Friday, August 31, 2012

Wyoming Dreamer: An Interview with CJ Clark and a Giveaway!

Today we welcome author CJ Clark as we talk about her greatest challenges as an author and making dreams come true. Welcome CJ!

Tell us a little about yourself. 

I grew up in Michigan enjoying the Great Lakes and all the fruit farms. The year prior to my husband’s retirement, we moved to Britt, IA and I ran a small ma-pa motel by myself while he finished his stint back in MI. After a year and a ton of snow, we moved to where I had my heart set—Wyoming. We lived there about five years and that’s when I began taking my writing seriously, writing my first novel Wyoming Dreamer.

Did you plan to be a writer or did it just happen?

I can’t say I planned it, but I don’t think it just happened either. I knew I wanted to be a writer back in high school, but life experiences always seemed to get in the way. So my writing endeavors have been on and off. But Wyoming Dreamer was a story that nagged away at me, begging to be written. I started it over 13 yrs ago, put it away several times, then finally in 2008 decided it was time to finish it and publish it.

What is your favorite non-writing pastime?

This is easy. Reading. I’ve always got a stack of books nearby. Usually reading two at a time.

What has been your greatest challenge as a writer? Have you been able to overcome it? 

Marketing. Being an introvert with limited resources makes it very difficult to get out and push sales.

If you had to sum it up Wyoming Dreamer in 30 or less words, what would you say?

Wyoming Dreamer is about a woman re-inventing her life and making her dreams come true.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

Yes, several. I survived an abusive marriage. . .  Being on an icy, rutted mountain road with no guard rails and at least a 100 ft. drop straight down. My heart was in my throat! . . .
The scene involving the calf-pulling I witnessed first hand. . . Going to my first rodeo.

Do you share any personality traits with Page?

More than I care to admit. I too like westerns and before moving to Wyoming I was “the dreamer”. I found out the realities of living in a harsh land and the local customs. I’m also like Page in the sense I worry, have to work on my self-esteem, and am really stronger than what I give myself credit for.

What kind of research was involved for Wyoming Dreamer?

I had to do a lot of research about ranching—raising cattle and horses—which I know nothing about.

Do you have to be alone or have quiet to write?

I am a loner to begin with and quiet doesn’t bother me. I prefer quiet places and find it almost mandatory when I’m writing.

What do you have in store next for your readers?

My WIP is much darker in tone than Wyoming Dreamer or Marry Me Under the Mistletoe. I like to write stories around an “issue”.  In Wyoming Dreamer it was rising above an abusive marriage and the low self-esteem it creates. In Mistletoe I focused on obesity. I wanted to show that overweight people are just as lovable as anyone else and there is a mate for everyone. Now, in Vestal Virgins (working title) I’m dealing with darker issues—abuse in the Catholic Church, molestation, murder.

What has been your greatest pleasure or personal success as an author? 

Seeing my books in print.

If you could live the life of any character in any book, which would choose and why?

Oh Lord, this feels like true confessions! I’d like to be Scarlett O’Hara (Gone With the Wind). I would have been in my glory with those big gowns and hats, lawn parties, and flirting.Yes, I’m old enough to remember when women could and did flirt. Hey, it’s fun! She had her flaws—who doesn’t? But to have the undying devotion and love of a man like Rhett Butler—bliss! I also admire her tenacity and strength during times of strife.

Is there a genre you wish you could write, but haven’t made the plunge? Which one and what appeals to you about it? 

For years I’ve been telling people I’d like to write a western. I just don’t feel confident enough to do so. But the Westward Movement shows the tenacity of people seeking their dream. Just imagine walking for miles on the prairie beside a wagon. I’m sure there were bugs, field mice, snakes, etc. and women wore those long skirts. Shutter! Or being pregnant riding in a covered wagon uphill and down, forging rivers, etc. Sleeping in the back of the wagon or underneath it, exposed to the sun all day or rain, etc. You had be a hearty person to make it. I guess you could say I like stories about survival and people with indestructible drive and stamina.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve received?

Years ago at a Wyoming Writers Conference, Michael Gear said, “Finish what you start.” I have a bad habit of starting lots of stories and abandoning them. Now, I constantly remind myself of Michael’s words and hopefully I’m finishing more.

What is your favorite movie based on a book, where you preferred the movie?

Dances with Wolves. I have trouble remembering a lot of historical stuff, but once I see it on screen, it’s impressed in my mind.

Laptop, desktop or notebook and pen for writing?

For poems and short stories I still like using pen and paper for drafts. But for novels it’s desktop all the way.

If you could get anyone to read your book, who would you choose and why?

Oprah. She can take an unknown author and turn them into an overnight success.

Favorite place?

Rocky Mountains

Favorite smell? 

Jasmine tea

Favorite movie? 

Dances with Wolves

Favorite dish? 

Hmm, mashed potatoes, salmon patties, or chili.

Favorite color? 


Favorite quote?

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.”—Robert Collier

The Book
Page Chandling dreams about moving to the West, the land of cowboys, Indians, horses and more. After a divorce from an abusive husband, she impulsively sets out to fulfill her dream. In true greenhorn fashion, she runs in a "white out" (blizzard) and is overcome by carbon monoxide. Local rancher, Quaid Kincaid, finds her and interests spark. Both carry baggage from previous marriages that interfere with a growing love interest. Throw in the stress of losing his ranch and a visit from Page's ex-husband and things are jumping. Can they overcome their pasts to find true love?

An Excerpt
Quaid stood currying his prize gelding. He didn't mean to brush so hard nor was he aware he was doing so until the horse stomped and sidestepped to get away. 
"What was I thinking of bringing a strange woman to the ranch?" he said to the buckskin. "I'm a damn fool. Thought she was single. Alone. Helpless. Serves me right.Why ain't she wearin' a weddin' band, Windrunner?" Aware of his annoyance, he wondered what bristled his dander. It wasn't like they had any kind of relationship. She was just a stranded motorist that needed temporary help. Was it because after eight years of being alone, the lonliness was creeping into his bones?Was he finally admitting it?

Wouldn't you know the first time I meet someone I could take a fancy to, she's married. No doubt loves this Sam character. Well, why shouldn't she?Suppose that's only right.

Windrunner nickered.

He'd let his defenses slip. Irritated to find himself more than mildly interested in her, he couldn't allow that. A woman would take advantage of you every time if you let them.

The Giveaway

Comment for a chance to win! The lucky winner will receive Kindle editions of BOTH of CJ's books--Wyoming Dreamer and Marry Me Under the Mistletoe! 
The winner will be chosen Sept 7th!

Where can your readers find you?

Is your book in Print, eBook or both?  Both Wyoming Dreamer and Marry Me Under the Mistletoe are in Print and e-book.

Also from CJ Clark . . .


When Candace Kane starts an online chat with Travis Montgomery little does she know where it will lead. Do people play games with each other online? Or are they totally honest? What happens when they meet face-to-face? Fudging information just seems to come natural to these two.
But when Travis invites her to a posh ski resort, the two are in for a surprise. Can they overcome first impressions? And when a sexy, toned Priscilla Hargrove, fitness instructor decides to help Travis gain Candy's hand, things backfire. Jealous, Candy decides she can't compete with Priscilla. She takes an interest in Donnan McLachlan, a sexy, hot Scot. 
Little do Candace and Travis know that Priscilla and Donnan are actually doing their best to throw the couple together. Does it work?
This lighthearted, crazy, mixed-up love affair will have you chuckling.

An Excerpt
"G'Mornin'. I hope ye like your breakfast. I though' perhaps we'd do a wee bit o' tobogganin' together this morn."
Candice stood looking at him, grasping the sheet eer tighter around herself. Geez, what should she say? Trown off guard, yet thrilled by the romantic thoughtfullness of him bringing her breakfast, she knew she had to keep her wits about her. Those pools of blue were mesmerizing her. Her resolve slipping. His well muscled boy showed through his shirt and she found him even more attractive without his kilt.
But what if Travis found out Donnan was in her room? Hadn't Travis called him a creep? On the other hand, what would Travis know? He was out at the cabin, wasn't he? He'd be working. Donnan was here, in the flesh, all his flesh. Even if it was hidden under his clothes.
Didn't part of her vacation plans include having a good time? She could toboggan and if Donnan's name came up, she'd just say, he happened to be there at the same time. Aware she hadn't said a word since he'd entered, she sat down at the table looking at the tray. Then looked at him. Oh Lord, give me strength, she prayed under her breath. He was so gorgeous she wanted nothing mroe than to be ravaged by him.

Also on Kindle and Nook


  1. Thank you for joining us today CJ! Both books sound great! I have Wyoming Dreamer on my Kindle for PC, ready to read!

  2. Thank you for the opportunity! I have your books on my TBR list. Great covers!

  3. Great interview, CJ. You're a very good writer and friend.
    Your stories really come alive.
    Good luck with your latest book. I've read some of the ms and it's great.


  4. Loved your excerpts. Your book covers are beautiful. Really enjoyed your interview. Will be adding your books to my reading.
    Sue B

  5. Gret interview! I want to write a western, too!

  6. Thank you for your comments. Let me say if you're expecting a Harlequin style romance you'll be disappointed.
    I don't write formulaic, just good stories.

  7. I love my mom no matter what she writes I think she is talented and a great writer

  8. Great interview MK. CJ your books sound like just what I like to read. I can't wait to add these books to my library. Keep up the great work both of you.