October 11th? October 11th? Ugh! Talk about a BIG, nasty fail!!! I planned on answering some questions every week…and apparently, I can’t even do it once a quarter! Fail!!!
However, it IS a new year, and I do like to Blog…just wish I had more time to do so. Still, I figured I’d attempt to answer a few more questions written on a few more index cards that I brought home with me a few more months ago!
I’m only doing three cards from my deck today…being that a couple of them require wordy answers, okay? And here we go:
Top Card Questions:
Question #1: What did you study in college?
My Answer: Officially I was a Secretarial Science major with a minor in History. History was/is one of my passions, but I didn’t want to be a teacher, and had already done tons of secretarial work during high school and knew that, at that time, it was a job that paid well. My mother was a legal secretary and I was always fascinated with the things she was privy to and go to work on. Yep…I’m so old that I learned to take and transcribe Short Hand in college and used afterward! Can you imagine?!?! 🙂
Question #2: Are your children named after people you know?
My Answer: Yes, no and yes! Ha ha! My daughter, Sandy Ann, is named after my close, close, bosom friend, Sandy! Sandy the Elder, as we call my friend, was my roommate in college and 33 years later we’re just as close as we ever were! Therefore, my daughter, Sandy the Younger, as we refer to my daughter at times, is absolutely named after someone I know–someone I love with every part of my heart!
My second child and first son, Mitchel Lee…isn’t named after Mitch Gaylord (the famous Olympic men’s gymnist from the 80s), but it was while watching a movie staring Mitch Gaylord that Kevin and I decided we liked the name, Mitch/Mitchell…although we chose to spell it with one “l” at the end. Mitchel’s middle name, Lee, is a family history name, of sorts. Being that Kevin is from Louisiana, and that I was/am a huge Civil War history buff, Robert E. Lee inspired Mitch’s middle name. So, no…Mitch isn’t named after someone I know or knew personally…just two people from our family’s history! Ha ha!
My third child and second son, Trent…yes! He is named for someone I knew! Actually, he’s not named after that person, the way Sandy the Younger is named after Sandy the Elder…but when I was expecting Trent, Kevin remembered that another men’s Olympic medalist named, Trent Dimas, was a patient at the dentist’s office I worked at when we were first married! We thought it would be fun to have two names inspired by two Olympians…one we know of, and one I actually knew! Trent’s middle name, Adair, however, IS the surname of one of my Cherokee ancestors, Sarah Ann Adair. So Trent does derive his middle name from someone in particular…though I never met her…at least I didn’t in this life. 🙂
Question #3: I love the new cover art your books are getting-who did that art/photography?
My Answer: Well, most of the actual photographs are stock photographs. However, my daughter, Sandy, is an incredible photographer and designer! And she’s the one that has been designing my covers by manipulating stock photographs or her own photographs since about mid-2012! She totally understands my visions of what I want my covers to be, and just runs with it! It’s awesome, because about 99.9% of the time, she hits the nail on the head with the first try!
Second Card Question:
Question #1: What is your favorite character you’ve created?
My Answer: Holy smokes! ONE favorite?!?! I can’t even begin to think that there’s only ONE favorite! Yikes! And as I took a few minutes to look over my books and think very seriously about this questions…I really cannot choose a favorite…at least a favorite main character! I’m so sorry! I CAN say this, however…that my favorite, if you will, secondary character, is totally Carl Harbine from Love Me! That dude STILL cracks me up, because he is still sooooo vivid in my mind! He cracked me up out loud a couple of times when I was writing his dialogue, as well. So although I can not name a favorite main character that I’ve created, I’ve got to say that Carl Harbine is my favorite secondary character to date. 🙂
Question #2: Do you ever find yourself writing friends/family into characters? Examples?
My Answer: Oh, absolutely! Every main character I’ve ever written has aspects of people I know, or have known, that inspire me! Of course, Kevin is my predominant inspiration for heroes. In fact, many, many fun or romantic dialogue lines come directly from him! My own dad, grandpa, uncles, etc. add a lot to male characters as well. For example, when Brevan gets run over by the plow in The Heavenly Surrender…that actually happened to my grandpa when he was about 12. Trader Donavon’s peppermint obsession, is directly inspired from Kevin’s! Heroines are also inspired by real life people. Other than my own life experience (probably the main inspiration in most cases), my mom, my grandmothers, aunt, my best friends throughout life (i.e. Sandy, Bobbie, Amy, Gina, Karen, Barbara, Dixie, Sheri, etc.) and my daughter and daughters-in-laws have all contributed to characteristics or life-experiences of my female characters. An example of one real-life friend inspiration, would be the when Reb Mitchell in The Touch of Sage is found (as a child of course) licking his cat’s newly birthed kittens. That story was an actual life event of one of my good friends (who shall remain nameless, for obvious reasons!). I seriously could write a book just enumerating the instances in my books that really happened or inspired me toward a character or something that happens in a book!
Question #3: Would you ever consider writing something other than romance? What is it about romance that caught your interest initially?
My Answer: Hmmm…children’s or YA books. I’d actually love to do both of those. But beyond that, and personal projects like personal histories of relatives and ancestors, no. And I think it is probably because I was literally BORN romantic! My first crush (and I remember it vividly, believe it or not), was on a friend of my parents’s, Clint (see photo to left-late 60s or early 70s…and photo down and to the right is Clint now…he ages well, right?). He and his beautiful wife, Frankie (who used to play Barbies with me when I was older, and I LOVED her for that), were often around when I was really, really little…I’m talking like 1-3 years old…and I remember, thinking he was soooo handsome and wanting to kiss him all the time…which, from what I hear, he kindly allowed me to do! He even bought me my first saddle for my 2nd birthday! It was probably when he left for Vietnam (tho’ I’m not sure), or when our family moved to Idaho when I
was 3 years old, that I fell head over heels in love with Huckleberry Finn (introduced to him via a book my mother read to me). And although I had one other crush I can remember between the ages of 3 and 7, (in first grade) on a boy named Benny (also a hottie), it was Huckleberry I loved and who was my imaginary friend until I was about seven. So you see, romance is in my soul! I was born with the desire to see everyone in love and thinking everything should be romantic in some regard! So you see, romance caught my interest very, very early on…and I’m afraid I can’t explain it beyond that! I hope that’s not a disappointment to you. (AND here’s one more picture (below) of my beloved Clint and Frankie! They were such huge influences in my young life…and my teenage life…my life period! I love them FOREVER!)
Third Card Question:
Question #1: Do you ever write inside jokes into any of your books? (Kind of as a joke waiting to see if the person will recognize it…)
My Answer: Absolutely! Assuming you’re familiar with the reason every one of my heroes takes off his shirt at some point in every one of my books, and that you know THAT was a secret, or personal joke or tribute to a group of special friends…I’ll share this one, as well: In Shackles of Honor, there are 6 swans on the lake that Cassidy lingers in watching. Mason actually writes a poem or some prose or something about watching her watch the swans I think. Well, those 6 swans were part of that book, simply as a representation to 5 friends of mine. When we all moved from Albuquerque to various places, we would circulate a care package between us that everyone would add info and/or photos to as updates on what was going on in our lives. We called it, the swan package…because we laughingly referred to ourselves as The Six Sultry Swans (a corny name I came up with at some point). So, the six swans in Shackles of Honor, are a tribute to our shared friendship. 🙂
Question #2: Have you ever used a pen name?
My Answer: Ha ha ha! Funny, funny question! Yes! But only for my last name. My real first and middle name is Marcia Lynn. But McClure is the married last name of my cherished friend, Sandy! I chose it as a tribute to her, because she was not only such a loyal friend, but the one who always read my books first…before anybody else…for years and years and years! I’ve always wanted to use Lolita C’De Baca as a pen name! But Kevin thinks it’s silly! I still might do it, though! Because I like it! Doesn’t it just roll off your tongue…Lolita C’De Baca? I love it!
And now it’s contest time!!!! The last blog contest was for an awesome coloring book for grown ups, and colored pencils! Marian Brimming…you won! Let me know (via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org) if you’d rather have like a mermaid coloring book or something since Halloween is so far behind us at this point, okay?
Now for this blog’s contest…referencing card 2, question #1…who is YOUR favorite character I’ve ever created and why? Leave a comment on my blog and I’ll plop your name in my hat and draw a winner when I blog with more answers to more questions. The winner will receive…wait for it…a copy of The Tenth Anniversary Collector’s Edition of The Heavenly Surrender! Yep! We still have a few on hand! So if you’ve always wanted one, here’s your chance! I’m going to blog in a week or so, and I’ll announce the winner then, okay? Meanwhile, thanks for being sooooo wonderful to me, for reading my books, and caring enough to write some questions on some index cards for me to answer! 🙂