We are here at the beach to celebrate with Charmaine Gordon on the newest book in her series, Before the Final Curtain. We asked her some insightful questions that she answered with gusto, and charm.We are also celebrating her big success with a brand new TV movie deal. Click the link below to read all about it.
Deanna: Do you mentor any other authors who look up to you?
Charmaine: Hey, my friend. It’s so good to be here with you today. If you consider teaching my grandest granddaughter, age five and a half, to read and know her Granny writes stories and I’m willing to help her when she wants to write, then yes, I do mentor a budding author. Hmm. A super long sentence.
Charmaine: Write what you know is my thought always and what comes next? When you’ve finished polished, edited to perfection and written a great query letter, start sending them to appropriate agents and publishers. It’s a business, not a hobby. You get lost in the story but don’t lose sight of the goal. To be published. And now self-publishing is easier than before. Choices. It’s all about choices.
Deanna: What has been your biggest help in becoming the writer you are today?
Charmaine: Signing with a small publisher, Vanilla Heart and meeting Kimberlee Williams, the managing editor, opened the door for me. She’s helped me every step of the way toward building a platform of books.
Deanna: You've done well with them. In your opinion, what should new authors avoid doing?
Charmaine: Don’t get hysterical when rejections come back. It’s your baby someone has rejected but it’s only one person’s opinion. Not too worry. Try again.
Deanna: How has your life helped in creating your own characters?
Charmaine: Great question, Deanna. I didn’t realize when I began writing, pieces of your own life fit in your story. And why not? The craft of writing lends itself to drama, comedy and all life has a touch of the same in big or small quantities. As an actor, I knew dialogue well and how to create another character, bring her to life. The same goes with writing. You must open your veins, let emotions pour out just like on stage. Yum. The smell of greasepaint; the roar of the crowd!
Deanna: What is the first thing you do when starting a new book - outline, synopsis, or just begin writing?
Charmaine: I sleep write. A story comes in the night and in the morning I begin. I picture the beginning and the end. The rest falls into place. It’s magic.
Deanna: Do you find a character photo first or wait until you’re further into the book to fill in those details?
Charmaine: I see them in my head, their names flow from my fingertips. She’s an older woman, tall blond with a short breezy cut, blue gray eyes, has a limp from a new left hip replacement, rich; he’s a professor, tall, broad shoulders, graying hair, attractive, right hip replacement. What happens next?
Deanna: That's interesting! What is your strongest trait as a writer - dialogue, POV, characterization, etc?
Charmaine: Dialogue definitely. POV is a struggle and requires editing all the time.
Deanna: What does your favorite male character look like?
Charmaine: I met him at ShopRite just last night. Black curly hair, eyes sparkling with mischief, five o’clock shadow. His name is Joe Ross age 23. I said, “We have so much in common. I used to be 23.” Big laugh. Actually, Maverick- the pool guy-in To Be Continued remains my fave with his muscular frame, ruddy complexion and so much more.
Deanna: Tell us about your newest book…where it takes place, how the characters came to you, teasing plot points, etc?
Charmaine: I began thinking about seniors and romance since I’m a senior, when did that happen? A story came to me. I pictured a widowed grandmother, her granddaughter at the NJ shore. Along comes a widower grandfather with two small grandsons and sits too close to them. What happens next? I wondered. When I finished, instead of writing The End I wrote The Beginning. . .Not The End and sent it to Kimberlee Williams. She loved it and a series was born. “Write two more different stories,” she said and so I did. Just a girl who can’t say NO.
Deanna: What makes a reader keep coming back for more books in a series?
Charmaine: Readers like to follow characters, see what becomes of them. In my favorite words, “What happens next.” First I wrote Reconstructing Charlie, followed by Sin of Omission and then most recently, The Catch with a familiar cast of characters in a different story line. A reviewer sent me an email requesting another story. She wants to know what happens next. Cool, huh?
Deanna: Now for fun questions - What would you do for fun if you took off a day from writing?
Charmaine: I write part of each day, take care of my granddaughter part of each day and there’s my sweet husband who needs loving care from me. I enjoy peace and quiet in the garden although my days of building patios made of stone are over and a good movie-hard to come by-is the best. Just watched Singin’In The Rain” again. What a joy!
Deanna: What is your favorite meal?
Charmaine: How about a filet mignon medium, red roasted potatoes, steamed spinach and crème brulee for dessert. YES!
Deanna: What is your favorite wine?
Charmaine: Pass the Chardonnay, please and just a half glass or I’ll be tap dancing on the table.
Deanna: Who inspires you?
Charmaine: Maybe it’s something spiritual. Waking up and knowing I can do another day to put a smile and false lashes on. Reach out and light up wherever I go.
CONTEST: I’m offering an e-book copy of The Catch, my latest full length novel, to a commenter with the most perceptive comment re: this question: Would you choose your family over the man/woman you love because of religious difference?
Before the Final Curtain: the third story in my series The Beginning. . .Not The End.
Excerpt: Chapter 1
Introducing Becca Morgan, fading actor of Broadway acclaim
“Home at last.” Becca Morgan set the cat carrier down after flinging open the carved oak door to her home overlooking the Hudson River. Freeing her faithful companion from his prison, she laughed as he meowed and bolted for the litter box. “Good idea, Jack. Are we happy or what?” Becca almost skipped to the master bedroom wheeling her bag. Inhaling fresh aromas from her own home after three months on tour in the Mid-West filled her with joy. Sarah, her housekeeper forever, had cleaned up, tended the garden, used lemon polish to make every wood surface gleam and best of all, Sarah left homemade pasta sauce to cool on the butcher block counter.
She stretched out on the queen sized bed. “Mmm, lovely to be home.” Gazing around the spacious room Becca took in the awards cabinet in all its’ glory. Polished Tony’s, Emmy’s, Golden Globes and plaques—tributes to past performances. Tears trickled down her thin face no longer young. Get over yourself, Becca. Starring roles aren‘t written for seventy year old women. No more. Not since Katherine Hepburn.
Now for a hot tub to ease my aging bones, she thought. Becca stripped, opened the sliders, towel and cell phone in hand to remove the cover. A few buttons pushed and instant bubbles greeted her. One toe in tested the heat. Becca settled in to soothe aches from hours of travel.
The cell phone shattered the peaceful moment with her favorite tune, Happy Days Are Here Again.
A quick dry with a towel and she connected.
“Becca.” Her heart beat a little faster in recognition of the voice. Randall Sloan, the powerful director she’d worked with many times in the old days when he was called Randy apropos of his philandering.
“Randall. So nice to hear from you after too long a time.”
“Becca love, I’ve written a new play perfect for you. I’ll FAX the script right over unless you’re not interested.” He laughed, a smug familiar sound that hadn’t changed.
Fingers crossed, she said, “Don’t tell me my character is the faithful companion or the housekeeper.”
His voice deepened to a sexy growl. “You’re the lead. Titled “Honor Thy Mother, Please”, a poignant comedy, small cast.”
“The lead? Oh, Oh, Oh. What’s the part?” Naked outside on her veranda, Becca wanted to dance, sing, shout out loud.
“You’ll have the script shortly. We bring it downtown in a few weeks to a festival in Chelsea and then midtown off Broadway and finally Broadway.”
“You know me, Randy. I can’t wait. Not even for a few minutes. Please tell me about her and what happens.” She knew he loved to be begged.
“Oh, all right. Here’s a taste. She’s a lonely widow who lets her daughter and son-in-law move in with her. They abuse the privilege, treat her as if she’s no longer capable so when they’re at work she goes to a bar and meets a man. Just one more thing, Becca.”
“And what might that be?”
“Are you still in good shape?”
“Good shape? Why do you ask?”
“Your costume in part of Act One is a towel.”