Out of the Blue is a time travel romantic suspense. It’s unusual in that the heroine comes forward from 1845 Ireland to contemporary North Central Texas. Researching this book was fun.Deirdre Doughety lives in a remote area of Ireland where she is an herbal healer, but is also clairvoyant. Villagers don’t know the potato blight is all over Ireland and think Deirdre cursed their crops. A local bully incited the mob to burn Deirdre’s cottage and her. She barely gets away and the only area of escape it to leap off the cliff into the Atlantic. She does, but lands in modern day Possum Kingdom Lake in North Central Texas. Yes, that’s a real lake a couple of hours west of Fort Worth. Brendan Hunter is a police detective on medical leave. A supposedly drive-by shooting injured him in the shoulder and thigh and killed his best friend/partner. He’s determined to find the killers. He suspects Deirdre is either crazy or in league with the killers, but learns she can help him in ways he never dreamed.
Tell us something about yourself.
Although I’ve lived in California for seven years and Florida for three, I consider myself a Texas.I’ve made up adventures as long as I can remember. I was a shy, sickly child and spent way too much time daydreaming of riding the range with Roy Rogers. I was crushed when I learned that hussy Dale Evans had stolen my man, so I moved on to Nancy Drew novels. Most of my married like has been as a stay-at-home mom for our two daughters, but my work outside the home includes office manager, newspaper columnist and reporter, administrative assistant to the managing editor of a psychology journal, and as bookkeeper for the local tax assessor. I longed to write full time and was able–thanks to my husband–to quit work and write full time at home.
What inspired you to write this book?
In an article, an editor said the time travel submissions she received always had the heroine going back in time. She thought it would be interesting if an historic heroine came forward to our time. So did I. Since my husband and I had just returned from a trip to Ireland and fell in love with the country, I thought an Irish heroine during the potato famine would be perfect. And where do I live? North Central Texas, so that’s where her travel ends.
How did you publish this book? Why did you decide on that publisher?
I went with The Wild Rose Press due to a previous experience with them that was extremely pleasant. Five friends and I put together Northern Roses and Southern Belles, an anthology of novellas set around the Civil War–strictly on a “what if we do this?” basis. Allison Byers at The Wild Rose Press contracted it. The cover is wonderful, working with Allison was a dream, and I fell in love with this publisher. I had previously been published by a larger NY publisher, but this was so much more pleasant!
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
I’ve always written articles for the newspaper, edited newsletters, etc. for whatever group I was in, plus edited my school newspaper. I had never thought about writing a book until my mother-in-law suggested I try it. She brought me a big brown grocery bag filled with Harlequin and Silhouetter books and said, “You could write these.” She was basing her opinion on the long, detailed letters I wrote her. My husband encouraged me, too, but it was not until our daughters were in college that I really got serious about writing a book. I took a community ed class called “Writing Fiction to Sell”. Bestselling authors Deborah Crombie and Lori Wilde were students of the same professor, Warren Norwood. Fortunately for them, they’ve done a lot better than I have. Sigh.
What do you believe is the hardest part of writing?
Writing when you’re not in the mood. I always love writing, but it’s easy to check my email, write a blog article, edit yesterday’s pages, or research. But, pages have to be writtern and an author has to force her/his self to produce pages. If I’m in a really bad mood …uh, not that that would ever happen, of course…I call my friend Jeanmarie Hamilton or email her or Sandy Crowley. They perk me up and then I’m pecking away at the keyboard again. Having friends who share you writing passion is so important. Authors are basically isolated when they’re working and human contact–even virtual through email–is necessary to maintain good balance.
How do you do research for your books?
Both my daughters help me plus I have a large library of research books on the subjects that might appear in my books. Just yesterday my eldest daughter spent a couple of hours researching an obscure poison and the antidote for my work in progress so that I could keep writing. If it’s something easy, I can check the internet, but anything there has to be double-checked.
Did you learn anything from writing this book? What?
OUT OF THE BLUE book was actually fun to write. My friend Bobbye Terry, who writes as Daryn Cross and as herself, asked me what about this book that made it so much fun to write. I believe that it was very well plotted with the help of Sandy Crowley. The second thing is that I love all the characters–except the villain. I was having a little trouble plotting my work in progress and Sandy–who had the nerve to move to Colorado just because her husband was transferred there–was out of pocket. Bobbye helped with some great suggestions that fired up my brain and enthusiasm.
So, I learned that for me, I have to plot the book thoroughly even if I take detours along the way–and I always do. I learned that I no longer can write for hire. By that, I mean that to do a good job, I have to love the concept and the characters and the locale. I used to think I could write to trends, but I have learned that only when I write what I love does the book turn out welll–or what I believe is a good book. (Blatant patting myself on the back.)
What are you reading now?
The new Jayne Ann Krentz book. I love her books plus those she writes as Amanda Quick.
What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?
I’m an eclectic reader, which is why I write more than one subgenre. I love Nora Roberts, Julie Garwood, Jodi Thomas, Lorraine Heath, lots of historical western authors like Celia Yeary and Anna Kathryn Lanier, mainstream authors like Karen White and Kathryn Stockett. I loved THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY and feel so sorry that author died. I love cozies and mysteries too. Carola Dunn, Rhys Bowen, Mary Higgins Clark, Joan Hess…..there are too many to mention. These authors transport me from my world to theirs They give me hope that the good guys will win and the bad guys suffer justice. I know literary authors/publishers look down on popular fiction, but I believer it serves a very useful purpose. If I want to be depressed, I’ll turn on the television news or read the newspaper. When I read a book, I want to be uplifted, thank you very much!. Oh, dear, have to get down off my soap box, don’t I?
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
I’m always working on a next book. LOL I’m enjoyed writing OUT OF THE BLUE so much that I’m writing another time travel. All I’ll say is that it has a sexy cowboy in it. Of course, almost all my books have sexy cowboys in them. LOL
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
Hone your craft. Don’t be insulted when someone critiques your work. No one is so great he or she never makes a mistake. Choose critiquers carefully, though. I once had one steal my story ideas for her book. Now my critique partners are friends whose honesty and expertise I trust. Publishing is a hard, discouraging business. Persevere. Write the kind of book you love to read and someone else will love it, too.
What are you doing to promote your latest book?
About everything FREE except standing on the town square with a sandwich board. LOL I’m blogging and have a weekly contest on my blog. Okay, the contest isn’t free because I have to buy prizes, but they’re all things related to OUT OF THE BLUE. (Comment to enter, become a follower for a second entry.) My husband keeps my website updated. I have exchanged blog interviews with a number of authors and have a August blog tour lined up. My eldest daughter helps me find places to promote. It’s a family enterprise. LOL My husband also runs errands so I don’t have to stop writing and often cooks meals and does laundry. What a Hero!
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?
So nice of you to ask! There is an excerpt on my website at www.carolineclemmons.com
I give different excerpts occasionally on my blog at http://carolineclemmons.blogspot.com
I’m on Facebook and Twitter, but I don’t spend much time there. I have to write most of the time.
Thank you so much for interviewing me.