Let's start with you telling us a little bit about yourself, Carol.
I wear many hats, author, mother, GayRomLit Retreat organizer, publisher. All four are passions for me, and I couldn’t imagine leaving even one of them behind. I have slowed down a great deal over the last seven years, but I think that comes with life more than anything. When I started writing, I wrote because I needed to mentally escape a bad marriage. Now that I’m on my own with my two girls, I love my life. I no longer need that escape, so the obsession to write has waned a bit. My girls are also getting older, and it’s important to me that I leave plenty of time for them. I try to write during the day when they’re at school. Once they are home with me, I work on emails for one of my other passions, but I always do it in the family room with them. No matter how I slice up my day, I work hard while still allowing time to talk and goof-off with my girls. I think it’s important for them to see that with hard work and determination, anyone can pull themselves out of a bad situation.
What would people be most surprised to learn about you?
I’ve never had sex with anyone I wasn’t already in love with. There have been times when I’ve wished I wasn’t so old fashioned about sex, but I was raised in a small Kansas town with small-town values. I’ll be fifty in October, so I don’t see a change in my lifestyle any time soon.
When did you start writing, is it something you've always been interested in, or did it develop later in life?
In June of 2006, my mom and sisters took a trip to Ireland. It was only months after my father died, and left alone with my two little girls and a grouchy husband, I felt so incredibly alone. I knew I wouldn’t survive the month without some kind of serious breakdown unless I escaped somehow.
I was an avid reader and that had a story in my head for a few months that wouldn’t go away. I decided to figure out how to use Microsoft Word on the computer my father had left me, and I sat down and Branded by Gold just kind of poured out. I honestly had no idea what I was doing at the time, but it helped me get through that two-week period without breaking.
I was finished by the time my family returned from Ireland, and I sent it off to a publishers before I really understood the process. When I received the contract a few months later, I don’t think I’d ever felt better about myself. My self-esteem, which had been as low as it had ever been, suddenly started to lift. I will be forever grateful to my editor for reaching her hand down that hole towards me.
Has it been everything you thought it would be or not?
Writing has changed my life. Not only am I lucky enough to write for a living, but I have so many incredible people in my life that I would have never met without getting into this business.
How did it feel when you realized that your very first book was going to be published?
It’s hard to describe. At the time, I felt worthless and lost, but with that first contract came a light at the end of a long tunnel. That single contract took me back to the girl full of fire and passion that I’d lost after years of feeling beat down.
What's your favorite part of writing a book?
Developing and integrating the secondary characters. My readers know how much I love secondary characters.
Do you get time to read for pleasure? If so, which books do you enjoy?
Because I’m on the computer all day, I listen to audio books to give my eyes a break. I enjoy romance in all its forms, but I truly love bad boys that drop their shields for the right person.
Are there any other genres you'd be interested in writing?
I’d love to write a YA or New Adult story, but I’m not sure if I could. I cuss a lot in my everyday life, and I’m afraid that would bleed into my YA story the way it does my erotic romance stories.
Please tell us a little about your most recent release.
Welcome to Lobster Cove is the first in the new Lobster Cove series. It’s a spin-off from the Cattle Valley series but is set in a small town on the coast of Maine. I’m excited to explore the love lives of fishermen, lumberjacks and ordinary small-town folk.
What can we look forward to in the future from you?
I believe I’ll be wrapping up the Cattle Valley series within the next year. The series has been incredible for me, but I think it’s time to explore other places and people. Campus Cravings will also be wrapping up before long. I’d love more time to concentrate on Lobster Cove, and, who knows, I may write a short series I’ve been thinking of lately or a few stand-alones.
Anything you want to say to your readers?
I owe my readers everything. They took a chance on an unknown writer and paved the way for a new life for me. I will forever be grateful for everything they’ve given me in exchange for a simple book of love.
Carol Lynne's recent releases
Welcome to Lobster Cove (Lobster Cove 1)
Available Now: https://www.totallybound.com/welcome-to-lobster-cove
When following your dream lands you in Lobster Cove, Maine, anything is possible.
After gaining custody of his younger brother, Boone Jensen moves to a unique LGBT community on the coast of Maine. There, he hopes to find work as a stonemason, heal his broken heart and give his brother a safe place to call home.
Life was good in New York City for chef Dante Madia, until his business partner betrayed him. Determined to trust only himself, Dante risks everything on a new restaurant venture in a small fishing village built on acceptance.
Neither man is looking for love, but in a town like Lobster Cove, secret dreams have the ability to become realities.
Journey to Lobster Cove (Cattle Valley 32)
Available Now: https://www.totallybound.com/journey-to-lobster-cove
Spreading acceptance one town at a time.
When the town of Cattle Valley runs out of room for new construction, Asa Montgomery begins to look into alternative locations. He discovers a picturesque fishing village in Maine for sale and begins to make plans to purchase Lobster Cove. Unfortunately, setting up a new community takes him away from his partner, Mario, who isn’t pleased about being left behind.
Meanwhile, after years of dancing around their mutual attraction, Cullen Bryant decides the time has come to lay his feelings for Joseph Allenbrand on the line. Unfortunately, his plan is cut short when Joseph sends him away with no other explanation than he should move on.
Joseph knew sending Cullen away was the kindest thing to do for the younger man, but when he hears Cullen truly may be moving on, he realizes it’s time to reevaluate his life. Will he work out his issues in time to save what he’s spent years denying?
The Brick Yard
Available Now: https://www.totallybound.com/the-brick-yard
For Lucky Gunn, the hardest fight of his life happens outside the cage.
On the south side of Chicago sits an old gym called The Brick Yard.
Ten years ago, on a bitterly cold day, Lucky Gunn wandered into The Brick Yard dressed in a threadbare jacket, looking for refuge. He hadn’t expected the owner, Tony Brick, to welcome him with a job and a place to sleep when Lucky’s abusive and drug addicted mother made it too dangerous to return home.
Dray was a gay man living in a world of straight fighters. When his secret was exposed to the media, he dropped out, giving Lucky a piece of advice, if you want to make it as a MMA fighter, bury the part of yourself that won’t be accepted.
Lucky discovered the cage was the perfect place to keep his demons at bay, but when he learns his trainer and mentor, Brick, is suffering from end-stage cancer, he begins to spiral out of control. After eight years, Dray returns to help Lucky and Brick deal with the devastating news.
With Dray so close, Lucky’s old desires return, and Dray teaches him more than how to fight. Torn between his career and the passion he feels for Dray, Lucky’s past demons resurface in full force, threatening his sanity and his budding relationship with Dray.
Despite leaving the cage years earlier, Dray finds himself in the battle of his life with the only man he’s ever loved. Will he stand and fight or walk away like he did years earlier?
Excerpt from The Brick Yard
“Come on, boy!” Brick yelled. “Pay attention!”
Lucky blinked several times as Brick smeared more Vaseline over the newly-opened cut on his left eyebrow. “I’m fine,” he mumbled around the mouth guard. His opponent in the amateur match, Jake ‘Lightning’ Boone, had a better record and was higher ranked, but in Lucky’s opinion, the guy’s heart wasn’t in it.
“No you aren’t. We both know your power’s in your fists. You can’t use your best asset if you let this joker engage in dirty boxing.”
Lightning was a clinch fighter, someone who preferred to hold his opponents too close to land punches. He was good at using his elbows to inflict injury, thus the cut above Lucky’s eye.
“I’ll finish him this round,” Lucky declared. He needed the win. His record was good, but not great. Definitely not good enough to get the UFC’s attention.
Brick slapped Lucky’s chest before sending him back into the cage for round two. He stared at Lightning and knew the next three minutes meant everything. Four more wins and he’d have a shot at a title match—something he wanted more than anything. He’d given up too much not to succeed in the sport.
“I’m taking this,” he told Lightning.
Lightning smirked as much as the mouth guard allowed, but despite the attitude, the fire in his eyes had been snuffed at some point since the fight began.
Lucky waited for the referee to signal the start of round two. Do it. He took a deep breath then landed two power punches to Lightning’s nose and an uppercut to his chin. Lightning’s eyes rolled back and like a giant redwood, he toppled with a loud thud.
Lucky stared down at his opponent, wondering why the victory didn’t feel as good as it should have. At twenty-four, he was already behind a lot of fighters due to the time he’d taken off to deal with his mom’s legal battles and subsequent incarcerations. Each knockout was a notch on his belt.
Lightning’s crew shoved Lucky out of their way as they raced to their fighter’s side.
Lucky barely acknowledged the referee as his arm was lifted, signaling the clean win to the cheering fans. He needed the wins, loved the challenge of the fights, but knowing his victory was another man’s loss bothered him. It was always the same and something that drove Brick crazy. The passion Lucky felt for the sport went beyond the wins, and he was sure the guys he fought—at least some of them—felt the same way.