Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Blue-Ribbon Jalapeno Society Jubilee by Carolyn Brown (Book Review and Interview)

Title: The Blue-Ribbon Jalapeno Society Jubilee
Author: Carolyn Brown
Publisher: Sourcebooks

About the Book:
You Are Cordially Invited...Come early, eat until your buttons pop, and dance until you drop!
Miss Clawdy's Cafe has won the Jubilee blue ribbon every year since the dawn of time.  This year, town matron Violet Prscott is going after that ribbon with an iron-clad determination only thinly disguised by her perfect coiffure and flawless manners, bless her heart.

It's time for cafe owners Cathy and Marty and their best friend Trixie to pull out their secret weapon. And this is where a lifetime of friendship, combined with just the right recipe at just the right time, might carry the day -- or blow everything to smithereens.

Welcome to Cadillac, Texas, where the jalapenos are hot, the gossip is even hotter, and at the end of the day, it's the priceless friendships that are left standing. . .

My thoughts: I didn't want to put this book down to go to work (and I work in a library, so that's saying something - lol).  I loved the relationship that the three main women had - Cathy and Marty and twin's, and admit that they are two halves of a whole - opposite in everyway - and Trixie has been their best friend since they were little.  Their momma's were best friends before them.  They will stand up to anyone and anything to have each other's back, but at the same time they give each other enough space to make the right decision before stepping in.  Notice I said "right" decision?  Because if they don't make the right one - you can be sure they are gonna hear about it!  

They share most of life's victories and secrets with each other - each holding a little something back that they have not shared with anyone.  But like in any small town, usually someone knows something about it.  There is much gossip here - some true, most not - but all of it sure to bring a smile to your face. 

I had recently watched parts of an old movie "Something to Talk About" with Julia Roberts, Kyra Sedgewick and Dennis Quaid.  I couldn't help but picture Julia and Kyra in the role of the twins in this book. (But after reading her cast of characters in her interview, I like them much better.  And I love Shirley MacLaine as Aunt Agnes!)  It would make a great series on T.V. as you know when you put the book down that the gossip in town isn't going to end! 

Like they say, everything is big in Texas, and they go over the top with it all  - good food, gossip, politicians, cheating husbands, loyalty, family, friendship.  This was a feel good book for me and I look forward to reading more by Carolyn in this new genre for her!  Great job!

Praise for The Blue-Ribbon Jalapeño Society Jubilee

“Brown brings her cowboy-romance writing talents to bear on this hilarious tale of women in a gossipy small town… Fast-paced, the intertwined tales collide along a bumpy road toward a surprising calamity at the jalapeño jubilee. A high-spirited, romantic page turner.” —Kirkus


“Humor and down-home charm make this a first-place prize winner. All the character quirks and small-town appeal are used to the fullest advantage.” —RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars


“An excellent book. I loved every bit of it...” —FreshFiction.com

~I received a complimentary copy of this book from Sourcebooks in exchange for my unbiased review.~
Thanks to Sourcebooks, I also have a copy to giveaway!  Please see the giveaway post to enter!

About the author: Carolyn Brown is a bestselling and award-winning author with more than forty books published, and credits her eclectic family for her humor and writing ideas. Born in Texas and raised in southern Oklahoma, Carolyn and her husband now make their home in the town of Davis, Oklahoma, where she is working on her next cowboy romance, Billion Dollar Cowboy, which will be in stores in June 2013. The Blue-Ribbon Jalapeño Society Jubilee is Carolyn’s first fiction novel, and there are more to come, including The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off (April 2014)! For more information, please visit http://carolynlbrown.com/.
Carolyn was kind enough to take some time to answer some questions for me!  Please enjoy the interview below.
Thank you so much for letting me stop by your site on my blog tour for The Blue-Ribbon Jalapeno Society Jubilee. It’s been out a couple of weeks now and the response has been awesome from reviewers and fans.
1.       How do you typically write?  Do you plot it all out beforehand or do you just let the story pour out?
CB: Plotting is something I TRY to do but it only works for about the first two chapters for me. Then the characters hijack my brain and we begin to really tell the story the way it happened.
2.       Do you have a favorite place to write or “must haves” while writing?
CB: I’m not picky. I can write in my office, in the bedroom with notes scattered all over the bed, in the living room with two cats curled up around my feet or in a motel room. If my characters are in a chatty mood, I find a place and time to write.
3.       Do you have much say in the title or covers of you books?
CB:  Titles are a joint effort between me, my awesome editor and the Sourcebooks staff. Sometimes I hit upon one that sticks; sometimes not. I haven’t been disappointed in a single one no matter who comes up with it. Covers are most usually a surprise. Happy squeals bring out the neighbors. They have quit calling the police, thank goodness. That was embarrassing! I especially LOVE the title and the cover for The Blue Ribbon Jalapeno Society Jubilee. The cover is vibrant and eye catching, just in time for spring when we’re all so very tired of this long, cold winter; the title is so southern.
4.       Is there anything that has surprised you about writing, publishing or touring with your books?
CB: Everything surprised me and continues to do so but I love surprises. Just this morning a fan wrote to say that she was writing a book and wanted to know if she could use my name in her book since her character’s favorite author was Carolyn Brown. All the wonderful people I’ve met, those who’ve taken me under their wing and answered my eight million questions have surprised me with their kindness. The list goes on and on!
5.       Do you have a favorite author/book or one that you always recommend?
CB: I’m an eclectic reader who enjoys everything from Faulkner to the nutrition facts on the back of the cereal boxes. Today’s favorite author is different from yesterdays or tomorrows but right now this minute, I’d recommend Mary Kay Andrews, Carl Hiaason, Susanna Kearsley and Jill Mansell.
6.       Was there anything (or anyone) while growing up which helped you decide you wanted to be a writer?
CB: My sister!
7.       Do you have a job outside of being an author?
CB: I’m fortunate enough to be a full time author with no day job.
8.       What would you tell a beginning writer?
CB: WRITE…don’t WHINE! You will get rejections and when you do, you can have fifteen minutes to whine and then it’s time to go right back to writing. Whining robs you of writing time and you can’t ever sell if you don’t write. Set a daily goal, a weekly goal and a monthly goal. And don’t ever give up!
9.       What were your favorite books growing up?
CB: I read everything I could get my hands on and can’t begin to remember a favorite.
10.   Do you have any books on your nightstand right now?
CB: Cowboy Tough by Joanne Kennedy and a Christmas novella by Carolyn Hughey.
11.   If you could meet one person who has died, who would that be?
CB: Margaret Mitchell.
12.   If you could co-author a book with anyone, who would it be?
CB:  I'm such a lone wolf that I don’t think I could ever co-author. The authors who do that have my utmost respect.
13.   Do you have a favorite quote?
CB: This, too, shall pass.
14.   In one sentence, why should we read your book?
CB: It will make you laugh until your sides ache, wipe a few tears from your eyes and fire up mad before you finish it!
15.   What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
CB: I wrote a prize winning newspaper column for fourteen years.
16.   What do you come up with first when creating your character- the back story, the plot, the characteristics?
CB: Back story, every time. Got to know the past to understand the future.
17.   What do you do in your spare time?
CB: Write!
18.   What does a day in your life look like?
CB: I like to write a thousand words before breakfast. That sets the mood for the day, then after breakfast another two thousand before lunch. Then all I have to do in the afternoon is two more thousand to make my goal. Sometimes grandkids, Husband and a bright shiny warm day get in the way but that’s a normal day.
19.   What does a day look like in the life of your main character?
CB: In The Blue-Ribbon Jalapeno Society Jubilee, there are five friends. A day in Trixie, Marty and Cathy’s life is running Miss Clawdy’s Café; Jack is a policeman in Cadillac so he could be working or he might be in the garage behind Miss Clawdy’s with Marty working on her vintage Cadillac ; a day in Darla Jean’s life is getting ready for her church services.
20.   How does your family feel about having a writer in the family? Do they read your books?
CB: Oh, yes and those who have read The Blue-Ribbon Jalapeno Society Jubilee have declared it the best book I have ever written and are clamoring that they should read the next one, The Red Hot Chili Cook-Off before it even goes to press. (It won’t happen but it makes me happy to know they want to read the next one.)
21.   What time of day do you like to write?
CB:  Until my goal is met, I write any time of day or night.
22.   Where/when do you brainstorm best?
CB: I get the best ideas when I’m riding down the road on a trip. It’s amazing how much of a story line will come to me inside a car.
23.   How long do you think about a story before starting to write the book?
CB: Depends…ten minutes? Ten days?
24.   What is the most you have written in one day?
CB: Ten thousand words. I was on a roll.
25.   What themes do you love to read or write about?
CB: People and their quirks.
26.   What book fairs or events do you attend?
CBL: The RWA  National Conference is a highlight of my year.
27.   What is your favorite way to promote a book?
CB: Word of mouth…if people are talking about it and liking it, others will buy it.
28.   If you gave one of your characters an opportunity to speak for themselves, what would they say?
CB: Lord have mercy, Carolyn Brown is a slave driver. She makes us go into that office every morning and tell her what happened next and then she drills us like an interrogation officer to get it right.
29. What book would you like to read again?
CB: It is time to read Gone With the Wind again. I like to read it at least every ten years and am always amazed at which character I’m most impressed with since the last time I read it.
30.   If your book was made into a TV series or movie, what actors would you like to see playing your characters? Feel free to add pics.  
CB: Katherine Heigl could play the part of Cathy and Marty. Ashley Judd is Trixie. Michael Weatherly is Jack. Shirley MacLaine is Aunt Agnes.  Darla Jean is Daniela Ruah.
31.   Favorite childhood memory?
CB: Momma’s Sunday dinner…fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans and her famous hot biscuits with cobbler (peach or blackberry) for dessert.
Silly questions –
1.       If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
CB: Write faster and better.
2.       Do you have any hidden talents?
CB:  Several and I would tell you but then…well, you know!
3.       Night owl or early bird?
CB: Early bird…I was a robin in a previous life and I like to get the worm.
4.       Favorite season?
CB: Spring.
5.       If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be?
CB: Oh My God!
6.       Favorite sport?
CB: Reading…it’s going to be an Olympic sport before long. I’ve put in the paper work. It’s just a matter of time before it is recognized.
7.       Favorite music?
CB: County music.
8.       Talk or text?
CB:  Talk!
9.       Cat or dog?
CB: Cats…have two. Boots and Chester.
10.   Guilty pleasure tv show?
CB: Justified.
11.   Sweet or salty snacks?
CB: Both!
12.   Coffee or tea?
CB: Coffee!
13.   Favorite holiday destination?
CB: Florida for Christmas with just Husband and me on the sand.
14.   Do you have a literary crush?
CB: Don’t think so.
15.   If you could live in a literary world  - what world would that be and why?
CB: I love living in the world I’m in. I can’t image living anywhere else.
16.   Most embarrassing moment?
CB: That would be like taking one needle from a mountain sized stack of needles. The one that comes to mind right now was backing my little red truck into a highway patrolman!
17.   Favorite gadget?
CB: Can opener.
18.   If you could travel forward or backward in time, where would you go and why?
CB:  Backward to visit with Scarlet O’Hara for one day. After that I’d want to come home to air conditioning and indoor plumbing.
19.   If your book were made into a movie who would the play the main characters?  What would the theme song be?
CB:  The theme song would be The Yellow Rose of Texas. Characters are listed above! And you can see me dancing a jig under the red light on Main Street the day that I sign papers for a movie to be made about The Blue-Ribbon Jalapeno Society Jubilee.
20.   Most __________ in High School?
21.   Ebooks, paperbacks or hardcovers?
CB: All of the above with emphasis on paperbacks!
Wow!  Thank you so much for taking the time to answer ALL of my questions!  Completely unexpected, but loved your answers!   I am also looking forward to reading The Red-Hot Chili-Cookoff next year!! 
Purchase Links


Carolyn Brown said...

Thank you for the absolutely awesome review! I'm so glad to be here today! Anyone have any more questions or comments? I'll be in and out all day and I'll have Agnes and the whole cast from The Blue Ribbon Jalapeno Society Jubilee with me if you want to ask them anything.

Heather said...

I loved this book. I was expecting to like it, but it so much more than that. Can't wait to buy a copy for my mom. Have yet to write and post my review.

Carolyn Brown said...

Thank you, Heather! It's a real compliment to hear that you are buying a copy for your mother! Can't wait to see your review.


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