Please join me in welcoming award-winning author Carolyn Brown as the special guest blogger here today at Thoughts in Progress on her tour through the blogosphere.
Carolyn’s latest book, I LOVE THIS BAR, the first in the new Honky Tonk Series, has just hit the bookshelves. Thanks to Carolyn and Danielle at Sourcebooks, I have two copies of this great new book to giveaway to two lucky visitors who comment on Carolyn’s post between today and 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 17. Be sure to include your e-mail address in your comment if it isn’t included in your profile.
Here’s a brief blurb about the book: “She doesn’t need anything but her bar…
Daisy O’Dell has her hands full with hotheads and thirsty ranchers until the day one damn fine cowboy walks in and throws her whole life into turmoil…
He’s looking for a cold drink and a moment’s peace…
Instead, Jarod McElroy, finds one red hot woman. She’s just what he needs, if only he can convince her to come out from behind that bar, and come home with him…”
Carolyn has been kind enough to stop by and answer a few questions for me concerning her writing and her new series.
Thank you so much for let me stop by your site today on my blog tour. It's a delight to be here to visit with y'all about I Love This Bar. Isn't that cowboy on the cover absolutely yummy? Doesn't he make you want to put on your boots and hit the nearest Honky Tonk for some cold beer and two-steppin'? But whoa! Hold on a minute before you go rushing out the door and let's have a visit.
Please give us a brief description of your book and series for anyone not familiar with them.
Each of the four titles in the Honky Tonk series features the name of a hot country western song and centers around the Honky Tonk, a beer joint in Mingus, Texas. Daisy O’Dell is the bartender in I Love This Bar and the Honky Tonk is the love of her life. She loves the job, her little apartment behind the bar and the bar patrons: Chigger, the woman who could be a hooker but says sex is too damn much fun to charge money for it; Merle, the seventy year old pool shark, who's free with advice; the red haired Walker triplets, Jim Bob, Joe Bob and Billy Bob; Amos, a oil baron who likes to dress in black leather and ride a Harley. But then she falls smack dab on the dance floor and brings Jarod McElroy down to land on top of her, knocking the wind out of her lungs and making her wish they were in a horizontal position anywhere but on a hardwood floor with a hundred people looking at them. Jarod McElroy knew he’d met his match the first time he saw Daisy with her hot looks and smart mouth. The heat between them sparkled from the moment he found himself tangled up with her after a tumble caused by a spilled beer. He came into the Honky Tonk for a cold beer and some peace away from his meddling great uncle. He got the beer but from the first time he saw Daisy there was no peace in his life.
Would you say your book and the Honky Tonk series falls under any one genre or does it cover several?
It's pure old romance. It's heat, passion and love rolled up into one book with obstacles getting in the way of happy-ever-after at every corner. Those things which we get too easy or without having to work at aren't ever as precious as the ones that we have to fight for.
What inspires you to write about cowboys and bars? Have you ever owned or worked in a honky tonk?
No, I've never worked in or owned a honky tonk. The real inspiration for this series came from an old bar in Ratliff City, Oklahoma called Ma Honey's Place. When my husband was in college his good friend, Drig, lived with us and used to entertain me for hours with stories about Ma Honey's which wasn't far from where he grew up. He'd go off on Saturday night and come back with all these tales about quirky people in the bar. I swear Toby Keith probably visited the same bar at sometime because his song mentions the same characters.
Do you think there is a new trend with more books aimed at cowboys and the West or just better publicized?
Publicized or not, I think it's here to stay. Cowboys are real in their tight fittin' jeans and boots; with their slow deep Texas drawls and sexy smiles. They make a woman feel special when they tip their hats, open pickup truck doors and tell them they are they most beautiful thing God ever put on the face of the earth. They love with their whole heart and they are honest and trustworthy. Put a cowboy in the middle of New York City or in Mingus, Texas and I guarantee you the women will turn and take a second glance. Take a look at the cover of I Love This Bar. No matter if you were at a black tie party where plates were five thousand dollars or at a country picnic where everyone brought their favorite casserole, wouldn't you stop and take a second look at him. So it is with western romance. Folks come back for more of what was real and I do believe it will be around for a long time.
How do you go about researching for your book and the Honky Tonk series?
I did lots of research on the internet and took pages and pages of notes. I researched animal husbandry for Daisy since she is a vet tech. I had to make sure the dosage and the medicine was right for the goats when they ate too much and got bloated. Research took me to the oil fields for Cathy, to the Hyatt Regency in Dallas and to this fantastic little cafe in Italy where they serve the best Italian ice cream for Larissa and to Iraq for Sharlene. Most of it was computer research but I did make several trips to Mingus and the surrounding area. There really is a Smokestack restaurant in the town of Thurber which boasts a population of five. And they serve some almighty fine chicken fried steaks. I talked to folks and they were really friendly even if they couldn't believe I was going to write about Mingus, Texas with a population of 246. I didn't pass a pickup truck on a back road without the driver waving and smiling. And there was an abundance of boots, hats and belt buckles so if you're ever in the mood to do a little dancing or to chase down a cowboy of your own, Mingus is less than two hours due west of Dallas. They'll make you feel right at home.
What would you say are the highs and lows of writing a series?
The biggest high would be knowing I could keep on writing when the first book was finished. It was great to keep opening the doors every evening at eight to the Honky Tonk for my quirky patrons to come on in for a cold beer, to line dance the Cotton Eyed Joe or shoot a game of pool with Merle, the seventy year old pool shark with ratted hair and designer shirts. If there is a low it would be keeping the momentum going in each book so the reader doesn't get bored with the series and seeing the series finish at the end of four books.
You write several genres, is one your favorite or does each inspire it's own special place?
Yes, ma'am, each inspires it's own special place. I like writing historical romance and love contemporary happy-ever-after but right now I'm enjoying writing cowboy romance and hope my readers continue to love to read westerns as much as I like writing them.
Anything else you'd like the readers to know about your books?
I Love This Bar will be followed by Hell, Yeah (August), My Give A Damn's Busted (October) and Honky Tonk Christmas (November). Each book has its own bar owner and cowboy who convinces her to come out from behind that bar even though she has no intentions of doing so. Tell me, If you were a bartender what kind of cowboy would it take to make you leave the Honky Tonk?
Carolyn, thanks so much for guest blogging here today. It’s always fun to find out background on the author’s writing.
Carolyn, who has published 36 romance novels for the library market, credits her eclectic family for her humor and writing ideas. She was born in Texas but grew up in southern Oklahoma where she and her husband, Charles, a retired English teacher, now make their home in the town of Davis, Oklahoma. They have three grown children and enough grandchildren to keep them young. For more information on Carolyn and her writing, check out her website.