Joining me today in The Loft is author Caroline Clemmons. The author of more than 60 books, Caroline writes sweet to sensual romance, both historical and contemporary, as well as western, time travel, and mystery. She is a Top 100 Amazon historical author, as well as a bestselling and award-winning writer. When Caroline’s not writing, she loves spending time with her family, reading her friends’ books, dining in restaurants, browsing antique malls, delving into genealogy, checking Facebook, and taking the occasional nap. Caroline lives in North Central Texas, where she and her "hero" ride herd indoors on their two cats and two dogs.
S: Good morning, Caroline! It's a pleasure to chat with you today!
You have written more than 60 books. Why write romance?
C: By illustrating characters overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles, romance creates hope that we can triumph over obstacles in our personal lives. Readers have said that reading romance has “saved” them in difficult times.
S: Digging into a romance novel is a great way to shut out all the stress in our lives, isn't it?
Do you write in other genres?
C: Most of my books and novellas are historical western romance, but some are contemporary. I also dabble in contemporary cozy mystery. This coming year, I’ll add contemporary women’s fiction and, perhaps, English Victorian. I read several genres and enjoy writing several of the type of books I read.
S: What was your worst date ever?
C: Fortunately, I didn’t have many dates I consider terrible. One stands out in my mind. When I was in seventh grade, there was this gorgeous guy was two years ahead of me. I admired him from afar. When I got to high school, there he was again, even cuter. When I was a freshman in college, he asked me out. I discovered he was no longer two years ahead of me, but was only a sophomore. On the date, he told me some of his theories, and I was surprised he was as misinformed as he was confident. He proved a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Or that’s how he seemed to me. For instance, one of his theories was about the reason people get a headache after overeating--our date was near Thanksgiving. He believed that eating a large meal gave one gas. Gas rises in the body, but can’t get through the hard skull. Hence, a headache occurs from the gas in one’s head pushing against the skull. I could hardly wait for the evening to end.
S: It may have been a bad date, but when it was over, you sure had some tales to tell!
Do you believe in love at first sight? Has it ever happened to you?
C: I am a firm believer because it happened to me! I remember the instant I saw my husband and everything in the room as if it were a photograph.
S: What attracted you to your husband?
C: In my head, when we met he was the most suave and sophisticated guy ever, though photos of him at that age offer contradictory proof. He was neither of those, but he was attractive. He was also extremely intelligent, which is one of the many things I like about him. He was--and is--kind to his family. When we announced our engagement, his mother told me she knew he’d be a good husband because he was such a good son. She was right.
S: Stories like that renew my faith in the magic of true love. You are one of the lucky ones.
What do people get wrong about romance?
C: One of the things stems from those old-style cover photos I hate—the bodice rippers. Romance by some authors might be fanciful, but most romance authors write solid stories about events that might occur or if historical, have occurred. We don’t write wimpy damsels waiting to be rescued. Today’s heroines can rescue themselves, thank you very much. What they need is a partner who is understanding and offers commitment and love. The other thing some scoffers get wrong is thinking romance novels are immoral. Whether they are or not depends on your personal moral code. What I think is soft porn someone else thinks is fine. The thing is, enough variety is offered that everyone can find titles that meet their preference. If critics really studied the Bible, they’d be surprised. An example is the maligned yet determined Tamar, who would not be cheated. Oooh, sorry, that’s probably going to annoy some readers. My point is, critics would be surprised if they actually read a modern romance novel. Sorry, now I’ll step off my soap box.
S: I totally agree with you. I have heard all sorts of criticism about my steamy romance books--from people who have never read them. In addition, anyone who thinks sex does not occur in a romantic relationship is no doubt hanging around a cabbage patch praying a stork will appear. That said, love is, mostly, beautiful and takes on all shapes and colors. We do ourselves a disservice when we aren't open to that.
What would you like people to know about you?
C: Whether a reader likes my writing or not, I want them to know that I strive to provide an entertaining story, an escape from whatever cares they have, and take them to another world. No author can please everyone. Sometimes characters speak to us more distinctly than at other times, so that book will be better. Our lives change and we work during autoimmune diseases, illnesses, and other problems. I hope readers understand that I always do the very best I’m able at the time I’m writing.
S: If you had it to do over again would you still write books?
C: You bet I would! The difference is I’d try earlier and do things differently. With 20/20 hindsight, I see many times I would change. I believe those people who say, “If I had it all to do over again, I wouldn’t change a thing” must be demented. Did they learn nothing?
S: What do you consider your greatest achievement?
C: Personally, that would be a tie between two things. One is watching our daughters grow into the amazing women they are. The second is being married to my sweet husband, who I call Hero. Professionally, writing over 60 titles, each of which I loved at the time I wrote it. Single titles and series and multi-author projects are represented. There are books in which I take more pleasure at having written, of course. There are two I don’t particularly like now. I completely rewrote another after the rights were returned to me.
S: What inspired your latest book, "Mail Order Gloria?"
C: When Cheryl Wright invited me to be a part of her Christmas series, an idea popped into my head. I’ve enjoyed working with Cheryl on other projects, and knew I’d like being included in her Impostor for Christmas series. One reason is because I love Christmas, especially the month leading up to the day. The name of a long-time friend who’s had last several years have been rotten, Gloria, came to mind. The song “Angels We Have Heard on High” also occurred to me. I enjoy writing about a woman who has been the underdog, but who takes charge of her life, takes a chance, and finds her happily-ever-after.
S: Caroline, thanks so much for joining me today, and congratulations on all of your success. If you'd like to learn more about Caroline and her books, please visit--
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