Any trepidation Hutton may have had entering the classroom as an older student was quickly dispelled. “I never felt as if I didn’t belong at Mercer. There were plenty of students my age, which made it easy to find friends to discuss classes, homework and the challenges of being an older student,” Hutton said.
Observing that she got excellent support from her advisor in the Education program, she reached out to other adult students by helping to establish a club for returning adults. At the 2004 commencement, she delivered a rousing address as student speaker about the benefits of education at any age. “You are never too old to finish your education," she said.
These days, Hutton writes as much as 60 hours per week, but the highly successful author says her work does not feel like work at all. She got her start in romance fiction after attending a panel of Oklahoma romance writers at the State Library.
“I decided then and there I could do that. So I bought a book on how to write a romance novel, and then took apart one of my favorite books, and created an outline. I noted how the story flowed, the high points, low points, the character arc and other key elements. Then I sat down and wrote. It took me about two months,” Hutton said.
That first book was eventually published, but the first book Hutton sold to a publisher was “A Run For Love,” the first in her Oklahoma Lover series. It is set during the Oklahoma Land Run of 1889.
The author says the book business is booming. E-readers (i.e., kindles, nooks, I-books) have made reading more popular, especially with younger readers.
And Hutton’s chosen genre outsells every other, hands down. Writing both Regency/British historical, and Western historical, she currently has two series: The Marriage Mart Mayhem series set in Regency England and the Oklahoma Lover series.
This fall has been a busy one for Hutton. Her latest book in the Marriage Mart Mayhem series, “The Lady’s Disgrace,” was released in early September, followed by “A Chance to Love Again” in October, “Wild Western Women” with four other western historical authors in November, and “The Baron’s Betrayal,” due for release in January.
Equally exciting for Hutton was the birth of twin grandsons in August. She says she enjoys her role as grandma as much as best-selling author.
Hutton advises current students not to give up on their dream of a college education. “Stick with it. Even if you get discouraged, don’t give up. Continue on until you have that piece of paper in your hand. Even if you switch gears and, like me, end up doing something very different from what you studied in school, the knowledge you gained will always benefit you.”
Learn more about her on her website: www.calliehutton.com.
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