Hi, Charlene! Thanks for being a part of this Q & A. What are your ambitions for your writing career? What would your career look like in an ideal world?
An ideal world would be one in which I actually got to write for a living instead of trying to cram it into tiny spaces around my family life and day job. I’d really love to see Frosted Cowboy become a movie. I love romantic comedies so much and think in some ways my book would make a better movie than it did a book. (Even though we know that books are almost always better than movies.)
Do you believe in fate or love at first sight?
I absolutely believe in fate – too many things have happened in my life that were obviously “meant to be,” not to. And I fell head over heels in love the first time I saw Bradley Cooper almost 10 years ago and I’m 100% positive he’ll feel the same way about me when we finally meet – so yes! (Oh wait, maybe that’s lust at first sight!)
Which writers inspire you?
Claire Cook is a big inspiration to me. Her first book -- which she wrote in her minivan while her daughter was at 5:00 AM swim practices -- was published when she was 40. (And her second book became a movie when she was 45.) I met her at a conference in 2011 and she is truly one of the most inspiring public speakers I’ve ever seen. She is also very generous with her advice and her time. We’ve stayed connected through social media and occasional emails and any writer looking for inspiration and advice should definitely check out her site clairecook.com.
My monthly writing group also keeps me incredibly inspired and motivated. I’m incredibly lucky to have found five amazing women who are great writers (and great friends) who help keep me on task.
Well, Laney Delaney, my protagonist is definitely me at my funniest, quickest, and most snarkiest. None of the other characters in the book were based on people I know, but rather the types of relationships I’ve had – the new, fun, cool friend; the work friend who you’d never get through the daily grind without; the childhood friend who you rarely see anymore, but you’d be lost without. And as for Laney’s love interests, we’ve all known those guys – the commitment-phobe; the super-hot, but definitely bad news dude; and the perfectly nice guy who won’t break your heart, but he won’t exactly make it go pitter-pat either.
What are you working on right now?
I’m at the beginning stages of a story about overcoming the minutiae of a long marriage and midlife which I’m trying to make a lot funnier than it sounds, but so many people have told me they’d love to hear Laney’s story go on, I’m considering putting this story aside for a while and writing a Frosted Cowboy sequel.
Do you have any advice for someone wanting to publish their own book?
The best advice I ever got was, “Don’t send out your book before it’s ready.” Authors are often so excited to be “done” and anxious to have their work read, that they many times query agents or self-publish before their work is ready. Get beta readers and edit, edit, edit.
Also, do your research on how to properly query if you want to be traditionally published or go with a small press, or the best ways to self-publish if that’s the route you’d like to take. Some great resources for writers are: clairecook.com, janefriedman.com, and Query Shark.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Um…? Everything? Finding the time. (Funny, I always have time for TV.) Coming up with ideas is definitely challenging for me. Finding time. I’m terrible at titles. Finding time. Editing. (Because everything I write is so brilliant!) Oh, and finding time.
If there are easy things about writing, I am not aware of them.
What book(s) are you currently reading?
I just finished Letters for Scarlet, by fellow Velvet Morning Press author, Julie C. Gardner. It is a beautifully written and heartbreaking book about a broken friendship. Her prose is so lovely, I could read her words forever.
And a few people have compared my book to the Wallbanger series by Alice Clayton, so I’ve just started reading Wallbanger. I’m only a few chapters in and I’m loving it - her humor is brilliant. (I’ll take that kind of comparison any day!)
What is your favorite quote?
“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” ~ Mark Twain
Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
Um… I like to talk a lot, so that’s a pretty dangerous question! I think I’ll take my own advice and edit my response to, “I don’t think so.”
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Thank you for asking! Readers can go to my blog http://charleneaross.com. They can also sign up for my newsletter: http://bit.ly/charlene-ross-news I only send out about one newsletter a month and readers who sign up get a free story called Tequila Slammer about an adventure my character Laney Delaney and her best friend Amanda have in Greece.
And of course, I’d love to connect on social media I can be found here:Thanks again for joining me, Charlene!