Monday, April 1, 2013

Charlene Raddon Blog Interview

Today we have Author, Charlene Raddon with us.
Charlene has graciously agreed to allow me the privilege of an interview.

     CB: Good Morning, Charlene. Thank you for your time.   Tell us about your earlier work, and what piqued your interest in writing.

CR: My first book was a time travel romance, although I had no idea what the word ‘genre’ meant then, let alone what genre I was writing. Unlike so many authors, I never intended or even thought about being a writer, but I loved to read. One morning I woke from a vivid dream that drove me to drag out a typewriter and start writing it down. Nine years’ worth of studying writing resulted in Time Weaver. The first chapter won me a scholarship to the Park City Writer’s Conference. Unfortunately, no one was buying time travels then. An editor told me it was too unusual to sell as a first book, that I should write a regular romance, sell it and a few more, then maybe I could sell Time Weaver. So I wrote a romance I called Brianna. That book won first place in a contest, then became a Golden Heart Finalist in 1991. I signed with an agent and less than two years later received a three-book contract with Zebra Books, an imprint of Kensington Books. I had become a writer. 

    CB: I'm amazed to find you wrote about time travel long before the genre became a popular sell. You're an author ahead of your time. Any particular reason you chose that genre or are you one of those gifted writers who have your finger on the pulse of your readers?  

CR:I don’t know why I chose a time travel except that the dream that inspired me was set in the past, but everyone always says “write what you know.” Well, I didn’t know anything about the past then, only that I love tales of the Wild West. So I started with a contemporary and turned it into a historical. It wasn’t until after all those years of work that I decided I may as well try to get it published.

    CB: Certainly your novels sell well. I'm sure your time travel will be a huge success! You have three books now available at Tirgearr Publishing. Can you tell us about those?

CR: The first of my books Tirgearr published for me was Forever Mine. I chose to do it first because had been my most successful paperback, even winning a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award Nomination. My second book, Tender Touch, was my second book I called Brianna when it became a Golden Heart Finalist. My third book, To Have and To Hold, is the one I think is probably my favorite. I love the characters and the setting, and I feel it’s the best written of my books. 

     CB: Wow! Romantic Times Reviewers Choice and Golden Heart. Quite amazing accomplishments. Where can readers purchase books now available?

CR: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Tirgearr Publishing and other e-book stores.

CB:  You've enjoyed quite a bit of success with your books. Do you have a formula? Do you prefer your novels more story or character driven? 

CR: I prefer character driven books, but I am a very visual writer so my settings generally play a big part in my stories. Some began with a character, some with a situation. My first book published by Zebra Books was Taming Jenna, which came from a lunch session with my critique group. I was trying to come up with a new story and asked one of the members I knew had a great imagination to give me an idea. She said, “Write about a woman who has to find a man she can only identify by a scar on his bottom.” And Taming Jenna was born. It’s a fun story.

CB: I much prefer reading character driven novels. A good story can only carry a novel so far. Characters rich in strength appeal to me most. I read that John Jakes characters are modeled physically after someone he happens to see on TV or a movie. Mine are simply conjured up in my imagination. Where do you get your ideas for your characters?  

CR: They just come to me, really. I guess I could say that at least a couple of my books are character driven in that before I even started the book, while the plot was just incubating in my mind, the characters were jabbering in my head telling me about themselves and what to write. There were times when they refused to do what I wanted them to do in the book, and other times they seemed to act upon themselves and do things I never planned. I enjoyed those interactions. Physically, I have used various aspects of a person’s character or appearance. I took one friend’s gorgeous eyes for one of my heroines, and another friend’s lush lips for yet a different heroine. Oddly, I find it easier to create my heroes than I do my heroines. At times I wonder if maybe I had been a man in previous lives, as I seem more able to get into their heads.

CB: You're involved in all aspects of writing, often helping other authors at the drop of a hat. What is your time/management formula?

CR: I have no managerial talents whatsoever, or any self-discipline, one of my biggest regrets in life that I’ve always struggled with. Usually, I’m attempting to do several things at the same time. In fact, my husband likes to say I’m incapable of doing only one thing at a time. It drives him nuts that I can read a book, play games on my Kindle or needlepoint and watch TV at the same time. I do what I’m driven to do at the moment. Not my best quality.

CB: What works in progress are you currently absorbed in?

CR: LOL. I’m supposed to be reworking Time Weaver, but something is always interfering. I just turned in my next book to be e-published, The Scent of Roses. It’s a sort of sequel to my latest release, To Have And To Hold. And I’m waiting to get news back about the possible publication of a totally new book I finished last year, Divine Gamble.

CB: We'll be anxiously awaiting news on The Scent of Roses. Tell us what motivates you?

CR: A never-ending urge to create. I’ve been creative and artistically inclined all my life. My major in college was Fine Arts.

CB: My daughter was a fine arts major, as well. There is a definite pattern of seeking out the most creative outlets through an artist's life. Any other artist endeavors outside of writing and graphic arts?  

CR: I love to design digital scrapbooks, needlepoint and crochet, and if I had a place to do it, I’d dye more Ukrainian eggs. That’s a wax-resist tie-dye sort of process that requires lots of room for several bottles of dye.

CB: I often refer to people in our generation as the pioneers of the internet. Our everyday lives have changed greatly from those of our parents. The information super highway often resembles a roller coaster, where we hang on for dear life with every twist and turn. Books, like music and other forms of entertainment, have taken a turn with the advent of technology. How easy or difficult has it been for you personally to adjust?
CR: I’d say fairly easy, though there were lots of moments when I struggled and nearly gave up. I still haven’t learned how to use all the features on my cell phone, and it isn’t one of the fancy ones; it’s only a track phone. My granddaughter has refused to try anymore to teach me to text.

CB: Oh, my first response to texting, was to cringe. Thankfully, I've adjusted, or I might never have contact with my children!
Do you find it more or less advantageous to connect with your fans on social media sites?

CR: I think social media is great. There are so many more opportunities now than in the old days when you had to do book signings, attend lots of conferences, do tons of mailings of flyers and brochures to build a fan base. Now you can do it from your desk chair.

Thanks so much for your time this morning, Charlene. I'm sure you've piqued the curiosity of our readers. We'll leave links where your books can be purchased! 

Charlene Raddon took up writing over thirty years ago when she awoke from a dream she knew had to be put in a book. She’s been writing ever since. Five of her historical romance novels were published in paperback by Zebra Books. Most of them have won awards, received high ratings and been published internationally. Three have now been released as e-books, with more to come in the near future.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for having me, Carley. It was fun.

Carley Bauer said...

I loved learning more about you. It was great fun for me, also. Well, after I got over the slight anxiety of being the interviewer!

Kemberlee said...

Great interview, Char! I've known you for how long now? About 18 years?? And of all the things I know about you, I didn't know an agent got you a three book deal at Zebra. I didn't know you've ever had an agent. How funny is that? (funny that I didn't know when I know so much about you) lol

I've seen pictures of Char's Ukrainian eggs. They're amazingly beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Kem, yes I had an agent. She died right after the historical market crashed in 1999. Is Peter playing a joke on us?

Carley Bauer said...

I had fun with the questions. Char was a great interview. She raised the bar.

Alison E. Bruce said...

Great interview.

Anonymous said...

Good stuff!

Dellani Oakes said...

What a wonderful interview! This is one of the reasons I'm so delighted to be part of Tirgearr Publishing. I get to rub shoulders with authors like you! Hooray, Charlene! ~ Dellani

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Dellani. I enjoy rubbing shoulders with you and the other Tirgearr authors as well.

Anonymous said...

Such a great interview !!