Monday Magic Welcomes Romance Author Char Chaffin!

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I’m excited today to introduce one of my critique partners, and author of the wonderful book, Promises to Keep.

Okay, Char, take it away.  Tell us a little bit about yourself

Char: I’m a native New Yorker who has lived all over the place, thanks to my (retired) Air Force hubby, Don. Our family is scattered everywhere, including Alaska, where we lived for sixteen years before heading east. Don and I now live on a sixty-acre farm, twenty miles from where I was raised, in Upstate NY. I have been writing for about ten years but it was only within the last five years or so that I began to take it seriously, and actively write for publication. I joined RWA which was a huge help, attended my first national conference and frayed my nerves, pitching my manuscript. The experience at National was life-altering! I published that manuscript in November, 2011, and am currently working on my second novel.

Callie: What a great beginning to what will surely be a remarkable career. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

Char: I gather ideas from everything and anything. Sometimes the simplest things will set me off. A song title, a dream or nightmare, even a walk outside can get me motivated. There’s no specific circumstance that remains constant. One thing I don’t do is listen to music when I write. I know a lot of writers do, but music distracts me too much. I find myself singing along, and soon my fingers have left the keys completely. And since I don’t really enjoy instrumental tunes, it’s better if I leave my background quiet. That way I’m not immersed in Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin when I should be thick as thieves with my H/H.  J

Callie:  Good point. Sometimes the music will soothe me and sometimes makes me want to get up and dance, lol. What does your family think of your writing?

Char: My family is amazingly supportive and the best cheerleaders in the world. Hubby Don was the one who talked me into writing in the first place, and gently but firmly moved me along, from writing poetry to trying my hand at short stories, and eventually plunging into that first novel. He talked me into joining RWA and convinced me we had enough funds for me to attend National. My daughter, Sue Ann, and her hubby, John, have been cheering me on and helping with promotion. I couldn’t ask for more!

Callie:  A supportive family can make all the difference. We all need cheerleaders, and it’s great when they’re our family! What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

Char: Actually, I learned what I write best. Many authors write what they read. I more or less do—now—but prior to trying my hand at writing, I read nothing but horror, science fiction and the occasional Nora Roberts book. J  Yet when I first set my fingers to the keyboard, out came romance instead of horror. Imagine my surprise. I’ve learned a great deal about myself all along the process, and what I have learned is that even when I yearn to be scared, I want to be romanced, too. I’ve also learned to entertain instead of overwhelm, and tell a story instead of lecture or use enormous, complicated words that could be potentially irritating. Reader A doesn’t need me to dazzle her/him with my knowledge of obscurely intellectual vocabulary, but he/she does deserve to be entertained. I figure if they wanted to be impressed in that manner, they’d read an encyclopedia, or maybe Silas Marner.

Callie:  I love that! We are here to entertain, which is why I often say rules for writing are good, and you need to turn out a professional manuscript, but in the end it’s the story that keeps the reader reading, and looking for other books by that author.  What are you working on now?

Char: I’ve always wanted to write a book set in Alaska, and that’s what I’m doing. I am very familiar with Interior Alaska since I lived in Fairbanks for many years. But I wanted to put this story in a more remote region of Alaska, so I chose the very sparsely populated southwestern region, not too far from Bethel (if you’d like, you can follow along on an Alaska map!). So much of the area is unspoiled and wild and you can only get there by plane. There are roads but they don’t go anywhere and they’re usually cut off by large bodies of icy water. My heroine is on the run, and of course there’s a villain. And I’d better stop now, before I spoil you!

Callie:  Okay, folks, since Char and I have been swapping chapters for critiques, I can tell you her new book is fascinating. I can’t wait for it to come out. Do you love or hate writing sex scenes?

Char: Yes.  J  Actually it’s kind of a love/hate thing. I’ve always been of the belief that ‘less is more,’ and so I don’t go into minute detail when I write a sex scene. It’ll take me longer to write one because I have to show a lot without “showing” a lot, otherwise I won’t be happy with the result.  I don’t mind reading the graphic minutia (probably should have mentioned above that I also like to read erotica, huh? Oops.), but I usually don’t write it the way I like to read it. I don’t want to gyp the reader who expects to see some love for their bucks, but I do like to make them use their imaginations. I’m not going to give them everything. Then again, it varies with each story. My debut novel has a few short love scenes but they’re tender, more romantic. This time around I’m writing a more mature H/H, plus there’s suspense and tension and the afore-mentioned villain. Who knows where they’ll take me? That’s the absolute, utter fun of writing.

Callie: Wow, Char, I can’t wait until you send me those chapters (she wipes her forehead).

It’s been so much fun having your here, and now for the blurb on Promises to Keep:

Annie Turner has lived in small-town Thompkin all of her life. Her family is poor, but she and her siblings have loving parents and a roof over their heads. As far as she’s concerned, she’s a lucky girl.

Travis Quincy’s ancestors founded Thompkin, deep in the Shenandoah Valley. He’s known immense wealth from birth, and for him that wealth is a part of his life that he’s never had to question.

While still in grade school, Annie and Travis meet and fall in love. Neither understands why they’re drawn to each other, but it doesn’t seem to matter. Like two halves of a whole, they’re only complete when they’re together. And nothing is more important than the vow they make to someday marry.

Growing up together, the rich, privileged boy and the girl from the wrong side of town find that when it comes to keeping their pledge, it’s easier said than done. Travis’s mother, Ruth, has plans for her son and they don’t include his marrying a Turner. Her painful and secret past gives her an unwanted connection to the Turner family and a reason to hate them all. With cold determination she sets out to destroy the bond between her son and Annie.

Love is magical at any age…and a promise is forever.

Isn’t it?

You can buy Promises to Keep at Soul Mate Publishing or Amazon. 

Char is offering a free copy of Promises to Keep to one lucky commenter! Also, you can check out her website here: http://char.chaffin.com

Char, thanks so much for being with us today. Best of luck with Promises to Keep, and I’m excited about your new story.  We’ll be watching for it!

 

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37 Responses to Monday Magic Welcomes Romance Author Char Chaffin!

  1. Hi Char and Callie!

    Loved the interview…great to learn more about you Char :) Nice to know there is someone else out there that likes to write in peace and quiet too!

    Great blurb about your book…I love the intrigue of it!

    Congrats on your release and your success!

  2. Callie says:

    Hey Christine,

    First as usual, lol.! Thanks for stopping by.

    I’ll be off the internet until this afternoon, but you ladies have a good time, and I’ll catch everyone later.

    Char, have fun!

  3. Char says:

    Thanks so much for having me visit, Callie! I always enjoy your author interviews and it was a lot of fun being on the receiving end this time. I promise as soon as I beat down this rotten head cold that’s fogging up what’s left of my brain, I’ll be sending you some villain!

  4. Char says:

    Thanks for stopping by, Christine! And thanks for the lovely comments. Callie has the best interview questions!

    Char

  5. Great interview, Char! :) I can’t listen to music when I write either – it influences the mood of the scene I’m writing too much. I’m more if a white noise kinda girl myself.

    Good luck with your second book – sounds great – I’m a big Akaska fan! :)

  6. BJ Scott says:

    As always, a great interview ladies. Getting to know a little more about our SM sisters is always fun. Congrats on the release of your book, Char. Wishing you many sales.

  7. Hi Char!

    I don’t do music while writing as it distracts me, too. But having said that, I just hopped over from a free music site where I mused over tunes that might be nice in a trailer for my story. Listened to quite a few, but couldn’t find “the one.” Interesting that we all have ideas for how music should interact with our stories!
    Great post!

    • Char Chaffin says:

      Hi Nancy, so glad you visited! I agree, tunes for our trailers are very important. You might try listening to Kevin Macleod, who specializes in royalty-free music. His collection is wonderful.

      Thanks for the comments!

      Char

  8. Great interview, Char! I loved your answers (though I just don’t understand the need for silence when writing–I need music. Granted, I might use it to drown out all the other sounds in the house, between husband, kids, dogs and the cat).

    Wishing you many sales, Char!

    • Char Chaffin says:

      Thanks for coming by, Meggan! I do understand the need to drown out other noises (!) and so I applaud anyone who can concentrate with background barrage. For me, silence is golden. Might be a by-product of my advancing years (insert bone creaking here). Hee. Thanks for the comments and yay!!! to your book success, too!

      Char

  9. Char, I love your down to earth approach to life and to writing. It makes your books immediately accessible at an emotional level. Promises to Keep is a gorgeous book, just as you are a gorgeous human. Enjoy your well-deserved success, and I look forward to reading more of your fiction.

    • Char Chaffin says:

      Aww, thanks, Ann! Much appreciated. I’m so glad you liked Promises to Keep. By the way, I’ve started yours. Yum! I’m treating myself in between trying to get chapters finished and sent to Callie, the Hungry CP-er. ::grin::

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Char

  10. Congrats on your release, Char. It sounds fabulous! I’ve always been intrigued by Alaska, so I’m going to be looking for your next book as well.

    • Char Chaffin says:

      Thanks, Ally! I know, Alaska is a fascinating state. So immense and so very remote. It doesn’t truly hit home, how remote, until you’re looking at a globe, and you see it, so far north.

      Appreciate you stopping by!

      Char

  11. Calisa Rhose says:

    Hi Callie and Char! Great interview. I like your idea of writing a love scene. I’m of the same mind. I know HOW tab A fits into slot B. I want to know how what you can’t see feels. lol Oh boy. I think it’s too early for me. Not enough coffee…

    Well, that blurb definitely sounds intriguing! I’m dying to know Ruth’s secret now! Congrats on your debut release!

    • Char Chaffin says:

      Hi Calisa! Ah, a writer after my own heart. Tab A and Slot B have their own special, um, needs… okay, think I’ll join you in that cup of coffee! This morning I’m spiking mine with Dayquil.

      So glad you came by! Thanks for the lovely comments.

      Char

  12. Tess says:

    Great interview…Char, I also find inspiration everywhere…now, if I could just forgo some sleep (like all sleep) I might have enough time to get 1/2 my ideas down!

    • Char Chaffin says:

      I know, Tess! Ideas often pop up when you don’t have enough time to write them down, much less do anything about them. I have a friend who keeps pads and pens all over the house and in her car so that no matter where she is, if she gets an idea or has a flash of insight on a current project, she writes it down. I should be that dedicated!

      Thanks for stopping by!~

      Char

  13. Really nice interview, Char and Callie. I, too, do best with quiet in the house. If I play music, I too often get caught up in it. LOL. Good luck with the release. It sound great.

  14. Ceri Hebert says:

    The book sounds fantastic! Love love stories with characters from opposite sides of the track. And what a beautiful cover! Best of luck!

    • Char Chaffin says:

      Thanks, Ceri! I was thrilled with the cover. With the backdrop of the pond, the setting and the models conveyed exactly what I’d hoped for.

      Appreciate you stopping by!

      Char

  15. Gayle Cox says:

    Hi Char,

    Great Interview! Knowing you and your love of horror, I was totally surprised to see the release of a romance novel! Am excited that you are writing one set in Alaska. I, too, miss living there. Wishing you continued success!

    • Char Chaffin says:

      Hi Gayle, it’s great to hear from you. Don and I sure miss you and Steve. And yes, we do miss Alaska. I was surprised too, when I started writing and romance came out instead of horror. :) Well, maybe one of these days!

      Char

  16. Donna Steele says:

    Great interview – nice to be able to say I knew you when I can’t wait for the Alaskan one either – I’ve always loved your sex scenes! Thanks for being there for me too.

    • Char Chaffin says:

      Thanks, Donna! I can say I knew you when, too! It’s been a long road for both of us, but here we are. My sex scenes, huh? ::clears throat noisily:: Just let me know when you’re ready to read for me!

      HK,
      Char

  17. Alicia Dean says:

    Hi Char,

    Lovely interview, lovely cover, lovely blurb. :-) Your story sounds intriguing, but your next one sounds even more intriguing. (I’m a suspense, ‘scare me’ creepy dark kind of gal myself, LOL)

    Congratulations on your release and best of luck!

    Callie, nice blog post. I’m sure with all your success lately, you’re invaluable as a critique partner. You ladies keep up the good work!

    • Char Chaffin says:

      Hi Alicia, thanks so much! I agree that my book cover is lovely. If you like suspenseful then you’ll probably like my new villain. He’s something else. :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Char

  18. Anna Kittrell says:

    Great interview, ladies! Your book sounds amazing.

  19. Cindy Brannam says:

    Great interview! I’m a ‘no music’ girl too. For some reason, I can multi-task everything but writing. Can’t wait to find out Ruth’s secret and looking forward to Alaska.
    Congratulations on your success!

  20. Ella Quinn says:

    Wonderful interview Char and Callie. I have to no distractions as well when I’m writing. Congratultions on your release.

    • Char Chaffin says:

      Thanks, Ella! I say whatever gets us through the writing with success! Luckily for me, that’s not standing on my head or something equally strange, ha.

      Thanks for stopping by -

      Char

  21. Callie says:

    Wow, lots of comments today. I was away from the internet, but it looks like Char had a lot of fun.
    So glad you all stopped by.

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