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Tuesday, August 04, 2015

CJ Carmichael: Finding Your Happy Place

Four years ago, in a search for a place where we could “get away from it all,” Mike and I stumbled across Flathead Lake, and a charming 3 bedroom cottage on the south side near Polson. When I sat on the deck and looked across at the view of lake, islands, trees and mountains, I said, “I don’t want to leave this place.” The realtor replied, “You don’t have to.”


And so, eventually, after much soul and pocket searching, we bought it. And our cottage in Montana has become my “happy place.” To get here from Calgary, we often drive through Glacier National Park, another one of my “happy places.” Because for me, being in nature, close to mountains, lakes and trees always makes me feel vibrantly alive and at the same time calm and peaceful.


As a writer one of the ways I can get to the heart of my characters is to understand where their happy place is. For the Carrigans of the Circle C novels it was important for me to figure out what this place was for each of the sisters.

For Sage Carrigan, in Promise Me Cowboy, it’s the kitchen of her Copper Mountain Chocolate store where she taps into her creativity and the sensory delights of excellent chocolate, pure ingredients and time-honored technique.

Sage’s oldest sister, Mattie, has bonded to the ranching community of her husband, Wes, and the Tennessee Walking Horses they breed and raise at Bishop Stables. In Good Together, Mattie risks losing everything she cherishes when Wes suddenly announces he’s had enough.

Second eldest sister Dani, with her PhD in psychology, eschews the ranching world where she was raised. For Dani, the hallowed halls of a university, and the cramped confines of the lab where she conducts her research, are what matter most. In Close to Her Heart, however, Dani discovers there are some thing she loves more than her job.


Cousin to the Carrigan sisters, Eliza Bramble isn’t sure where she belongs in this world, and that’s why she comes to Mariette Montana to help her great-aunt keep the family home by turning it into a bed and breakfast. It is only when Eliza takes a backcountry ski trip and is Snowbound in Montana that she discovers more about who she is and what she really wants.

The youngest of the Carrigan girls, Callan, has always loved her home, the Circle C Ranch, and has never wanted to live anywhere else. In a Cowgirl’s Christmas, however, an untimely death and a shocking will, have her contemplating a future much different than she planned.

Where is your happy place? If you’re a fabulous cook, maybe it’s your kitchen. If you love to read, it could be your public library, favorite bookstore, or the comfy couch at home. Perhaps places don’t matter that much to you—as long as you’re with the important people in your life. Tell me your happy place and I’ll chose one random respondent to receive an autographed book from my backlist. The winner will be announced on my website on Sunday August 9.

Warmest Wishes,
C.J. Carmichael

15 comments:

dstoutholcomb said...

cuddled under one of the quilts Grandma made--feels like a hug from her

Denise

CJ Carmichael said...

I have some quilts my mom made me Denise. I know what you mean!
xxx
CJ

Diana Tidlund said...

home with my husband and kids... I know I know a lot of people think its a stock answer but even after over strokes in days, I couldn't walk or talk, but I was crying like crazy because I knew I had to be released from ICU before Christmas because I wasn't missing Christmas with the kids and hubby. (Christmas is my favorite holiday) . After weeks in the hospital I was released at 4 pm on Christmas eve to go home and be with the family. The drs. then wanted me to go to rehab to get better and have physical and speech therapy to relearn to walk and talk but one dr realized how traumatic it would be for me and told them I would do better at home...took 6 months of rehab to walk and talk again... I still get tired easy and have to nap multiple times a day, can't drive or work anymore. (yet) but am happy to be alive. My kids and hubby rearranged their lives for me and I'm pretty sure its what helped me... Took a while to read again but am back up to a book a day with naps. (not the 2 plus books a day from when I used to review but hey... I will take what I can get!)

CJ Carmichael said...

That's an inspiring story about the importance of home and family Diana. I'm so glad you've recovered as much as you have, and hope the recovery continues.Sounds like you have an amazing and loving family!

xxx
CJ

Laney4 said...

This sounds corny, but it's the truth. In bed with my husband. (We celebrated our 34th anniversary last month.)

CJ Carmichael said...

Laney, I love, love that kind of corny. :) Congratulations!

xxx
CJ

Eileen A-W said...

We remodeled our kitchen over a year ago and we doubled the size. It has become the favorite place in our house to hang out. I love to cook and now have the room to try out new recipes. In addition I started a new tradition of having a monthly family dinner when all the kids come over for dinner. When I need to look within and do some soul searching I seek out water. That's not a problem in Minnesota, so I either walk over to the bluffs above Mississippi River or I drive over to one of the lakes and sit for a while.

Deanne said...

My happy place is my home library. I even have my books arranged alphabetically by author on the shelves to make finding what I want so much easier.

Cheryl Hastings said...

I love to be curled up in my favorite chair while my family watches tv together....I'm usually the one reading...or at the Cape on our front porch watching the ocean :)

CJ Carmichael said...

Eileen, your new kitchen sounds wonderful! I think it's a great idea to host a monthly family dinner. Everyone is so busy these days that the weekly Sunday dinner is hard to manage.
xxx
CJ

CJ Carmichael said...

Deanne, how lovely that you take such good care of your books. We have them sort of spread out over the house. It would be nice to keep them all in one place!
xxx
CJ

CJ Carmichael said...

Cheryl, both of your happy places sound inviting to me, too! It's great to be around the family when they're all together...but the ocean is pretty special too!
xxx
CJ

PoCoKat said...

My happy place is in my family room beside the fireplace, reading of course with the kitty curled up beside me.

CJ Carmichael said...

Hi PoCoKat! What is it about fireplaces? They are one of the most perfect places to read aren't they? The company of a cat (or a dog!) makes it perfect!

xxx
CJ

CJ Carmichael said...

Hi PoCoKat! What is it about fireplaces? They are one of the most perfect places to read aren't they? The company of a cat (or a dog!) makes it perfect!

xxx
CJ