What would readers be surprised to find out about you?
That I have 15 grandchildren, 12 of whom are girls (I get to shop for prom dresses and wedding dresses for many years to come) and my 11th great grandchild is due in January. We are descendents of Noah and we take that business of going forth and multiplying very seriously.
Tell us about your writing process. Do you start with an idea or a character? Do you know what’s going to happen from the beginning or do you figure it out as you write?
I start with two characters who are most usually in the midst of a family/families who become secondary characters. I know what is going to happen at the beginning and sometimes the characters let me think that I know what is going to happen from that point to the end. But not very often. The more I peel back the layers of the character’s personalities, the more varied the path from beginning to end becomes.
Who gave you the one piece of writing advice that sticks with you to this day?
And editor told me once that everything in your book has to be credible, therefore I make sure I know exactly if they had fly swats in 1919 and how much a small rectangular bale of hay weighs. And a very good author friend, Sharon Sala, told me to never put all your eggs in one basket. Two fantastic bits of writing advice.
Is there one thing you have to have when writing?
A comfortable chair which my cat, Chester Fat Boy, also loves and tries to steal every single time I get up for a cup of tea or coffee.
How did you choose the names of your characters?
I research what names were popular the year they were born. For instance, there wouldn’t have been a Kayla in a historical book. I have one site that is great for cowboy names that were popular in the past years. My daughter lives in a rural area where cowboys are the absolute norm so if I really get stuck, then I call her. A couple of her recent goodies was Oat Chapman and Raysh. I really like Raysh and may use it in a future book.
How has music played a role in your life and in your writing?
I have been accused of pimping country music and to that I told them thank you. It was a good Saturday night in my world as a child when Mama could bring in The Grand Ole Opry on her little red radio. I cut my teeth on Hank Williams and Patsy Cline. Mr. B plays and sings country music when the family is all together and we two-step down the hallway. Music is a big part of my life so it becomes a part of my characters’ lives as well. I do have to admit to visiting Frankie’s, an old speaky easy type bar, in Wild Cowboy Ways and while I was writing that scene I listened to Etta James. I sure did enjoy her bluesy sound that day.
When was the moment that you knew you had to be a writer?
First grade. The teacher taught us that those letters we’d learned could make words and words could make stories. I was so intrigued that I wanted to do that very thing.
What can you tell us about your couple, that we won’t find in the book?
I’m not sure there’s anything that they don’t discover about each other during the course of the book.
Do you have any favorite book boyfriends of your own?
Oh, yes, ma’am. I love Rhett Butler (Gone With the Wind) with all his dash and adventurous nature. And Orrin Sackett (Louis L’Amour’s Sackett series) but then when I see Orrin I think Tom Selleck who played Orrin in the movie. And who doesn’t like Tom Selleck! Then there’s Raylan Givens (from Elmore Leonard’s Fire in the Hole) who is the character in Justified.
What are five books on your night stand/bookshelf?
On my bookshelf are all of Sue Grafton’s books, A-W and I’ve asked for the next one for my Christmas present, a well worn edition of Gone with The Wind, Exodus by Leon Uris, everything that LaVryle Spencer wrote and Maverick of Copper Creek by R. C. Ryan.
What’s your favorite quote or scene from your book?
His hands grazed her cheeks as he pulled her damp hair back to run the brush through it. Then he leaned forward and kissed her softly on the side of her neck.
“We were going to talk,” she whispered.
“We are talkin’, darlin’. We’ll use words when necessary,” he said, softly.
If your couple’s relationship had a theme song, what would it be?
“Small Town Southern Man,” by Alan Jackson. It played a little part in the story one evening when Blake was out trying to be that wild cowboy who had a reputation and Allie was at home wondering if he’d ever be a man who’d live up to the lyrics in that song.
Tell us about the cover process. Is this what you had in mind?
I squealed so loud when I saw this cover that the folks in southern Oklahoma probably thought it was the fire siren was going off. It was exactly how I pictured Blake so yes, I loved, loved it.
If your book was being made into a movie, who would you include in your dream cast?
Josh Turner with his deep southern drawl and good looks would play Blake (if you could talk the music industry into letting me play the part). And Rachel Bilson is Allie. Shirley Maclaine could be Irene. I would dance a jig on the rooftop if this series was made into a movie.
Where do you find inspiration for you writing? Do you use real people/places as a foundation?
I often use real places but only nuances of people. I might like the way a cowboy swaggers into the Dairy Queen or the way a cowgirl has a swing to her walk. Or maybe a cowboy’s smile will take my eye or the way he tips his hat to the ladies.
Do you have any hobbies or activities that you enjoy outside of writing?
I used to do needlepoint and I was a seamstress at one time and I did oil paintings. But these days my love is writing and telling stories. When I need a break I go outside and visit with my cats who protect my back yard from vicious varmints like crickets, blue jays and spiders. In addition to that, Mr. B and I love road trips. We travel to all the places I mention in my books so that I “get it right”.
Would the 10 year-old version of yourself kick your butt or praise you for what you’ve accomplished in life?
Probably praise me for what I have accomplished. I came from very poor people who had a lot of love but very little material things. The idea of coming this far was nothing but a pipe dream when I was ten years old.
Wild Cowboy Ways (Lucky Penny Ranch) by Carolyn Brown
Publication Date: December 22, 2015
Allie Logan isn’t the type to land a hot hunk of cowboy. Truth is, she’s given up on dating since shedding her no-good ex. But the new owner of the most ramshackle ranch in Texas might just change her mind about that. He’s six-foot-plus of tall, dark, and charming-the kind of guy who could make a girl throw caution to the wind . . . or the kind of guy who could break her heart.
Blake Dawson hopes he can make Lucky Penny Ranch finally live up to its name, but the property needs a ton of work. Allie and her carpentry skills are his best shot at getting things in order. Besides the fact that her brown eyes and dangerous curves have him roped and tied. Now Blake only needs to convince her that a wild cowboy can be tamed by love-and she’s just the one to do it . . .
Irene face went blank as she looked around the room. “Why did you bring me over here to this place? I told you to stay away from here. It don’t bring nothing but heartache and yet here you are, flirting with this cowboy. It’s a good thing I saw you sneaking out of the house and came to get you. I’ll have to watch you closer or else you’ll ruin your life like your mama almost did.”
“You want a cup of hot chocolate or coffee?” Blake asked.
Allie shook her head. “What’s this about Mama ruining her life?”
Irene popped up out of the rocking chair and pointed her finger at Allie. “I don’t want to talk about that Alora Raine Logan. I told Katy that she’d have to get over it and she did so we’re not discussing it no more. Let’s go home and I swear to God, if I catch you over here one more time, you’re going to be in big trouble.”
“Let me help you with your coat,” Allie said.
“I’m a grown woman. I don’t need any help,” Irene protested.
Allie stood aside and let her grandmother get the heavy coat up on her shoulders, then watched as Irene slammed the screen door and stomped out to the van. “Thanks for calling. We thought she was asleep in her room. She crawled out a window. Guess I’ll have to put locks on them so she can’t get out.”
“She must’ve loved Walter a lot,” he said.
“I don’t even know who Walter is. He might be a boyfriend she had in the fourth grade and she’s got him mixed up with someone who lived over here at some time in her life. Who knows what triggers what these days.” Allie sighed.
Shooter whined, yipped and then opened his eyes wide. He jumped up and raced across the floor like he’d been poked with a red-hot brand. Blake barely had time to sling open the7 screen door before the yellow blur sped past him and Allie. Then, as if in slow motion Allie was tumbling forward, grasping at nothing more than air to break her fall.
Blake quickly wrapped his big arms around her and pulled her to his chest. Her heart pounded against his as he tightened his arms around her and her arms snaked up around his neck.
“I am so sorry.” She gasped but she didn’t push away from him.
“It’s all right. I’ve got you,” he whispered. “Sorry about Shooter. I’ve never seen him act like that and I’ve had him since the day he was born.”
Her arms fell to her sides and her face turned scarlet. “I had visions of a broken arm and not being able to work.”
Blake didn’t know that women blushed in today’s world, especially those who were tough enough to put a roof on a house and run a construction business.
Without thinking of anything other than comforting her, Blake kissed her on the forehead. “So did I, and all I could think was that the roof wasn’t nearly finished.”
She stiffened and took a step back. “I should be going. Thanks for not letting me fall.”
In seconds she was outside and Blake wondered what in the hell just happened. It was a simple kiss, nothing passionate or demanding, and yet there was no denying that fear in her eyes. Was it just him or was she afraid of all men? And why?
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Brown presently writes both women’s fiction and cowboy romance. She has also written historical single title, historical series, contemporary single title and contemporary series. She lives in southern Oklahoma with her husband, a former English teacher, who is not allowed to read her books until they are published. They have three children and enough grandchildren to keep them young.