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
Monday, October 16, 2017
INTERVIEW WITH LAUREAN BROOKS!
I’m pleased to have as my guest Laurean Brooks. She was brave enough to let me
interview her. Here’s the result:
Please tell us
about growing up.
I was terribly
shy and a bit of a tomboy as a child. My siblings and I swung on a Tarzan-type
rope hung high up in the giant oak tree, and rolled one another down the hill
in a barrel. When the teacher called on me to answer a question, my face
burned. The other kids turned to stare as if they'd never seen a beet-red face.
grew up on a Tennessee farm, the fourth of seven children. We were given
responsibilities at an early age. Taking care of livestock, cutting firewood,
raising three gardens and 10 acres of corn (which we planted, hoed, and
harvested) were a few outdoor chores we performed.
sister and I were given assigned cooking, making the family's beds and helping
Mama on wash day. We hung clothes on the wire lines Daddy had strung from post
to post in the backyard, while Mama ran the clothes through the wringer washing
few material things forced my siblings and me to be creative. My sister,
Jewell, and I cut children models from the Sears catalog for our paper dolls.
We spent countless hours putting on play productions, using them as our cast.
and I would also select a book then take turns picking out 10 words from which
to create a funny story. I guess this was how my love of writing began. And I
still include humor in all my stories.
brother Ralph, a few years older, had a gift for carpentry. When he was 14, he
nailed together a sled from scrap lumber. It was too heavy to slide on soft
snow the first winter, but when the snow became deep and packed the following
winter, it sailed. A tree root halfway down the hill in our woods became a
launching ramp. When the sled struck the root and it became airborne, we would
hang on for dear life.It would end up sometimes in the creek at the foot of the
would also take the younger ones on long walks through the woods. One day he
took us to an old deserted two-story house. He told us it might be haunted, and
to slip in quietly. My sister and younger brother did as told. We entered the
kitchen. Inside was a table, an old wood cook stove and a few dishes, as if
someone might be living there. In the corner sat a trunk. We opened the lid and
found stacks of pictures inside. After we became bored, it was time to
investigate the upstairs.
Ralph in front we started ascending. About halfway up the stairs, we heard a
rush. Ralph turned around and frowned, “What was that?”
seconds later, a slew of bats flew down the stairs, over our heads. We tore out
of that house as fast as our legs would carry us and never went returned.
I have been married to a flea-market loving, auction-hopping man for 28 years.
The biggest part of our vacations are spent at yard sales or inside
antique/junk stores. We collectively have three children. All are grown and
married. My husband has 4 grandchildren and I have one granddaughter.
Tux has cat-itude!
When you’re not
writing, what’s your favorite way to relax and recharge?
are Daddy and Mama to two Labrador Retrievers and a black cat. I take daily
walks with the dogs and cat, weather permitting. The cat tags along, depending
on his mood on that particular day. He has a cat-itude at times.
How long have
you been writing?
been published 8 years, writing since I was 10. My first essay in 5th
grade got me in trouble. Miss Mary did not appreciate my version of Columbus's
expedition to the New World. I read it to the class. They went into hysterics
over the scene where the natives stuffed Columbus into a cannon then shot him
back across the ocean. But Miss Mary did not see the humor in it. She demanded
a “more realistic” rewrite. I did the rewrite, but my classmates' eyes glazed
over as I read it aloud.
Where do you
prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?
need solitude and quiet. Soft music seems to help. Sometimes I write from my
computer desk. But when on a deadline, I take my laptop into the bedroom, close
the door, get comfortable in the recliner, and write from there.
Are you a
plotter or a pantser?
pantser who wants to become a plotser (a cross between the two.) I don't want a
strict outline, since my story tends to take off in a different direction than
I mentally planned. But I have seriously considered jotting down a loose
outline that will change as I get into the story. The outline would start me at
point A (the beginning), and take me to point Z (the planned ending). But B
through Y (and everything in between) need to be flexible because my characters
tend to take me in unpredictable directions.
Do you do your
research before you begin a new project, or as you go along?
Beforehand and as I go along. During research, I might find something of
historical interest that will add flavor to the story.
Who is the most
interesting secondary character you've written, and why?
Ellwood, III in JOURNEY TO FORGIVENESS was a spoiled, Mama's boy, lanky and
skinny, buck-toothed and wore Coke-bottle thick glasses. Oscar was an
intellectual know-it-all who pursued my heroine until my hero nipped it in the
bud. The guy was hilarious. You never knew what he would do or say next. And
when during the mission trip his teddy bear fell out of his bag... Well, I'll
just quote what a reader said, “That Oscar was a hoot.”
something about yourself that might surprise readers.
now you can tell I'm talkative and a people person. I love meeting people,
learning about them as long as it's in a public setting. But I have a private
side that demands I spend time alone. It is those times at home or during walks
in the woods that ideas form for my next book.
What do you
hope your writing brings to readers?
would like my stories to entertain, to pull my readers into a different world.
I want to take them on an emotional journey, make them cry and/or make them
laugh. If the reader feels something and learns a life lesson from the story,
it is worth the sweat and tears I've put into it.
would you give to unpublished authors?
Do not get discouraged. If you
have a story in you, write it. Stay away from dream stealers as much as
possible. Surround yourself with upbeat people who have the same
goals—preferably fellow writers. Study the craft of writing. Online creative
writing courses helped encourage me. Once your manuscript is completed, let a
friend who scored high in grammar proof it. Then send it to a qualified editor.
What has helped
you in your writing career? Did you have a mentor?
had fellow writers who would not let me give up. At mid-point while writing my
first book, I laid it aside for months. My friend, Deb, who I met on an online
writing course, kept after me to pick it up again. I finally did a year later
and finished the last half of the book in weeks. Deb is still an inspiration to
the Lord helps me stay centered. I ask for guidance each time I start a new
book. “Lord, I'm writing for You. Let every story I write honor You, and anoint
my words to help those struggling with similar problems to those of my
Tell us about
your latest release.
NOT WHAT HE
Carrie Franklin's struggle with a drunk leaves him unconscious or perhaps dead,
she flees. Forgetting the promise she made to her deceased mother, she catches
the train to Abilene, leaving her feckless brother behind.
shares a seat with a young woman who confides she's a mail order bride en route
to meet her fiancé. Molly's friend had also planned to be part of this
adventure. But without warning Katy Davis changed her mind.
Carrie mentions she will disembark in Abilene, Molly asks a favor. “Please
explain Katy's absence to the man Katy promised to wed. It would be awful if he
waited at the depot for hours.”
through a misunderstanding and her empty purse, Carrie finds herself headed
toward the Kramer Ranch with Josh Kramer under the assumed name Katy Davis.
Carrie learns through Josh's aunt that he believes she's the domestic help,
Carrie realizes she had dug herself into a pit. Aunt Em will suffer if she
reveals her identity.
of Katy, Josh still finds himself falling in love. Burned once, he's sworn,
“Never again.” Then he sees Katy in a moonlight conversation with his new ranch
hand and suspects the worst. Are they scheming to take the Kramer ranch?
Carrie reveals her true identity it could destroy any feelings Josh may have
for her. Can Josh ever forgive her? Did Carrie kill the drunk? Is a posse
trailing her? Only through God's grace can bring forgiveness and ensure a
future for Carrie and Josh.
NOT WHAT HE ORDERED Excerpt:
drunk fingered a lock of Carrie's hair. “Treat Big Jim nice and he'll show you
a night you'll not likely forgit.”
He traced her
jawline with a callused thumb. “Smooth as silk. Mmm, Mmm, you sure are a cute
little thang. How about a little kiss for a lonely ol' man?”
his hand from her face. She'd never been mauled by a man and didn't aim for
this to be the first time.
Big Jim dragged
her closer. “You're a feisty one. What's wrong, Big Jim ain't good enough fer
ya?” His hairy arm snaked around her waist, yanking her closer, and smashing
her face into his sweaty shirt. If she quit struggling, maybe he would loosen
his grip. Carrie paused to catch her breath and to plan her next move.
Big Jim mistook
her pause for surrender. “That's more like it, gal. Just relax and give Big Jim
that kiss he's been wantin'.” He slackened his hold and lowered his head. The
coarse stubble of his beard stung Carrie's cheek.
adrenaline raced through her. She pushed against him, then raised her foot and
kicked him in the shin.
let go and hopped around on one foot, cursing under his breath. “You little
wench! You'll pay!”
gleam in his eye told Carrie it was now or never. Before he could grab her
again, she shoved against him. The big oaf stumbled backward to the edge of the
boardwalk, flailing his arms as he hit the ground with a thud.
onto the support post, a hand pressed to her pounding heart. Big Jim lay
spread-eagle, flat on his back in the dusty street. A rock lay beneath his head
under the dim street light. He was not moving.
Buy links are:
How can readers
learn more about you?
Laurean Brooks, Author
The link to my author page,
where readers can view all my books is: