Friday, February 24, 2023


 By Caroline Clemmons

Readers often ask me where I get my ideas. The answer is, ideas are the easy part of writing. They pop into my head several times a day. A memory, a news story, or a bit of conversation may spark a kernel for a story.

For instance, the idea for my current Texas Hill Country Mail Order Brides Series came as the result of a photo I came across when searching for a different one. The one I found was from a trip our family took many years ago to the Mayan Dude Ranch near Bandera, Texas. That is in the southern Hill Country, near the Medina River. The experience delighted our daughters and me. Hero was not as enthusiastic, but he was a good sport. (By the way, I'll never choose such a long series name again.)

The photo reminded me how much we love spending time in the Hill Country, and the several times we have included that area on vacations. Unfortunately, the photos have faded too much to be used here. They were processed at a place that used a defective process. Darling Daughter 2 and I even drove through the area on our way home from a conference in San Antonio. Well, it wasn’t officially on our way, but a delightful detour. To us, everything interesting is “on our way.”

I enjoy reading and writing mail order bride stories. I have read numerous books in which true stories of actual mail order brides are related. Chris Enss covered several of particular interest in HEARTS WEST. Some stories were happy while others were tragic. Of course, those I write all have a happy ending!

The photo of our family’s experience at Mayan Dude Ranch led me to the what if several the bachelors of a small town each wound up married to a mail order bride? I invented the small town of Harrigan Springs, county seat of fictional Harrigan County. The town and county name came to me when I was humming the song from an old children’s cartoon, “H-A-double R-I GAN spells Harrigan.” I’m sure that seems odd to those who are not authors, but I’m being honest.

Medina River near dude ranch

Once I had the location, I needed to choose the bachelors and their names and occupations. I try not to duplicate main character names. I chose Gentry, Jesse, Levi, Sidney, Keith, Isaac, and Edmund. After I released Gentry, so many readers wanted a story about Gentry’s younger brother, Quinn, that I added him to the series and wrote his book as book 3 in the series. Then, I had to assign each hero a profession.

Next, is the heroines. Each heroine must present a challenge to the hero. At the same time, she must be different than those I’ve chosen for other stories. I outlined the series and came up with a list of heroines I felt would work. Since only three of the books have been released, I suppose we’ll see how readers like them. Heidi Roth from Bavaria marries rancher Gentry McRae, Rosalin from Washington D.C. marries Sheriff Jesse Cameron, and Priscilla Bradford from Boston marries rancher/gambler Quinn McRae. Next will be Maeve Kelly from Ireland via New York, who marries blacksmith and entrepreneur Levi Iverson. That book will be released at the end of March.


Books 1-3 of the series

I hope you are reading the Texas Hill Country Mail Order Bride Series. If not, you can find them and my other books at my Amazon Author Page  Each is available in e-book, print, and is enrolled in Kindle Unlimited.

Keep reading and stay safe!  

1 comment:

Rain Trueax said...

Always interesting to see how writers come up with their books and series even more so. Good luck with these as they sound good.