BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF WESTERN HISTORICAL ROMANCE!
Caroline Clemmons writes historical and contemporary genre fiction. Historical romances, contemporary romantic suspense, mysteries, and paranormals are among her current works. Learn more about her at www.carolineclemmons.com
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
INTERVIEW WITH BABETTE JAMES
Please welcome Babette James
to the blog. Babette, tell readers something about yourself.
Babette: I was born in New
Jersey and raised in Southern California. I have one brother and he still lives
in California with his family. I was the shy, nose-in-a-book kid, and even got
in trouble for refusing to go to recess in Kindergarten because I wanted to
read instead. We lived in a rural, hilly area outside of Malibu which was
wonderful for hiking and playing and dreaming up adventures, and I loved going
on camping trips to the mountains and to the Colorado River with my family. I
moved back to New Jersey after college. I have a wonderfully patient husband who
supports my writing and while, sadly, we were not blessed with children, we are
owned by two extremely spoiled cats.
Caroline: We have children,
but our two cats and dog believe they rule the house. Wait, they do. ☺ And you live in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Who
are your favorite authors and favorite genres?
Babette: I have many favorite
authors, but among my favorites are: J.R.R. Tolkien, Inez Kelley, Toni Blake,
and Eloisa James. I love them all for their story-telling and vivid
description. My favorite genres to read are romance and fantasy.
Caroline: When you’re not
writing, what’s your favorite way to relax and recharge? Hobbies?
Babette: When not dreaming up
stories, I enjoy reading stories with a satisfying happily ever after, playing
with new bread recipes, dabbling with paints, and I try to keep up with the
weeds in the garden beds. I like to
travel and I enjoy visiting my mom every summer in Florida. I hope to someday
go to Ireland.
Caroline: Our favorite trips
have been to Ireland and Scotland. I hope you can go soon. Describe yourself in
three or four words.
Babette: Creative, quiet,
Caroline: Would you like to
share any guilty pleasures that feed your muse?
Babette: A spa day. I love
getting a massage and pedicure and just totally relaxing.
Caroline: I’d love a massage
right now! How long have you been writing?
Babette: I’ve been writing
all my life and romance has played a part in all my stories, even in those
childhood days, when I used to act out epic fantasy tales with my dolls (my
Barbies had swords and knew how to use them) and scribble out bits of those
stories, but it wasn’t until 2004 that I wrote my first full draft of romance
Caroline: Where do you prefer
to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?
Babette: I write on laptops
and occasionally on my phone. I’m lucky to have a room to myself for my office,
with shelves for all my books, a big desk, and an old, soft upholstered chair
that belonged to my grandmother in the corner, originally meant for me to curl
up in and read, but that my cat Pookie keeps warm instead while I write at the
desk. I arranged the desk so I face the bay window with a view of our maple
tree and the sky, and in the summer, when the tree is green, I can imagine I’m
in some retreat in the woods. I like to write with music playing and I make
playlists for my different books.
Caroline: Your view sounds
lovely. Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Babette: I’m definitely a pantser,
writing as the story hits me. I start with a scene and a character and the
story grows like Topsy in every direction until I discover how it all works
out. I do create an outline as I go deeper into the story to keep track of
scenes and start to build the synopsis, but the story came first and outline
second. I am trying to become more of a planner, marking out where I need story
points to occur and building the outline as I go. I’m working on several
novellas, and planning is coming in very handy as I learn to work in this
shorter story form. I’m using Scrivener now and I really like how it works for
organizing my story and helps me work more efficiently, while still letting me
be fluid in my writing process.
Caroline: I’ve heard a lot
about Scrivner but haven’t tried it. Do you do your research before you begin a
new project, or as you go along?
Babette: Being a pantser, I
have no idea where I’m going before I begin, so I do most of my research as I
go along, and then at the end to clean up any last questions.
Caroline: Tell us about your writing schedule. Do you set goals? Do you write
Babette: I don’t have a
strict schedule, but I like to write daily, early in the morning before work
and in the evening. I usually write while in an online chat with my critique
group and other writing friends. We’ll often do timed challenges to work on
writing or editing and share snips of our work. This year I’m working on
keeping to a daily word count goal. I’m finding it’s trickier than targeting a
weekly or monthly goal amount, but I’ve met the goal more often than not so
Caroline: Goals keep us
grounded and hold us accountable. Do you write full time or do you have a day
job. If you have a day job, what is it?
Babette: I still have the day
job. I’m a teacher. I love encouraging new readers and writers as they discover
their growing abilities. My class cheers when it’s time for their spelling
Caroline: Tell us something
about yourself that might surprise readers.
Babette: I’ve played with a tiger
in my front yard. A friend of my dad’s had owned one, and he brought it over
for us to see. It was not full grown yet, but it was very large, very soft, and
bounded around the yard with us like a happy dog. (I have a feeling it
considered my brother and I to be interesting new kitty toys)
Caroline: Interesting. A
friend researched tigers for her novel and learned there are more tigers in
captivity in Texas than free. What is something unusual you learned while
researching and writing this book?
Babette: I needed to look up
the history of baseball and was surprised to learn just how old of a game it
was. The first known American reference to baseball appears in a 1791
Pittsfield, Massachusetts, town by law prohibiting the playing of the game near
the town's new meeting house.
Caroline: Hmm, do you suppose
a broken window caused that law to be written? What do you hope your writing
brings to readers?
Babette: I want my readers to
have enjoyed the story. That to me is the most important part of storytelling.
I loved writing and discovering my characters and I hope readers enjoy my hero
and heroine’s journey to love as much as I do.
Caroline: What advice would
you give to unpublished authors?
Babette: My favorite tip is
"Just write." Pour that story out and let your characters talk. Also,
most importantly, never give up on your dreams.
Caroline: Tell us about your
Babette: SUMMERTIME DREAM is
my new spicy contemporary romance novel from The Wild Rose Press, which is currently
available on Kindle. This is the second novel in my River series, which began
with CLEAR AS DAY. I had enjoyed writing Christopher and Margie as friends of
my hero and heroine in CLEAR AS DAY, but they were already married and happily
in love and I was busy working on the sequel to CLEAR AS DAY, where again they
were only minor characters. I never intended to give them their own story or
write a prequel. Best laid plans… I made the mistake of asking my characters
how they met. My sweet happy couple had shadows in their pasts and problems to
resolve before they reached their happily ever after. I absolutely loved
writing their novel and watching the two learn what they needed in their lives
as they dealt with the house, Margie’s family, the mystery of Christopher’s
grandmother, and fell headlong into love.
Blurb for SUMMERTIME DREAM:
of July is over, but for these summer lovers the fireworks have just begun.
unexpected inheritance brings business consultant Christopher Gordon from Los
Angeles to quaint Falk’s Bend. He’s carved a week from his demanding schedule
to list his great-grandparents’ house for sale and explore his roots. However,
disturbing family secrets and the sweet temptation of writer Margie Olsson
derail his plans, challenging him to seize the elusive dream missing from his
hectic life— love.
brush with death shook Margie’s life, but not her dreams and she’s ready to
move forward. Only, standing up to her loving, over-protective family isn’t
easy. Helping Christopher explore the derelict mansion and unravel his
grandmother’s mysterious past should be a harmless fun taste of independence.
But when her experimental summer fling ignites into unexpected love, how can
her small town dreams work with his big city life?
Excerpt from SUMMERTIME DREAM:
touched his shoulder and had him turn away from the mess to focus on the view
toward the river.
the picturesque natural beauty of the property began: the land sloped gently
down past the ancient summer house and purple martin houses to the reedy pond
where a duck flew in and landed with a quack, and stretched on through weedy
tangles of wild blackberry and rogue saplings to the ancient apple and plum
trees sagging with unripe fruit, and beyond to the river invisible in the
distance, marking where the Engberg’s farm began on the far bank.
softened his tense face.
isn’t it? I fell so in love with this place when I was little and dreamed I’d
live in a house like this someday.” Margie laughed. “Of course, in my dreams it
was a bit less rundown.”
imagine so. Interested in buying?”
if only I could, I would in an instant. I’m sure the property alone is worth
far more than I can afford. It’s a huge piece of land. And the repairs and
restoration...” Longing swelled. She sighed. Someone else would buy and live in
her dream home.
fell between them for a while. Bees buzzed in the clover. Birds sang, chirped,
and flitted. A hummingbird whizzed past. Two more ducks joined the first amid
quiet bickering quacks. Dandelion fluff drifted by on an unfelt breeze.
truck rattled down the lane, breaking the moment.
we ought to head back...” Christopher turned, so close their arms brushed, but
instead of retreating, he hesitated. Their eyes locked. Where dismay and
frustration had filled his green eyes, want simmered. The heavy air
need a change.
a surge of bewildering crazy courage, she stretched up and kissed him. The
brief brush of lips to lips left her shaken and her heart pounding, like she
had just come up for air.
eyes widened in his serious, craggy face.
oh, no. Blowing out an unsteady breath, she pressed a hand to her stomach.
She’d carried her day’s adventure one impetuous step too far. Her heroines were
the daring part of her. She’d never even kissed on a first date before, and
this wasn’t even a date.
the apology fluttering in her mind could break free, he cupped her cheek and
touched his mouth down on hers.
faded as feeling soared. His gentle touch sweet and fascinating, his lips warm
and firm played over hers, unhurried in his caresses and enticing brushes. He
laced his fingers into her hair, cradling her head in his hand. He tenderly
nipped her lip and licked at her mouth, inviting her rather than taking.
sighed, delighting in this lovely, reckless rush. Yes. Yes. Yes. Forget that
they had just met. She could want again.
his shoulder, she accepted the heady invitation, and the kiss deepened into
“Summertime Dream is a perfect glass of Lemonade on a hot
day. Simple, elegant and beautifully written. I enjoyed each scene. Loved the
chemistry between the characters and the house. Great story!” ~ Deborah Diez
Clear As Day, (★★★★½ RT Book
Reviews, ★★★★★ Top Pick The Romance Reviews) is