Here’s the secret: You can be one of the first to know the story!
I like being first. I have several awards in my office to validate my desire for that spot. For me it began when Return of the Jedi came out. I camped out with a group of my friends to be first to buy tickets, and then run into the empty theater to grab my seat. I graduated to camping for concert seats, but haven’t regarded Walmart on Thanksgiving as a “must” do. However, tomorrow, January 20, 2012, is the book launch for Redneck Ex by Claire Croxton. AND you, like me, can get it today from Amazon. It’s already loaded on my Kindle Fire.
The 5-star reviews sing praises for Redneck Ex.
And, I want to know what You think about the story. So, save this spot and return to pen your review after you’ve read it. We’ll compare notes!
In the meantime, while you finish downloading the book (because you want it today rather than waiting for tomorrow, the official launch day) I’ll share with you when I met Claire.
Norman, Oklahoma may be sunny and warm one day in May, then rainy and cold the next. Such as it was the during the OWFI conference in 2009. Claire sat minding her own business in a hotel restaurant while waiting for her dinner to arrive, when the effervescent group from Kansas City that I was with cajoled her to join us. We’ve been friends ever since.
How did you choose your pen name? I had picked out a name to use as my pseudonym—a combination of my grandmother’s names. When I did a Google search, I discovered there was a porn star by that name. At first, I thought, oh cool, maybe that will attract readers. Then, I saw the lady’s work and decided I’d be better off not using that name. Claire Croxton was the original name of the main character in Santorini Sunset (out May 18, 2012 by The Wild Rose Press.) Croxton is a family name, so I decided to rename my character Caroline Clayton and assumed Claire’s name.
Place of Birth? Springdale, Arkansas
Resides where now? I now live on a farm in Madison County, Arkansas in the Ozark Hills.
Where would you like to live? I’d like to split my time between my farm and my house in Alaska. I don’t get back to Alaska as much as I would like because of farm related issues. So, ideally, I’d be able to split the time more evenly.
Dream vacation? That’s a tough one. There are so many things I’d like to do and see. Plus, there are those places you visit that you could go over and over. How does one decide? I love beaches. I lived in the Arctic for so long that my body craves the sun. I also enjoy history and learning new things so I’d love to travel throughout Europe—Scotland in particular. I want to go to Peru—Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands. I’ve always wanted to visit China and Thailand. So, a dream vacation is pretty easy for me. Anywhere works!
Favorite Quote It’s not a quote, but a saying that I live by: If it is to be, it is up to me.
When did you first want to write? I wrote stories in spiral-bound notebooks as a kid—I’d say 3rd grade. I always kept a journal through high school. I dabbled in writing articles for area newspapers and what have you, even wrote a story of a trip, printed and bound it and presented it to my family. In Alaska, I worked as a technical writer. When I moved back to Arkansas, I started writing fiction full-time. That was 3 years ago.
When did you consider yourself a writer? When a short story I wrote was accepted for an anthology. I was beside myself with pride. As soon as I got the news, I ran out on the deck and screamed the news to my family who was outside. We danced around the yard a few times. It was so exciting. You should have seen the reaction when I got a publishing contract. Wine with lunch! Woohoo!!
One or two writing tips that provided an “ah-ha” moment for you I’m kind of dense so my “ah-ha” moments are usually “duh” moments to other writers. The two most important lessons I’ve learned have come from the greats—Dusty Richards and Jodi Thomas. Dusty Richards told me that the only way to get a book finished is to “write the damn story” then go back and edit it. Editing requires a different mindset. So, write the story, then put on your editor hat and go to work. Jodi Thomas advocates that if you write four hours a day, you’ll make your living as a writer. It’s amazing how quickly those four hours pass.
One or two tips about a writer’s life Write every stinking day. Period! Get your butt in the chair, your hands on the keyboard and write. I’ve set aside certain times and have informed everyone I know that if they disturb me during those times, they risk death.
I think the BIGGEST tip. The most important thing a writer needs to learn is to stay off the internet! It’s so easy to do a quick check on Facebook or check your e-mail. The next thing you know, your four hours are gone and you haven’t written a word.
Lie(s) writers are told I wouldn’t call them “lies” but there’s a lot of information out there being taught by the old-school authors. What worked for them twenty or thirty years ago isn’t necessarily how it works now. Three years ago, I kept hearing that self-publishing was the kiss of death. The only way to make it in the literary world was to get an agent and get a contract with a major publisher. With the e-book explosion, that’s not the case anymore. Don’t even get me started on the gazillion different ways to write a query letter and/or synopses. There’s no standard way anymore and there are folks out there still speaking at conferences who swear their way is the only way to do it.
Favorite Writer That’s another tough question. I like a lot of different authors, but if I were forced to live on a deserted island with the books of only one author it would be Elizabeth George. Her plots are so complex and her characters interact with each other so well, I could read the stories over and over and still learn something new. I truly admire her style.
Favorite Fiction Book Surprisingly, this is an easy one for me. Sure I love lots of books and will read them over and over, but I’d say hands down my favorite fiction book is To Kill a Mockingbird.
Favorite Non-fiction Book I like a wide range of topics and have been known to go on information binges. I wanted to learn everything I could about geishas, the Balkans, historic vampires—not the modern day stuff. There are 2 books that I recommend to friends. The first is Bury Me Standing: The Gypsies and Their Journey by Isabel Fonseca. The second is Talk of the Devil: Encounters with Seven Dictators by Riccardo Orizio. Both of these books were thought-provoking and moving.
Favorite Poem There are poems that move me and have special meaning for me. I always admire those folks who can quote poetry. For some reason, I’ve never acquired that skill. Can’t remember the words to songs either. I enjoy Edna St. Vincent Millay and Pablo Neruda. I’ve written two poems in my life. One as a joke (absolutely hilarious, let me just tell you) that almost led to my boyfriend breaking up with me. The only phrase I can remember from it was “cornucopia of love.” Come on, could you take that seriously? The other was a melodramatic piece I wrote for a creative writing class about an ovarian cyst. Needless to say, I’ve stayed away from poetry since.
Please let us know one special thing you’d like us to know about you. If I could do anything in the world, I’d be a lounge singer. You know the sultry woman with the husky voice who wears satin gowns and drapes herself over the piano as she gazes into the pianist’s eyes and sings the blues? That’s what I want to do. Oh problem? I’m tone deaf.
Here’s the book trailer for Redneck Ex: