- What are the main ideas or themes in your books?
With love, anything is possible
2. What is so important about the settings of your books?
My books are all set in the American West. The Wild West is an era I’ve been fascinated with all my life.
3. Tell us more about the main characters and their dilemmas.
I have five historical romance novels published, all western except one, Forever Mine. Since Forever Mine isn’t western in the usual sense—no sheriffs, no outlaws—I call it Americana. To escape a vengeful relative, Ariah Scott agrees to marry a man she’s never met, a lighthouse keeper on the Oregon Coast. Her intended is unable to travel to Portland to pick her up, so he delegates the task to his uncle, who will be in Portland when she arrives. From the moment Bartholomew Noon sets eyes on Ariah, he’s in trouble. She is everything he’s ever dreamed of in a woman—energetic, curious, uninhibited, enthusiastic about life, giving and loving—all the attributes missing in his shrew of a wife. Ariah finds Bartholomew fascinating. He’s mature, amusing, and intelligent, and shares her interest in birds. Before they ever reach the lighthouse, they are in love. Ariah must decide whether to go through with her arranged marriage and spend her life living next door to the man she loves and seeing the misery his marriage causes him, or to keep running. I call this my Ethan Frome with a happy ending story.
- Why did you write this novel? Any other issues or ‘big ideas’ behind it.
The location of this story is very special to me, a place I used to visit every year. When they first opened the lighthouse to visitors, I saw an old wedding photo in a showcase, a keeper and his wife who were married there just before the turn of the century. I couldn’t get that image out of my head. Neither bride nor groom looked happy. In fact, the bride appeared miserable. I thought about what it would have been like in 1891 to travel to such an isolated spot as it would have been then, and wed a man perhaps unknown to the bride—and Forever Mine was born. The chance to learn the history behind the location and the running of a lighthouse offered extra incentive.
- How do you go about writing a novel? Is it a simple or complex process?
I suspect any book produced by an author who finds writing a simple process would likely be less than fantastic. Writing is a complex process, and because I like complex plots and deep characterization, my books are not simple to write. I’m sort of a pantser at heart but I’ve tried several methods of plotting, creating outlines, etc.
- ‘Pantser’, for the uninitiated (and British) readers refers to writing by the seat of your pants, or using instinct rather than over-planning. What advice do you have for less experienced writers?
Never give up. Getting published is a matter of getting the right manuscript on the right desk at the right moment. And luck. But be prepared, because getting published is only the beginning. Once you reach that goal, you must keep publishing, and your books must sell. Neither task is an easy feat.
7. What are you working on currently?
I have several projects going at the moment, a full, western historical novel which is completed but under revision, a new time travel I just started, and a short story for the blog I run with two other authors, Stilettos at High Noon. This is a site for lovers of westerns and western romance, where they can find articles about the west as well as short stories and pre-designed western themed book covers, designed by my alter-ego, Jennetta Dodge.
- If you could leave a message to the world, what would it be?
Happiness, longevity, and good health depend on a good attitude.
- What would your perfect day be?
A day when I have no activities scheduled except writing, and an empty house to do it in.
10. Name a book or a film that means a lot to you.
First one that comes to mind is Lonesome Dove.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, Charlene. I wish you all the best with your future projects.
For more information visit Charlene’s Website here.
Click on the cover image of Forever Mine above for more details.