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Caroline Burnes started her writing career as a photojournalist for Southern newspapers at the age of 12.
She came from a "newspapering" family and as a child was teased because of her writing ambitions.
"That girl’s got ink in her blood," the back-shop printers at the George County Times, the weekly newspaper in her hometown, would say as she stood on a bucket and helped lock up the old pages of type set on a linotype machine.
Growing up in the small town of Lucedale, Mississippi, Ms. Burnes found refuge in reading. The magic of the written word, particularly the strange and wonderful worlds of fiction, was rivaled only by her love of horses.
"If I could have had a chance to be a cowgirl, I might never have written a word," Ms. Burnes said. "As it was, a typewriter was a lot easier to come by than a horse, especially since both of my parents were journalists."
Ms. Burnes earned her B.S. degree in journalism from the University of Southern Mississippi and began a career of covering politics, features and hard news across the South. A love of short fiction led her to write short stories, several of which received critical praise and attention. In 1988 Ms. Burnes took a career shift and began writing romantic mysteries for Harlequin Intrigue under the pseudonym Caroline Burnes.
In 1988 A Deadly Breed, a mystery involving horse racing in Mississippi, was published by Harlequin Intrigue, and since then she has published nearly 30 books with Harlequin Intrigue, which have been translated into nine languages.
"So many of my books feature animals," Ms. Burnes said. "Creating fictional animal characters gives me a chance to share my love of animals with my readers."
Ms. Burnes came to writing as a reader. "Since I began to write seriously about 15 years ago, I haven’t been able to read as much as I’d like. I’ve also become a much harder reader. A writer has to really work to pull me into the story and out of my very demanding life. If I had one wish, it would be for more hours in each day, more time to read and write and to ride my horses.
"I’m not a cowgirl by any stretch of the imagination, but I do have three fabulous horses who give me tremendous pleasure. I mostly ride English and do a little backyard jumping, but lately I’ve started team penning. Once again, the problem is that the cows are smarter than I am!
"I just have to be careful when I fall to land on something soft and not my hands," she said. "Brain damage is unlikely, but I need my fingers to be able to write." Ms. Burnes lives on a five-acre farm with her three horses, Miss Scrapiron, Mirage and Cogar; three dogs, Corky, Sweetie Pie and Maybelline; and five cats, Poe, Miss Vesta, Gumbo, Maggie the Cat, and Chester.
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