Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Carolyn Brown, Guest Blogger

It’s my great pleasure to welcome award-winning author Carolyn Brown back to Thoughts in Progress as the special guest blogger today as she tours the blogosphere promoting the second book in her Honky Tonk series.

Carolyn’s latest book is HELL, YEAH. Thanks to Carolyn and Danielle at Sourcebooks I have two copies of HELL, YEAH to giveaway to 2 lucky visitors who comment on this post between now and 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 24. Be sure to include your e-mail address in your comments if it isn’t included in your profile. Sorry, but the giveaway is only open to U.S. and Canadian residents.

With Carolyn’s hectic schedule I asked her if she could stop in to talk about how she creates her characters. She’s due to drop by any minute. I think I hear her now.

Here I come sliding into the Thoughts in Progress blog site, out of breath and yelling “hell, yeah!” to the top of my lungs because I’m so excited to be here and I’m not late, even though I got lost six times, asked directions a dozen times and ran two red lights. I had a copy of HELL, YEAH in the back seat to bribe the policeman with if he stopped me but he was busy having his donuts and coffee and didn’t even see me.

You asked me to discuss how I create my characters so I reckon that’s what you want to hear about, not my exciting and wild trip to your blog site. Oh, but first, I want to thank Mason for the absolutely awesome reviews she’s given my books. If she’ll stop by my house later this evening we’ll have triple fudge chocolate sheet cake and sweet tea out on the patio.

Okay! Okay! Now about creating characters … I’m not so sure that I create them as much as just tell their stories. I do keep a recipe box with a file card on each character in case I forget their Momma’s name or how tall they are. Sometimes I get all engrossed in the story I’m telling and by the time I get to number four I forget just what shade of blonde Daisy’s hair was back in I LOVE THIS BAR, or how Cathy could change oil in her car in HELL, YEAH.

So creating them? Not so much. Mostly, I toss them into a book and turn them loose. As they tell me all about their lives I jot down a few notes on their file card and put it in the box … which I keep beside me the whole time I’m writing.

Take Cathy and Travis for instance. Cathy came to me in I LOVE THIS BAR as Daisy’s cousin and told me about her horrid boyfriend. Seems that she and Daisy had the same problem when it came to men and that was leaning way over on
the bad side of luck. It was only natural when I LOVE THIS BAR ended that Daisy give the Honky Tonk to her cousin and it was only natural that Cathy make the same vow Daisy had made previously: the only way anyone would take her away from the Honky Tonk was feet first with her cold dead fingers wrapped around a longneck bottle of beer.

HELL, YEAH starts out when Travis comes strutting into the Honky Tonk at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve and plants a passionate kiss right on Cathy’s pretty mouth. I’d only met him a few minutes before that happened and he came to me as a full grown, sexy man who wanted to kiss someone at midnight for good luck. I don’t think I created him and I could have stopped him at the door of the Honky Tonk. I did have the power to send someone else to kiss her before he could swagger across the floor but he was so perfect for her and I really wanted to see what her reaction would be.

From there it was like putting two cats in a burlap bag, tossing it over the clothes line in the back yard and watching the fight from the patio. They were both head strong, intelligent and fighting against what was right in front of their eyes.
And as the fight went on they each kept giving me bits and pieces of their past to work into the story. Cathy sat on my shoulder; Travis stood behind me. And each evening they’d argue about whether I’d told it just the way it happened.

So basically I didn’t do as much creating in HELL, YEAH as I did just writing Cathy and Travis’ story. It was almost as wild and fun as that trip I made getting to this blog site …  tell me, if you had the power to create a cowboy, what traits would you give him? Would he be perfect or slightly flawed like Travis with his wire rimmed glasses? Would your bartender be a mealy mouthed little woman with no backbone or would she be a spit fire like Cathy? Let me hear what you’d do with the power of creation.

And thanks for letting me stop by today, Mason. It’s been a pure delight to sit and catch my breath before chasing off to another blog site on this tour.

Carolyn, thanks so much for spending some time with us today. It's always fun when you drop by. I can see how these characters took over and wrote their own story. They are definitely realistic and true to live. I’m just wondering if we’re going to learn more about Tinker in the coming books. BTW, I’d love to have your recipe for that triple fudge chocolate sheet cake, so yummy.

Here’s a brief synopsis of HELL, YEAH that hit the bookstores this month. "She’s finally found a place that feels like home…
When Cathy O’Dell buys the Honky Tonk, the nights of cowboys and country tunes come together to create the home she’s always wanted. Then in walks a ruggedly handsome oil man who tempts her to trade in the happiness she’s found at the Honky Tonk for a life on the road with him…

He lives the good life…
Gorgeous and rich, Travis Henry travels the country unearthing oil wells and then moving on. Then the beautiful blue-eyed new owner of the Honky Tonk beer joint becomes his best friend and so much more. When his job is done in Texas, how is he ever going to hit the road without her?

Now a little background on Carolyn. She 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. To learn more about Carolyn drop by her website at http://carolynlbrown.com/ 


  1. It's always interesting to learn about the writing process and who doesn't like cowboys?

    headlessfowl at jteers dot net

  2. Hi Mason - thanks for introducing us to Carolyn. Carolyn certainly you seem to have a flow .. and the characters of a rich rough and ready oil man travelling the country where new strikes take him .. in conjunction with a new lady whom he cannot leave, nor she him .. sounds intriguing .. Hilary

  3. What another great post with Carolyn. I just picked up the first one, I Love this Bar at the library, so will keep an eye out for Hell, Yeah too! The series is coming out quickly! Thanks.

  4. Carolyn, it's always fun having you guest blog. I've enjoyed both books of your Honky Tonk series and look forward to the next two (and hope there will be more after that).

    Headlessfowl, thanks for dropping by and you're right I think everyone likes cowboys (are at least they should). :)

    Hilary, this is an intriguing series filled with unique and wonderful characters.

    Julia, I hope you enjoy I Love This Bar as much as I did.

  5. What a wonderful way with words. Enjoyed the post and will take a look at the book.... "two cats in a burlap bag..." love it

  6. Hello Carolyn!

    I recently got the chance to read Getting Lucky, and whew was it hot! But it was also exactly what I needed... I need some yummy cowboys now and again... or cowboy-like men. Can't wait to check out your newest book.

    ~ Morning Glow
    ohmorningglow AT aol DOT com

  7. Good mornin' everyone,
    Thanks for letting me slide in here and have a while to catch my breath.
    Love your comments and am glad so many of you liked I Love This Bar. And yes, ma'am, there are more after the Honky Tonk series. I'm working on a brand new series, Spikes & Spurs, which will debut in May of 2011. More cowboys. More sassy women. More fun.
    Carolyn Brown

  8. HELL YEAH! I resemble that thought, at least in recent years. I love Carolyn's discussion of how she keeps track of her characters. And I love that title. A great title may not be the only key to a book's success, but it is an indispensable one.

  9. Oh yes, I'd definitely like to get into the Honky Tonk series. 'Hell, Yeah' sounds mighty fun!

    jenma76 at hotmail dot com

  10. It's nice to JUST write stories. I think she's a smart woman to listen to her characters, know their needs, and write about them. I enjoyed the interview a lot.


  11. I had to go work a while but I'm back. Thanks for all the great comments!
    You can find out what's coming next and what's still on the bookshelves by going to my website at www.carolynlbrown.com
    Now back to writing Pearl and Wil out of a sticky predicament.
    Carolyn Brown

  12. No need to enter me - I just think it's a great title for a book.

  13. Love letting the characters loose to see who they are and how they react - so much fun! :)

  14. Enjoyed the guest post, Carolyn, very much. The Honky Tonk series seems quite interesting and "Hell, Yeah!" - what a great title!

  15. Hi again,
    I loved the titles, too. I had something different in mind when I came up with the idea but my fabulous editor thought we should name them after country songs and I absolutely loved her idea. From there we had so much fun and each title fit the book so well!
    Thanks for comments!

  16. Carolyn, thanks again for stopping by. I've been away from the computer most of the day (that work thing again). Wishing you much success with your writing. I'm looking forward to reading MY GIVE A DAMN'S BUSTED and I just got HONKY TONK CHRISTMAS this afternoon.

    Hi everyone, thanks so much for stopping by and saying 'Hey' to Carolyn. I really appreciate it.

  17. I, too, absolutely adore the title HELL, YEAH. It's funny, affirmative and has so much energy it jumps off the cover. Love it!

  18. Carolyn Brown is a new-to-me author and I've heard so many great reviews about the Honky Tonk series. Thanks for hosting Ms. Brown and getting to know a little about her.

    armiefox at yahoo dot com

  19. Sounds like great rollicking fun! Woohoo! Count me in! I'd love to read it.

    taittems at gmail dot com.

    I like Carolyn Brown's fun-loving style!!!

  20. Carolyn, I'm like you: I let the characters just walk on in and tell me their stories, along the way, too. :) I loved ILTB, and look forward to delving into the rest of the series.

    Best of luck with them!


  21. Fun interview. I agree whole-heartedly with Carolyn's powers of creation--the slightly-flawed hero and spit-fire heroine work just fine. Can't wait to catch up with Hell, Yeah.

  22. Hell Yeah sounds like a fantastic read!
    chey127 at hotmail dot com

  23. Sounds like a great read! I think it's interesting that the author keeps a card file with her characters!

    meredithfl at gmail dot com


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.