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
Friday, October 23, 2015
INTERVIEW WITH E E BURKE, AUTHOR
guest today is the lovely and talented E. E. Burke. She graciously consented to
let me grill…I mean interview her. Here’s the interview.
E. E. Burke, Author
Caroline: Where did you grow
up? Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in a rural lake town in Florida, Pahokee, which in the Seminole
language means, Grassy Waters. It wasn’t a swamp, but close enough to the
Everglades to qualify. We moved to the Florida coast when I was ten and I
became a beach bum. My youth was spent outside playing games and pretending
(stories we make up). I did participate in sports, but I wasn’t what you’d
consider a jock. I loved to read and when I was in fourth grade I set a goal
for myself to read every Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys book in the library. I met
my goal…but I don’t think that little local library had very many books in the
series. I also loved books about horses, Black Beauty being my favorite. I had
a major crush on Tom Sawyer and daydreamed about rafting down a big river with Huck
a college foray through Texas and another nine years in the Lone Star State, I
moved to Missouri, met my husband and finally ended up in Kansas City.
Sometimes people ask if I miss Florida. Nope. Love to visit, wouldn’t want to
live there again. Too crowded. Plus, I love the seasons and I’d miss seeing nature
put on a show.
stuff. I’m married, 30 years to the same man, and we have three wonderful
daughters, 15, 26 and 28. One married, but the only grandchildren at the moment
are the four-legged variety. I grew up with a younger brother, who I bossed
around, as is the right of the big sister.
Caroline: I also have a
younger brother. Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?
Favorite genre is historical anything. I love history, even textbooks. As far
as favorite authors, don’t get me started. There are WAY too many to name here.
I enjoy so many I hate limiting it to a list. But if you insist, I’ll give you
a few longtime favorites: LaVyrle Spencer, Jill Marie Landis, Teresa Medeiros,
Julie Garwood, Jude Deveraux, Lisa Kleypas, Francine Rivers (take a deep
breath). Another author whose sagas I adore is Rosanne Bittner, and this year
she released a sequel to her classic, Outlaw Hearts--after 20 years! Isn’t that
awesome! A whole new generation will fall in love with her outlaw, and
rediscover a wonderful romance writer. Several books I’ll highlight as
favorites: True Grit (Charles Portis), Lonesome Dove (Larry McMurtrey), Enemy
Women (Paulette Jiles), Outlander (Diana Gabaldon), North and South (John
Jakes), Anne LaMott’s memoirs (oh my can she write!). And if you want to know
some of my current favorites, check out Get Lost in a Story every Tuesday for
my Best of the West guests!
Caroline: You named some of
my favorites. I was able to hear Anne Lamont speak last year in Fort Worth. What’s
your favorite way to relax and recharge?
Traveling is how I relax most. Even if it’s just a day trip to do research, I
find going places and exploring both relaxing and rejuvenating. Prowling around
art museums and galleries is one of my favorite things to do. Hobbies…hmmm…does
making fancy martinis count? I enjoy cooking and experimenting with food, but I
wouldn’t say it’s a hobby.
Caroline: Do you have a
favorite quote that sums up how you feel about life?
I’ll quote one of my favorite authors and my personal muse, Mr. Twain.
“Twenty years from now you
will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you
did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the
trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
Caroline: I’ve collected
many of his quotes and that’s my favorite. How long have you been writing?
Eight years ago, I jumped ship on a marketing career to pursue what I believe I
was created to do--tell stories. I have not looked back once.
Caroline: Obviously, you are
gifted at writing and I’m glad you chose to pursue your stories. Where do you
prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?
I have a home office and write there most of the time. When the weather is
nice, I’ll sit out on the screened in porch and write. I love listening to the
birds and natural sounds as background. I also listen to period music.
Caroline: Are you a plotter
or a panzer?
Both. I always attempt to outline a story and develop key turning points, but
once I start writing, everything changes.
Plot is no more than footprints left in the snow after your
characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations.”
Caroline: Do you use real
events or persons in your stories or as an inspiration for stories?
Both. My Steam! Romance and Rails
series is set against actual historical events during the expansion of the
railroad across America. Several years
ago, I got hooked on AMC’s television series, “Hell On Wheels,” which follows
the transcontinental railroad story. At the time I was working on a Western
historical romance based on a railroad race, and it struck me that a railroad
story would make a great romance series.
Being a history geek, I dove eagerly into research to find inspiration for my series. I enjoy weaving real events and people into my stories, so that readers will feel they've been transported back in time and are reliving history. I enjoy putting historic characters into my books. (Her Bodyguard is populated with many "real" people.) They aren't usually the main character, with the exception of one. In A Dangerous Passion, the hero, Henry Stevens, is loosely drawn from the first general manager of the Katy Railroad, Robert S. Stevens. Described as a man with "dark flashing eyes and a meticulous style of dress," he was a larger-than-life persona in the history of this legendary railroad and he provided a perfect blueprint for a romance hero.
Caroline: Do you set daily writing goals? Word count?
Number of chapters? Do you get a chance to write every day?
I write every day, sometimes I set word count goals, other times I just sit and
write until I can’t write anymore.
Caroline: I’m familiar with
the “write until I can’t write anymore” method, which reminds me of a cousin
who worked land “from can to can’t”. ☺ What do you hope your writing brings to
Discovery. Whether it’s learning something new. Discovering something about
other people or themselves. Or finding the happy ending we all long to
Caroline: What long-term
plans do you have for your career?
Write until I fall over dead.
Caroline: Yes! And die
sitting at my computer. Would you like to tell us what you’re working on now?
Two projects: one is a secret and I can’t tell you, but it involves 45 authors
who will be making publishing history. Look for an announcement on Nov. 1. I’m
also researching the next book in my railroad series.
Caroline: I’m in that same
secret project and eagerly anticipate the November 1 announcement. What advice
would you give to unpublished authors?
Plant your butt in a chair and write.
Caroline: Truth! Share a fun fact
readers wouldn’t know about you.
I was a disc jockey at a Top-40 radio station during college
Caroline: That is a fun
fact. Share something about you that would surprise or shock readers.
I must be a boring person because nothing I do would shock anyone.
Caroline: I know your book
is a series, can you tell us about it?
current release, Fugitive Hearts is
part of the series Steam! Romance and
Caroline: Would you give
readers a blurb about your book?
EE: Of course.
“Sheriff…I just shot my husband.”
Claire Daines is a respected member of the community. Until she shocks the
entire town by rushing into a saloon wearing only her nightclothes and
confessing to very inebriated lawman.
Is she a killer?
Is she crazy? Or is she covering up something worse?
For years, Claire
hushed up her husband’s dangerous condition to guard his reputation. When
tragedy strikes, she puts her own life at risk when she vows to keep another
Garrity must get to the truth, although the tough, hard-drinking lawman hides
his own secrets and would rather walk a lonely path than face his demons. But
as Frank unravels Claire’s subterfuge and unlocks her heart, he’s torn between
his desire to save her and his duty to bring her to justice.
Caroline: Wow, that
certainly intrigued me. How about an excerpt?
Parsons, Kansas, March 3, 1874
just shot my husband.”
honeyed voice sounded familiar, but what she said sounded like pure nonsense.
That or he’d misunderstood.
Garrity raised his head from where he’d laid it on his arms after he got tired
of holding it up. He dragged open eyelids as heavy as wet canvas and squinted
at a fuzzy feminine image clothed in pure white.
above. An angel.
tried breathing. The smell of cheap cigars and even cheaper whiskey convinced
him he was still in the saloon, therefore amongst the living, which meant he’d
slipped into another drunken delusion. He only thought he saw an angel standing there, confessing murder.
specter looked more substantial and far more pleasurable than the others that
haunted his dreams. A wealth of dark hair cascaded over her shoulders, past the
point where the scarred tabletop concealed her lower half, keeping the rest of
her a tantalizing secret. If inebriation brought on angelic visions like this
one, he’d have another drink.
curled his hand around an empty whiskey bottle, but couldn’t recall finishing
it. Regret flickered. Normally, he didn’t drink this much. Only on days when
guilt overcame his good sense and there was no other way to obliterate the
pain. God might’ve sent an angel to warn him not to overindulge.
you hear me?” The angel’s dulcet voice wavered. “I killed Frederick.”
Frank blinked, bleary eyed and confused. The only Frederick he knew lived next
door with his wife. Claire.
whiskey-drenched fog cleared. So did his vision. Frank jerked his attention to
her face and shock struck him square in the chest.
angel. It was the owner of the hotel, Mrs. Daines. He hadn’t recognized her
right off because she didn’t have on a dress.
closed his eyes and then opened them to make sure he wasn’t hallucinating.
Nope, still there, in her nightgown and wrap, although the proper lady he knew
wouldn’t be caught dead in a saloon, much less looking like she’d just crawled
out of bed.
hair hung loose, in disarray. Her face had an unhealthy flush and she had a
wild look in her eyes. She thrust her arms out at him, turning up delicate
wrists, pale and blue-veined. Her slender fingers curled inward as if cradling
something fragile. “I-I’m turning myself in.”
the poor woman’s mind had snapped.
came to his feet so fast his chair flew back. It clattered to the floor, all
the louder because the noise broke a hushed silence that had fallen over the
crowded barroom. No tinkling piano, no clinking glasses, no catcalls, not even a
giggle from the scantily clad serving girl a few feet away, wide-eyed and
stumbled against the table as he wheeled around to where the crazy woman stood,
holding her arms out in that ridiculous position like she expected him to slap
manacles on her. Determined to get her home before the whole damn town saw her
in her unmentionables, he stripped off his heavy overcoat—which he’d kept on
because the thin walls didn’t stand a chance against the freezing
temperatures—and flung it around her shoulders, hauled her up against him and
made for the door in as close to a beeline as he could manage.
too roostered. He hadn’t fallen over and only weaved slightly.
next instant, her arm slipped around his waist to steady him.
Caroline: Is there anything
else you’d like readers to know about you?
EE: I’m a contributor to the
romance blog Get Lost in a Story, and
I feature new finds in historical romance. My “Best of the West” series of
interviews features authors who write American historical romance. Over the
past four years, I’ve discovered some great new (or new to me) books and
authors. I’d love for readers to come by and check us out. You might find your
next good read!