Hi Carol! Thank you so much for being here today and answering some questions for us!
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I’m a Lyft driver. When I’m not driving, I’m walking my Chihuahua mutt who needs a surprising amount of exercise. If I didn’t have him, I’d be on my butt far too many hours a day.
When did you start writing?
I saw that you won the 1st place Golden Heart award from RWA. Congratulations!- Can you tell us more about the award itself and how did it feel when you found out you won? Were you jumping up and down like crazy?
Winning was a surreal moment, for sure. RWA does an incredible job at their annual meetings – this one was in Chicago, with a big decorated ballroom, everybody dressed to impress. All the finalists had to sit near the front and I was allowed two friends to surround myself with, thank God. It’s like the Academy Awards for Romance.
When I heard my name, I didn’t believe it. But I could tell from my friends’ reaction that it was true. Walking up the stairs to the stage, all I was hoping was that I wouldn’t trip over my own feet. When I arrived at the microphone, I went blank so I rattled off the RWA affiliates in Colorado I belonged to, hoping that my friends wouldn’t feel slighted. I was in a critique group which had helped me hone my craft. The rest of the evening, I don’t remember… it went by so fast. I do remember calling my husband and three kids who were 11 and 8 (twins) at the time, and they were very excited.
If you could go anywhere in the world to start writing your next book, where would that be and why?
Great question. The book I’m working on now is based on a true story. My version stars an Army Special Forces Officer and a Horse Whisperer. They team up to create an overland supply route (horses, mules, donkeys) to a remote Army Base in a war zone like Afghanistan. Not that I want to go to a war zone, but I would like to see what a third world country looks like to do justice to the story.
If you had four extra hours today, what would you do?
Writing, of course. That big chunk of time is perfect for producing about a thousand words.
Where would you like to set a story that you haven’t done yet?
The American South. Whether it’s North/South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi or New Orleans, Lousiana, the language and culture in those areas would be as much a character as the hero and heroine.
I see you just launched a new series. Where did you get your inspiration for the Horse Whisperer series?
Weirdly, it was the British TV show Doc Martin. I reimagined it as an American TV series, setting it in a small, rural town in Colorado, rather than the tiny seaport village along GB’s sea coast. The hero was a rodeo star who was the basis for Shane, my hero in MARIAH. Once I had him, the rest of the story fell into place. I send a sample TV script of my version to my fans when they sign up for my newsletter.
In writing your book, did you travel anywhere for research?
Since I live in Colorado, I didn’t have to travel far. I made up the town of Grizzly Springs and set it near Aspen, a place most readers would be familiar with and could be used as a foil to the picturesque but rural working class, ranching community that is the main setting for the Horse Whisperer series.
Why was writing MARIAH so important to you?
MARIAH is meant to be a fun read in many ways, largely because the hero has an irreverent sense of humor and brings that out in the heroine. But Mariah’s father is the town drunk, and his alcoholism and inability to stay in recovery makes Mariah a very tough emotional nut for Shane to crack. This overarching theme ties both books together. It comes out of my experience with addiction in my own family. I wanted to give readers hope, no matter what the addiction is. If children of alcoholics get enough love and hope outside their family as well as inside, they’re better equipped to lead healthy and happy lives.
Where do you get your best ideas and why do you think that is?
It’s in the shower. Every. Single. Time. Why? Because my brain is so contrary, it wants to see me running around my bedroom naked while I try to remember the idea and write it down.
What are you currently working on?
I’m in the middle of the next installment of the series, which is a sequel to the two parts of Mariah and Shane’s story – MARIAH is part one, SHANE is part two and that book also launched in May. SHANE has a HEA but it’s more a romantic saga rather than MARIAH’s classic contemporary romance. SHANE chronicles the rest of their lives and beyond.
The sequel uses a character I introduced in SHANE. She’s is also called Mariah, and the working title of her story is CHASING MARIAH. She is the Horse Whisperer in this book. She’s so attuned to equine species, she appears to have magical powers. My hero is a Special Forces Army officer and is the ultimate cynic. It takes awhile for her to work her magic on him but when she does, he’s a better soldier and father. Nothing like slaying the worst in our alpha dragons as we say in the biz.
Part II – Author Questionnaire – Super Fun
Alpha Male or Rockstar?
Alpha male all the way, baby.
Swimming in the lake or the ocean?
I grew up in Hawaii, so my first choice will always be the ocean.
Football or Baseball?
I love both (Bronco and Red Sox fan) but American Football players are the sexiest sports stars on the planet, IMHO.
Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise?
In the movie Legends of the Fall, Brad Pitt hit every romantic hero button I possess. Sorry, Tom.
Cruise or Resort?
I love the ocean and don’t get enough of it, much as I love the mountains of Colorado. Add traveling to the mix and you’ve got me at hello, cruise ship.
Extra Credit: Action movie or Comedy?
Comedy. I love to laugh and try not to take myself too seriously.
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