Visiting this blog today is Caroline Clemmons, author of An Agent For Judith, a sweet Western historical romance in the multi-author Pinkerton Matchmaker series.
You can learn more about her book at the end of this post. But first, here’s the interview…
Thanks for chatting with me, Caroline. Tell me about your writing journey.
CAROLINE CLEMMONS: I have made up stories as long as I can remember. I didn’t get serious about writing until after my children were in school. My mother-in-law brought a grocery bag of romance books to give me on one of her visits. I’ve always been a voracious reader, but read what I thought were mysteries—Georgette Heyer, Mary Stewart, etc. Imagine my surprised to learn they were also considered romances. When I completed a book and was looking for an agent, friends in the RWA chapter to which I belonged shared the name of their editor who was looking for romances. I submitted, she asked for changes, I made them, and she bought the book.
Gosh, I love when books can straddle multiple genres like that. Makes them more relatable, I think. Are any of your books inspired by real life?
CAROLINE: In a way. My father used to tell stories about his family’s adventures after they moved to Texas from Georgia in 1876. They had both fun and dangerous adventures that whetted my appetite for that period of history. Then, my grandmother told me a tiny vignette about a girl she’d known as a child in Tennessee and that kernel sparked THE MOST UNSUITABLE WIFE.
Out of everything you’ve ever written, what’s been your favourite?
CAROLINE: That’s usually the last thing I’ve written. Overall a few stand out, though. Those are THE MOST UNSUITABLE WIFE, THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE, the three Pinkerton Matchmaker series books, and STUART. I love all my books except one.
All right, you’ve got me curious! Which book is it?
CAROLINE: SNOWFIRES. I’ve threatened to unpublish it. Each time I’ve decided to pull the book from sale, I’ve received an email from someone saying they enjoyed it. So, I’ve left it for sale. I can’t put my finger on it exactly. When I wrote the book I could visualize the characters so well and some scenes even played like a movie in my head. In retrospect, I guess it’s a little corny. Also, it’s mildly sensual and now I write sweet.
What’s the most challenging thing you’ve had to overcome as a writer/author?
CAROLINE: The marketing! When I began, I thought all I had to do was write the best book I could. Was I ever wrong! I have friends who are wonderful writers but whose books don’t sell due to their poor marketing. The market is constantly changing, social media is constantly changing, and keeping up is time consuming. In addition, during our growing up years we are told NOT to brag about our accomplishments. This training makes publicizing more difficult.
How would you say overcoming that challenge has shaped the way you’ve written/worked since then?
CAROLINE: I’m not certain I have overcome that challenge, though I am constantly learning. I’ve watched marketing and ads videos and taken a few classes. Hopefully I’m getting better.
What drove you to write the book you’re promoting today?
CAROLINE: I was fortunate enough to be invited to join the Pinkerton Matchmaker Series of multi-author projects (MAPs). These MAPs are popular because they allow authors to acquire new readers. This particular one is interesting because it always involves a crime or puzzle to be solved. In addition, they are all over the Southwest. This one is AN AGENT FOR JUDITH and is number 77 in the series. You can tell by the number that these have been popular with readers. The author who conceived the idea (Christine Sterling) sets the parameters and then the individual author who’s writing the story takes over. They are all stand-alone books so they don’t have to be read in any order.
Finally, what’s on your TBR right now?
CAROLINE: I’m grateful for my Kindle tablet because I have so many great books tempting me, both from long time friends and new-to-me authors. The next book up is VANILLA WITH A TWIST by Peggy Jaeger.
An Agent For Judith by Caroline Clemmons
CAROLINE: The book I’m featuring today is AN AGENT FOR JUDITH, book 77 in the Pinkerton Matchmaker series which I published on June 19. This is a sweet western historical romance with a marriage of convenience and an adventure. The Universal buy link is https://mybook.to/Judith and this is available in e-book, print, and is enrolled in Kindle Unlimited.
She has vowed to rescue her brother. He is determined to protect his group. They must outwit a cruel and powerful man.
Judith McAdams’ brother in New Mexico hasn’t been heard from since a letter saying he was being bedeviled by a neighbor who wanted his ranch. Judith wires the marshal to check on her brother. When he refuses, she goes to the Pinkerton Detective Agency in Denver. There she learns that as a civilian she can’t accompany a Pinkerton agent on a case. However, if she marries a Pinkerton agent she can become an agent herself.
Peyton Knight values his job as a Pinkerton agent and is good at being a lawman. To keep the job he reluctantly agrees to a marriage of convenience with Judith. Together they will go to her brother’s rescue. Peyton is impressed with the beautiful and spirited redhead—if only she would admit he knows best. He even admires his mother-in-law but how did he end up with her on their trip? At least he’s found three men he trusts to help him rescue the brother.
Their journey is filled with obstacles. Will Judith’s brother still be alive by the time they reach him? When they resolve the ranch issue, will Judith and Peyton part ways?
Judith sat with hands folded in her lap in what she hoped appeared a patient pose. Inside she wanted to rail at the man to hurry. Her brother could be injured and dying as she sat here. She believed Josiah was still alive because she was certain she’d know in her heart if he had passed away.
Finally, Mr. Gordon pushed aside the papers. “What is it you want us to do, Miss McAdams?”
“I want to hire one of your agents to accompany me to the ranch and see what’s happened to my brother. If this bully of a neighbor is creating trouble, I want him arrested.”
“Accompany you?” He shook his head. “Sorry, but we don’t allow civilians on our cases, Miss McAdams.”
“I’m the client, Mr. Gordon. My brother is my only living relative and I insist on going with whomever you send. I assure you I’m quite competent in hunting with gun and bow and can even throw knives with precision. I’ve spent time camping and know how to track as well as any Indian or scout.”
“Hmm. In that case, you should become an agent and marry him. I won’t have a man and woman traveling together in conditions that would ruin your name or put you in danger. The marriage is a paper one that you can have annulled after the case if you wish.”
Good thing she was sitting because that knocked the floor from under her. She was glad she hadn’t mentioned Abigail yet. She sorted her thoughts before replying.
“Becoming an investigator does appeal to me. I believe I have the skills needed to be a good agent.” She shook her head. “But, marriage to a stranger? I’m not sure.”
Mr. Gordon rested his hands on the desk and met her gaze. “Those are my conditions.”
She rose and paced back and forth in front of his desk. “It would only be on paper? You’re sure I can get an annulment?”
“I am. The official who performs the wedding grants the annulments for those who wish them. I might add that most choose to remain married.”
“Hmph, I can assure you that I won’t.” She resumed her seat. “All right, I seem to have no choice but to agree to your conditions. Who is this agent you wish me to marry? I hope he’s your very best investigator and quite strong.”
Mr. Gordon signaled to someone behind her. “Send in Peyton Knight.”
Soon a handsome man strolled into the room. He was above average in height—likely several inches over six feet—with dark hair and blue eyes. His wide shoulders gave the appearance of strength in spite of his trim waist.
“You wanted to see me?”
“Have a seat. Miss Judith McAdams, may I introduce Peyton Knight? Peyton, Miss McAdams has come to hire us to help rescue her brother in New Mexico Territory.”
Peyton nodded to her and took a seat. “What part of the state and what kind of trouble is he having?”
Archie slid the letters into a large envelope. “I’ll let her tell you after your wedding.”
Peyton jumped to his feet. “What! Archie, I told you I don’t want to get married right now.”
He looked at her. “No offense intended, Miss McAdams. When I do marry, I’ll choose who I wed.”
The director sent him a stern stare. “Calm down. You know this will be a marriage on paper only, and your bride will be going along as your partner. If you plan to continue as a Pinkerton agent, that is.”
Peyton stabbed a finger at him. “You know danged well I do. You also know I don’t want a woman partner to babysit while I’m on a case.”
Judith stood up. “Babysit? I’ll be the one babysitting. I can out shoot, out hunt, and out track you any day. No one has to babysit me. In addition to going as an agent, I’m also the client. So, if I agree to marry you—a big if—then you’ll be working for me, understand?”
He tapped his chest. “I work for Pinkerton Detective Agency and I take my orders from Archie Gordon, not some prissy redhead.”
Archie put two fingers to his lips and whistled. “Stop this. You can continue this discussion after the wedding while you’re on the way to New Mexico. Right now, Peyton, go pack you gear. You’ll be going as a wealthy man looking to buy a ranch. Get outfitted as such.”
Peyton glared at his boss then stomped from the room, muttering under his breath.
About Caroline Clemmons
Through a crazy twist of fate, Caroline Clemmons was not born on a Texas ranch. To compensate for this illogical error, she writes about handsome cowboys, feisty ranch women, and scheming villains in a tiny office her family calls her pink cave. She and her Hero live in North Central Texas cowboy country where they ride herd on their two rescued indoor cats and dog as well as providing nourishment outdoors for squirrels, birds, and other critters.
The books she creates in her pink cave have made her a bestselling author and won awards. She writes sweet to sensual romances about the West, both historical and contemporary as well as time travel and mystery. Her series include the Kincaids, McClintocks, Stone Mountain Texas, Bride Brigade, Texas Time Travel, Texas Caprock Tales, Pearson Grove, and Loving A Rancher as well as numerous single titles and contributions to multi-author sets. When she’s not writing, she loves spending time with her family, reading her friends’ books, lunching with friends, browsing antique malls, delving into genealogy, checking Facebook, and taking the occasional nap. Find her on her blog, website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.
Join her and other readers at Caroline’s Cuties, a Facebook readers group for special excerpts, exchanging ideas, contests, giveaways, recipes, and talking to like-minded people about books and other fun things.
To stay up-to-date with her releases and contests, subscribe to Caroline’s newsletter and receive a FREE novella of HAPPY IS THE BRIDE, a humorous historical wedding disaster that ends happily—but you knew it would, didn’t you?