakes Bride.
     Caroline and her husband live in the heart of Texas cowboy country with their menagerie of rescued pets. Prior to writing full time, her jobs included stay-at-home mom (her favorite), secretary, newspaper reporter and featured columnist, assistant to the managing editor of a psychology journal, bookkeeper for the local tax assessor and—for a short and fun time—an  antique dealer. When she’s not indulging her passion for writing, Caroline enjoys reading, travel, antiquing, genealogy, painting, and getting together with family and friends. Find her on her blog, website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Google+, WattPad, Shelfari, and Pinterest.

Gabe Kincaid buy links:



JoAnne Myers said...

A very nice interview. And yes, social media is very time consuming. All the best for you and your book.

HiDee said...

Thanks for being with us today, Caroline.

Caroline Clemmons said...

Thanks so much for hosting me.

Barbara Bettis said...

Really like the sound of Gabe! I'm looking forward to reading it. I'm sure it will be as delightful as others of the Kincaid Springs stories! Best of luck

Lyn Horner said...

Hi Caroline. Great interview! I love your western romances and agree why change genres if that's what you enjoy writing. Also agree about social media and marketing -- a necessity but very time consuming.

Liette Bougie said...

HI Caroline,
Looking forward to reading your other Kincaid stories. Just finished The Most Unsuitable Courtship and absolutely loved Storm and Rena.