Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Interview with Caroline Clemmons

Welcome everyone. Have you finished all your holiday shopping and other duties of the season? Settle in for a treat. Fill your plates with treats also--there are the usual hot drinks, so load up and find a seat. Today our guest is Caroline Clemmons, everyone say ‘hi’.

Mary: I’m glad you could join us today, Caroline. Could you please tell us a bit about you? (something not on your web site.

Caroline: My sweet husband has become a house-husband since he took early retirement, and he prepares our meals and takes care of all those annoying, time-consuming errands so I have more time to write.  You can easily understand why I call him Hero on my blog!

I love family history.  My brother and I have almost completed a book on our father’s Johnson/Johnston/Johnstone family and some allied lines. All that’s left before sending it to the publisher is proofreading and adding a gazillion photos. My daughter is arriving early for Christmas to help me proofread.

Mary: I see that you’re a fan of Nora’s (Nora Roberts). I am also, I have a picture someone took for me at RWA Nationals of the two of us together. She is my writer role model. So tell us a bit about what your favorite Nora books are. Which ones do you recommend.

Caroline:  My favorite of her series are the Chesapeake and Born In trilogies. My favorite of her stand- alone books is the one set in Montana about three half-sisters who inherit a ranch. I love almost everything she writes, but prefer those with suspense.

Mary: I agree, the Chesapeake series was awesome. I see that you write full time. What is a day in the life of Caroline Clemmons?

Caroline:  As if there’s a normal day! :-)  After a leisurely breakfast while my husband and I talk and watch the birds at our feeders, I check email. Then I write and/or promote for the rest of the day. Usually I skip lunch and we have an early dinner about five. After that, I often write more. I do love spending time with my Hero, so sometimes we watch a TV show or movie in the evening or just sit and read together.  But--as with everyone--life often turns my plans--and our lives--topsy-turvy.

Mary: And where can her fans find her? Web site? Blog? Social Networks?

Caroline: I post three times a week on my blog, A Writer’s Life, at http://carolineclemmons.blogspot.com, where I have guest authors, interviews, book reviews, personal ramblings and an occasional book giveaway.
Website at www.carolineclemmons.com
Twitter: @CarolinClemmons (no E in Caroline)
Facebook, Goodreads, LinkedIn, etc.
I’m also involved with team blogs:
On the 26th each month at http://sweetheartsofthewest.blogspot.com
On the 20th each month at http://slipintosomethingvictorian.wordpress.com (American Victorian)

Everyone need a stretch? Fill up your plate with goodies, and warm your hands by the fire pit and then settle back in and we’ll continue.

Mary: If you weren’t writing, is there anything else you’d be?

Caroline: Of course, I’d still read a lot, probably much more than I do now. I’d probably paint in oils on canvas and I’d engage in amateur photography more than I do now. I enjoy those, but not as much as I love writing.

Mary: What holiday do you celebrate this time of year? Do you have traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation? If so, what are they?

Caroline:  We celebrate Christmas in a big, BIG way at our house! I love the anticipation, sounds, decorations, and celebrations of this time of year, and am always a bit sad when December 26th arrives. Our family tree looks forlorn with no gifts underneath, but we leave it up until at least 12th Night. As Beth Trissel said recently on her blog, “I always take the tree down before Easter, unless it’s early that year.” ;-) (Beth is such a wonderful writer and fun person.)

Family traditions handed down are the Scripture reading of the Christmas story from the Book of Luke on Christmas Eve before we pass out and open gifts. After TexMex, my husband reads the Nativity story, then we have a prayer thanking God for all He’s given us this year. Then our youngest daughter passes out gifts and we dig into our presents.  Then, there are more snacks.

Another handed down tradition is the special food we serve. My mom’s divinity fudge, my aunt’s chocolate fudge, the cookies our now-grown kids love: snickerdoodles, spritz, chocolate chip, and (Hero’s favorite) oatmeal. Due to our waistlines, we try to curb our love of these treats, so I don’t make as much of each as in the past.

Mary: Do you have any new ones you’ve created since your kids were born?

Caroline:  We’ve incorporated two new traditions regarding food. On Christmas Eve, we have TexMex (the favorite of everyone in our family). I grew up always having ham on Christmas Day. Our youngest is vegetarian and the other daughter doesn’t like turkey or ham. Since it’s just the four of us, on Christmas Day we take the easy road. We enjoy a lazy, late breakfast after we check out stockings. For a mid-afternoon dinner we buy Stouffer’s five-cheese lasagna and frozen cheesecake (both favorites of our daughters). No muss, no fuss, all day to enjoy one another.

A tradition our youngest started when she was about ten is surprises for Christmas stockings. When she learned I filled the stockings, she said that was unfair because I always knew what I was receiving in my stocking on Christmas morning. She began slipping a surprise into my stocking. Later, for fear her dad might have his feelings hurt (he wouldn’t have), she included him, then her sister. Now each of us puts a surprise in the stockings of the other three.  Nothing major, just a nice treat like a gift card or something else small.

Mary: You mentioned a recipe in a comment on my blog, can you share with us? I love recipes. If you read my blog you know that.

Caroline: Since I’ve slept since then, I don’t remember to which recipe I referred. ;-)  I think it was the following Sweet Potato Casserole, a truly yummy dish to go with any meat.  It’s from a friend who has since passed away, Doris Shelton. I am always asked for the recipe when I serve this dish or take it to a pot luck.

SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE
2 cups sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed (I used canned--easier)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 stick margarine
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix all together and pour into buttered 9 x 13  casserole and bake in 400 degree F oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cover with the following topping:

TOPPING
3/4 cups crushed corn flakes
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 stick margarine, melted

Combine these ingredients and pour over potatoes. Return to oven for 10 minutes.

Mary: Sounds very good! Thanks for sharing. Before you say ado, please give us a blurb of your latest release along with any buy links.

Caroline: Happy to! By the way, HOME, SWEET TEXAS HOME is available in print or e-book.

Courtney Madison has battled poverty her entire twenty-five years, but is determined to make a safe and happy home for her teenaged brother after the recent death of their mom. Her mom’s illness left Courtney with a mountain of hospital bills, her formerly sweet brother Jimmy is now cutting class and hanging with a rough crowd, and she’s just learned she’s being downsized in two weeks. Hanging on by the threads of a fraying rope, she learns she’s inherited two million dollars from a kind, elderly man she befriended when he was in the hospital across the hall from her mom. She thinks her inheritance in West Texas is the answer to all her prayers--but Courtney learns that, while money improves her life, it doesn’t guarantee happiness. This modern Cinderella encounters problems even a fairy godmother couldn’t imagine.

Rancher/entrepeneur Derek Corrigan has incredible instincts for flourishing in the business world. With women, not so much. In fact, his friends bemoan he’s King Midas where money is concerned, but his judgment of women is pathetic--evidenced by his late wife and now the flamboyant woman he’s been escorting. As far as Derek is concerned, all he wants is to be a good dad to his children Warren, aged 8, and Meg, aged 5. Derek suspects the worst of his new neighbor and vows to fight his attraction for her. The only way he can protect his children and himself is to keep his private life very private. Besides, he knows what women do to him--they always leave and take chunks of his heart with them. He's been there, done that, had the vaccination, and is cured. Isn't he?

Buy link www.thewildrosepress.com/caroline-clemmons-m-638.html and also at Amazon, Digi-books, and other online stores.

Mary, thank you very much for letting me visit with your readers.  This has been a fun visit.

Thank you, Caroline, for joining us today. I’ve had a great time. I hope you drop by again.

8 comments:

Mary Martinez said...

Thanks for visiting Caroline. I had a lot of fun with your interview!

Happy holidays!

Caroline Clemmons said...

Mary, thank you so much for hosting me at your blog.

Susan Macatee said...

Hi, Caroline! I'm always learning something new about you. That's great that your husband takes care of the house. Mine still works full time, so I don't have that luxury. He's not around until dinner time on weekdays.

Congrats again on your newest release! Sounds like a great read.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Waving, Caroline. Everytime I read one of your interviews I learn interesting things about your life. How fun and fulfilling your Christmas is for you and your family.

You know I always wish you the best with great sales of your stories. Hugs!

Diane Darcy said...

Hi Mary,
Thanks for the link to the interview. :) It was fun to be introduced to Caroline! The book sounds great! Caroline- your family sounds charming. :) We also keep meals easy on Christmas day. More time to enjoy each other. :) Merry Christmas!

KRBailey said...

Great blog Caroline. I enjoyed learning about you and your writing. Christmas is a busy and special time and it's fun to get new recipes and see what others do to celebrate. Good luck with your writing.

Lindsay said...

I love reading about others holiday traditions. Thanks for sharing yours.

marybelle said...

Hi, a lovely interview. I do love family traditions.

Merry Christmas