Friday, July 20, 2012

Interview with romance author Charlotte Stout

Today's guest is romance writer Charlotte Stout. She's talking about sexy men, quirks, and much more. Oh, and she's giving away a $75 Amazon gift card to a lucky commentor at the end of her tour. Comment below, and visit her other tour stops for additional opportunities to comment. The more you comment, the better your chances of winning! (Don't forget to leave your e-mail address with your comment if you want a chance at the gift card!)

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.

What inspired you to write Seattle Delight?
I love romance. I adore hunky sexy men. I think I could get used to large sums of money. I am an animal lover who dotes on her dog. I believe strongly in the love and bond of family. So, I combined all of these specific loves of mine (I have many others) into this story.

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.

No yacht, no limousine or other over the top accoutrements but I know I could get used to those if I had to. What a chore that would be. Poor me!

Excerpt from Chapter 5:
“Focus, Charly! You have got to get out of these Spanx.” The first thing she looked for was a wastebasket but didn’t see one. She checked in the dressing room, in the water closet and in the storage cabinet where the linens were kept. Then she saw what looked like a drawer. She pulled it open and voila there was the wastebasket. “I truly do covet this bathroom,” she exclaimed.

The wastebasket was empty. Dang! Charly realized that if she took off the Spanx and tossed them in the basket Julien would undoubtedly know they were hers. That is, if he happened to use the bathroom during the cruise. Maybe he won’t come in here. Maybe he has his own personal bathroom. He had to, didn’t he? She said a silent prayer to the bathroom gods while searching for other options.

Charly checked the picture window but it didn’t open. There was no way to dispose of the Spanx in Puget Sound. She sat on the toilet in the water closet while conjuring a plan to dispose of the Spanx. Her thoughts were jarred by Julien’s voice. “Charly, are you alright? Is there anything you need?”

How long had she been in here? “No, no – I’m fine. I’m admiring the d├ęcor, and trying to dispose of my girdle. I’ll be out in a minute.”

“Tres bien – very well. I’ll meet you in the salon.”

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m actually working on a few stories. Two are romantic suspense novels and then there is the light romance sequel to Seattle Delight.

The first romantic suspense is set in Alaska, where I lived for ten years. I love Alaska. It is truly the last frontier to this day. People who have intentionally moved to Alaska do so because one, they want the freedom, isolation, and challenges living there presents. They are independent people who think for themselves and are not shy about letting you know how they feel about you or any other topic. I love that about the people.

Another reason people are in Alaska is to escape something that happened in the “lower 48,” as the rest of the contiguous states are referred to by Alaskans. My character Carrie Battles is running from something related to her past. But that past is now coming back and she may or may not survive this time around. Enter the Chief of Police in Alaska. He’s hot, hunky, independent minded and extremely interested in Carrie Battles. It is fast paced and takes place both in Alaska and Minnesota.

The second Romantic Suspense story takes place in Seattle but is nothing like Seattle Delight. In this book the wife of a prominent surgeon wants him dead for a variety of reasons. What happens when her wish comes true? We’ll have to wait to find out.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve been a writer since I became a senior executive in human resources during my corporate career. I have penned corporate policies, procedures, investigative reports, position papers in response to EEOC complaints and numerous other types of documents. I knew I was an excellent writer in the corporate world and decided to take the leap into writing novels and stories.

While doing the corporate gig, I wrote short stories, with a humorous bent, about experiences I had and you can imagine there was a plethora of material available in that venue. The stories were never about a specific individual but about an experience.

For instance; I attended a diversity conference in Oregon and felt like I had been transported to a hippie compound in the middle of nowhere USA. I wrote about my experiences there such as the lady I met who had worked in the Peace Corps and told me point blank that she didn’t think I was Peace Corp material because I was too fragile. I did not publish these stories but shared them with close friends.

I considered myself an author when I finished, finished, finished Seattle Delight. When it was wrapped up tight and ready for publishing, that’s when I felt like an author. The day we went live with the e-book was euphoria.

Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like?
I do write full-time. I am up early each day. I begin the day reading. It gives me a chance to wake up and it’s a nice relaxing way to welcome the day.

I shower and put on make-up every day. I am not a person who can go a single day without shaving my legs, under my arms, putting on make-up and brushing my teeth a million times a day. I can’t stand myself if I don’t feel put together. After all, you never know who might pop by. Even though no one ever pops by, I want to be ready just in case.

Feeling put together, I eat breakfast and sit down at my computer for the next six to eight hours. I review emails, pay bills online and then write or edit or think of ways to promote what I have written. I check into writers groups, critique groups, write in my blog, check the web site and everything else that comes with being a full-time writer. I find there is never enough time in the day to accomplish what you feel needs to be done.

I am taking French classes and spend one to two hours a day practicing my French, doing homework (yes, homework), and researching everything French. This is part of the six to eight hours at the computer each day.

I still make time for friends and playing pickleball on a regular basis. I work hard during the day so I don’t feel guilty about shutting things down at five or six o’clock to read the paper, catch the news, eat supper and either veg for the evening or do something with friends.

I am not a night owl. I am normally in bed by 10 or 10:30 at night so I can get a good night’s sleep and start all over the next day.

Reading this back to myself it sounds like I have a very boring schedule. But I don’t. Trust me on this.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Have you been looking at my blog? My blog name is quirky author.

Of course nothing I do seems quirky to me. You all are the quirky ones, certainly not moi!

Kidding aside, I have a few quirks. I like to incorporate a dog in every one of my stories. I love dogs. I have always had a dog as an adult and feel a little sad if my dog chooses not to hang with me in my office when I am working.

Another quirk is a penchant for Milano cookies. I need to have ten Milano cookies on a napkin next to my computer to nibble on during the day. As I eat the cookies I replenish the stash. Weird eh!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Gosh, that was so long ago it’s hard to remember back that far. I do remember a longing to be a bus driver. Why? I loved riding the bus. The drivers were so nice, I saw lots of people I knew and I could chit chat for the duration of the ride. I never considered for an instant that as the driver of the bus I would need to pay attention to the road which would prevent me from talking to people.

As I got a bit older I wanted to be in politics. One of my grandmothers was very active in politics. I met so many interesting, intelligent and charming people through grandmother. But, that was when I was between ten and twelve. As I got 0lder and became more aware of the political machine, I scratched that as a career choice.

After I received my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees I wanted to be an attorney because of the work I was doing in human resources. But, I was tired of school and became so involved in my work that I didn’t pursue my law degree.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Each day comes but once…treat it with great care.

Thanks for stopping by, Charlotte! Readers, don't forget that if you want a chance to win a $75 Amazon gift card, to leave your e-mail address with your comment!


Mary Preston said...

I love the excerpt of Charly's dilemma with the Spanx. It made me laugh. It was so vivid.


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting Charlotte today.

Charlotte Stout said...

Thank you for hosting this stop on my tour. I look forward to reading comments from your followers.

Charlotte Stout said...

Thanks for taking time to read the excerpt and comment.

Glad you saw the humor in this excerpt about the Spanx. If you like this excerpt I believe you will love the scene with Charly trying to get them on.

Karen H said...

Seriously, she actually says she's admiring the decor and trying to dispose of her girdle? That is so funny! I like the sound of your other books too.

If you have a ‘first novel’ tucked away in a drawer someplace and is considered to be ‘unpublishable’, what would need to be done to that novel to bring it back to life and make it publishable?

kareninnc at gmail dot com

Charlotte Stout said...

Good Morning Karen H - Thanks for following the tour.
In response to your question, I would have a trusted friend who is an avid reader read the book and provide feedback. You can join a writing group and often those groups offer critique services. I feel blessed that I have a group of really close friends who love to read, a wide variety of genres, and are willing to read and provide feedback on my writing. My husband is incredible. He has read every word I have written multiple times and gives good suggestions. He's an absolute saint! I hope this answers your question.

Rita Wray said...

Hi Charlotte, I enjoyed the excerpt and also reading about your daily life.

Charlotte Stout said...

Thank you for the comment. If you follow along the tour you may learn more about me than you ever wanted to know and read more excerpts from the book.

Thanks for stopping by today.

Anonymous said...

I really love Seattle, too; I miss it. And I've always been a little terrified of Spanx...


MomJane said...

I really loved your comments your story sounds like such fun to read. Love having dogs in stories . I am a dog lover.

AliceA said...

Too funny about the Spanx! From your picture, it doesn't look like you have any need. We should all be so lucky. You have quite an imagination and way of stringing together a "stream of consciousness" style of story telling. I love it!

Charlotte Stout said...

Alice A;
Thank you for your comment about my "stream ofconsciousness." It made me laugh.

Watch for more on the tour. You may be exposed to more of my "streams of consciousness." LOL

Chelsea B. said...

Oh, yes! I could get used to the money life, too. Hey, somebody has to do it ;-)
Milano cookies!! The ones with dark chocolate inside.... *Siiiigh...*


Charlotte Stout said...

Chelsea B - Yes Milano cookies with chocolate inside and mint and chocolate and coconut and chocolate. I'm not picky when it comes to Milano cookies. :-)

Catherine Lee said...

Did she really say that she was trying to dispose of her girdle? Too Funny! I love Charly. And Julien's response, "Tres bien..." Priceless. He's so non plussed.
catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

Charlotte Stout said...

Catherine Lee - You are so right - Julien is a non-plussed type of guy. Nice that you caught what I was trying to convey. Thanks for following today.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy romantic suspense and like the sound of the two you are working on.

I had to smile when you mentioned the woman who was a Peace Corps. I was also. During training, another member of our group, a girl who had trained as a physical education teacher, told me I would never last as a volunteer. She went home after 2 months and I extended for a third year.

Thanks for the excerpt. Spanx are hard enough to get into let alone get out of.

Best of luck on the release of SEATTLE DELIGHT.

librarypat AT comcast DOT net

Rebecca Hipworth said...

This sounds like it will be a very good read. :)