Blog Archive

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Creating a Writing Career: Author Interview with Carolyn Brown

My interview today is with New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Carolyn Brown. Who has been publishing her contemporary, historical, and cowboy romance novels for decades. And she's not done with writing, yet. Let's take some time to get to know her and learn how she keeps her writing fresh.

I am in awe at the number of books you have written. How many books did it take before you thought you could make a career at it?
I’d wanted to be an author for most of my adult life, so when I sold the first books (I sold my first two on the same day), I was determined to give it all the discipline and steam I had to make it a career.

Your writing includes different facets of the romance genre. Do you prefer one genre to write in more than another? How do you keep the writing fresh and contemporary after so many books?
Diversity keeps things from going stale. I love writing women’s fiction and contemporary both and pretty often, I write a contemporary and then a women’s fiction, etc. Everyone has a story—real life or characters. Sometimes the two blur in my mind when I’m writing, but keeping things fresh is simply remembering that the characters, like real people, are different. They’ve lived different lives and walked different paths. They have very diverse baggage and problems.

Even though there are more opportunities for authors to self-publish, do you think it’s easier or harder to find an audience for your books today?
With self-publishing these days, it’s easier to get a toe in the door than it was twenty years ago, but finding an audience is still just as difficult. You have to build your readership just like laying one brick after another while constructing a house. It’s not easy. It’s time taking. Sometimes frustrating. What you have to remember is that a readership is like air to an author. Without it, you can’t continue to sell books.

What is the hardest part of writing for you? Starting? Creating a scene? Dialog? Tension?
The most difficult part of writing for me is the ending. I know how the story will end, but by that time, I’ve made good friends with all the characters, and I don’t want to tell them goodbye.

What does your editor remind you to do most often?
I have amazing editors, and I’m very grateful for them. What they both tell me most often is to remember to put more emotion into every scene.

What’s the best encouragement you’ve had in your writing?
That would be when I get a fan letter that tells me I have touched someone’s life, or when one of my books has caused them to make a change for the positive in their life.

We have all experienced rejection. Give me an example of one you’ve had, and how you learned to write past it.
I collected twenty years’ worth of rejection letters before I finally got “the call”. I had enough to wallpaper the White House! I was as persistent as a hound dog with a soup bone. I’d send out query letters and wait, send out three chapters and wait. Then I’d get tired of the rejection letters and put the writing away for a while. But like that old hound dog that had buried the bone, I’d dig it up and start trying again.

What has surprised you the most in writing/publishing? What frustrated you the most?
Like most new authors, I thought my first two books had set me up for a good career. I had to learn that it takes several books to build a readership. I don’t know that anything has frustrated me so much. It’s all a learning curve. You keep up with the changes and take a different path when necessary. Nothing lasts forever, so you have to learn to accept that changes will come along, and just climb out of the boat you’re in and into a new one.

What do you know now about writing you wished you had known sooner?
That it takes lots and lots of discipline to write a book. It’s not enough to outline, pick out cute names and/or titles. Someone once said that writing a book is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. All I got to say is, “Amen!”

What is the best writing advice you’ve received or could give?
This advice comes to you from Nora Roberts. She told us at a conference that we should write something every day. You can fix bad writing. You can’t do a blessed thing about no writing.

Are there any other points about writing you would like to add?
My biggest advice to new authors is to simply write, don’t whine. Don’t tell me that you’ve got this wonderful idea, but…you have to work a day job…you have to write only when you are inspired…you have children at home...etc., etc.

If you really want to produce a book, write it! I have a friend who gets up at 3 a.m. every morning so she can write. She started doing that when she worked forty hours a week and still does it. It takes discipline and some of that 90% stuff, but it’s worth it in the end.

You have a new book release. How many books published have you now written?
The Magnolia Inn is out TODAY!! I’m so excited about this book. It’s my 94th published novel. One of my goals was to have a hundred books published. I just finished writing number 100. It won’t see publication until 2020, but I’m excited to have met the goal.

Can you give me a short synopsis?
Inheriting the Magnolia Inn, a Victorian home nestled in the East Texas pines, is a fantasy come true for Jolene Broussard. After living with the guilt of failing to rescue her self-destructive mother, Jolene knows her aunt and uncle’s B&B is the perfect jump start for a new life and a comforting place to call home. There’s just one hitch: stubborn and moody carpenter Tucker Malone. He’s got a half interest in the Magnolia Inn, and he’s planting his dusty cowboy boots squarely in the middle of her dream.

Ever since his wife’s death, Tucker’s own guilt and demons have left him as guarded as Jolene. The last thing he expects is for his new partner to stir something inside him he thought was gone forever. And as wary as Jolene is, she may have found a kindred spirit—someone she can help, and someone she can hold on to.

Restoring the Magnolia Inn is the first step toward restoring their hearts. Will they be able to let go of the past and trust each other to do it together?

Sounds intriguing and a great location to set a storyline! If you'd like to learn more about Carolyn's writing and buy a few of her books, here are some links to point you in the right direction.

Author’s FB Page:
Buy Link for The Magnolia Inn: