Charlotte wites many genre's of romance and erotica.
The girls of Night Owl Romance are pleased that you have granted us an interview
We would love to get to know you
Could you please start by telling us a little about yourself?
Well, I was adopted at birth in Florida and grew up in Georgia so that makes me an official Sunshine Cracker. :) I married my high school sweetheart and we've been together forty-one years now. We have two sons and two grandchildren and are being held captive by five demanding felines. We live in Iowa. My DH, Tom, was a career military weatherman so we traveled all over the country. I've worked as a waitress, a long distance operator, a shoe saleswoman, a store clerk, a receptionist, a grocery stocker at an Air Force base commissary, a dental assistant, and a parish secretary. Our family is very active in our local Catholic church and at the Red Cross. I started my professional writing career in the 70s when I was entertainment editor for one of Warren Buffet's newspapers in Omaha. My first mass market paperback came out in 1996 and I've published over 40 novels to date and have another twenty-five contracted. To date, I've written 67 novels and will be starting my 68 th today.
If you could be one of your characters - Who would you be? And why?
That's a hard question. It would be a toss-up between Kamerone Cree from BloodWind and Viraidan Cree from BlackWind. Both are alpha males with a strong sense of humor and total devotion to those about whom they care. I am drawn to tall, dark, handsome, and deadly men when I write because they are so empowered by their badassness. As to why, I know what it is to be a woman so I would like to know what it is to be a man. Oh, the power to be wielded!!!! And I can scratch myself in inappropriate places without having some little old lady hit me with her umbrella.
What's your favorite genre to read?
I have eclectic tastes in reading and it depends on the mood I'm in what I'll pick up. I never miss books by John Sandford, Dean Koontz, John Grisham, David Wiltse, Michael Connelly, Andrew Greeley, John Saul, Stuart Woods, and Robin Cook but when I just want light reading to distract me, I dive into Christine Feehan, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Johanna Lindsey, JR Ward, Lucy Blue, Rosemary Rogers, Shirlee Busbee, Mary Higgins Clark, Ronda Thompson, or Jude Devereux. If I'm depressed, I'll read Dave Barry. He never fails to make me laugh.
Who or what influences you when you write?
My moods or inspiration. I might hear a song or just a particularly moving stanza or melody from that song and come up with an idea. A phrase heard in passing might do it or just an impression I get from watching people as they go about their daily routines. I love to go to the mall and observe people. I might see a scene in a movie or in passing on the interstate that will trigger the Muse who sits on my shoulder. (His name is Sean, btw, and he's a mean little cuss when he wants to be.) Just watching Scottish actor Gerry Butler strut his stuff is always enough to inspire me to write a scene or entire book for him. That sexy twinkle in his pale green eyes sends me off in tangents of ecstasy at times and don't get me started on that sensuous brogue! It's a pleasure to create storylines and scenes for him.
What do you do on a typical writing day?
I get my chores done like making supper, doing the first load of wash then I head out to my office. Tom built me a 12 x 24 cedar building off our back deck and it is totally self-sufficient with a mini fridge, microwave, u-shaped desk with hutches, a loveseat, chair, entertainment center, etc. I go out there and begin the day by handling emails, webpage updates, then settle down to write. I usually work from about 9 AM until 5 PM with breaks in between to do the second load of wash and fold the first. I always take a break at 2:00 to watch General Hospital because I have used Greg Vaughan, Steve Burton and Tyler Christopher as models for my characters (from the Western Wind series) and I love to sit and watch their mannerisms, acting, and the sweet eye candy they exhibit..especially shirtless. ;) I usually write about ten-twenty pages before calling it a day but have gone back after supper if a scene keeps popping up in my head and needs to be fleshed out on paper.
When you have writer's block how do you break free?
I am a firm believer that there is no such thing as writer's block. What that actually is are interruptions that take you out of your writing. The cat needs to come in; the dog needs to go out. Your significant other or a family member needs your attention. The doorbell or the phone rings, someone comes to the door, the power goes off or you have to take a potty break. Anything that takes you out of the creation will cause you to lose your train of thought. When that happens.after I kill the annoying neighbor who decided she needed a cup of milk or life as we know it would cease to exist.I grab a cherry Pepsi, a bag of Scoops, the salsa, a book and just lose myself in that until I've become grounded again. Once I have my head back where it belongs and not up my you-know-what from being interrupted, I'm good to go again.
Please tell us what you have planned next?
I am in the process of starting the sixth book in the Western Wind series as well as writing a sequel to In the Teeth of the Wind. I work best when I'm doing two or three novels at once so if I get bored with one, I can move over to the other. I also plan to expand my webpage with a few neat things. Since I designed, created and maintain it myself, I can work on it as I have time and inspiration. I also plan on joining a few writing websites to which I've been invited and doing monthly articles as time allows.
In 5 years, where do you see yourself? - In general and in you're writting career
I see myself still writing, still creating. Since I couldn't get an agent or NY to take a look at my work if my hair was on fire and I was running down the street naked and carrying a chimp, I'll be with the small press publishers who took a chance on me and believe in what I write. I'll be fashioning works my devoted readers will embrace and I'll be cashing my royalty checks with a big grin on my aging face. It doesn't take too much to make me happy but to make me giddy, all it takes is a single fan letter saying I like what you do.
Who is your perfect hero? And why?
Kamerone Cree, my Prime Reaper from the DemonWind series. He's just sexy as hell, takes nothing off nobody, has a wicked sense of humor, and loves his lady with all his being. He's like the Energizer Bunny and a Timex watch all roll into one: he can take a licking and keep on ticking and he never stops! ;) And he's Gerry Butler personified so that makes him just about perfect in my eyes.
Is there a genre of book you would like to write but haven't yet?
Comedy romance. See answer below.
What type of book would you like to write but haven't yet?
I have been threatening for years to do a funny novel called BreakWind. I have it all planned out in my mind but I just haven't had time to sit down and write it. It will be a silly look at circus performers who just happen to be dead.
What kind of research do you do for your books? Do you enjoy the research process?
I have research material up the ying-yang, actually. I have a file cabinet with all kinds of useful information I've gathered from the Internet. I have a revolving file on my desk with cheat sheets on very important things such as the different names for colors. When I start a book and realize there is going to be something the reader might not know about, I research it so I can adequately describe it in the book. I might know what a crenulation is but the reader might not. Nothing is as annoying as to be reading along and come up against a word or something you don't understand. It will take you right out of the action and that's the last thing I want my readers to face. I have a marvelous editor in Jeri Youness at NCP who suggested doing glossaries for some of my books. I've had readers thank me for those glossaries so Jeri was right on with her advice. I have also taken to putting an author's note in some of my novels so readers.but especially reviewers.won't come to the wrong conclusion concerning when, where and why my novel is taking place. The worlds and timelines I create are of my own fashioning but sometimes reviewers get the wrong impression and try to pigeon hole the storyline in a certain time or believe it takes place on this world of ours.
What would you like to tell your readers?
Let your favorite authors know how you like what they write. Tell them what you enjoyed about their book. Give them some feedback. That will help when they start a new novel if they know what has worked in the last one. It will also give them an idea of what YOU want to read. Likewise, if there was something in the book you didn't like or understand, let them know. I get emails nearly every day from readers who tell me they like my work and believe me, those words are cherished and re-read time and time again when a writer gets down. Just to know someone out there is eagerly awaiting your next book does wonders for your self-esteem. I always answer each and every email as soon as I see it. Reader input is invaluable and when he or she takes the time to write me, I make time to reply. And if you'd like signed bookplates or postcards of any of my cover art, just drop me a line. The snail mail addy is listed on my webpage.
What is the best and advice you have ever received?
Best advice came from my husband when he told me to never get up trying to get published. He believed in me when I had stopped believing in myself. You can take only so many rejections before you begin to lose confidence in your abilities. It's so much easier to give up than to continue. He said that was the coward's way and he refused to allow me to give in to my weakness. Had it not been for him, I would not be where I am today. I owe it all to him. He is my staunchest supporter, my biggest fan, and the love of my life. The worst advice came from a fellow author who convinced me to try my luck with Sovereign Publications. I did and after losing a large sum of money on that subsidy publisher, taking part in still another class action lawsuit and watching the publishers being sent to prison, I learned my lesson. I would very strongly advise any writer NOT to go with subsidy/vanity publishing. It is NOT what they lead you to believe it is. There are too many crooks out there and you can lose a lot of money very quickly. There are a lot of legitimate epublishers who will take a look at your work. If you aren't good enough for a royalty-paying epub who doesn't charge you the first red cent to get published and having to pay to get pubbed is the only way you have to see your name in print, you're really not doing yourself any favors by paying to be published. The same holds true of self-publishing. Writers will learn too late that it is an extremely hard row to hoe when you go either route. Promotion is not as easy as one would think. As a matter of fact, it can be damned hard and accomplish very little for those not willing to buckle down and continue beating their heads against many a brick wall.
Do you outline your books or just start writing?
The only outline I ever did was for a publisher who demanded it. I just don't do them. Hate to do them and if another publisher demands one, I'll bypass him/her and go to another with that work. A writer's words are important, not the silly outline. The same holds true with a query letter. My publishers know how I write, they know my work sells, and no longer require one. A proposal is a different matter. Those I will do although reluctantly and then only for an anthology. I write as the inspiration hits and since I usually dream my entire book before I ever sit down at the keyboard, I just let the Muse lead me. He doesn't work with an outline, either.
Do you belong to a critique group? If so, how does this help or hinder you?
No. I dislike critique groups and have never belonged to one. I know a lot of writers swear by them and need the encouragement and feedback but I just don't work that way.
What was your first published work and when was it published?
The Keeper of the Wind was first published in 1996 by Commonwealth Publications out of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. They were another subsidy publisher who wound up being sued by hundreds of writers.including Mary Janice Davidson.in a massive class action suit. That book, though, did earn me two royalty checks and a three-week booktour in my native South. It was responsible for getting my foot in the door of epublishing, as well, when it was contracted by the now-defunct Romance Foretold's Dark Star Publication. It later went to the new generation of that publisher, RFI West, until several of us authors left and started Amber Quill Press. When I left AQP, the book went to Twilight Times Publishing. Now, it book has since been re-released as WindKeeper and you can find it at New Concepts Publishing. As you can see, the book made the rounds but it started my career and holds a very special place in my heart. Because I had to travel from Iowa to Edmonton to retrieve the boxes of that book Commonwealth had printed, I got to see several Canadian provinces and Banff National Park as well as the Columbia Ice Fields so The Keeper of the Wind has provided me with memories I will forever cherish.
How can readers find out more about you and your books?
Check out my website but be prepared to spend awhile. It's rather large with extensive info on the books like synopses and excerpts. My books are listed by genre, series, publisher, reading order, and print availability. There are also pages on my signature Reapers, Amazeens, and NightWinds. I will be adding information also on WyndMasters and ShadowLords. I have over 600 reviews of my novels, over 60 interviews I've done, a bio page, recipes, and a lot of handy research information both writers and readers might find interesting. There is also a page of Celtic midis you might enjoy. Thank you for this opportunity!
Do deadlines help or hinder your muse?
Actually, I don't work on deadlines. I am one of those writers who as soon as I get a set of edits or galleys, I'll drop everything else and do those. I can't stand having anything hanging over my head. Edits will generally be returned same day. Galleys might take a few days because I always hand them over to my DH to do. That way he gets to read the book and he has a sharper eye for errors than I do. After you've written, edited, re-edited and re-edited again, you tend to miss things. You see what you THINK is there and not necessarily what it REALLY there. It's the same way with interviews. I try to get those back the same day unless something comes up to hinder me. Two days tops on returning an interview is all I'll allow myself to have so I guess that is a deadline in theory. The interviewer has a schedule to keep and I don't like to interfere with what they have to do.
When did you first decide to submit your work? Please, tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step.
It was in 1989 and I subbed it to an 'agent' who had come to Pensacola to speak at the library. She turned it down flat, telling me I did not have a snowball's chance in hell of ever getting published. Nice lady. The second time, I subbed to an agent in New Orleans. She loved it, wanted to contract it but by the time I sent the contract back, she'd left that agency and.according to the other nice lady who told me this, 'alas, there goes your representation. It seems that nice lady didn't even want to read the novel. I sent it out query letters by the bale but no one wanted to read it. I got so many form letters, I could have papered my john with them. Meanwhile I had looked into the face of absolute despair at every being published. The Fates.or the Devil.grinned at me that day and I opened a People Magazine and saw an ad for Commonwealth Publishing. Woe is me.or perhaps not.I answered and they eagerly asked to see the work. And for only X amount of dollars, they'd publish 10000 copies of it! I showed it to Tom and.the gods love his pointed little head and Buddha Belly.he agreed we should go the subsidy route. In retrospect it wasn't a completely bad idea but it took us years to re-coup the monies we spent out. That first book, The Keeper of the Wind, though led me to other avenues and has since earned me even more money so I can't really complain. I guess I should thank the crooks at Commonwealth but they hurt so many people who lost their money and their dream of being published and gave up. Those people paid out money and didn't get the first book in return. They were fleeced. For that, alone, may the gods of hives and boils descend upon the crooks at Commonwealth and stay with them forever.
What do you do for inspiration?
I just sit and listen to what's around me. I observe people. I study paintings or scenes that catch my interest. Pretty soon, an idea will begin forming. I'll dwell on it during the day and then when I sleep at night, the entire story will come to me. If I'm awake, I have this strange phenomenon that takes place with me. I will begin to hear this low ringing in my ears and depending on how long the ringing continues, that's how long the 'story' will be. Short ringing=short story; longer ringing=full-length novel. I don't know what causes that ringing but I'm not going to complain when some of my most entertaining stories have come out of it!