Author Interview with Carmen Peone 12/3/2019

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by Carmen Peone

Today, we welcome Carmen Peone for an Author Interview. Thank you Carmen for being here today and for agreeing to do this interview.

  1. Question: What do you think prepared you or qualifies you to write in your chosen genre? 

Answer: When I moved onto the Colville Reservation with my husband who is a tribal member, I began to learn the culture and language. I was involved in the school system, a K-12 school of about 300 students, from volunteering, to school board, to sub teaching, to coordinating the afterschool program, and becoming one of the archery coaches. While on the school board, Marguerite Ensminger a fellow board member and Salish teacher invited me to learn the Arrow Lakes language. With all of what I’d learned and experience I wrote a middle school book. One book turned into 15, including curriculum for my YA books.

    2. Question: Tell us a little about your “real” (Non-writing) life — family, job, church life. Does it give you inspiration for your writing? Does it get in the way of your writing, or are there times when you get help, from people or circumstances? 

Answer: I’ve been married for 35 years in December. We have 4 boys between us and 9 grandchildren, I write full-time now, have taught Sunday school in the past and now attend the Garden Valley Community Church north of where I live. We live in 1 of the 4 towns or districts on the Colville Indian  

Reservation, and on the eastern side of the reservation that edges Lake Roosevelt on the Columbia River. We are in the middle of nowhere and to travel to Spokane, we ride a small free ferry. There are mountain, lakes and streams, making where I live the inspiration and setting to all of my books. I have a couple horses I’ve competed on and they are also a huge inspiration and cover models for two of my books. If anything, my community enhances my writing. They are my characters.

    3. Question: Tell us about things you enjoy — what you do for fun or personal satisfaction? 

Answer: I am horse crazy. Riding relaxes me and frees my mind to create. My life has always been my family, husband, children and grandchildren. I often watch my some of my grandkids when needed. I have a Dingo named Daisy, who’s my daily companion. She’s now 15 so doesn’t really ride with me much anymore, but she’s still right by my side wherever I go. I love nature photography and four of my book covers include my photography, which is fun. I sell photo I’ve taken that include characters and setting. I’ve always been an outdoor girl, love camping and skiing.  

    4. Question: Tell us about working with any people who help you create your books — Do you use Beta readers? Hire an editor or proofreader? How do you get your covers? 

Answer: I do use Beta readers and proofers, as well as hire a designer for book covers and a couple of editors. I want my books to be as professional as I can get them.

    5. Question: Since you have several books out, tell us what you think works for promotion. What are your thoughts on ebooks versus print books and different ways to let people know about you and your books? 

Answer: Marketing is part of the writer’s gig. I speak, give workshops, vend at craft fairs, promote on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Being visible on Goodreads is a must. The last couple of years my book launches have suffered because I had the trifecta Presidential term for Women Writing the West. What I want to look into more is promoting through Book Bub and other paid or free sites that promote books. I realize Ebooks are important but also know print books are still the top sellers. I do both and this year will work on putting all my books in audio.

    6. Question: Tell us about your newest book. Make us want to read it. 

Answer: Heart of Passion, book 3 in my True to Heart Trilogy, came out in October. This is a historical YA set in the mid-1800s and includes the richness of culture and language belonging to the Arrow Lakes band of the Colville Tribe. Spupaleena, my main character, is a young woman coming into her own, racing horses and dreaming of someday selling her bloodlines to the Hudson’s Bay Company Fort Colvile. The fur traders needed exceptional horses to carry pelts to various locations and she has them. Her passion does not lie in traditional woman’s work of berry picking and tanning hides, but in raising horses to supply a major corporation. She knows a huge shift in the future is coming and will do what it takes to be prepared.  

    7. Question: What is the “message” of your writing? (For example, is your purpose to encourage old-fashioned values, encourage romance, or do you have different purposes in different books?) 

Answer: The themes of my books are the same: cling to hope and dream big. Something we all need to do. God gives us gifts and talents and the courage to reach and use them. All we need to do is step out in faith.  

    8. Question: Tell us one place you visited or person you met, that made a big impression on you, and why. 

Answer: Marguerite Ensminger, Tima Mugs, was under 5 feet tall, a wisp of a tough old gal. When she asked me to come to her home and learn the language, I declined. I declined several times until I thought I’d go a few times and stop. My life was busy with teenage boys, work, and other activities. I ended up staying for 3 years. She taught me endurance, survival, and to love the language and culture of the People. My grandmother’s had passed away within three months of each other while working with Tima (grandmother) and she adopted me into her heart as one of my grandmothers. The only reason we ended the sessions is because after several strokes, she passed away, or I’d still be with her today.

    9. Question: Share something that’s amazing, touching, or that makes you angry. 

Answer: In a world at spiritual warfare, I love kindness. Those special acts of love that make a person feel worthy and special and valued. This is craft fair season and a time when I see or meet a lot of folks and is a way I can give a compliment or hug, encourage someone who is having a hard time. There is nothing like helping to turn sadness to hope by one simple act of kindness. 

    10. Question: What is your current WIP? 

Answer: My current works in progress are include a 3rd book to the Gardner Sibling Trilogy, Lillian’s Legacy and my first adult novel, an Inspirational Romantic Suspense. Lillian’s Legacy is a historical novel, a spin off my True to Heart Trilogy of a teen who is finding herself through the friendship of a healer and my IRS is about a woman trying to save her family’s guest ranch after the untimely death of her parents and not fall for a handsome photographer guest who will do anything to help her.   

    11. Question: How many books do you have out? 

Answer: I have ten books available including my curriculum.

    12. Question: What are your future projects? 

Answer: Once I finish Lillian’s Legacy, I am making the switch to Inspirational Adult Romance and want to write rodeo and relay horse racing series. I also write daily haikus and want to turn some of those with my photos into a few journals.

    13. Question: Are their characters/stories/scenes/etc based on anything in real life? 

Answer: My book Girl Warrior include the World Famous Suicide Horse Race that takes place every August during the Omak Stampede. The novel also includes NASP archery competitions we take our archers to. I have also included the Hudson’s Bay Fort Colvile history and Indian Relay Horse Racing into my True to Heart Trilogy, fishing weirs that have been brought back to the reservation on the Okanogan River.

    14. Question: What is your favorite book/character? 

Answer: For the past 5 years, I’ve co-created and hosted a Cowgirls for Hope retreat, and have been in charge of writing and sharing daily devotions. The book I use for this is Twelve Extraordinary Women––How God Shaped Women of the Bible and What He Wants to Do with You––by John MacArther. This has become one of my favorite books. MacArther pulls the life of women from a few short verses and lays out their dedication and love for God in several pages. God has used this book to reveal what he wants for me and the ladies that come to the retreat in ways I’d never imagines. It has been such a blessing.

    15. Question: What is your writing style? 

Answer: My writing is a mix of descriptive and narrative styles, heavy with dialog, which is action and moves the story along. I love a fun metaphor that marries something we are familiar with to something new and exciting. Imprinting description of the territory I live in is pure pleasure. I love creating characters who turn a spark of a dream into reality or may be uncertain in the beginning of an adventure and become victorious in the end, sure of themselves and knowing who they are and what they want in life.

About the Author:

Carmen PeoneCarmen Peone has lived in Northeast Washington and on the Colville Confederated Indian Reservation since 1988. She had worked with a Tribal Elder, Marguerite Ensminger, for three years learning the Arrow Lakes Language and various cultural traditions. She owns and trains her horses and competes in local Extreme Challenge and Mountain Trail competitions. With a degree in psychology, the thought of writing never entered her mind, until she married her husband and they moved to the reservation after college. With the love of history and western woman lifestyle, she brings stories of hope, family, relationships, and faith to her novels.

These books were a labor of love, especially the second edition of the True to Heart Trilogy. Thank you to my cover model, Shayna Palmanteer of the Colville Confederated Tribes, for your willingness to be a part of this adventure. Visit my website for information on the workbooks that go along with my young adult books at

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