Monday, December 12, 2011

Interview with “Sweet” Romance Author Caroline Clemmons

Caroline Clemmons lives with her real-life Hero in rural North Central Texas with their menagerie of rescued pets. Her first made up adventures featured her riding with Roy Rogers to save the West from rustlers and bank robbers. Now she writes historical, contemporary, and time travel romances and contemporary mysteries. When she’s not writing, she loves spending time with family, reading, traveling, genealogy, and browsing antique malls and estate sales. She writes full-time, except when life interferes.

Hello, Caroline. I just love the book cover of this novel. Please tell us about it.

HOME, SWEET TEXAS HOME is a sweet contemporary romance and modern Cinderella story. Heroine Courtney Madison is a strong woman with high morals. When her mother became ill, Courtney became head of household. Now, six months after her mom’s death, Courtney is hanging on to her sanity by a few strands of an unraveling rope. Her mom’s death left a mountain of medical bills. Courtney is guardian of her formerly sweet 15-year-old brother who has become sullen and is hanging with decidedly unsavory pals, skipping classes, and letting his grades drop. Her latest blow is that, due to the huge new chain bookstore down the block from the independent Dallas bookstore where she’s manager, the store’s owner is coming out of retirement to manage his store. In two weeks, Courtney will be out of a job. No savings, no job, no prospects. She’s in a panic. Enter hero Derek Corrigan to tell Courtney she has inherited an estate in West Texas worth over two million dollars from the kind, elderly man she befriended when he and her mom were in the hospital. All her troubles are over. Or so she thinks. But Courtney learns that money solves her immediate problems, but new problems arise. Trouble she would never have imagined.

Derek Corrigan has been betrayed by every woman he’s ever loved. He’s learned the hard way that caring for a woman means he loses a chunk of his heart. He doesn’t need a woman’s interference. He has his two precious kids, Warren and Meg, and they’re the most important part of his life. Never again will he risk his heart by committing himself to a woman.

Where did you get your inspiration for this book?

I grew up in the area of West Texas where this book is set. My parents and I lived in a rural area for three years when we moved back from California, then we settled in Lubbock where I grew up. The weather there is dismal, but the place gets under your skin in spite of anything you can do. The town of Sweet Springs is fictional, but it’s a composite of the little towns in which my family lived before we moved into Lubbock. The sandstorm in the book is one of the things I remember from living there. When I was in junior high, I walked about a mile home from school and I remember walking in that wind and sand. Ugh. There are a lot of things I like about the area, though. The people are nice, on a clear day the sky is so blue, and the sunrises and sunsets are gorgeous.

Ooooh, I remember those good old sandstorms! I remember my very first one. I had to quickly pull over to the side of the road because I couldn’t see beyond my car. I never realized that a sandstorm was so much like a snowstorm. Really! Okay... a reviewer wrote, “Caroline wrote a story that had you laughing, crying, and caring about a group of people that were from different many twists you couldn’t wait to see where she took you next.” Do all your books have humor and several twists in them?

Each of my books have twists, and each is about family members that support one another. I suppose the humor is subtle, and not everyone “gets” me. My intention is that each of my books has a combination of emotions from tension to humor, and that the situations are credible--whether the book is contemporary or historical. I do quite a bit of research, even for a contemporary.

I love your description of Derek: “He knows what women do to him--they always leave and take chunks of his heart with them. He's been there, done that, had the vaccination and is cured.” Hahaha! That was great. What do you like most about Derek’s personality?

Derek loves his kids so much that he often works from his home office so he can spend more time with them. He wants them to know they’re important to him and that he loves them. What better hero than a man who’s a great dad? He also does a lot to help others in his community, and that speaks well for him. He’s wealthy, but he remembers when he was struggling.

Derek sounds like a great character. Okay, now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

One of the things I used to do each summer is can vegetables and fruits. Lots and lots of them! I supplied canned goods for both sets of parents and our daughters as well as for Hero and me. I also entered the State Fair and won blue ribbons for my grape jelly, peach jam, and green beans. Judging used to require two jars for each entry--one to taste and one to display. Due to the weirdness of people now, rules were changed so that judges didn’t taste the food and appearance is the only criteria. That’s when I quit entering. What’s the point of winning if taste doesn’t enter into the decision?

I think that's awesome. My mother used to enter her bottled fruit in the county fairs. I can’t believe they took tasting out of the contests. Do you remember the 1945 movie, State Fair? I’ll never forget the tasting contest when the judges tasted the mincemeat…over and over again. It was hilarious. Thank you so much for this wonderful interview Caroline. Below is an excerpt from Caroline’s book. I laughed so hard that I just had to include it.

When Jimmy saw his sister in bed, he rushed over. “Sis, what happened? What’s with the towel and the ice packs?” He frowned at Derek. “What’s going on?”

She opened her mouth to explain, but nothing came out.

Derek figured the bizarre situation defied description. He patted Jimmy on the shoulder. “Don’t worry, she’s okay now. We were at the cemetery putting flowers on Sam’s and Maggie’s graves and your sister got trapped in the bathroom.”

Jimmy shook his head. “I don’t understand. How could that hurt her?”

Courtney sighed. “The knob came off in my hand and I couldn’t open the door. So, I climbed out the window.”

Derek held out his hands to indicate the small rectangle. “A small, high window.”

Jimmy looked from his sister to Derek. “I still don’t understand what happened.”

Courtney snapped, “I got stuck, okay?”

Derek grimaced at Jimmy. “She, um…” He coughed to keep a straight face. “When she tried to go out the window, she got stuck with her head and one arm sticking outside and the rest of her inside.” He stood like a bird with a broken wing to imitate Courtney’s position. A grin spread across his face in spite of all his efforts not to smile.

Jimmy gaped at his sister. “Courtney? But she’s always so sensible. She’s never does anything stupid.” He began to smile also.

Both males burst into laughter.

“Listen, if you two are so amused, go into the other room to discuss my apparently hilarious antics and leave me to suffer in peace.” In spite of her strained muscles and injuries, she threw a box of tissues in their direction. “Go on, get out of here. Now.”


JULIE said...

I'd love a chance to win a book that is set in the area of Texas that my husband is from. We experienced one of those infamous dust storms just this past Thanksgiving weekend at my MIL's house just a little bit outside of Lubbock!! We always take the back way to visit family in Lubbock, so I've been through those small West Texas towns many, many times!!

Miss Mae said...

Awww, guys just don't understand, do they? *chuckle* great excerpt! It's also great to read more about you, Caroline. This sounds like a winner of a book!

*Since I don't enter contests, please don't include my name*

Thank you!

misskallie2000 said...

Hi Caroline, I love your book just from this post. Can't wait to read. I spent 47 days TDY in San Antonio in 1997 and feel in love. Everything does look bigger the sky nearer and just beautiful. No sand storms thank goodness. I kept getting lost going to and from base each day. lol

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Caroline Clemmons said...

Ladies, thank you for your kind words.

Julie, yes those dust storms are awful, aren't they? I always dreaded them when I lived there--especially walking home from school.

Miss Kallie, San Antonio is one of my favorite cities, but it's about five hundred miles and another world from Lubbock. ;-)

Susan Macatee said...

Sounds like another great read, Caroline! I could never imagine being in a sandstorm. Snowstorms are bad enough!

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Waving, Caroline. OK I cannot get beyond the comment about judges not tasting fair entries. What are people thinking????? How sad the world has turned. I used to can and filled row after row with fruit jars, especially when we lived in farm country.

Your stories are always great. Good luck with this new one!!!

Gail Pallotta said...

Hi Caroline,
I loved your excerpt. This sounds like a fun book. Congratulations and best wishes for lots of sales.
Oh by the way, I'm also a Roy Rogers fan.

Cheryl said...

This sounds like a fabulous book. I love the cover. Thankfully I've never witnessed a sandstorm except on TV.

Thanks for the chance to win.


Kat said...

Sounds great!

Kat said...

Sounds great!

michelle130 said...

Love the interview and giveaway.

Marianne said...

i would love to win this book. i have my 85 year old mother living with me, and though she is totally independent except for driving this has its own challenges. She loves to read as much as i do, and books i get often land up in her hands before they do in mine! i've never been to Texas, but would love to, if even through a book! Thanks for the giveaway


Laura Keith said...

oh goody! i love a Texas romance! I'd love an opportunity to try one of Caroline's books!

Dani said...

I love the modern day Cinderella aspect of this book and look forward to reading it whether I win or purchase it later on.
A side note, my first horse was broke in one of those famous sand storms, hence his name, Sandstorm. Best first horse a young girl could ever hope for :)

Shelena said...

Sounds like a splendid book, a modern day Cinderella story.


Linda Kish said...

This sounds terrific. count me in, please.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Georgie Girl said...

Aw! This definitely sounds like a sweet romance right up my alley. Thanks for this giveaway opportunity. :)

grleggers at gmail dot com

Linda Weaver Clarke said...

Congratulations, Marianne! You're the winner of this intriguing book. I know you'll enjoy it. Stay tuned for more giveaways every Monday!