USA Today Bestselling author C. J. Carmichael has written over 45 novels in her favorite genres of romance and mystery. She has been nominated twice for the Romance Writers of America RITA Award, as well as RT Bookclub’s Career Achievement in Romantic Suspense award, and the Bookseller’s Best honor.
She gave up the thrills of income tax forms and double entry book-keeping in 1998 when she sold her first book to Harlequin Superromance. Since then she has published over 35 novels with Harlequin and is currently working on a series of western romances with Tule Publishing. In addition C. J. Carmichael has published several cozy mystery series as an Indie author.
When not writing C. J. enjoys family time with her grown daughters and her husband. Family dinners are great. Even better are the times they spend hiking in the Rocky Mountains around their home in Calgary, and relaxing at their cottage on Flathead Lake, Montana.
Once a Bookworm…
When I was growing up I loved to read, and now that I’ve entered the “empty-nest” stage of my life, I still do. Sure I have other interests (hiking, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing in the mountains with my life partner Mike, indulging in board games, socializing with family and friends) but nothing beats the pleasure of losing myself in a good book.
A Bend In The Road
Despite my love of fiction, when it came time to pick a direction for my studies in university, I chose business. I ended up with a degree in Commerce, which I followed with two years of articling and several more exams, in order to become a Chartered Accountant. I worked in this field for about six years, and while I enjoyed my job, I had a secret yearning for something else.
I typed my first book on an electric typewriter, and sent it to Harlequin Enterprises with great expectations. I had so much to learn! The books I had enjoyed since my teen years seemed so structurally simple, but I soon realized that achieving this effect requires great skill and talent. Hoping I had the talent, I worked on acquiring the skills and ten years later (yes, it really did take that long!) I sold my first book to Harlequin Superromance.
A Small-Town Girl at Heart
Though I live in Calgary, was born in Vancouver, and enjoyed seven years in Toronto, in my heart I feel like a small-town girl. That’s probably because I grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan (the oldest of five) where we raised hogs and chickens, grew barley, and had, I'm sure, the world's largest non-commercial vegetable garden. I always knew I wanted children, but I never guessed how much I would love being a mom. I guess my daughters Lorelle and Tessa--now in their twenties--just made it easy. Mike also has two grown daughters, as well as great friends and family living in his hometown of Montreal, where we visit frequently.
It Could Happen to You
Writing about ordinary people, in extraordinary situations -- That’s the kind of story I love to read and it’s the kind of story I write, as well. Whether you’re a mom with kids, a single career woman, divorced, retired, young, old (or any combination of the above!) I want you to feel as if you are reading about something that could happen to you in your real life (or to your daughter, or mother, or best friend).
A Rewarding Career
Though I’ve been thrilled to be nominated for RWA’s Rita award, RT’s Career Achievement award and The Bookseller’s Best award, my biggest rewards come when I receive an e-mail or letter from a reader. I also enjoy getting together with other writers whether at large conferences or in smaller retreats. It’s a great way to travel and to meet new people who share the same interests and passions as I do.
After 35 traditionally published books, I’m now experiencing life as an Indie-writer which means that many of my newer titles are only available as e-books. It’s not that I don’t still love traditional books—this is just a reflection of the changing industry. For me the most important thing is to be creative and keep improving as a writer—something I strive to do with each new title.