Friday, October 21, 2011


My guest is romance author, Caroline Fyffe. She's writes historical westerns and the McCutcheon Family Series.

Her topic today is about passions that inspire and how they've influenced her stories. 

I’m so happy to be here today at Thoughts OVER COFFEE.  Thank you for the opportunity to talk about my new release, TEXAS TWILIGHT.  I’ve brought along a carafe of La Minita coffee made by Caribou for all to share.  The coffee has a fine, rich, chocolaty, taste--yum.
A little about me…I grew up with horses, so my thinking and my friends in the corral shaped reading preferences.  I loved westerns by Zane Grey, Max Brand and Lois L’amour.  A bit strange for a teenage girl, I know.  Then, after college, I sort of fell into my 20- year-long career of Equine Photography, which has been good to me. So, when I started writing in 1997, is it any wonder that westerns were my choice?

With the help of an incredible and generous critique group, I won a Golden Heart in 1999. I was thrilled!  But I was also spoiled. I wasn’t prepared for the reality of how long—and hard—the road to publication can be.  The manuscript was titled Chasing Jessie, and is now WHERE THE WIND BLOWS, the book that landed me a publishing contract in 2008 with Dorchester Publishing.  MONTANA DAWN, my second manuscript (then titled Montana Sky at Dawn), finaled in the GH in 2007—a good bit after the first.  In between starting and selling, I became a little discouraged and quit writing for a span of four years.  But, finding I was unhappy without it, I went back to it, just for the fun—and the contests, LOL.  Interestingly, it was when I stopped trying so hard that the dream actually happened.
Now, I must admit, the month of October has been a whirlwind for me.  I’m launching my third title, TEXAS TWILIGHT, the sequel to MONTANA DAWN.  If that weren’t enough to keep me jumping between social media, blogs and such, this marks my first foray into self publishing!  So much to do—but, I’m not complaining.  It’s been wonderful so far….

  • Now I’d like to ask your readers if any passion of their childhood formed who they are today?  If so, I’d love to know….

Texas Twilight

Once settled in Rio Wells, Texas, John tries to ignore the fact that his cousin has taken a shine to Lily. When a bounty hunter shows up looking for a priceless jewel that Lily has found stashed away in her aunt's belongings, Lily fears her dreams of owning her own shop--and of finding true love--are about to go up in flames...or, could that just be the glow of a beautiful ... Texas Twilight? Excerpt

BUY: Amazon, Smashwords

And, in celebration of my launch, I’m offering not only an E-Book of TEXAS TWILIGHT, but also a signed copy of MONTANA DAWN, Book One of the McCutcheon Family series.  Two books, two winners.  Two chances to win! 

Caroline Fyffe grew up in the little town of El Dorado, CA, the youngest of five girls and whose main interest was the family's horses.  An equine photographer for over twenty years now, she has worked throughout the United States and Germany.  Long days in the arenas present plenty of opportunity to dream up all sorts of stories.  Her love of horses and the Old West is the inspiration behind her books.  

Her debut book, WHERE THE WIND BLOWS, was the recipient of the prestigious Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart Award and also the Wisconsin RWA's Write Touch Readers' Award 2010.  MONTANA DAWN was voted BEST WESTERN ROMANCE of 2010 by readers at Loves Western Romances!  

Married for many years, Caroline's most cherished achievements are her two grown sons. 

Caroline's Website (which is cool)

Blog and you can find her on Facebook

Caroline's Equine Photography (Which is WOW!)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Where in the Heck?

Jo Robertson is back here at Over Coffee with her latest exciting thriller, The Avenger. I haven’t had the chance, yet, to read this one but based on her debut novel, The Watchers, you can bet I’ll be ordering it post haste.

It’s stories like this that makes a person wonder where the writers get their ideas. In fact, I think this is one of the most frequently asked questions received by authors.

Jo talks about her inspiration for The Avenger. 

An author's greatest fear is that one day she'll put her fingers to the keyboard and a complete disconnect between her brain and her body will occur.  Nothing will come to mind, no ideas or images, no characters or plot. She'll have gone to the well and come up with no water. 

The thought is terrifying, but I think it's a fear all writers live with.

So where do writers get their ideas? And why don't they come up empty? 

The standard answer, of course, is everywhere. Travel, school, home and family, church, any experience you've ever had goes into the catalogue in your brain's computer. Lots of it is drivel, and you're glad you don't have the access code to it, but often there's a kernel of an idea, the budding seed of a character or plot or setting that speaks to your imagination. 

As long as the writer continues to experience life in all its varied forms, the ideas should never dry up.  At least that's the theory LOL. 

While I was teaching high school, I took a lot of random classes at the local university, primarily to move myself up on the pay scale, but also because I love learning. I took drama, math, and English courses. Finally, I settled into psychology and criminal justice. Every story or experience or case file related by my teachers opened my mind to the possibility of more ideas, all based on WHAT IF? I learned about criminal law, criminal investigation, drugs, and psychos. 

My idea for the serial killer that inhabits Kate Myers and Ben Slater's world in my debut book THE WATCHER came from an abnormal psychology class I took. Psych classes generate great ideas, by the way. 

I don't want to spoil the journey into the killer's dark mind, however, so I'll just say that the concept of his pathology, what drives him to kill a certain type of person, is based on the true case of a person like my killer, whom I've named John Smith. I love the benign, ordinary sound of his name.

In the actual psychology case, the patient wasn't a murderer, but his uniqueness made me ask questions: how would a person like this feel growing up? How would he handle changes in his life? What kind of family dynamics might torture him further?

Thus, the villain in "The Watcher" sprang to life in my mind. 

The idea for my second book THE AVENGER came from a course I took called "Uppers, Downers, and All-Arounders," which addressed the history of drugs and their effect on the human body. I found more information about legal and illegal street drugs than I wanted to know, but I started wondering what would happen if someone had fantastic Olympic-style natural abilities, and these were enhanced by designer drugs so that he was able to perform almost superhuman feats? 

What could the government do with these kinds of people?  So "The Avenger," a cross between the TV show "Alphas" and "24" was born. 

Cover blurb for The Avenger. 

 A clandestine government organization called Invictus "recruits" outstanding athletes for secret projects. But their top agent Jackson Holt has extraordinary, almost preternatural, qualities not even the Organization can explain.  

Olivia Gant, professor of Ancient Studies at a private college in California, was once Jack's childhood sweetheart. But when he deserted her, he left her alone to combat her stepfather's drunken attentions and her mother's careless neglect.  

Nearly twenty years later, their paths cross in a mission to fight a bizarre religious serial killer whose methods include crucifixion and burial alive. Olivia and Jack battle for happiness against years of secrecy and distance as they use Olivia's expertise in Latin and Jack's special gifts to track a brutal killer. 

Can Olivia forgive Jack for his long-ago betrayal? Can Jack allow Olivia to witness the terrible Change that makes him such an  effective killing machine? Excerpt


How about you, readers?

  • How do you stimulate your creative juices? Whether it's art, music, writing, scrapbooking, or handiwork, what motivates you to indulge in your passion?

  • What do you do for fun and entertainment? Any out-of-the-box kinds of hobbyists out there? 

Like many writers, I penned my first story at a young age.  However, a family and a teaching career put my writing dreams on hold until my Advanced Placement seniors conned me into writing my first complete manuscript.  That story, which subsequently won RWA's Golden Heart Award in 2006, was THE WATCHER.

From the moment I put my fingers to the keyboard, the
barrier between my brain and the paper lifted, the story flew from my mind, and I fell in love with everything about the process of writing.

Raised as an Army brat, I lived in Germany as a child, Northern Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Idaho, and Utah before finally settling in Northern California.  Whenever I visit my sister in Virginia or my brothers in North Carolina and Florida, upon returning home I remember again why I love Northern California, home of the ancient redwoods, the fecund forests and the rugged Pacific Coastline. 

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