Please join me in welcoming Charlotte Stout on her blog tour for her newest release, Seattle Delight. Charlotte was kind enough to answer some questions for me below. Please make sure to leave a comment or question on this post, as Charlotte will be giving away a $75 Amazon Gift Card to one randomly drawn commenter during her tour. The more often you comment, the better your chances at winning. You can follow her tour here.
Me: Hello Charlotte, Welcome to my blog. When did you know you wanted to be a writer and did you always want to write in the contemporary romance genre?
Charlotte: 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.
I have always enjoyed the written word. I was an avid reader as a young child all the way through adulthood. I would read all these wonderful books by other authors and think, “I would love to do that.”
In the corporate world I was a very good writer. However, the only action and sex I got to write about may have been in a statement of finding document after conducting an investigation into alleged wrongdoing by one or a group of employees. I was complimented all the time by colleagues, the CEO (my boss), and attorneys for my writing skills.
Then in the beginning of 1997 I started penning a novel about a woman living in the Northwest who is waiting for her husband to die for a variety of reasons. I wrote over one hundred twenty pages of that novel. Later that summer, I was on a trip with my girlfriends Bev and Patty to the Grand Canyon and I let them read those one hundred twenty pages.
Their enthusiasm and feedback fueled my desire to write. That’s when I knew I wanted to make writing novels part of my life. Bev and Patty are still after me to finish that very first attempt at a novel and I will soon.
I never thought I would write in the contemporary romance genre. My next two books are romantic suspense. I ended up in contemporary romance because I had a simple love story to tell and that’s where it fell.
Me: You live in the Southwest but your first novel is set in the Seattle area. What about Seattle drew you to set your book there? Is there a personal connection?
Charlotte: Seattle holds a very special place in my heart. I lived in Seattle for ten years. When I lived in Seattle, I had the best time. I met my husband of twenty-six years, fell in love (yes, with him), and our courtship was crazy good.
We only dated for a few months before he asked me to marry him. I said no. He persisted and eventually I said yes. I have so many fond memories of Seattle and the love that grew between us there that I wanted to create a romance that embodied some of what we experienced.
We were young and starting out in our careers. We didn’t have a yacht, a limousine, lots of money or the other fancy accoutrement's of the wealthy but we lived, loved and played hard in one of the most vibrant and diverse cities in the country. How could I not want to write something about a place that is so meaningful to me?
Me: Your heroine meets her hero in a coffee shop, are you a coffee drinker and if so what is your favorite flavor/brand?
Charlotte: I am not a coffee drinker but I love the atmosphere of coffee shops. Starbucks was just starting when I lived in Seattle and coffee shops were popping up everywhere. It’s where business is conducted, love is initiated or resurrected, deals are made or broken and books are read and written.
I am a tea drinker and love the Market Spice tea I would purchase at Pike Place Market. At Starbucks, I always sat and read a book or watched people nursing a Venti iced tea.
Me: Has your family been supportive of your venture into writing in the romance genre?
Charlotte: I do not have children but do have seven siblings. I believe they are supportive. We are all dispersed across the United States and while we work to stay abreast of what’s happening in each other’s lives, it becomes complicated by time zone differences.
We have a family reunion coming up during this book tour. They know I will be in attendance at the reunion (I’d be disowned if I didn’t show up) but they know I will need to be taking breaks from boating, volleyball, golf or whatever else is going on to check in on the tour.
My husband and dog are very supportive.
Me: Can you tell us what you are currently working on? Will any of the characters from “Seattle Delight” make an appearance in your next book?
Charlotte: No one from “Seattle Delight” will show up in the very next book I expect to have out next month. The upcoming book is a romantic suspense set in Minnesota and Alaska. It is a “yikes, that’s scary” kind of book but with a romantic bent too. It moves fast and is nothing like Seattle Delight. There’s lots of depth and meat to this next endeavor.
I am also working on finishing the romantic suspense novel I mentioned earlier. The one I penned in 1997 and presented the first one hundred twenty pages 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.
Me: What was your approach to writing the love scenes in your novel? Was it difficult or did the scene just flow?
Charlotte: I am a good Catholic girl so the sex scenes are naturally difficult for me.
I remember when my husband was reading Seattle Delight on a flight back from Hong Kong and read one of the many sex scenes, he turned to me and said, “Where did this come from?” I replied, “From my experience with you of course.” He rolled his eyes and continued reading.
In my family you never discussed sex. No one has ever had the sex talk with me. Of course, I have and do talk about sex with girlfriends but never in a descriptive way. So, to write a sex scene, I put myself in the position of the woman and write what I envision as sensual, sexy and will result in mind blowing sex and orgasms (multiple). It’s not as difficult as I thought it would be and has been an interesting experience for me.
I actually blush when writing some scenes because I feel like I need to go to confession afterward.
Friends who have read Seattle Delight tell me the sex scenes are hot and always ask how I came up with them. I just keep them guessing. I am sure they believe Warren, my husband, and I have mind-blowing sex like what is in the book all the time. It would be unladylike for me to confirm or deny this point. Wink! Wink!
Me: What has been the best/worst thing about having your first book published? Would you change anything about the process you have gone through?
Charlotte: There is a segment of the population who react skeptically when I tell them that I am an independent author and have self-published a book. Sometimes I observe them giving me a look of, “so, you’re one of those people!”
Being the naïve person I am, I don’t accept the hypothesis that indie authors deliver an inferior product. It is my belief that the reader can and should expect quality regardless how the book was prepared for market.
I know a college professor who recently went the “indie” author route and self-published a satirical novel about life on a college campus. Why did he do this? Why not go the traditional route, especially with his contacts? Because going the traditional route was difficult and time consuming. There were too many constraints. He did not want to give up his teaching career but wanted to publish a novel. Publishing the book independently allowed him the flexibility he needed to accomplish both.
I have read the professor’s book and believe me; it is professional in appearance, grammatically precise and he tells a great story.
For me, being an indie author allows the freedom to explore writing in different genres without committing to any one specifically. An indie author can dip their quill into different genres more easily and figure out which one(s) suit(s) them and their readers.
The difficulty with being an indie author and publisher is the solitary nature of the work. One needs to develop a supportive online community, find reliable editors, have access to information, and possess a thirst for knowledge. You must be ready and willing to work harder than you’ve ever worked before because you do it all. I believe the absolute hardest piece of being an indie author and publisher is learning how to market a book. Marketing is an area that is ever-evolving and is an endeavor I will be working on forever.
I can’t think of anything I would have done differently. It has all been a learning process to prepare me for the next book I publish.
Thank you again for hosting this stop on the tour. I appreciate your time and interest.
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 micro gram 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.comBlog: http://www.charlotteastout.com/blog
I want to thank Charlotte for being on my blog today. Please remember to leave a comment or question below so that you can be entered in Charlotte's giveaway. The more often you comment on her tour, the better your chances. You can follow her tour here.