Hi Charlotte, and welcome to Storm Goddess Book Reviews & More. Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions!
- Tell me a bit about yourself, and your writing.
I am an optimist at heart, believe there is good in every person, am a loyal and true friend, love dogs, feel deeply, love passionately and cry hard.
I have an ability to befriend almost anyone I meet. I am adept at finding common ground with strangers, putting them at ease and getting more information from them than they may have wanted to share. I delve into a person’s life, interests and dreams not because I am nosey but because I am genuinely interested in people.
I come from a large family with seven siblings. My childhood was chaotic with eight children in the house along with mom and dad. We are a close-knit family even though we are spread out across the United States.
- How long have you been writing? Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
In 1997 I started writing a suspense novel. I completed one hundred twenty pages of the novel just prior to a planned trip to the Grand Canyon with two of my girlfriends. I let these two trusted girlfriends read those one hundred twenty pages during that trip. They are both avid readers like I am and I valued their opinion. Their reaction to the story was a huge confidence booster. I decided right then that I would pursue writing but my corporate career got in the way and I didn’t get back to writing seriously until 2007 when my husband and I were living in Hong Kong for a year. That’s when I penned Seattle Delight.
I have always been an avid reader. I could spend hours in a book store. I not only enjoyed the stories I read, I appreciated how the words were put together to craft the story. I have always viewed writing as a true art form. I continue to be amazed by how beautiful the written word can be. When reading a particularly good book I would dream about writing. I believed I would be good at it. But it wasn’t until my trip to the Grand Canyon in 1997 with my girlfriends Patty and Bev that I knew I would publish someday.
- What are your favorite genres to read?
I am a romantic at heart so romance novels are high on the list of favorites. However, I am an eclectic reader; it depends on my mood at the time whether I am reading mystery, suspense, romance, paranormal, fantasy, or non-fiction history. If there is a good story with interesting characters, and it is well written, count me in.
- How many books do you have published? What genre?
I have one book published, Seattle Delight, in the contemporary romance genre.
- Do you write in multiple genres, or do you just stay with one? If you do not write in more than one genre, do you ever consider it?
The genres I write in are contemporary romance and romantic suspense. My next two books are romantic suspense novels. I don’t like to be tied to one genre. I believe, for me, writing in different genres is good exercise for my brain and it’s fun.
- What are some of your passions and hobbies outside of writing?
I care deeply about people and animals. I have spent time volunteering in many different areas over the years and continue to do so today. I have been a hospice volunteer; I help the Salvation Army with their holiday activities; volunteer with a local neighborhood help organization and help with the socialization of dogs at animal shelters.
I try to get some physical exercise on a regular basis. To that end, I ride my bike, play pickleball, walk, hike, or play with my dog.
I am also a very social person so, seeing other people is an important part of my life. I like to meet up with girlfriends whenever possible for a glass of tea, dinner or a quiet talk. I like to have friends over for dinner, a barbecue, or just to sit in the backyard for a nice chat.
If I have free time in the evening, I like to watch movies or certain television shows. Since I have a hard time being idle, if I watch television or a movie I knit or work on making custom greeting cards. I don’t know why it is so hard for me to sit and do nothing but it is. I should probably have myself analyzed but I’m afraid of what they might find. LOL.
- Are you a plotter or do you write from the seat of your pants?
I am definitely a Panster. I feel confined by an outline. I start my books with an idea or the image of a character. I rarely know exactly where the story is going until I get there.
For example, I am working on a book that has a great opening and closing sentence. I am building the entire book around those two lines. What comes between that opening sentence and the last sentence in the book develops as I write it.
On other books I have started with a first chapter. After the first chapter I do think a little bit about whom the characters may be and where the story may go and put my musings on a sheet of paper. One single double spaced sheet of paper can hold the whole “outline’’ if that’s what one wants to call it.
As I write the book I may develop new characters, which I add to my musings page. I may change the plot and I add that to my musing page. I am truly a Panster through and through.
- Name four books that stay on your keeper shelf.
JR Ward – Black Dagger Brotherhood series
Ms. Ward is a master story teller. She created a most interesting and hot group of men, The Black Dagger Brotherhood. The BDB are almost too hot to even think about without spontaneously combusting into flames and dust. The storyline is interesting and the action is non-stop. I adore this series.
Bruce Cameron – “A Dog’s Purpose”
I am a total push-over when it comes to dogs. I would adopt every single dog living in a shelter if I didn’t have my husband to face every day. This story touched my heart. It made me laugh, cry very hard and often, and cheer. Make sure you have plenty of tissues on-hand if you have a sensitive spot for dogs.
“A Dog’s Purpose” is the story about a dog that experiences several reincarnations until he understands his purpose in this world. It is a wonderfully touching story.
Garth Stein – “The Art of Racing in the Rain”
This is an irresistibly moving story. Enzo, a dog with the wisdom of an old soul, narrates a captivating tale of his life with a middle-class family; life with all its hilarity, devastation, challenges, fear, death and hope. This book will have you laughing, sobbing and cheering but leave you believing in hope, redemption and the power of love.
Dr. Wayne W Dyer – “Excuses Begone! How to Change Lifelong Self-Defeating Thinking Habits”
Everyone can benefit from reading books such as Dr. Dyer’s that encourage us to focus on positive affirmations. I need a reminder now and again and I have found this book to be a good one to keep my thinking on track.
- E-books or print, which do you prefer?
Initially, I thought e-books were a great option to ensure I had enough reading materials when traveling. Now, I am primarily an e-book reader whether at home, traveling, sitting in a coffee shop or waiting for a flight, train or a doctor’s appointment. I never thought I would say this but that’s the way it is.
I am still drawn to book stores and love to pick up a book in print, thumb through the pages and let the odor of the ink tickle my nose. Sometimes I just can’t resist and I end up bringing a new hardcover or paperback book home to go on the shelf with all of my other books. I will always have print books but my e-book library is growing exponentially.
- What is a talent you wish you had, but don’t?
I have siblings who are so witty that other people are drawn to them for their ability to have a quick retort, a one-liner or a quip for every situation. I am drawn to them myself because they are so fun to be around. I would love to have the talent of witticism, to be able to think quickly and deliver a one-liner flawlessly leaving the group gaping in awe or roaring with laughter. For now, I appreciate witticism vicariously through my siblings.
- What are you working on now?
I am working feverishly to complete the editing of my first romantic suspense novel. It is set in Minnesota and Alaska and I hope people find it to be a fast moving, yikes – I’m scared, kind of book.
I am also working on finishing that novel I mentioned earlier. The one I presented to my girlfriends when we were on one of our trips to the Grand Canyon. I want to finish it not just for me but for them. They still ask me about it to this day.
Then there is the sequel to Seattle Delight. Julien and Charly are not finished with their journey together. I actually love both of these characters and it is so fun to pretend I’m Charly when I am writing.
I have started a blog, continue to work on my website and find time to spend with friends and do something physical to expend all that pent up energy from sitting behind a desk.
- What is a typical writing day/schedule like for you?
I am up early because my eleven and a half year old silky terrier needs to go to the bathroom. I shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, check email and sit down to write. I am normally ready to write by 9 a.m. each day.
What I am working on determines how long I work that day. If I am working on writing a story and it is a good day, I may spend up to five hours or more just writing. If I am researching or editing a story, I can spend up to eight hours working.
I rarely take time for lunch but eat Milano cookies at my desk. I am pretty driven when I am working. I do take time to play with my silky terrier or she would bother me to no end and I would never get any work done.
I make it a point to stop working by 5:30 p.m. so I have some break in my day. Otherwise, I would just work and have no time for fun.
Evenings are for movies, watching television, exercising, visiting with my husband, friends, dinners, etc.
I am normally in bed watching the news by 10:00 or 10:30 p.m. Then I start the routine all over again the next morning.
- Does your mood influence what you write, or read?
Absolutely. I was talking to a friend the other day and told her I was working on the final edits for my first romantic suspense book. I was sharing with her that the book has some dark characters and has scary scenes. She responded, “Good, because I don’t think you’re in the right frame of mind to write a light romance.”
I swear, she said this to me. She was right. I have had to face some new medical issues recently and dealing with difficult things is not necessarily conducive to writing a sweet love story. These difficult issues normally exhibit themselves in complex angry dialogue and dark situations. HMMM! I have two romantic suspense novels coming out soon. I guess that tells us something about how life has been going lately. LOL
- What genre of writing style would you like to see make a comeback?
The Sonnet. I’m being serious. The Sonnet is a wonderful way to express how one feels about love and life. If you read any current or older Sonnets (Shakespeare), you can’t help but be moved by the power of the words and their meaning. To convey so much in just fourteen lines takes incredible discipline and an exceptional command of language. The Sonnet is a celebration of the beauty of language.
- If you could travel anywhere and do anything, no limits or money holding you back, where would you go?
France. No doubt about it. I have wanted to travel to France since I took French in high school. I think of France as glamorous, romantic, beautiful, strong and sophisticated. The country is so rich with history and interesting people. I want to travel to France to see and learn about everything first-hand.
I have been studying the French language since January of this year in preparation for our trip to France in 2013. I hope by studying the French language with vigor this far in advance I will be better prepared to interact with the people in Paris as well as the small villages dotting the countryside.
Charly’s life was simple and uncomplicated, just like she wanted it. Or so she thought! One chance encounter with a devilishly handsome stranger in her local coffee shop would turn her world, and her heart, upside down. She would be thrown into a realm of privilege and romance, and more than just a little danger.
How will she handle the dark gorgeous man who has inserted himself into her domain? When danger threatens those she loves, will she have the strength of heart and spirit to do whatever it takes to save them? Share Charly’s adventures as she navigates through the quickly changing landscape that has become her life.
“Hey, watch it,” Charly said as someone bumped her table and precious drops of the caffeine laced fuel danced across the table. She couldn’t afford to lose a microgram of caffeine. Not today – well not any day! Considering she’d written two lines and a finished first draft of her book was due in two months, she knew she was in a world of hurt.
Charly turned to see who had been so rude. Okay, as a romance writer it was Charly’s job to write about hunks but what she saw before her left her breathless. Looking at her with Caribbean Sea blue eyes, copper skin, and dark hair falling in waves to the top of his shoulders was a God.
“Pardon, I am so sorry,” he said in a deep, richly accented voice bowing his head in her direction.
His eyes – those incredible blue eyes were intently focused on Charly making her feel self-conscious. Charly regretted that she hadn’t taken more care with her appearance this morning. Her damp hair was a mass of unruly curls, her face devoid of makeup with the exception of a dab of lip-gloss. Charly rested her chin in her right hand appreciating the view before her until she laid a finger on her upper lip. Panic rose within her; she felt it and if he noticed it she would be mortified. Damn, why hadn’t she waxed her mustache last night? Why did women get mustaches in the first place? It’s not like we don’t have enough to worry about.
Charlotte lives in Arizona with her hunky husband Warren, and her spoiled Silky Terrier, Tess. Her life has been filled with serious endeavors, including earning a Master's degree, owning her own business, consulting and working in the corporate world as a human resources executive. Before penning her first novel, Charlotte had written several practical guides for business applications, not exactly steamy stuff. Luckily, she never lost sight of her dream to write a novel that would encompass her passion for gorgeous men, adventure and a love of life. Enjoy
Web site: http://www.charlotteastout.com
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Rating: 3.5 LIHGTNING BOLTS
Review: Seattle Delight was a fun romantic story with just a pinch of mystery. Charly and Julian have interesting chemistry and the dialog between them is never dull. The pacing, however, wasn't always smooth. I felt like there were scenes out of place and sometimes I skipped ahead. I loved the dynamics between the two, and that's what kept me reading along. I wanted to know more about this pair and how things would work out. The character development is really great, I got a good sense of who Charly and Julian are Overall, I did like the book, was glad I had a chance to read it.