Hey there everyone. First of all Happy Thanksgiving. One of the many things I’m thankful for is that Charley is SO understanding about me being late putting up her interview. <G>
Thanks for having me, Brynn! J
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
Good question! I’ve been telling stories as long as I can remember, but the first time I wrote one down was in the third or fourth grade. That was a loooooong time ago so I can’t remember exactly when it was, but I remember the story. If it were published today it would probably be YA, and it was a coming out story with a total Mary Sue protagonist. I was terrified someone would find it and read it and know that it was autobiographical, but that didn’t stop me.
What do you think makes a good story?
The basics have to be there—good writing, attention to detail in the story world, and a couple of merciless editing passes—but to have a really good story you need the unexpected. This can be a little tricky in Romance, since there has to be a Happily Ever After, but it can be done. As far as I’m concerned it doesn’t really matter what the unexpected element is—it can be an unusual setting, an especially vibrant character with a job or life experiences outside the norm, or even a closing line that knocks my socks off. I have to admit, though, that I’m a sucker for an underdog character and an author with a strong voice.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to play violin in an orchestra or write novels. That sounds a little odd for a kid, but I started playing violin in the 2nd grade and loved it. My parents had to tell me to stop practicing and go play. *lol*
Do you have a specific writing style?
I would describe my style as character driven. I’m a total pantser and rely on my characters to tell me their stories. I do control the plot if and when it’s necessary, but the spark has to come from the characters. The original version of Cascades was written with the 2014 Advent Calendar in mind, so I had to get my guys out of the country somehow. That wasn’t easy, so I had to do a little plotting beforehand and a little cat-herding during the writing process. The one problem with having a bunch of strong characters talking in your head is that they all think they’re right about what should happen in their stories. It’s not always easy to figure things out, but it’s not dull!
What are your current projects?
Right now I’m concentrating on my Buchanan House series with Dreamspinner. Book 2, Tiny House, is scheduled to go into edits at the beginning of December, and I’m excited about that. Also going into edits next month is the free short “Pride Weekend” that’s scheduled to release early next year. As a reader I love those free extra short stories in a series so I’m thrilled to be able to offer one of my own.
I’m also drafting the third Buchanan House Love Story. If all goes according to plan it could be out next September in time for GRNW. I’m also playing with the idea to write a holiday story for 2016 that takes place at Buchanan House, but first I’ll need to finish the story that’s on deadline.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in any of your books?
I think every writer’s answer to this would be a big yes! The idea is to grow as a writer with every book, so it’s natural that we all see things in past stories that could be improved. With Cascades, I might make it longer if I were changing things now. But maybe not. I love the short story form and think Cascades is complete the way it is, but I know a lot of readers prefer longer stories so they can hang out with the characters longer.
What was the hardest part of writing Cascades?
Every book is hard and easy in its own ways. While I was writing Cascades, the hardest part was to let it go in the direction it wanted to, to let Doug be more than a little rough around the edges. Sometimes I worry about putting too many dimensions into any one story, about making a story too odd and turning readers off. Doug isn’t only a rough character he’s also pushing 50 which is pretty old for a Romance hero, even in MM. I love Doug, but he’s not the easiest guy to like. Hopefully readers will give him (and the story) a chance. If so, maybe more writers will write more stories with older heroes. As an older gal, I’d like to read more stories about characters my age finding love.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
I hope it doesn’t sound cliché but follow your heart, write the books that only you can write instead of paying attention to market trends or the kind of stories someone else is writing. As far as I know, that’s the only way to write a story that’s unique, the only way we’re going to get stories and characters who don’t all look, think, and act the same. Just my $0.02.
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: December 9, 2015
Cover Artist: Bree Archer
JB expected to feel different in Canada, to see things he couldn’t see at home. He never expected to find the one who got away.
Justice “JB” Bishop tells himself he’s satisfied with life in the small town of Upright, Oregon. He was born and raised there, and has settled into a comfortable, if lonely, routine working at his uncle’s bar. JB doesn’t expect anything to change after he turns fifty, until an old friend drops in. She suggests he get out of town for the holidays, and soon JB finds himself on an Amtrak to Canada. JB expected to feel different in Canada, to see things he couldn’t see at home. He never expected to find the one who got away.
Excerpt (Rated G; 492 words):
“So, what does JB stand for anyway?”
I stood across the bar from Pete, polishing the spots off a glass for something to do. He slurred so thickly I could barely understand him, but he would notice if I slacked too hard while he was paying me to work. The slant of his shoulders and the glassy look in his eyes said I’d better move him toward a booth soon or I’d have to pick him up off the floor later. I wasn’t as young as I used to be, and he wasn’t as light. “It doesn’t stand for anything. You know that.”
He sipped from his glass and made a face. I’d started serving him O’Doul’s about forty-five minutes ago, but was too late to save myself from overnight drunk patrol.
“Bullshit. I know what it means.”
The place looked even shabbier from the business end of the bar, with its dusty cedar-shake paneling and century-old flooring, more like fencing than something you’d walk on. Dim neon beer signs and pictures of hunting victories going back to the Reagan years decorated the walls. The buzz I had going didn’t make it any prettier.
I clapped Pete on the shoulder. “What does it mean, then?”
He squinted at me, his bushy gray eyebrows nearly covering his eyes. While he worked on remembering what we’d been talking about, I pulled his arm across my shoulders and steered him toward the back wall. Four booths with wide seats covered in black Naugahyde stood there in the darkness, well away from the windows and the curious eyes of Upright’s two police officers.
Pete slid into the one nearest the men’s room, his usual resting place on the most difficult nights. He leaned into the corner made by the back of the booth and the wall, and sighed. “Thanks, JB.”
“You bet. Can I get you anything?”
Pete chuckled. “The brain I drowned?”
“Take it easy. I’ll get you home if you’d rather sleep there tonight.”
“Nah. Save your back. You’re not a young’un anymore. Gotta think about that, or you’ll regret it.”
Before I could answer, he’d nodded off, his head back and mouth wide, snoring. I could’ve argued, but what good would it do? He could see the gray in my beard and the growth in my forehead better than I could.
I turned off the neon signs, locked the front door, stretched out on the cot in the storeroom, and waited for morning.
Most nights I’d get to the end of my favorite relaxation technique before I fell asleep, but not that night. Not sure why, but it had been the slowest Saturday night in history. Probably had something to do with how close it was to Christmas, even if that usually meant the place would be full instead of empty. The disappointing night didn’t surprise me—it came with the holiday territory. I fell asleep with my perfect man only half-constructed.
Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7112
All Romance eBooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-cascades-1929239-149.html
Charley Descoteaux has always heard voices. She was relieved to learn they were fictional characters, and started writing when they insisted daydreaming just wasn’t good enough. In exchange, they’ve agreed to let her sleep once in a while. Charley grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area during a drought, and found her true home in the soggy Pacific Northwest. She has survived earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods, but couldn’t make it through one day without stories.
Rattle Charley’s cages:
Dreamspinner Author Page: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=879