Thursday, June 24, 2010

Author Interview and Giveaway: Carolyn Brown (author of I Love This Bar)

Welcome to Day 4 of my author spotlight week.  Today's spotlight is on Sourcebooks author, Carolyn Brown, whose first book in her new Honky Tonk trilogy, I Love This Bar, released earlier this month.  There will also be a giveaway so stay tuned for more information at the bottom of  this post.  In the meantime, please join me in welcoming Carolyn Brown to My Reading Room.

1. How did you celebrate the first time you found out you would be published?

First thing I did was stop breathing; second was to remind myself to breath; third was to call my husband who was visiting his folks in PA and begin to stutter. After that it was dancing around in the living room and eating all the fat grams and calories I wanted the rest of the day!

2. Was it just as exciting to find out your Honky Tonk series, starting with I Love This Bar would be published?

Yes, ma’am. I’ve sold 55 books and it is just as exciting with every contract and every book. And just as thrilling when I get a box of author’s copies in the mail and see the real book in print. I even get all excited when I get one in a foreign language and I can’t read a word of it.

3. The titles for your Honky Tonk series are great, and definitely make me interested in the series (I Love This Bar, Hell, Yeah, My Give a Damn's is Busted and Honky Tonk Christmas), did you name them?  If so (or not) how did the names come about?

Actually, my editor, Deb Werksman, and her staff had a big hand in helping me with the titles. I had something different in mind but Deb said she wanted to title the first one, I Love This Bar, and I loved it. From there it was on to three other country music tunes that played a big part in each book.

4. Without giving anything away - what is I Love This Bar about?

I Love This Bar is about Daisy who has been the bartender/bar owner/vet-tech enough years to have seen all of the folks mentioned in the song and her love for the bar runs deeper than just liking her job. She has absolutely no notions of changing one bit of her life until Jarod swaggers into the Honky Tonk in his tight fittin’ jeans, ten gallon hat, boots and enough sex appeal to give her a case of acute hot flashes.

It doesn’t help that they collide in the middle of the dance floor and the fall puts him right on top of Daisy. It’s set in the Honky Tonk, an old weathered-wood saloon in Mingus, Texas. If the walls could talk they could tell tales that would put a whole new slant on the history in Palo Pinto County. It’s been there the better part of half a century and like Toby Keith says in his song, “I Love This Bar,” its has a quirky cast of losers, boozers, yuppies, blue collar boys, rednecks, dancing girls and hookers, a big bouncer man and dumb-asses.

5. Where did the idea for the Honky Tonk series come from?

When my husband was in college his best friend lived with us for a while. He used to frequent an old honky tonk over in south central Oklahoma called Ma Honey’s and would entertain us for hours after he’d been over there. I’d always wanted to write a series about that old saloon. Of course, all the characters are entirely fictional!

6. Ah dry counties - I'm so glad I don't live in one - but it makes an interesting back drop to have the bar serve a wet and a dry county - how did this idea come about for you?

I’m not sure. I think Daisy told me about it when she took up residence in my head and demanded that I write her story. And then she introduced me to her cousin, Cathy, and there was the basis for Hell, Yeah. Cathy made a new friend named Larissa and her story is in My Give A Damn’s Busted, and then she hired Sharlene and Honky Tonk Christmas is her story.

7. How much research did you do for I Love This Bar?

I always visit the area that I plan to write about so we were in Mingus several times while I wrote the series. We ate at the Smokestack and prowled around the area. There are some really nice, friendly people down there.

8. Do you plan your books out or do you just write and see where it takes you?

Both. I plan and plan and then the characters take over and tell me what I’m going to write. Shhh. Don’t tell anyone that I have voices in my head!

9. Do you get time to read? What are your favorite types of books to read?

Reading has been a passion since I was old enough to figure out how much fun it is. I’m an eclectic reader who’ll read anything from the back of the Frosted Shredded Wheat Box to Leon Uris and love it all. I love anything that touches my emotions. We almost had a wake at our house when LaVyrle Spenser retired.

10. What is your favorite room in your house?

My office. It’s where I write!

11. What is your favorite spot to read in?

I’ll read anywhere. Standing at the kitchen bar while the brownies cook. Sitting in one of the Adirondack chairs my husband built for me out in the back yard. In the bathtub with bubbles up to my … well, as high as they can get without getting the book wet. Propped up in bed with pillows all around me.

12. What is your favorite snack food?

Oh, my, that’s entering a whole ‘nuther field. I like donuts, popcorn, potato chips … how much room do we have for this interview!

13. What is your favorite season?

Spring. I love new flowers and new leaves on the trees and baby kittens in the back yard.

15. Do you have a schedule for writing each day or do you just do it when you can?

I write every day, five or six days a week. When characters are in my mind sometimes they won’t shut up until I get a scene finished. On those occasions Husband eats fast food, ignores the dust bunnies under the bed and has been known to wash dishes.

16. Where do you do the majority of your writing?

I have an office in my house and that’s where I write most of the time. I have been known to write on the lap top while riding down the road!

17. Did you find writing I Love This Bar to be difficult or did the book just take off with no problems?

Daisy was a delight and so was Jason! They were pretty adamant that I get their story straight. Sometimes they argued with me and I had to rewrite their story to get it right.

18. Any book signings/conferences/public/blog appearances in the near future?

Yes, I’ll be signing books at the Literacy Signing in Orlando, Florida at the RWA Conference at the end of July. Then on August 7 I have a signing at Full Circle Books in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and on August 14 at Barnes and Noble in Oklahoma City. And hopefully, I’ll do a blog tour in August for the promotion of Hell, Yeah. I Love This Bar will be available at all the book signings as well.

19. Do you have a new book in the works?

Always! I’m working on another cowboy series for Sourcebooks which will debut in the spring of 2011. I’m really excited about them. They’re set right on the border of Oklahoma and Texas and are about strong, sassy women and hunky, sexy cowboys.

Anything else you would like to say?

Yes, I’d like to thank you for letting me stop by here on my blog tour. Tell me, after reading I Love This Bar and that teaser at the back for Hell, Yeah, would you go out and buy a pair of cowboy boots?

Yes Carolyn, I think I just might :) 

Thank you Carolyn for agreeing to the interview.  I'm in the middle of I Love this Bar and Jarod is absolutely yummy :)

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…

About the Author
Carolyn Brown is an award-winning author who has published 36 historical and western romance novels for the library market, many of them bestsellers in that market. Born in Texas and raised in southern Oklahoma, Carolyn and her husband now make their home in the town of Davis, Oklahoma. For more information, please visit


Danielle Jackson at Sourcebooks, has kindly allowed me to giveaway 2 copies of Carolyn's I Love This Bar to two lucky readers who comment.  Simple answer this question (inspired by Carolyn's question above): do you own a pair of cowboy boots and if not, would you be open to buying a pair?  Open to US/Canada only.  Additional entries for being a follower (rss, twitter, google friend, networked blogs, etc), tweeting (1 per day), and posting on your blog.  Please comment for each entry.  Giveaway open through July 1, 2010.