Charlotte Stout: Seattle holds a special place in my heart. It is where I met and married my husband; where I completed my Bachelor’s degree; where I met so many wonderful people and where I had the best time for over ten years.
The following is going to sound like such a cliché. While living in Seattle, my husband and I worked hard but played even harder; laughed long and heartily and loved often. This was a magical time for us. I wanted to write a story about the magic that happens between two people who meet and fall in love in Seattle.
Of course, I am not as quirky as Charly (in my mind) and my husband is not French; nor do we have access to yachts, private planes, helicopters or other accoutrements of the very wealthy. But, we are happy in our simple life together. I do take French lessons because I am interested in everything French and I love the sound of the language.
Charly and Julien make me smile. Their story never lets me forget what a delight it was to live and love in such a fabulous city.
CTW: What kind of prep work did you do before writing? Are you more plotter or panster?
CS: My prep work consisted of living in the remarkable city of Seattle and learning how to love another person so completely, courtesy of my husband. Boy, if that compliment about my husband doesn’t generate a bauble of some proportion, I don’t know what more I can do. LOL.
I am definitely a “panster.” I feel constrained by an outline. When a story idea hits me I sit down and write a first chapter. If I like the first chapter, I may spend some additional time penning names or characters and the ending of the story. I may even write the closing line.
What comes between the first chapter and the final line of the story is my panster hard at work creating as we go along. Being a panster allows me so much freedom. I have a difficult time imagining working any other way. Granted, the road to the end of the story may look like the most crooked street in America but it all gets straightened out during the editing process. I’m a random girl and being a “plotter” wouldn’t work for me. I would need to spend more time with my psychiatrist if anyone forced me to be a “plotter.”
CTW: What was the biggest challenge you faced while writing the novel? How did you overcome it?
CS: The biggest challenge for me was completing the book and publishing it. I wrote Seattle Delight in 2007 while my husband and I were living in Hong Kong for a year. It was another wonderful period in our marriage. I was not working while we lived in Hong Kong. With time on my hands and a strong desire to write, I decided to pen a novel that captured the essence of the romance we shared in Seattle.
Shortly after completing the novel, but while still living in Hong Kong I developed some health issues. By the time we returned to the States in late 2007, I was very sick. In January 2008 I moved to Arizona to be close to my doctor at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona. For all of 2008, 2009, and 2010 I was too ill to do anything but concentrate on living one day at a time.
In the beginning of 2011, when I was feeling strong enough to spend very short periods of time at the computer I looked at Seattle Delight again. With a lot of help from my husband, I sent the book out to be edited, considered and incorporated suggested changes by the editor and finalized the book in June 2011.
My husband knew how important publishing this book was to me. He took the lead and set up my web page and blog; he worked with Amazon to ensure we met the specs for listing the book for sale on their site; and he ensured the book was in the proper format to download to the Nook® or Kindle®.
The book I wrote is available for others to enjoy because my husband knew how important this was to me and he helped make it happen. I never gave up and neither did he.
CS: I have learned a couple of important lessons. Work hard and never give up is primary. That’s also the lesson we learn in life, isn’t it? Never give up on your dreams. Fulfillment of any dream may not come in a conventional way, but if you are determined enough you will find a way to make it happen. I believe this to my very core.
Writing requires incredible discipline. I knew if I was serious about my writing I needed to treat this endeavor as I would any other job, because that’s what this is. When writing, editing, publishing or marketing a book, I work several hours each day.
Writing is more than just putting words on a page and uploading the book to the web. Writing the story is important, but it is a small part of the writing process. Editing, publishing and marketing the book are major endeavors that require more focus and time. That has been an eye-opener for me. I thought I could just write the book and the rest of the work would be easy street. Boy, was I wrong.
CTW: What books would we find on your bookshelf?
CS: I have an eclectic mix of genres on my bookshelf.
Tess Gerritsen – Rizzoli and Isles series
I adore a good mystery. Tess Gerritsen is able to create complex who-dun-its that keep me guessing until the end of the story. I love Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles and Jane’s family. The interaction and dialogue keep me on my toes and puts a smile on my face.
JR Ward – Black Dagger Brotherhood series
Ms. Ward is a master story teller. She created the most interesting and hot group of men, The Black Dagger Brotherhood. The BDB are almost too hot to even think about without spontaneously combusting into flames and dust. The storyline is interesting and the action is non-stop. I adore this series.
Bruce Cameron – “A Dog’s Purpose”
I am a total push-over when it comes to dogs. I would adopt every single dog living in a shelter if I didn’t have my husband to face every day. This story touched my heart. It made me laugh, cry very hard and often, and cheer. Make sure you have plenty of tissues on- hand if you have a sensitive spot for dogs. The story is about a dog who experiences several reincarnations until he understands his purpose in this world. It is a wonderfully touching story.
Lieut. Colonel Jay Kopelman with Melinda Roth – “From Baghdad, with Love”
This is another dog story but this one is a true story. A band of Marines in Fallujah, Iraq find a dog in an abandoned house. They take the dog back to their camp unsure what they were going to do with him since keeping animals in camp was against the rules. Thus begins the herculean efforts by a group of Marines to not only rescue this dog but to get him back to the United States. It is an unbelievable story that will have you balling and cheering.
Garth Stein – “The Art of Racing in the Rain”
A third book about a dog but with a different twist. The story is told from the dog’s perspective. It is about love, companionship and the humane treatment of all creatures.
Dr. Wayne W Dyer – “Excuses Begone! How to Change Lifelong Self-Defeating Thinking Habits”
Everyone can benefit from reading books such as Dr. Dyer’s that encourage us to focus on positive affirmations. I need a reminder now and again and I have found this book to be a good one to keep my thinking on track.
Gregory White Smith and Steven Naifeh – “Van Goh – The Life”
This book gives the reader a fresh look inside the life of Vincent Van Goh, his approach to painting, letters he wrote, his alleged attempt at suicide and his ultimate death. It was a wonderful literary experience with well written luxurious sentences.
CTW: If you could meet one fictional character, who would it be and why?
CS: My very first thought was to say “Julien” from Seattle Delight. Then I thought that might sound selfish. So, here are two other men I would love to spend time with.
I would love to spend an afternoon with Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. He is well-bred, an intellect, well-read, an accomplished rider, and very wealthy.
I would love to ride across the hillside with him, have a picnic under a large oak tree and talk about a variety of topics related to the period.
On the flip side of the lovely Mr. Darcy, I’d love to spend an afternoon or night in the presence of Michael Cyprien from Lynn Viehl’s Darkyn series. He is one hot vampire. He doesn’t need to talk; I would be happy if he just carried me around in his arms all night and let me touch his hard body. Oh, that would be so lovely.
CTW: What’s next for you and your writing career?
CS: I am working feverishly to complete the editing of my first romantic suspense novel. It is set in Minnesota and Alaska and I hope people find it to be a fast moving, yikes – I’m scared, kind of book.
I am also working on finishing the first novel I ever started. I had finished one hundred twenty pages of that first novel and shared it with two girlfriends when we were on one of our trips to the Grand Canyon. They loved what they read and have been asking me since that weekend back in 1997 when I would have the book completed. I want to finish it not just for me but for them.
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 spend time with friends, or do some physical exercise to expend all my pent up energy from sitting behind a desk all day.
CTW: What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
CS: Don’t give up. If you have a dream of publishing a novel or a work of non-fiction, then do it. You may not go about it in the traditional way but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that you fulfill your dream. Don’t let anyone quash your dream. It’s your dream, not theirs.
About the Author
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.
About the Book
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.
Read an excerpt of the book here.
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