Thursday, September 10, 2009

Author Interview--C.C. Coburn

Please Welcome C.C. Coburn--a new Author to the Harlequin American Line. Her first book, Colorado Christmas will hit store shelves November 2009.

How did you make your first sale?

I pitched to Paula Eykelhof at a Romance Writers of Australia conference in 2006.

Tell us a little about your family and where you're from.

I have 3 kids, 3 cats, 1 husband and a yellow Lab. I live most of the year on Australia’s sun-drenched Gold Coast. But I spend about 5 months a year in Colorado, partly researching my books, and partly escaping from my children.
But I miss my Lab when I’m in the States.

Tell us about your book.

Colorado Christmas is set in a small, but quirky Rocky mountain township. It features an uptight lady judge, a naughty pig, a lovesick dog, a kid who wants a dad, an Aztec red Cadillac series 62 complete with tail fins of extra-ordinary proportions, Christmas trees, a lot of snow and a hero to die for.

If you could be lazy for an entire day what would you do?

Read, of course. The paradox of being a writer is, not having enough time to read.
However, If I could be lazy for a whole day with an unlimited budget, then I’d probably have a 3 hour massage and facial, followed by lunch at the Sheraton Mirage, followed by another 3 hour massage, after which I’d be chauffeur driven home, ‘cos I sure as heck wouldn’t be in any state to drive!

What is your strangest habit?

I bite my fingernails, but I’m completing a 12 point program to cure me. However, I don’t consider nail-biting all that strange. Doesn’t everyone do it?

What is one thing scientists should invent?

Long life light bulbs that really are long life. That’s the biggest con of the new millennium IMHO.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I can’t remember. All I ever do is write.
What I’d like to have more time to do is travel. I love driving my poor husband crazy planning trips to exotic places – or even mundane ones. Fortunately he’s very tolerant.

What is your writing routine?

As I work til late at night, I don’t get up till around 8 or 9am. I watch morning tv, catch up on the news or a recorded program from the night before, and then open my computer around 10am. I then procrastinate answering emails. However, if I’m really into a story I can’t wait to get back to it. When it’s flowing, I can write about 1500 words an hour. I don’t set specific targets for a day. Mostly I write late at night because the house is quiet and no-one’s going to come in demanding what’s for dinner, where their jeans are, where they left their uni books, keys, wallet, brain…

If you could wish for anything, what would you wish for?

Peace and quiet. That’s my standard answer when the kids ask me what I want for my birthday or Mother’s Day. So far, I haven’t achieved it. Or were you wanting me to answer something more altruistic (and equally unachievable)—like World Peace?

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

The revisions. Writing is fun, creating characters and settings is so… creative. Having to actually get organized, be disciplined, is anathema to my Sagittarian nature.

What inspired you to write your first published book?

I’d been skiing in Colorado a few times and just loved the small town we stayed in. I thought: I should set a book here. Now, what will it be about?

How long have you been writing?

About 20 years. I started writing when my doctor told me to put my feet up for six weeks after I broke my foot. I was about 25 months pregnant at the time (seriously, have you ever had a baby? It takes forever). So I started working on an action/adventure story that had been playing around in my mind for years. Six weeks later, I’d completed a 100,000 word manuscript, had a new baby and a thirst to write more.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

An architect. Unfortunately I’m completely stupid when it comes to Maths and Physics, so that put the kybosh on that.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I’m not sure, what did other people say? I want to be more interesting than them.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I’m not even sure I considered myself a writer when I got The Call. It became real around the time I saw my book listed on Amazon.

What's your favorite dessert?

Pavlova. It’s an Aussie invention and a hotly fought-over dessert item. Some to create the perfect pav. Others to demolish it as quickly as possible. It’s one of those win/win desserts in my opinion. This miraculous concoction only has 3 or 4 ingredients (plus whipped cream and fruit of your choice.) However, I’d advise adding a dessertspoon of white vinegar to the mix.

My other favorite is Sticky Date Pudding. Yummy with lots of caramel sauce and ice cream!

If you were stranded on an island for a month and could bring three things along what would they be?

My bed. A solar powered laptop with separate mouse and keyboard. And I’m tossing up between my husband and my Lab. My heart says my Lab. My head says my husband. Dogs can’t climb trees to fetch coconuts…

Why did you target the American Romance Line?

I love reading and writing heart-warming stories about real people who conquer their fears and conflicts through love. Plus, that’s where Paula Eykelhof told me I fit.

Do you have any talents readers might find interesting?

I can ski and scuba dive. I don’t have any talents of an intellectual nature, like play music by ear or anything. Sorry about that.

What were you doing at midnight last night?

Writing. What else?

Are you a cat or dog person?

I have 3 cats and a dog, so I’d offend the other animals if I chose. I love the independence of cats. If they want to be your friend, they will be. If they’re having a bad day and feel like taking it out on you, they will. Dogs love you unconditionally.

Describe your ideal dream date.

One that didn’t include my children.

If someone gave you a million dollars what would you do with the money?

Give each of my kids 200K so they’d move into their own places. Seriously! I love them to bits, but it’s time for them to leave the nest. I’d give 100K to an animal charity. 100K to research childhood illnesses and diseases. Like I said, I’m not good at Maths. Does that leave anything for me? If so, then I’d invest it in something that paid high interest (naturally with no risk) so I could use the money for other Good Deeds such as sponsoring some more children in Africa, and traveling.

BTW, I just realized that if someone gave me the money, I’d have to pay tax on it and then there wouldn’t be enough to get rid of…I mean, buy my kids places of their own. However, if I won it in a lottery, that would be heaps better, because in Australia, lottery wins aren’t taxed. So can we rephrase the question?


Thanks for stopping by! For a chance to win a copy of Colorado Christmas, please leave a comment. I'll post the winner's name at the end of the day.



Rachael Johns said...

So, my kids are 10 months, three and five and I'm already saying 'Can I just have FIVE MINUTES?' So... my question to you - should I start saving for houses for them already?

BTW.. congrats again on your debut. Looks fabulous, sounds fabulous and I CAN'T WAIT to read it!


Rachael Johns said...

I forgot to say - what a great blog... thanks for leading me here. I'll be bookmarking and coming back!


Cathleen Ross said...

Fun interview CC. If you bring Macy's to your desert island, I'll come and visit.
Cathleen Ross

Mint said...

Congratulations on your book and welcome to the American Romance family. It's a great line and I'm sure you will love it here. I lived in Colorado for a few years before moving back home so I know how beautiful it is there. I've always wanted to go to Australia and New Zealand so really you have the best of both worlds. It was great getting to know a little about you.

Linda Henderson

Anonymous said...

You know, I rather fancy a short trip to Colorado...or a long one. Given that's out for now, I can't wait for your book to come out, CC. Congratulations on your debut!

mudlark said...

I was already looking forward to your book CC but having laughed my way through this blog I can't wait. And since knowing you I've developed a yen to visit Colorado too.
Congratulations on a great blog,

CrystalGB said...

Great interview. Congratulations on your new release. Colorado Christmas sounds wonderful.

CC Coburn said...

Hi everyone! Thanks for dropping by.

Rachael honey, I'm not Dear Abby (grin)However, the answer to your question is YES - start saving. You should have quite a nest egg to move your children out of home when the time comes. Of course you've more chance of winning the lottery than putting enough aside each week, so forget my advice and just enjoy yourself. :-)Or write to Suze Orman. ;-)

*btw you won an extra copy of Colorado Christmas for being my first HAR blogger! yay you!*

Cathleen, we all know the Shopaholic series was based on you.:-) looking forward to more "shopportunities" with my outrageous conference buddy!

Hi Mint, I see your name regularly here on the HAR blog. I love anyone who loves CO!

Malvina and Louise, do you think I should be seeing the CO Board of Tourism about endorsement opportunities? (grin) Thanks for popping by and I hope you enjoy Colorado Christmas as much as I did writing it.

Check out my website for photos of the quirkly little town that inspired me.

Lisa Ruff said...

I LOVE Pavlova. A friend went to Australia years ago and brought back the recipe. It's a staple around the household. Hmmm, now how many eggs do I have in that carton . . .

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hey CC, since you started blogging I've learned more about your quirks than I did during the years we've been friends. This interview told me you're a late-at-night writer like I am. And I didn't know you had three cats...
Seriously, your blogs show one of the strengths of your writing and that is your voice - warm and funny. I can't wait to read COLORADO CHRISTMAS.

Linda Warren said...

Hi CC,
Welcome to American! With your great sense of humor and wit, you fit right in.

Your witing schedule is much like mine. Peace and quite - oh yeah, it's what I crave. And there are no kids here, just a husband who thinks I know where everything is in the house.

I visited Colorado once and loved it, so I'm looking forward to reading your book, which sounds hilarious.

It was great to meet you in DC.

Eleni Konstantine said...

CC great blog. Congrats on your debut release. Another pav lover as well as night owl. Like your new home here. I think I will visit again :)

Rachael Johns said...

OMG can't believe I won a copy of your gorgeous debut!! And I promise not to call you dear Abby or ask ridiculous questions ever again!!


CC Coburn said...

Hi Crystal, thanks for dropping by and enjoying my interview. I hope you enjoy Colorado Christmas too!
Lisa if you not only love Pav. but also know how to make it, then consider yourself an honorary Aussie. What's your favorite topping? Mine's bananas, definitely bananas! :-)In fact Pavs. are so popular here, you can buy Pav. eggs at the supermarket. And as I can't think how to describe what they are, I won't. You'll just have to come here and find out for yourself. :-)
Hey Kandy, you always know the right thing to say, my ever-so-ladylike friend! See you in Nashville (I hope), if not before.
Linda! I think our meeting in DC was the beginning of a long friendship. Loved your blog the other day. Still waiting to hear if that was an armadilla ;-)
Hi Eleni, thanks for dropping by. I love your avatar. We must share a Pav sometime soon. :-)
Rachael, please feel free to ask any ridiculous questions, but be warned they could end up in a novel of mine. ;-)
Write to me at cc coburn and I'll get your address for posting your signed copy of CC when it arrives. :-)
note to self: start practicing signature!

Robyn Grady said...

I *so* remember that PE pitch. I wanted to pull out but you made me go. Now I can claim to have "been there when it happened" =-)

Robbie, {who had no idea you were so generous and must remember that when you're a no 1 NYTs bestseller.)

Eleni Konstantine said...

CC, thanks re the avatar and you're on re the Pav.LOL!

Kylie S. said...

Hey, CC, so I now discover you're a conflicted pet owner too! Can't decide which side of the furred fence to land on, eh? (you're not the only one - I had a Lab as a kid growing up and have a soft spot in my hear to for that breed) but I've also owned 6 cats on and off the last 18 years.

Good to see some familiar names on the Blog comments stalking you (me among them :-)


CC Coburn said...

Robbie, you have a better memory than me. All I remember is I bungled the pitch but Paula must've liked some of what she heard. (either that or she felt sorry for me). :-)
No.1 and NYT are music to my ears (big wide grin) How does one do happy faces on this blog?
Eleni, Pav is a staple dessert at RWAus conferences, so we'll do it!
Kylie, anyone who loves Labs can stalk me all they like. :-)

Megan Kelly said...

CC, welcome to HAR! I'm eager for your book, as I love CO and Christmas. My b-i-l's family lives there so we visit often. He exchanged houses and jobs for a year with a teacher in NZ making us all envious. I've always wanted to go to Australia, and now I've seen the beauty of NZ, I'd like to go there too. (Guess how I'd spend my money were any given to me!)
Glad you're not designing buildings and can bring us stories to warm our hearts instead.

Lisa Childs said...


Welcome to HAR! I can't wait to read your book -- it sounds so quirky and fun! And so do you! Wish I would have met you in DC!

-another late night writer...

housemouse88 said...

Hi C.C.,

I'm so glad you didn't choose between your cats and dog. We have 3 cats and 1 dog in the house and believe you me they let you know when you are paying someone too much attention. I swear ares are like spoiled children especially Scrappy, our dog. He is the newest member to the family and he still thinks of himself as the baby, and he acts like a baby too. Enough about animals, your book sounds fun. Thanks for being here today. Have a great day.

PamStone said...

Hi CC and welcome to Harlequin American. I'm another one that wrote for 20 years before arriving here. I love Colorado. We try to make it up to Lake City or Ouray every couple of years. And Australia is also on my list one of these days. Sounds like a dream life to me.

chey said...

Congratulations on your debut! Great post!

Vanessa Barneveld said...

Fantastic post, CC! I reckon my cats would fetch those coconuts for you. They're very obedient and love to climb trees.

Congrats on your debut!!!

Fiona Lowe said...

Thanks for the early morning smiles as I read your interview. Congrats on your almost's getting close isn't it? :-)


Anonymous said...

Hey CC, love the humour of your blog, so like you in person! I'm no different to everyone else here - can't wait to get that book in my hands. Seems like forever since the first inspiration for it hit, but maybe it's like pregnancy - just feels that way.

Louise C

Amy Andrews said...

Well if Robbie can claim being there at the pitch I'm claiming being the first one to find out the news that you'd sold - even before your husband! I can't believe how casual you were that evening in SF when I ran into you in the bar!

Can't wait to read the book. Is the line released here in Oz?

Paula Roe said...

Hey CC! What a fab post - great questions :) Pav, yuuum! Passionfruit and peaches on the top, definitely!

Can't wait to read your book. And Amy, I heard Sydney's Harlequin HO are thinking of releasing Colorado Xmas in Special Edition (we don't have American Down Under).

Amy Andrews said...

I hope so, Paula, thats great news.
In the meantime I might get my SIL who lives in SF to buy me a copy and bring it home with her when they vist in a few weeks.
By hook or by crook....

Lesley Millar said...

I have another author question. If your book is made into a film who would you like to play the leads?
I don't like Pavlova but I'll join you at the Sheraton Mirage anytime.

Joan Kilby said...

Congrats again on your book, Catherine! I'd say writing in two different countries qualifies as an interesting writing habit. I'm looking forward to reading your book and enjoying more of your great sense of humour!

CC Coburn said...

Hi everyone, Gee, you go to bed and wake up with friends - I love this blog!
Haven't had the caffeine fix yet this morning, but thank you all for dropping by.
Thanks Megan, I'm finally feeling good about being a failed architect - you're better than any shrink. :-)
Lisa, maybe we'll get to meet in Nashville? I hope you're going. Let's do a breakfast for us HAR authors?
Hi Housemouse, that's a strange name - are you a reclusive? :-) Can't blame you not wanting to leave with all those lovely animals to keep you company. How did your cats take to the interloper? Our Lab came last to the household as well.
Pam, we have so much in common - well three things anyway. :-) I'm hoping to get to Ouray this winter on a roadtrip we're planning to NM.
Hi Chey, thanks for stopping by.:-)
Vanessa, I'm only allowed three things on the desert island. Trust me, none of those things would be the cats (unless it was infested with rats and then I'd reconsider!):-) I'm really impressed you have trained cats. How did you do that?
Hi Fiona, glad I got you smiling for the day. Two months to go - but who's counting?
Hi Louise, pregnancy is a lot like waiting for one's book to hit the shelves. Painfully slow but worth it in the end. :-)
Amy I was bubbling inside, but having a calm and capable nurse like you to hold my hand helped! And my, you *are* keen to get a copy! Love ya!
Hi Paula, webmistress extraordinaire! I'm thinking we should have a Pav party... ;-)
Lesley, you can always can be relied on for thoughtful questions - which of course require thoughtful answers (did I mention I hadn't hd my caffeine fix yet?). :-)
The moment I laid eyes on Eddie Cibrian from Third Watch - I thought, Yes! Those dimples are where the character of Will started. Odd I know. :-) And maybe Kelly Reilly from Russian Dolls to play Becky.
LOL! Joan, I'm not sure I should continue *writing* in both countries - esp. in CO. Just got back my revisions for the story I worked on while there (2 miles high) and it's completely embarrassing - I must've been suffering from O2 deprivation to have written such garbage! (help...)

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to see Colorado in the winter! I've only visited in the summer. I'm sure you will enourage local tourism. Have you done a deal with the local tourist board? :)

Laney4 said...

Hi there!
Congrats on your new book, as well as books 2 & 3 in The O'Malley series being accepted for publication. You're on a roll!
It's great that we are introduced to you here and can go to your web site to learn even more (such as your current news noted above)!
Thanks for writing a great blog and offering a generous giveaway!
Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Hi CC,

Great blog. You always make me laugh. :)

I love Pavs too. I found a great chocolate Pavlova recipe the other day. Yum.

Looking forward to reading your debut book!
Cheryl S

Megan Kelly said...

Hey, CC, great idea about breakfast in Nashville! Count me in.

CC Coburn said...

LOL! Megan, maybe we should make it a Pavlova breakfast? ;-)
Cheryl, you can bring your chocolate Pav to breakfast in Nashville since you're an RWA nationals junkie. :-)
Thanks for dropping by and for visiting my website, Laney. Hope you liked the pics of Aus.
Hi Jan, yes, am definitely thinking of seeing the local tourist board. I'm already on first name basis with the Sheriff, half the jail, the county court judge... :-)
(all in the name of research of course!)

Sharon Archer said...

Ooooo, CC, can I come and be lazy with you for a day?! The three hour massage sounds blissful!

Fun interview, Marin.

Congratulations on your debut, CC. I'm looking forward to a great read with Colorado Christmas!!!


Louise said...

Hey CC, what a great interview. Not a bra in sight! Can't wait to read your book. Love the humour.
Louise (the Amazon)

Kelly Hunter said...

CC does wonderful humour. Judge Becky and Will captivated me in an early draft - can't wait to read them again.

Congrats Catherine

Anita Joy said...

Hey CC, finally managed to find time to stumble into your blog after many attempts to distract the kids. Oh, and on that, rather than give your kids $200 thousand each, why not build a new house for you, hubby and your menagerie - just don't include enough bedrooms for the brood!

Huge congrats on the upcoming first release.

CC Coburn said...

Sharon I'd just love to have you along to be decadent with - let's make a date? We could eat Pavs afterwards :-)
Louise dear Amazon! great to see you here. You aren't supposed to tell my fellow Harlequin American authors about my bad habits!

Hi Kelly! I'm taking you out of the prize draw since you're my CP you're entitled to your very own signed copy. ;-)
Hope you like what I've done with Will and Becky.
Anita, your suggestion has merit, hwever if I give the kids their own places with all that dosh, then they're less likely to put on sad faces and want to move home. I have enough trouble with Freddie and her Labrador Look! (any lab owner will know exactly what I'm saying) :-)
CC - about to draw the winner of a copy of Colorado Christmas. Gonna get a bowl of bananas and icecream and count down the time to closing. :-)

CC Coburn said...

And the winner of a signed copy of "Colorado Christmas" is...

Congratulations! Please contact me through my website email contact so i can arrange to post it to you.

Many thanks to everyone who dropped by, I loved seeing you all here. :-)

Ann Roth said...

Chiming in a little late here. Great interview, CC--funny!! Here's to a stellar carer.

penney said...

Thank you for being here today Colorado Christmas sounds great I'm looking forward to reading it

CC Coburn said...

Hi Ann! Here's to sharing more lunches at future RWA conferences. :-)
Hi Penney, Thanks so much for your kind words. I really hope you enjoy Colorado Christmas!