Homepage of Charlotte Boyett-Compo:
Charlee, could you introduce yourself to German readers? Who you are, your
likes and dislikes, where you come from etc.
Charlotte: Who I am is a difficult question to answer. I was born in Sarasota, Florida in the US and grew up in the Deep South. Until I was in my late 40s, I thought I was the only child of Carl and Vivian Boyett but found out when my mother was dying that I was adopted. I grew up proud of my German-Dutch ancestry on Dad's side and Cherokee Indian-Irish on my mother's. Now, I have no idea what cultural heritage I really have although I LOVE all things Celtic. I have been married to my wonderful husband, Tom (affectionately known by my fans on the Internet as Buddha Belly or BB) for 38 years. We have two grown sons: Pete and Mike and two grandchildren: Preston and Victoria. I am owned by five demanding felines. I work a full-time job as the parish secretary of our Catholic church. I love eerie movies, good paranormal books, and lilting Celtic music. I'm hooked on Chewy SweetTarts, Archway coconut macaroon cookies, Pepsi, chips & salsa, and sweet pickles. My favourite food is Southern cuisine. A totally satisfying supper would be baked ham, collard greens seasoned with hot pepper sauce (NOT Tabasco but white vinegar sauce), and fresh-off-the-vine sliced tomatoes….all washed down with really sweet Southern ice tea. I dislike liver, hominy, and most fish. I loathe people who discriminate against the mentally-challenged, men who beat their wives, and those who abuse animals in any fashion.
Danny: Why and how did your career as an author start? Is your writing career of influence on your private life?
Charlotte: My writing career began doing movie, book and play reviews for one of zillionaire Warren Buffet's newspapers in Omaha, Nebraska. My first novel was published in mass market paperback in 1996 so my parents were able to see it before they died in 1997. I will always be grateful they were able to see my dream realized. My father was as excited by my first royalty check as I was! I had a book…In the Wind's Eye…being pubbed as a serial on a Southern website until it was purchased by DLSIJ Press. My first two ebooks…NightWind and BloodWind…were published by Dark Star Publications in 1998. Since then, I've had 16 other novels published by Amber Quill Press, Hard Shell Word Factory, Twilight Times Books and one soon to be released from Ellora's Cave.
Most people in my church aren't even aware that I am a published writer. Those who do know either ignore that little bit of information or pretend it isn't true. The folks in Iowa are a bit strange in that they don't like anyone to 'make' it where they haven't. Notoriety is looked down upon by the
average Joe on the street…..unless you are a mass murderer. So the writing career doesn't have any influence on my life.
Danny: Did you have difficulties in the beginning getting your books published? What did you do when you saw your first book in print for the first time in bookstores? Did you have a party? Or drink a bottle of Dom Perignon?
Charlotte: Like most everyone, I did the query-everybody-you-can-find route. Agents turned me down left and right because my work wasn't traditional and encompassed multi-genre themes. Publishers weren't interested and most never bothered to even read the manuscripts I sent. I spent a lot of money trying the 'traditional' route until I happened on a subsidy publisher who…though it turned out was a crook…did print 10,000 of my books. With those books, I was able to get booksignings, signed up on the Internet and began selling them myself at Amazon. That book…The Keeper of the Wind…got my foot in the door and that was all it took for me to begin a true writing career.
Seeing Keeper on the bookshelves of a Waldenbooks brought tears to my eyes. Holding it in my hand was akin to the birth of my sons. It was a feeling that will only come once in a writer's life and one that I will always treasure. I have a picture of that signing and it is very dear to my heart.
When that first book came out, I went on a seven-state tour and sold over a thousand books in less than two weeks. Since then, I've sold almost thatentire print run and they are now considered Collector's Items.
Yes, BB bought a bottle of Dom and we toasted a long and happy career.
Danny: How long did it take you to write the book? And how did you got the idea for it?
Charlotte: I began writing Keeper when my oldest son was a senior in high school in 1986 and by the time I finished it in 1991, the manuscript was nearly 3 feet tall! I realized that was a bit too thick to make it so began to chisel it down and when I'd done that, I found I had 8 books that would make a pretty neat series. After the last word is written in that series, there will be ten books.
The notion for the book came from a dream that had been haunting me for years. It was almost as though the hero of that dream was telling me his tale and would not let me rest until the book was written. When I was well into the writing of the book, the dreams stopped but I swear my Muse (his name is Sean, btw) kept sitting on my shoulder and whispering until the tale was done.
Danny: How do you do your research for your books and where do you get all the ideas for the plots from? How much time do you spend on research before you start a new book? Is it a continual process until the book is finished?
Charlotte: I love doing research but it is rarely with a new book in mind. I just delve into subjects that interest me. Most times, there will be something in that research that catches my eye and the beginning of a story will evolve. NightWind came about from a news broadcast in which the reporter was describing an 'evil scent' coming from a house. In my fertile imagination evil scent became 'evil sent' and I thought of a demon coming up from hell to cause trouble. One thing led to another and the demon became an incubus…..<sigh> My imagination works overtime constantly! I have folder upon folder upon folder with all kinds of research material in them and ideas for at least two dozen books.
Danny: Can you describe one of your typical work days for us? How many hours a day do you average writing?
Charlotte: As I said, I work a full-time 40 hour week at the church. When I come home, I go to my office and write or compile the notes I've scribbled down during the day when something struck me. I go online to answer email or to send out review copies, etc. Depending on how The Muse has been during the day, I might work on one of my books….I am usually writing three at once…until the wee hours of the morning. On the weekends, I work from about 9 AM until 5 or even later if BB will allow it. Sometimes…and I honestly believe the man has a sixth sense about such things…he knows when I should put the writing aside and comes out to the office to distract me. That's just one of the reasons I adore that man!
Danny: You have written more than 30 romances. Do you have a favourite hero/heroine among them all? Do your heroes/heroines have living models, like friends, family or a romance book cover model?
Charlotte: My favourite is Kamerone Cree from the DemonWind Trilogy which began with BloodWind. He is just the sexiest creature and I love his wicked sense of humor. I patterned him after Adrian Paul of the old Highlander tv series here in the States. Most of my characters are patterned after actors and actresses whose work I have admired over the years. It is my tribute to them for all the wonderful hours of entertainment they've given me. Eric McCormack is my incubus Syntian Cree and at the moment, I am writing a book in which Hugh Jackman is the model for the hero. If I was casting the WindLegends Saga series which begins with Windkeeper, I would love to have Brad Pitt play Conar McGregor and George Clooney play Legion A'Lex although the books were not written with those actors in mind.
Danny: When one of your books gets a bad review, how do you handle that? Are you disappointed or do you try to improve yourself in your next book?
Charlotte: Reviews are subjective. I might brood over it for a few days but after that I just push it aside. I know not everyone will like my work and I can tell the difference in a review whether or not it is a personal attack or just that reviewer's opinion of the writing. I've had a couple of reviews in
which I knew the 'reviewer' had a personal agenda to bash me as an author. That kind of stuff can easily be shrugged off. I am a firm believer in the Ten-Fold Rule. The bad karma that reviewer created will come back to bite her in the rump eventually.
Danny: When you finish a book, is this chapter close for you or do the heroes and heroines stay with you in your mind?
Charlotte: My characters live with me on a daily basis. Every now and then one will start clamouring for a sequel and usually that sequel gets written. I tell them when they get too pushy I'll place that sequel at the end of the list so most times they cool it and let me do things at my own pace. That said, Kamerone is starting to really get pesky about EvilWind, the last in that series. I guess I'll have to do his story next since he is my favourite. All my books stay with me long after I've finished and by revisiting them in a sequel, I can make that character come 'alive' for me again.
Danny: How do you handle family and your writing career? Is your family understanding to the time that you have to give your career? Is it sometimes difficult for you?
Charlotte: My family has always been behind my writing 100%. They are very courteous when I'm writing and will only interrupt me when it is absolutely necessary or in the case of BB: when he thinks I'm overdoing it. They read my books and are very proud of me. BB and I just got back from San Diego and on the way to and from home, he was reading NightWind on the plane. He told everyone who would listen that he was reading one of his wife's books. I gave out dozens of my business cards on that trip! My oldest son's favourite story is about when he was an Army combat medic and on his way to assignment in Korea. He was on the plane with his platoon and was reading The Keeper of the Wind. His captain walked by, saw the striking cover and asked what the book was about. Pete told him then smiled and said: "It was written by my mother." Of course the captain didn't believe him until Pete showed him the dedication page. The captain's jaw dropped open and he ordered Pete to let him read the book when he was finished.
Danny: What are your favourite authors/books?
Charlotte: My favourite books of all time are Green Darkness by Anya Seton and Sweet, Savage Love by Rosemary Rogers. I've read each at least a dozen times. I have all the Guardian series by Peter Saxon and all the Lucifer's Cove series by Virignia Coffman. I never miss releases by John Sandford, John Grisham, Dean Koontz, John Saul, David Wiltse, Michael Connelly, Brian Lumley, Robin Cook, Andrew Greeley, and Dennis Lehane. I read all of Johanna Lindsey, Jude Devereaux, and Shirlee Busbee. When I'm in a funky mood, I'll pick up a Dave Barry comedy book. He makes me laugh until I cry. As you can tell, I have very eclectic tastes in reading.
Danny: What’s your favorite genre to write in?
Charlotte: Paranormal romance/horror. I mix my genres so dark fantasy is what it usually turns out to be. There has to be romance in there in one fashion or another to appease the dadburn hero. The man…no matter who or what he is…demands those sex scenes. Well, we all know: boys will be boys.
Danny: Can you tell us a bit about your latest release?
Charlotte: ShadowWind: The Shadowlord is the first in a trilogy. It is about Jaelan and Aradia. He is a Shadowlord, a very powerful warrior; she is a warrioress in her own right. It deals with the undying love between the two of these very independent and commanding people. You will never find one of my tales in which the heroine or hero is typical or cookie-cutter. They will be vastly different from the run-of-the-mill romance characters. In this one, Jaelan is psychic and she can wield a sword better than he! You will find he is the one who needs rescuing, not her, and how she goes about it will knock your socks off! It is getting rave reviews and readers are clamouring for the two sequels.
Danny: What are your future plans? Are you going to continue to write the types of books you write presently or possibly change genre? If so, what would you cross over to?
Charlotte: I will continue to write. It is something in which I have no say. There is an affliction we writers suffer called GOTTOWRITEORDIE syndrome. The Muse is constantly there so he is a reminder of your disease. I plan to branch out and do a dark western with hints of the supernatural in there. I think itshould be an interesting tale.
Danny: Are you already working on a new story? What will it be about?
Charlotte: At the moment, I am working on three novels. One is an erotica sword & sorcery, one is a ghost ship romance, and the other is a mystery/thriller. They will each be about 80K. All kidding aside, I won't really know what they are about until I'm finished since the characters have a way of going off on tangents I never plan.
Danny: Thanks for taking the time to answer my question.
Charlotte: You are very welcome. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
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Dieses Interview entstand im April 2004 zwischen Danny und Charlotte Boyett-Compo für: