Carole Ann Lee Interview

Hello Carole Ann and welcome to Fallen Angel Reviews. It is good to have Carole Ann Lee with us this morning. We are anxious to hear about Carole and her books.
Hello Linda and hello readers. Thank you for this interview. I am very excited to get started.

Carole Ann, I love the cover on your website, the man reminds me of the actor Gary Hudson. I was like wow, when I saw the picture. Eye-catching.
Isn’t he a delight though? Big grin. My friend and cover designer, Holly Smith got this bad boy just right.

I’m curious about Banner’s Bonus; would you like to share Banner’s Bonus with us?
I would love to. BANNER'S BONUS began simply for the fun of it over twelve years ago. I had never written anything before and certainly had no plans of ever getting published. It wasn’t even a dream let alone a thought. My children were preteen at the time, and my hubby was working long hours building his own business.

One day I picked up a scifi book called ALIEN BOUNTY by William C. Dietz. One of a 5-book series about a futuristic bounty hunter named Sam McCade. Sam was a “man's hero”. In other words the emphasis was on the action and not on romance…and yet I found something just downright sexy about this guy.

But when Sam fell in love and three chapters later he was suddenly married, I found myself asking: How did he propose? Was he romantic and smooth? Or was he bungling and endearing as he stumbled over his words? My mind was atwitter with curiosity.

So one day I sat down and wrote his proposal. Next thing I knew I was intrigued by my little creation and from there soon found myself creating my own hero (Nick Banner) and his story (BANNER'S BONUS).

Before long I became involved in a critique group and eventually Romance Writers of America. It was through Romance Writers of America that I attended a writers conference and had a chance to submit BANNER'S BONUS to New York.

That was in the spring of 1994. In May of 1995 BANNER'S BONUS was released by Love Spell.

Since then, however, I have gone through the story and toughened up the heroine and made a few other changes here and there to better meet today’s readers.

Tell us, Carole Ann, what is a typical day like for you?
A typical day for me entails slipping into my “office” early in the morning, putting on my headphones to my favorite “writing music” and picking up where I left off the night before.

What does your working space look like?
We transformed a back bedroom into my office. Actually my writing space is the next project for redecorating. Feeling daring and rebellious 8 years ago, I decided to paint my walls magenta with snowy gloss white woodwork. My desk area is inside a double wardrobe closet. Hubby took the doors off and built a full length worktop inside. He then installed recessed lighting over the desk with shelves along the back wall. The desk and entire work area is also white. Grin… I know it sounds awful, but actually it was and still is quite pretty. But I’m tired of it and want to do something new and exciting.

When you begin your stories, do you do an outline or just start writing as the mood strikes?
Actually, my characters pretty much write their stories as I go. I know that many will say it’s much better to plot out the story first and/or set it up in outline form. And I am sure they are right. But for me, when I tried it I found myself staring at a blinking cursor.

From what do you derive the most inspiration for your writing?
Number One: Music is an important part of writing for me. It inspires me and sets the mood. Plus, I have wonderful writing friends who have always pitched in and helped out when I needed direction in plotting. Especially back when BANNER’S BONUS was first being formed. That’s the beauty of having a writing partner or a good critique group that you trust.

Since everybody needs a break, even when doing something they love, how do you like to spend your time away from writing?
I love container gardening and I dearly love animals. Dogs and horses in particular. Therefore, I enjoy surrounding our deck and patio with hanging baskets and potted plants and when I’m not doing that, I love playing with Hunter, (our German Shepherd pup) and caring for Nacoma, our daughter’s Registered Paint horse who stands 16.1 hands tall and is the about the most gentle giant you can ever imagine. His registered name is Gold Pacific Moon. His story and pictures are on my website along with our beautiful AJ’s story. AJ had been neglected before coming into our lives. The result of that neglect caused him to lose an eye. But through love and patience and the bonding between him and our daughter, AJ rose above his past to become a 4H Grand Champion in both Western and English equitation. For his heartwarming story and Nacoma’s too, I encourage you to check out my website and scroll to the bottom of the opening page.

What is your favorite part of writing?
There is no doubt, writing is just plain hard work. But at the same time it is also very heady to be able to create and form the fates of your characters.

What about your least favorite part?
In the very beginning I had a lot to learn. I call it the mechanics or the basics of novel writing. Things such as trying to stay in one point of view, or using less past tense words and more present tense. At times I thought I would simply never get some of those lessons straight in my head. Plotting is also another one of my least favorite parts of writing.

Do you miss your characters when you are finished with their tale?
Oh yes. Unfortunately by the end of BANNER’S BONUS I had fallen so hopelessly in love with Nick (in spite of himself) I found it impossible to even consider writing about one of his brothers. They would have merely been another version of Nick. I had no choice but to write about Nick’s sidekick, Zeke Slater. Besides, it was Zeke who kept grumbling about this new woman in his life, Kira. Thus came the sequel, SOLAR WIND.

Any that you wish you could write about again?
Not yet. At this point, I am having too much fun working on my third book, BANNER’S RENEGADE. It is about Clint Banner. Nick’s older brother.

Every writer dreams about receiving “the call”. What were you doing when yours came in? Did you do anything special to celebrate?
I was at work… Receptionist for an insurance agent when the call from Leisure/Love Spell came through. Needless to say, I was all but speechless—but the whole office was hooting in my stead.

My family took me out to dinner that night to celebrate. Hubby sent flowers as did the President of our local Chapter of Romance Writer’s of America. Yes, that day was very magical and exciting.

Do you belong to any groups?
I have been a member of Romance Writers Of America as well as Oregon Chapter of Mystery Writers and Willamette Writers.

Have any unfinished projects sitting around?
Oh yes, several—including an historical western romance.

Do you have a website other than caroleannlee.com that you would like to share with your readers?
That’s it.

Fill in the blank favorites –
Dessert. Anything chocolate

City. New Orleans

Season. Autumn

Type of hero. Alpha male

Type of heroine. One with a soft tender side, yet with enough backbone to be worthy of an alpha male.

If your books were made into a movie, who would you like to play the leading roles?
NICK BANNER –Antonio Sabato Jr. Super model for Calvin Klein (You might also remember him as Jagger Cates on General Hospital. In the mid nineties he played a similar “Nick Banner” type of space pilot in the SciFi TV series EARTH 2).

TRESSA – Kelly Monaco (Also of General Hospital as well as in the 2005/-06 Dancing with the Stars).

Thank you so much for sharing time with us today, Carole Ann. It has been a pleasure Carole Ann, and I wish you the best with your writing.
And thank you, Linda, for this delightful opportunity. I have thoroughly enjoyed it. Over the past years, BANNER’S BONUS has received many wonderful reader reviews and I would just like to take this time, if I might, to thank my readers for helping to make BANNER’S BONUS such a success.

Warm wishes to all,
Carole Ann
Interviewed by: Linda L