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.
It’s Interview Time!
Before I get to your questions, I would like to say thank you for agreeing to host this stop on the tour. I so appreciate your time and courtesy.
1. Tell us a little something about where you grew up and what your childhood was like.
I grew up in a chaotic household filled with parents and seven siblings. I shared a bedroom with at least one of my sisters until I was a teenager and finally got my own room. I thought I was pretty cool at fifteen living in one of the attic bedrooms, away from all the fuss and muss associated with siblings.
We had the typical sibling rivalries but as we have gotten older, we have all become more tolerant and accepting of our differences and celebrate each person’s successes.
My grandparents, aunts and uncles, on both sides of the family, were all quite involved in my formative years. I was strongly influenced by my paternal grandmother, Clara. Boy would she scold me if she knew I was speaking so informally of her. She was a highly disciplined, intelligent, successful and dignified lady. Her manners were impeccable. Her word was law and whoa be to you if you crossed her.
I remember when I was about five or six, my older sister and a younger brother and I were staying at Grandmother Clara’s house while my parents were gone for a night. For breakfast our first morning there Grandmother Clara served us this horrible concoction of rock hard melba toast, honey and warm milk. My brother and sister and I just stared at each other wondering what the heck the stuff was and why we would want to put anything like it in our delicate and empty stomachs.
I have always been a fairly strong personality and at that age I had not learned how to filter what I said. I very emphatically warned Grandmother Clara that if she made me eat “that crap,” and crap was equivalent to swearing in our household, I would vomit all over her large dining room table. She crossed her arms, stood firmly in place and said, “eat and be happy you have good food,” or something to that effect. I may be paraphrasing as it was a long time ago.
I pinched my nose and quite dramatically, I’m all about drama, scooped up a bite, slipped it into my mouth and, I swear to you, I swallowed the icky stuff and proceeded to vomit it back up all over her table. Boy was she mad.
My grandparents on my mother’s side were kind, considerate, loving and fun people. However, they were German and when Grandpa said move, you did. To say there was strong discipline on both sides of the family is an understatement.
My mother’s parents had a summer cabin and that is where we spent most of the summer. It was at the cabin that I got to see all the aunts, uncles and cousins on my mother’s side. Those were good times, fishing, water skiing, swimming, playing cards and taking rides on the pontoon boat.
2. When did you first begin reading novels?
I have read and had a love of reading since being a young child. I can barely remember a time when my mother didn’t have a book tucked in her hands. She was an avid reader. I had a library card at a young age and would walk with my mother to the library to get books every week.
With so much going on in my childhood home at any given time, reading was a wonderful escape for me. I could trundle off to my room, once chores were done, and lie on my bed and get lost in the words.
I am a very visual person. As my eyes glide over the words my mind creates a picture of what I am reading. It is amazing how the brain allows us to design scenes in less than the blink of an eye. I absolutely love being transported to another time, place, and dimension that allows me to forget about everything else around me. I marvel at how authors so beautifully create stories that speak to my heart and soul.
3. When did you realize you had writing talent?
I have to laugh because I still don’t know if I do have writing talent. I spent twenty-five years in the corporate world as a human resources executive. Writing in a position like that is quite dry and precise. I knew I was good at it because I received positive comments from attorneys, CEO’s etc. but, it sure didn’t float my boat.
In 1997 I started a novel. When I had finished 120 pages of the novel I shared it with two girlfriends while we were on a short vacation at the Grand Canyon. The each read the story and gave me such positive feedback that I actually considered I may have some writing talent.
Then in 2001 I attended a diversity conference being held on a university campus in the Northwest. This was a private university in a small town where there were limited accommodations. The conference was held during the summer so most students were gone. I elected to stay on-campus in a private dorm room. It was on the second floor of an old brick two story building and was furnished like a monk’s room. No phone, television, blow dryer, radio, alarm clock. You get the picture.
The whole conference was surreal. I mean from the people I met to the accommodations, food, sessions, and social activities. I felt like I was transported to an alternate universe. I was so moved by everything I experienced that I wrote a piece about my time there. I sent the piece to the CEO I worked for and some others and they encouraged me to continue to write. So, I have.
4. When did you realize you wanted to become a writer?
My husband and I have been married for twenty-six years. I believe I have been talking to him about being a writer since a trip to the Grand Canyon with my girlfriends back in 1997. But, like many others I let completing my education and a career in human resources take over my life until recently.
I have kept a copy of everything I have written, story lines, short stories, and musings in a folder and now on my computer. As I said before I started penning my first story back in 1997. I finished writing over a hundred pages of a romantic suspense. I shared those first one hundred twenty pages with two girlfriends while were at the Grand Canyon and they have hounded me to complete the rest of the story.
Their enthusiasm meant so much to me that I decided that one day I would finish that story. Patty, Bev and I have been on many trips since then and each time we talk about my writing. They were the first friends to purchase my novel “Seattle Delight” and I am sure they will be the first to buy succeeding novels. They are the best friends one could ever have. So, I have them to thank for encouraging me to pursue what has been a flickering interest in the back of my mind since 1997.
5. When you’re working on a book, how much time per day is devoted to it?
I’m very disciplined in my writing. What I didn’t realize when deciding to dedicate my time to this endeavor is how much time is involved.
I was naïve enough to think that I could do lunch with the girls, go to a movie in the middle of the day, go biking, clean, do laundry and shop any time I want while working at home. While I can do those things whenever I want, I find that it is easy to get side-tracked and put the writing off for a few hours, days or weeks. And believe me, I am a social person so having lunch with a girlfriend is very hard for me to decline.
While writing “Seattle Delight” I spent a minimum of five hours writing each day, five days a week. The balance of the time I spent reading, studying, researching, and checking my thesaurus regularly.
If I get on a roll with the writing, I can go for eight or ten hours. Editing takes even more time than writing. However, I actually like editing. It gives me an opportunity to really get involved in the story from a deeper level while fine tuning the characters and plot. It also provides that slap the forehead moments of, “I actually wrote that, holy crap!”
6. What type of book do you like to read most?
That’s a good question and a hard one for me to answer. I go through phases. There are times I need a good romance. I want to get lost in the passion, the games, the silliness and the emotions of couples falling in or out of love. It is fun and restores my faith in relationships, even if they are fictional.
I adore Victorian period romance, suspense and erotica. Not the hard core erotica but the coy and lightly blushed erotica. I’m not sure I would have survived that period in history if I had to be submissive to a man or defer to a man’s wishes. I’m pretty stubborn and I like to think I would have given any man of that period a run for their money and then some.
Give me a good mystery and I will tell you who-dun-it before the ending. I like solving puzzles and I am very good at it. Part of my job as a human resources executive was conducting complex investigations and reaching a sound conclusion. I found I was quite good at it. I still like to challenge my problem solving skills with a good mystery.
I enjoy reading about interesting people. I recently finished a book about Vincent Van Goh, his life, why he was tormented and how he died. I love stories about the Tudors, King Henry VIII, his life and the lives of his wives.
I have an eclectic library and it depends on my mood as to the genre I choose for the moment. But, I read something every day without fail.
7. What do you do in your free time?
I would love to say I climb mountains and work out to create a lithe and toned body but alas, that would not be true.
I have many interests outside of writing. I enjoy a nice bike ride, like to play pickleball (similar to tennis), take walks, get together with girlfriends to chat and study French. I work hard to get some physical exercise every day.
For example, today, when I am done with my writing I plan on playing pickleball with three girlfriends this evening.
I have taken up French for the challenge and because I love the language. It really is the language of romance. I spend several hours a week studying, doing homework and meeting for homework review. I find studying French to be stimulating and I am hoping to stave off dementia by exercising my brain.
I play with my dog. I love animals and I believe it is my responsibility as a pet owner to spend time with my dog. Socialization is just as important for them as it is for us.
I am a social person. So, getting together with friends, whether it is to play a game, go to lunch, shop, attend a play, or sit around and chat is an important part of my life. I have developed many long-term friendships over my life and I work hard to ensure each one of my friends knows how much I cherish them.
8. What type of music do you listen to?
I don’t listen to music on a regular basis. I have never been one who works well in a noisy environment. I believe this has to do with the chaos I grew up in. There was always a lot of noise in the house when I was growing up. You can imagine with eight children running around, screaming for this or that, spatting with each other, or the television going, there wasn’t much chance for quiet.
Whether working in the corporate world or here at home, I do not have the radio, my IPod or television on when I am working. I don’t like the distraction. I fully concentrate on the task at hand.
However, when I do listen to music, I like upbeat, fast jive music. It fits my personality.
9. What is your favorite type of film?
Take me to a romantic comedy, give me red vines and I am giddy with delight. How’s that for a cheap date? I love romance because it is so fun. I enjoy the conflicts couples experience and their ultimate success. Romance leaves me feeling hopeful about life, people and relationships. If it is a romantic comedy, you’ll find me in the audience.
I love classics like Barefoot In the Park, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner and The African Queen. Barbra Streisand, Katherine Hepburn, Spencer Tracey, Robert Redford, oh my! Be still my heart!
Other comedies that tickled me are: Bridesmaids, Meet the Parents, When Harry Met Sally, There’s Something about Mary, and Four Weddings and A funeral.
Action films are okay. I just close my eyes if something horribly bloody is going to happen.
10. What are your upcoming projects?
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.
11. Where can readers find you on the Internet?
Readers can find me at charlotteastout.com. Readers can access my blog from that website as well.
Thank you again Terri for this interview. I appreciate you taking the time to host me on your blog.
Terri: You’re very welcome Charlotte. Best of luck to you on your ‘tour’!
Charlotte will be giving away a $75 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Leave a comment about her book or interview to be eligible. Do not post your email address.