Last time, Carolyn told us about her research (or lack of it!), her inspirations and the nitty-gritty of the actual writing process. This time around, I asked whether she took any research trips to help her writing.
"My husband and I travel a lot, usually a research trip twice a year. We've gone to Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, where my May, 2007 story takes place, and to Arizona, where I found my characters for my first Harlequin Historical. One of my books is set in Michigan, where we originally lived for a lot of years. Many of my stories are set in Texas, where we have visited several times. Also the middle of the country is a favorite spot of mine, Kansas and Missouri are good spots for historicals."
It definitely seems that visiting your locations - budgetary limitations notwithstanding! - is a safe step towards success. And what of attending conferences and workshops on the craft of writing?
"As my agent told me once, writing by the seat of your pants is not the accepted method, but it works for me. I tried going to workshops at the RWA National conferences, but it only confused me, and my agent told me to quit trying to learn how to write and just do what I'm doing. Sure took a load off my mind, since I felt that I surely wasn't doing something right, according to all the workshops I sat in on. Now, I just write and tell my stories."
Of course, this is not to say that conferences and workshops AREN'T useful - but if you don't get on with them, then don't feel bad! Carolyn's two decades of success - with over thirty books to her name as a romance writer - show that everyone is unique - and if something doesn't work for you, then don't fret about it. If you want to be unconventional, then by all means go ahead.
"I noted on the Internet that the UK is going to be bringing out a printing of my first HQN book, Redemption, that came out here last January. I wrote that sucker in three weeks, spending long hours in front of my computer, sleeping very little and literally living what I wrote."
Three weeks? Isn't that a record? And what of the finished product?
"It is by far my favorite novel of all I have written. I found the hero, Jake McPherson, in an earlier book I wrote, called The Wedding Promise, and when it was published, I received a ton of mail from readers who wanted to know if Jake would have his own book. It didn't seem likely, but I managed it by killing off his wife. Now, I don't recommend that twist, but it worked for this book."
Thanks very much Carolyn - for both your interview and your excellent stories!
Note: Redemption is due for publication in the UK in December 2006 as a Mills & Boon SuperHistorical and is available direct from the Mills & Boon online-store now.