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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Interview of Author Charlene Roberts

Today I'm happy to present an interview or romance author Charlene Roberts.

Latest Book: A Gentleman's Savior
Buy Link:  - (Published by Ellora's Cave) -

I've been writing for over 10 years, ever since my friend asked me to help her type her first novel (computers were not common then). She also took me to my first writers' meeting.

I live in Toronto, Canada and work as an administrative assistant in a consulting firm. However, I'm now looking for a new job that I hope will incorporate what I love--writing.

I have 2 cats, watch way too many cartoons and Japanese anime, and want to write a movie script and a graphic novel in the near future. I've started the graphic novel; the movie will take a little longer.

Q: What’s the first thing you did when you received word you’d sold a book?
A: I was at work and checking my personal emails during my lunch break. I saw an email from Ellora's Cave with the name of my manuscript in the subject line and the first few words which said “Thank you for submitting to...” And it ended there. My first thought was “Oh great, another rejection.” I actually ignored EC's email while I checked other emails!

So after about half an hour I finally bit the bullet and looked. The email said “Thank you for submitting to Ellora's Cave. After careful consideration, we would like to offer you a contract. Congratulations!!”

My mind went blank. I'm sitting at my desk, my piece of sushi halfway to my mouth, thinking, “OMG! I sold it!!”

The first person I called was my best friend Chris, because I couldn't yell at work--no one knew about my writing because I only recently got the job. I know my voice was shaking when I told her, and she was considerate to do all the yelling and screaming for me. She's such a great friend. :)

Q: What part of the book is the easiest for you to write? Why?
A: I love writing the plot--the beginning, middle and end, the twists to a story, and if it's a fantasy or time-travel, I love the “what-if” scenarios. I enjoy challenging my brain to think of something different and fresh. I love description too--if a writer can pull me into a story, and engage my 5 senses, then 3/4 of that book has done its work.

Q: If one of your books became a movie, which celebrity would you like to star as one of your heroines? Tell us about your heroine.
A: I would say for A Gentleman's Savior, my movie star heroine would have to be Rachel Weisz. I can see her being surprised if she found herself in an unexpected place and time (i.e. time travel), but she would adapt quickly. Rachel is a very intelligent woman, and I can't see that woman losing her cool.

Q: If one of your books became a movie, which celebrity would you like to star as one of your heroes? A: Tell us about your hero.
A: I love Alcide Herveaux, Sookie’s chaperone in True Blood Joe Manganiello). He would be perfect as Gabriel. He has the elements of a man in love who would protect his woman no matter what, mixed with a gentler side that makes you want to go "aww". He is definitely my type of guy and one I would choose as my hero. My first choice would have been Hugh Jackman, but after watching Joe in action in Season 3 of True Blood, I've got to change my mind. Sorry, Hugh!

Q: Do all your heroes and all heroines look the same in your mind as you “head write”?
A: No they don't. For every story that I create, I have to at least create the characters' physical as well as personality attributes. I don't want them to look the same in my head for every story, because then I would get bored writing it. I'm visual-oriented when reading (if I can't visualize the story, you've lost me). Characters' features are just as important. It's already hard enough when the hero and heroine are these 95 percent hot-looking people. That other 5 percent needs distinctive attributes so that they stand out. For example, Gabriel in AGS has battle scars from fighting in the Napoleonic Wars. He's also taller than the average Regency gentleman, which I find gives him a unique advantage.

Q: What genre would you like to try writing in but haven’t yet done so? Why?
A: I admit I'm curious about ménage. My two books are erotica, and I finally sold my urban fantasy (which was a blast to write), but I've got to say that there are times where writing an erotic love scene between a man and a woman can give me the shakes! Not because I don't enjoy writing them, but I worry if it's going to sound fresh and interesting. So imagine trying to write a threesome! However, I do love a challenge; it just might be on the list this year.

Q: Facebook, MySpace, Blogs, Chats, or Twitter. Which do you like best and why?
A: Honestly, all I have at the moment is my blog (which I don’t update often), and I share a FB page with other EC authors called "Kelli's Den of Iniquity", where we post our new books and other tidbits, plus I also contribute to the occasional guest blog. Personally, I'm afraid that I would get sucked into the social media whirlpool if I join too many sites--I'd never get any writing done! Plus I also work at a full-time job, which has been sucking a lot of time from my writing lately. :(

I’m sure all of the social media sites have their advantages and plus points, but I have to ask—where does one find the time to read, post and respond to all, AND write? If someone has an answer, let me know, please!

Tell us where to find you: website(s), publisher’s page(s), blog(s), Facebook page(s), etc. List them all!
Blog site:
FB page: Kelli's Den of Iniquity
Liz Crowe’s Blog: – Dec 15, 2011
Tina Donahue’s blog: – May 22 and Dec. 26, 2011
Nina Pierce’s Blog: – Dec. 14, 2011
Sweet ‘N Sexy Divas Blog: – June 30, 2011

When Stephanie’s art teacher issues a challenge—create a painting based only on the torso of a human sculpture—she decides to paint a Regency lord. But with his muscular body, longer hair and a few well-placed scars, Stephanie’s lord is definitely no Regency dandy. Her best work ever, the painting stirs an obsession Stephanie can’t explain. Not content to wait for the next class, she visits the art center, just to get a peek at her lord. She touches the painting…

And suddenly finds herself in a bedroom in 1817 London, her lord standing behind her—very real, very naked and very ready to end Stephanie’s sexual dry spell.

Before she can say “ton”, Stephanie’s indulging her desires with Gabriel, dressing in the height of Regency fashion and meeting the Prince Regent. But life in 1817 isn’t all tea and crumpets. Stephanie soon learns she’s reliving her past life—one that ended tragically. Thrust in the middle of a sinister plot, she must save the prince, save Gabriel…and if she’s luckier this time around, save herself.

EXCERPT: WARNING: Adult Language
Gabriel, who literally stood head and shoulders above the Prince Regent’s guests, grew concerned when he couldn’t locate Stephanie. Excusing himself from the small knot of political men, he went in search of her, worried that she may have wandered off.

He thought about how Stephanie had enjoyed herself in their bed before their arrival at Carlton House. She had always been reserved and quiet; however, tonight had been a most pleasant exception.

He smiled, watching as some of the women nearby reacted favorably to his expression. During his bachelor days he would have welcomed their advances, played the games of mind and body the ton was so fond of and made his conquest. He knew how different he looked compared to the other lords—over six feet, with a muscular body due to hard training from the Napoleonic Wars, long, black, wavy hair and a scar on his left cheek that he refused to hide.

Stephanie hadn’t fallen for his charms when they were first introduced by her mother, God rest her soul. In fact, she had done her utmost to stay as far away from him as possible, which only offered a higher thrill to the chase. Even as they became better acquainted, Stephanie refused to fall into his arms like the others—instead, when she was ready, she had decided to take matters into her own hands and steal a kiss from him one evening while dining at Almack’s, a wonderful establishment run by women with strict rules on propriety. He was quite smitten then.

Halfway through the music room, he spotted Stephanie, her brown hair falling seductively in curls about her shoulders, her gown fitted to her body with perfection, her pink lips parted invitingly and her blue eyes sparkling. But Gabriel also noticed how her gaze darted around the room, her gloved hands clenched together as if she were worried and the fast rise and fall of her chest.

She spotted him and waved frantically, which caught the immediate attention of those standing nearby. She waited while he maneuvered through the crowd then grabbed his hand.

“Dearest, whatever is the—?”

“May we leave now? Please?”

“Yes, of course.” They walked quickly to the front entrance, where a servant retrieved their belongings and called for their carriage.

“Stephanie, what is wrong?”

She looked over her shoulder. “Not here,” she whispered.

They remained silent until their carriage pulled away from Carlton House.

“Gabriel, if I tell you something, will you believe me?”

“That is a strange question to ask indeed.” He leaned toward her, taking her shaking hands in his. “Tell me.”

She took a deep breath. “Earlier, I was wandering through the halls, admiring His Highness’ collection of paintings.”

This didn’t surprise him. As a lover of the arts, Stephanie would have found an opportunity to study them.

“I needed some air, and went out onto the terrace. Two men came out after me but they didn’t see me. They were talking about…” She hesitated, glancing out the window into the darkness, lit intermittently by street lamps. “Gabriel, it sounded like they meant to kill Prince George.”

He studied her face, earnest in its expression. “Can you be sure? There is no mistake in what you heard?”

Stephanie shook her head. “One man said that something will be done about Prinny.”

“But this man did not actually threaten the prince’s life?”

“No. But it frightened me.”

“Did these men see you?”

“No, but I saw one of them, or at least part of him. He was addressed as ‘sir’, and has a large moustache and wore a gold pin in his cravat.”

Gabriel kept his expression neutral. “My love, you have described one quarter of the ton who live in London, and that is a lot of men.”

“You don’t believe me!”

“I didn’t say that. But if what you say is true, it will be most difficult to locate him.” He paused. “What of the other man?”

“His name was John, that’s all I can say. I didn’t see him.”

Gabriel nodded, thinking. He had heard vague rumors about the possibility of removing Prince George from the throne. He was a constant thorn in the public’s eye, spending taxpayers’ money on lavish and ostentatious things, hosting elaborate parties, and all the while pointedly ignoring the public’s contempt. Gabriel felt that something sinister would happen. He just didn’t know what.

“It’s late, Stephanie,” he crooned, putting his arm around her shoulders. “We shall talk more about this in the morning.”

When Stephanie heard Gabriel’s even breathing, she quietly climbed out of bed. She stood in front of him for several moments, watching his relaxed face, so serene as he slumbered, his dark lashes sweeping across the tops of his cheekbones, his hair tousled about his tanned face, his body half-hidden beneath the sheets.

She reached out to touch him then pulled back. This man, her hero in the painting, was not her husband—he was a figment of her imagination. Stephanie knew she couldn’t remain here.

Her other concern was the plot on Prince George’s life, if that were true. In her studies about her ancestry, Prince George went on to become King George IV of England in 1820, despite an assassination attempt.

So what exactly did she hear? Or imagined that she’d heard? Maybe the two men plan on controlling the Prince Regent after his ascension to the throne? She had read how weak-willed the prince could be, wanting nothing more than to be idolized by his English subjects. Could that be their plan?

It didn’t matter—she couldn’t stay. Stephanie didn’t know enough about the Regency era to pass herself off as naturally as part of the ton. And she adored her hero too much to make him the laughingstock of London.

So she had decided to go back home. It was a painful decision—this man had brought her body and spirit to life in such a short space of time, and Stephanie was hard-pressed to give that up. However, she didn’t truly know him, and to stay in this alternate reality for too long might pose a danger to the future—her present time.

Stephanie turned to look at the mirror she had stared at when she’d first arrived. It was about the same size as her painting, and in a way it made sense—it was the only thing in this bedroom that would qualify as a passageway.

Stephanie turned back to the bed and its sleeping occupant. Walking quietly to his side, she placed a soft kiss on his mouth. He moved slightly and she backed away, grasping her dressing gown with both hands. She was going to miss him, but she vowed she would only look at him in the painting from now on.

“Goodbye, my lord.” Without hesitating, she crossed the room and lifted her hand to touch the mirror…

And she was back in the storeroom facing a blank wall. She turned and saw her painting, her hero in the same pose that she had drawn, looking at her with his intense green stare.

Stephanie wanted to touch him again, but instead she hastily threw the sheet over the canvas. God, what was she going to do with her painting?

“I see that you’re back.”

Uttering a short scream, Stephanie whirled around to see Leila standing near the door. “Leila?” she asked, walking toward her. “What the fuck are you doing here?”
“I would ask you the same thing.” Her teacher nodded at the painting. “So, what did you think?”

“Of what?”

“Don’t play stupid, Steph. I knew you had touched the painting, which you couldn’t resist. What I do admire is that you came back before you could do any damage. My past students weren’t that smart.”

“You knew that would happen? Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Would you have believed me?”

Stephanie stared at Leila, dressed in a colorful blouse and tight black jeans, her black hair unbound and framing her face. “No,” she admitted.

“Exactly. Now come along. We have a lot to talk about.”

Anything else you’d like to add?
Watch for: Eternal Heiress, an early 2013 urban fantasy release by Double Dragon Publishing.

Write what you enjoy, not to what the market is selling. With the explosion of the e-book phenomenon, authors have so much more choice in genres, length of book, etc. When you write what you love, it comes across in the story. If you write because the latest genre is hot and it's not your strength, you've just increased your chances of being rejected. It takes some time to know what you're good at--writing is not a race; it's you writing a story that YOU believe others will love too.


jean hart stewart said...

Thanks, love time travel and the Regency period, so of course loved this excerpt. Lots of luck with all your writing...Jean

Cara Marsi said...

Great interview. I too love time travel and the Regency period. I agree with you about social media. It really is a time suck. I liked your story of reading the email from Ellora's offering the contract.

Good luck with your writing.

Charlene Roberts said...

Ladies!! Thank you very much for reading and your comments. I love a lot of genres, so if there's any way of combining them, let me at it! lol

Cara social media really is a full-time job. Plus adding promo, you'll never get any writing done. I'm already behind as it is, and that's because of the day job taking more time of out of my writing life! :(

Best to you and good luck with your writing as well!


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