Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Interview with Carolyn Brown

Today, I have the happy task of interviewing Carolyn Brown, the queen of Avalon Books, with 38 books to her credit and more on the way. Enough from me; I know you all want to hear from Carolyn.

Good morning everyone. I'm glad to be here at Avalon today to talk about my new release, Walkin' On Clouds. I've got a cup of coffee and one of those virtual brownies that has no fat or calories; so if Miz Sandy is ready, fire away with the questions and I'll try to keep up with the answers.
SANDY: Let's get to the good stuff first. Tell us about your latest Avalon release.
CAROLYN: Walkin' on Clouds is the second book in the Angels & Outlaws trilogy. From Wine to Water came out in December and A Trick of the Light will be here in August. I was asked to describe the series in as few words as possible and I came up with: Three nuns. Three outlaws. A long journey and many surprises ahead of them! Only those women weren't nuns and those three men weren't really outlaws.
Walkin' on Clouds is Fairlee Lavalle and Isaac Burnet's story. Isaac Burnet didn’t want to go to Louisiana to deliver the letter from Delia to her sister Fairlee, but he did. He sure didn’t want to be party to kidnapping the sassy, spirited lass on the eve of her wedding, or journey two weeks with a woman who didn’t like him, but he did.
Fairlee Lavalle was determined to marry Matthew Cheval no matter what her sisters, aunt, or uncle thought. She'd had all the adventure she wanted the spring before when her father hired three outlaws to bring her and her two sisters, Delia and Tempest, home from Texas. She would marry Matthew and they would be happy.
She continued to believe that he would love her right up until she was drugged and kidnapped by one of those outlaws who’d escorted them home. And to think it was with her sister’s help.
During the two-week journey, their hearts begin to see qualities they both like in the other. Will they ever admit it or will their stubbornness keep them apart forever?
SANDY: And your previous Avalon books.
CAROLYN: Oh, my, how much room do we have for this interview? Walkin' on Clouds is my 38th published book for Avalon. My first one was Love Is back in 1999. Emma's Folly was the debut book for Avalon's entry into the historical world in 2002. Trouble in Paradise, 2005, won the Reader's Choice Award for best Traditional Novel and The PMS Club was a finalist for the same award the next year. There are ten stand alone contemporary romance titles; one stand alone historical title (The Dove) ; one contemporary series (Broken Roads); and Angels & Outlaws is my sixth historical series. Fourteen of them have been republished in large print format and one of them is coming up in Manga format soon (The Wager).
SANDY: What comes first for you? Characters? Story? Setting?
CAROLYN: I think it all bombards me like a big ball of wax. Characters vying for first place and secondary characters telling me they won't behave unless I promise to give them a book next time around. Fairlee and Isaac were pretty patient but I could feel them in the back of my mind saying, "go ahead and give Tyrell and Delia all that attention but we're going to haunt your dreams until you write our story." I'd been wanting to write a story about Texas in its early days around the time the Alamo fell for several years so that setting was stewing on the back burner. And then one morning I woke up and saw (in my writer's vision) three nuns and three outlaws leaving town. The rest is history.
SANDY: Your characters have such interesting names. How do you come up with them?
CAROLYN: Research. Plain and simple. There are names that are eternal; good back in the 1800's and still good today: Mary, Margaret, Catherine. But you didn't have Kayla's or Kylee back in 1800. Fairlee, Delia and Tempest were all names of angels. Strange, but they were! But I'm afraid that their names were all that were angelic about those Lavalle sisters. They could outride and out shoot most men and gave the men a run for their money in every book.
SANDY: Where do you find inspiration?
CAROLYN: A famous author once said that he was inspired eight hours a day. My inspiration is along those lines. I'm fairly well disciplined and I've found that sitting my fanny in the chair and putting my hands on the keyboard usually produces something usable for the day. My goal is five thousand words a day. Some days I meet that goal dead on. Some days I have to proof or rewrite but it all gets done by first sitting down and getting with it!
SANDY: Do you find it difficult to keep the stories fresh when you write multiple books with the same characters?
CAROLYN: I have a dread disease called tunnel vision. When I'm writing a book it gets my full attention and I don't see anything but the finished project at the end of the tunnel. So I have to say, no, it's not difficult.
SANDY: What other projects are in the works?
CAROLYN: A Trick of Light is already on the docket for August. And then a stand alone contemporary called The Ladies Room that will be out in October. It's my first time to write in first person and let me tell you, it's tougher than it looks. Then in 2012 there's a contemporary trilogy called Three Magic Words with titles: A Forever Thing, In Shining Whatever and Life After Wife. I'm very excited about all of them!
SANDY: What other authors do you especially admire?
CAROLYN: This is another "how much room do you have" question. Reading has always been a passion of mine. I'll read any and everything from Faulkner to the back of the Cheerios box. I love Leon Uris, R. H. Delderfield, LaVyrle Spencer, Nora (of course) Roberts, Carl Hiaason, Randy Wayne White, Margaret Mitchell, O. Henry, Mario Puzo and Sue Grafton. Did I mention that I'm an eclectic reader and there's about a hundred more authors I could put on that list including Joanne Kennedy, Nancy Parra, Carolyn Hughey and Shirley Marks and C.H. Admirand.
SANDY: What prompted you to become a writer?
CAROLYN: Books! I have this ongoing love affair with books. (Don't tell Husband. I have him convinced I'm a faithful wife) Love the way they fit in my hands. The words in them. I can't remember when I didn't read.
SANDY: What part of writing do you find most satisfying?
CAROLYN: Every bit of it. I like new beginnings, ends, rewrites and all of it. But when I get a box of books and hold them, realize this is my that's even more satisfying than chocolate!
SANDY: What part do you find most difficult?
CAROLYN: Saying goodbye to my characters. Sometimes I let them come visit Briar from the Drifters & Dreamers trilogy popped back into the Black Swan series.
SANDY: What do you do when you’re not writing?
CAROLYN: Think about the next book. LOL!! Actually, I'm a family oriented person. We have three kids and enough grandkids to keep us young forever. So when I'm not writing I'm doing something with the kids. Last week was prom week with a granddaughter. I fixed her hair, gave her a mani-pedi and we had a wonderful day before the promenade. Oh, she was stunning in her red satin dress with a two foot train!
SANDY: What refreshes you creatively?
CAROLYN: Riding (that would be in the passenger's seat of an automobile, not on the back of a horse)! Husband is retired and he is quite willing to take me anywhere to research another book. A couple of weeks ago found us in West Texas taking pictures of the Palo Duro Canyon which will play a big part in a book for next year. I have worked through dozens of plots and character descriptions from the passenger's seat in our car as the world goes by at 75 miles an hour!
SANDY: Where can we find you on the web?
CAROLYN: I have a website: and most of my fans keep up with what's coming next, what's happening in my world, etc. through that.
Thank you, Sandy for letting me stop in today. And anyone who has any more questions, please fire away. I'll be in and out all day checking on the site!


Carolyn Brown said...

Good morning. I'm waving from sunny Oklahoma! Thank you Sandy for the interview...y'all come on in and talk to me.

Beate Boeker said...

Wow, Carolyn, I'm so impressed by 5000 words a day! No wonder you've published so many novels in such a short time. The sisters sound delightful. Thank you so much for givng us such a long interview, and to you, Sandy, for composing it!

Carolyn Brown said...

Beate: Thank you! The Lavalle sisters are a hand full. The outlaws can vouch for it! LOL

Jayne Ormerod said...

Good morning back atcha from Newport RI where there is a hint of spring! Finally!

Carolyn, I'm inspiried to know a career can be made at this writing business! And I can't wait to read more about Fairlee and Issac.

Great interview!

Sandy Cody said...

I'm checking in from Missouri, where I'm visiting family. Like Beate and Jayne, I'm impressed by your 5000 words a day and love the Lavalle sisters. What I really like best though is the sense of the fun you have with your characters. Thank YOU, Carolyn

Sandy Cody

Jayne Ormerod said...

You know something...I just did the math on that. So a 60,000 word novel at 5,000 words a day is like a book every 12 days! I'm like in the once a year range!

Seriously, you are blowing my mind here.....

If there is a gold medal awarded in the Writer's Olympics, Carolyn's earned it!

Carolyn Brown said...

Hi y'all!
The secret is that I'm a full time writer. I do not have to leave the house for a job and then come home and write. The kids are all grown and gone. Also I have my own little office in my house (converted the smallest bedroom when the kids grew up and left) and I have a VERY understanding, supportive husband who doesn't mind take out if I'm finishing my goal for the day, who lets dust bunnies the size of mountain lions tell him bed time stories and even knows how to do laundry! Seriously, its doable in those circumstances.

Roni Denholtz said...

Great interview! I enjoyed learning more about you and your writing process Carolyn.

Jane Myers Perrine said...

How interesting! Thanks for doing the interview, Sandy. Carolyn--5000 words a day!?!? That takes a week or two for me.


cinful1121 said...

Hi Carolyn,
Well I am totally NOT a writer so forgive me now for stumbling through this comment! I have read the Honky Tonk, Lucky, and start of Spikes and Spurs series but have yet to tackle the rest of your booklist and boy do I have some catching up to do! The Angels and Outlaws trilogy sounds like a good place to start and then just work my way through all your work, yup sounds like a plan ;)
Just wanted to show some love and tell you your awesome and thank you for your hardwork!
Cindi Mitchell