I’m pleased to introduce you all to Chloe Flowers, who writes contemporary women’s fiction and historical romance. She’s also a beekeeper! But I’m jumping ahead. Let’s find out more about her and her writing process.
Chloe Flowers is an award-winning author and the recipient of the University of Akron, Wayne College 2018 Writer of the Year Award. She writes small town contemporary women’s fiction, and historical women’s action and adventure romance novels about scoundrels, pirates, and spunky, independent heroines.
Chloe keeps bees, and identifies her hives by the different flowers she paints on them. Her pets have always been named after her favorite characters or action heroes: Indiana, Luke, Gimli, Thelma, Rocket, Forrest, Severus, Mushu, Mérida, Gibbs, Jack…Dead Pool (he’s a goldfish).
Chloe has a weakness for good red wine, Calvin & Hobbes comics, pie, dark chocolate and brown-eyed guys with beards, which is probably why she digs pirates, men in uniform, and treasure hunters, and writes about action and adventure and, of course, romance, which is the greatest adventure of all.
Betty: How many books have you written and published?
Chloe: There are 5 books in the Pirates & Petticoats series. This year I released a clean and wholesome version of Pirates & Petticoats called The Hearts of Adventure Sweet Romance Series.
Betty: What genre(s) do you write in and why?
Chloe: I love reading Regency but I have a passion for United States history and action and adventure. I enjoyed learning about the War of 1812, largely because it happened during the Regency period. I read a few books about the Battle of New Orleans, and when I found out how many strange and downright crazy things went wrong for the British, I had to use it as the backdrop for my 5th book: If You Give a Spy a Scheme. Truth really is stranger than fiction!
According to Amazon, the genres are called: American Historical romance, Women’s Action and Adventure romance.
Betty: What themes or motifs did you use in your recent release and why were they important to your story?
Chloe: The challenge of turning the villain in previous novels into the hero of book 5 intrigued me. How does a pirate-turned-French-agent have enough redeeming qualities for him to hold water as a hero? Enter the young Sauvage twins, who wreaked havoc in book 4 (to everyone’s glee) and a maimed young woman who believes she is too hideous to love. She has to learn a couple things we already know: first–there is someone for everyone, and second–the person you are inside shows your true beauty. We see them through their own eyes: He is unredeemable, she is unlovable.
Or are they?
If You Give a Spy a Scheme
He’ll Fight to be Redeemed
He steals for the French crown.
She heals for the Catholic church.
He will heal her heart.
She will steal his.
“Dramatic, engrossing, suspenseful, exciting.”
French Privateer and former pirate Captain Drago Gamponetti is given one final mission from his employer, the king of France: reclaim religious relics from a New Orleans cathedral. Trouble begins when he’s forced by a mysterious, veiled, novitiate nun to swear on the Bible to protect the very items he was instructed to steal.
Church healer Eva Trudeau hides more than her face behind the veil. The convent has been her safe haven since she crawled, beaten and bloody, to its door nine years ago. When an old enemy resurfaces and threatens to drag her back into the dark underworld, both she and her dark pirate captain stand to lose everything they’ve fought so hard to protect…including each other.
Betty: Do you have a specific place that you write? Revise?
Chloe: When the weather permits, I love writing on my back deck overlooking 30 acres of wooded parkland. I get frequent visits from a family of wild turkeys as well as plenty of fearless deer. When I can’t write outside, I head over to Cool Beans, my local coffee shop.
Betty: What helped you move from unpublished to published? A mentor or organization or something else?
Chloe: I joined RWA (Romance Writers of America) in 2010 and also joined my local RWA chapter as well as The Beau Monde (an online RWA chapter that is everything Regency). The conferences and workshops available through those organizations have been invaluable.
I also started the Sunshine critique group in 2011, and I couldn’t have succeeded without the fabulous ladies I befriended there. There is something uniquely solidifying about having 2–3 other writers who will be honest and tell you like it is. My writing improved because they challenged me to write better.
Betty: What do you think is your greatest strength in your writing?
Chloe: When I read, a motion picture takes place in my mind. My subconscious is busy acting out what my conscious mind is reading. That ability becomes invaluable when I write. Characters and settings become three-dimensional. Readers “see” Spanish moss dripping in spiral ringlets from gnarled tree branches, “smell” the thick, acrid smoke from a ship’s gun, “hear” the soldiers running through the marsh grass and the wet slimy suction gripping their boots, belching as they broke free.
Can you “see” Miss Kalia in this description?
The old woman approached the wagon, swaying like seaweed with the tide, perhaps due to aching joints, but on a night like this, it was bewitching and unnerving, like an adder mesmerizing prey. The moonlight subdued her brightly patched skirt into shades of grayish-reds, greens, blues and yellows. Colorful feathers poked out in every direction from the silver hair piled high on her head. A streak of white paint trailed from one ear, ran along her jawline, across her chin, ending at her other ear like a gruesome grin.
Betty: What comes first when you’re brainstorming a new story: setting, situation, characters?
Chloe: I’ve learned that I produce my best writing when I start with a well-defined, three-dimensional character. Once I know their fears, flaws, and secrets, I can put them in situations that expose their secrets, poke their flaws, and make them face their fears.
Still, there are times that “what ifs” pop into my head, like: “What would make a nun desperate enough to kidnap a pirate?” That weird question popped into my head one day and started me on the path to book 5.
Betty: Do you have a structured time to write or is it more fluid/flexible? Do you have to write between family obligations or do you set aside a block of time?
Chloe: In a perfect world, I have a routine. I get up, make a smoothie, check email while I drink it. Spend 30 minutes on marketing while it settles, then do my daily 30-minute workout. After I shower, I spend the rest of the day writing. My kids are all in college this year, so the distractions come from Indiana or Hobbes (dog & cat). But this is not a perfect world, is it?
Betty: Do you participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)? Why or why not?
Chloe: If the timing coincides with my writing schedule, I do. If I’m editing, I just cheer on my author friends.
Betty: What are you reading right now?
Chloe: Paranormal romantic comedy: From This Fae Forward by A.E. Jones. Contemporary Romantic Comedy: Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren.
Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?
Chloe: Anything with an exciting plot! Lately, I’ve been reading romantic comedies because I’m writing a contemporary series and my writing naturally has a lot of humor in it anyway. I love good paranormal and Regency romance. I’ll read thrillers and suspense novels as well.
Betty: What are your keeper books? How often might you reread them?
Chloe: I LOVED reading Kathleen Woodiwiss when I was younger. My favorite is A Rose in Winter, which has a bit of a Beauty and the Beast motif. More recently, I’ve enjoyed Amanda Bouchet’s Kingmaker Chronicles, mainly because we have a similar sense of humor and love of action and adventure romance.
Betty: When you’re writing, do you read in the same genre as your work in progress or something else?
Chloe: You’ve heard of actors like Jim Carrey staying “in character” during filming as well as off screen? I always read in the genre I am writing for the same reason. It keeps me in the right mindset.
Betty: Do you have a “day job” or do you write full time?
Chloe: I spent several years working for a few different consumer products companies in marketing, I taught marketing to MBA students for 3 years, but now I write full time and couldn’t be happier.
Betty: What do you wish readers knew about the publishing industry?
Chloe: I think if readers better understood how important reviews were, they’d be sure to leave one after reading a book. Good writing takes time.
Betty: What advice do you have for new writers?
Chloe: Keep learning. You can do this many different ways.
Find your tribe. The Romance Writers of America has dozens of chapters both geographically based as well as online. Don’t ever think you have to go this alone.
Be kind. The writing community can seem huge, but in reality, it can be very small. There is no “un-send” button.
Give. Give time, encouragement, support. It will be returned to you many times over.
Betty: Any hints of what your next writing project might be?
Chloe: I’m always working on multiple projects at the same time. If I get stuck on one, I just switch to another for a while. I have finished the first draft of a contemporary romantic comedy and am outlining the second. It features an ornery nanny goat, a young woman with a crappy driving record, the sheriff (her ex-high school crush), a quirky small town, and a jar of peanut butter…
I also have 2 more books planned for the Pirates & Petticoats series.
Betty: What kind of writing would you like to experiment with? Or what’s a different genre you’ve considered writing but haven’t yet?
Chloe: I’d love to take a dip into the paranormal pool someday…
Sounds like you have a lot going on, Chloe! Thanks for taking a few minutes to share with us your stories and your writing process. Wishing you all the best!
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