as interviewed by Kathryn Attalla
Chelle has written some memorable stories over the years. Her books include Bartlett’s Rule, Forgotten, Within the Law, Courage of the Heart, Hostage Heart, A Chaunce of Riches & most recently Common Bond,Tangled Hearts. Her murder-mystery thriller, Final Sin, was published in May 2009.
I was lucky enough to steal her away from her very busy schedule to answer a few questions..
How long have you been in the business?
- It’s hard to decipher which part of “the business” started when. For a few actual dates, I had my first published newspaper article when I was just 18, but I didn’t pursue writing on a full time basis until I was pregnant with my first child; luckily since I freelanced I was able to work from home. I always said that I wanted to “grow up and become a novelist” but I didn’t have my first book actually published until 2001.
Are you a plotter or pantster?
- Definitely a pantser – I’m much too unorganized and random to do anything by outline. Besides I have a tendency to allow my characters to make their own decisions and write their own stories.
Do you write multiple drafts or barely need revisions when typing The End?
- I usually have to do only grammatical and spelling edits on my manuscripts. Since my characters write their stories I find that I rarely have much to say, I just make sure it flows.
What's a typical writing day like for you?
- Very random. I always start my day (whatever hour that may be) by checking and responding to email. Next I move on to social networking and blog updates – this takes me a few hours between email and blogging. That’s when I finally start writing, but if I am working on a deadline (most often for my non-fiction work) I deal with that first. During the “work day” I go in and out of each project as the brain functions – if I am stymied in one project I move to another to keep the words flowing.
What kind of promotion do you do and why?
- I blog, do social networking (FaceBook, Twitter, MySpace and forums), send out press releases and participate in several events which promote writers as a group (hand-outs of promo materials like cards, brochures, etc.)
How do you balance writing with the rest of your life (i.e., day job, family, etc.)?
- Ah, but that would be implying that I have balance in my life… Since my “day job” is a full time freelance writer, my romance writing fits in very well. As I said above I flit between writing projects as ideas strike. My husband’s work hours vary (he is a freelance photographer and AV technician) and my kids are independent adults and not demanding of my time – I can decide to “work” whenever I feel around the clock.
Where do you get your ideas for a romance novel?
- Life. I look around me and observe people and I let my imagination run wild. I use my own daily experiences (not necessarily all romantic!) and build on little bits. I naturally like to embellish events and stories – if nothing else, everyday becomes very interesting.
How important is it for you to have a critique partner?
- I don’t really work with a critique partner for the most part. I enjoy having someone I can bounce ideas off of – like my sister – because talking out loud sometimes brings that “aha!” moment.
If your book was made into a movie, which actors would you like to see play your characters?
- I almost always cast my characters, especially my heroes, while I am writing because it helps me to focus on the person – in A Chaunce of Riches I would want Ben to be played by Galen Gering (he plays Rafe on Days of Our Lives) and Samantha by a young Mary Page Keller.
What do you know now about writing/publishing that you wished you knew before The Call?
- I wish I had known more about marketing and promotion – my first book (the original version of Courage of the Heart) published in 2001 sold very few copies. I didn’t know how to get my name out there nor did I have a realistic expectation of what publishers and authors do to promote the stories. I’ve made it a point to learn and between my new-found knowledge and a very supportive publisher, I can certainly see the difference.
*special note: Kat interviewed me on the Hudson Valley Romance Writers website in January 2010, she's given me permission to re-post this interview here.