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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Interview With The Amazing Charlotte Blackwell Author Of The Embrace Series

Firstly, I just want to thank you for being here today.  We are very excited to be a part of The Embrace Experience...

Thank you so much for having me here, I too am excited. The Embrace Experience is such a great opportunity for me and the overwhelming response just floors me, I still can't believe people are interested in what I have to say.

When did you realize that becoming a published writer is what you wanted to do?

I would have to say within the last year. I only started writing less than three years ago and even then I only thought it would be a fun thing for me and my daughter. I never expected that anyone would take me seriously. Before that any writing I did was only for myself, kinda like journal writing, just my thoughts and feelings kind of thing.

How long would you say that it took you to get published?

Well I began writing Immortal Embrace at the end of November 2009. On November 5, 2010 I sent out my first query and by May of 2011 I had a contract that published Immortal Embrace July 1, 2011. Everything moved very fast for me, Immortal Embrace was actually pre-released nearly a month ahead of schedule on June 3, 2011. So the entire process from first thought to book was around the 18 month mark. Amazing, since the process usually takes several years even for the experienced author.

What would you say has been your biggest obstacle in becoming published and how did you overcome it?

Editing, having someone you don't know telling you that it would work better like this or you should say this. I was not to friendly to my editor at the beginning  but have come to trust her, if there is something we disagree on, we can easily discuss it now. I love her to death and would be scared to let a new editor in on this series.

Who or what has been the most instrumental person or thing to you as far as getting published?

Well there are actually 5 people, my husband, 3 children and best friend Kathi Barton (also my favorite author). They believed in me when others laughed at the thought. I had a need to show my children that you can follow your dreams and accomplish anything you want, as long as you believe in yourself.

As an author, is there any one author or book out there that inspired you write a specific genre?

Kelley Armstrong and her Darkest Powers series, PC Cast, LJ Smith and Stephenie Myer Twilight Saga. I fell in love with YA and have always had an interest in the supernatural and paranormal. Their books helped push me along.

Do you have a favorite and non-favorite genre to write and read?

Young adult paranormal romance is my favorite, but I am also loving some adult paranormal romance as well. I don't want to say I dislike an entire genre, because you never know. I can honestly say I have never read steampunk.

Would you say that being a reader is important to being a writer?

Absolutely, I was not much of a reader until Twilight, okay that is a lie...I hated reading until Twilight. Once I was introduced to young adult books and found something I liked, I couldn't stop. I started reading everything and anything with in that genre and loved it. I now read entire novels in four hours and learn so much from each and every book.

I know that many authors today utilize other authors while they are writing their books as critique partners. How do you edit your books?

I have Kathi and her daughter take a look at them for feed back. Once I have gone over it and feel satisfied, I print out the manuscript and color it red, making changes, fixing words and so on. Once my publisher has it, my editor and I do three rounds of edits on it going back and forth. When we are happy the publisher gets it again and goes through it with a fine tooth comb making any changes we missed. Hopefully we have caught most, if not all before publishing.

Are you a part of a critique group?

Just Kathi and I, we send our stuff back and forth to each other. Sometimes I have others take a look at it and give their feedback, I did a lot of that with Immortal Embrace, but things have been different with Forbidden Embrace, I was working with deadlines and such. I do try to help others when ever I can. I have about three authors I am trying to help right now, but unfortunately haven't really had much time to dedicate to them.

Would they or yourself be interested in being contacted about critiquing other authors?

I am always willing to help others where I can, but with that said, I do have my own commitments and only ask they they be understanding with my time constraints. Sending only a small piece to look at makes it much easier for me to do so in a timely manner. Some people I do help send snip its through Facebook or Messenger chat. That keeps it small and immediate when I have a free moment.

Do you have a favorite place to write that helps bring inspiration to your stories?

I do most of my writing in my room, locked away from distraction. I get distracted very, very easily, so my room is kind of my sanctuary. My husband wants to set up a writing station in the corner for me (I can't wait). 

Do you listen to music when writing?

More often than not I have the TV on for background noise, right now Teen Wolf is on. I have recently found that music is better, I don't get distracted as easily.

What kind of music would you say is the most helpful to you when writing?

Country seems to get me writing at lightening speeds, but Keesha has really inspired me for a good portion of Forbidden Embrace. I have a few other artists that I really like too, but I want to try some harder stuff like Disturbed to see if it helps me with my fight/action scenes.

Would you say that writing has gotten easier for you now that you are published?

I think it is harder now. There is so much work that goes into publishing, even for the author and I find it hard to find time to work. I also feel pressure (from myself) to do the best and not let anyone down. It is a lot of pressure, but totally worth it.

How long does it generally take you to write a book?

It really depends, Immortal Embrace was about 8 months from first word to final edit before submitting. Forbidden Embrace was over a year, I had some bad writer's block with this one. Mystic Embrace was written during NaNoWriMo 2010, which I wrote during the month of November, but I still have rewrites and edits for it, hopefully those will only add another few weeks.

What was your inspiration to write the Immortal Embrace?

Well I loved all the vampire teen romances out there, so I decided to do one of my own, add my own little twists and turns. Like I mentioned earlier I thought it would only be for me and my daughters. Immortal Embrace is pretty much your classic teen meets teen vamp and so on, it really builds the story that follows. I really try to touch on some of the insecurities that I had as a teen and that my daughter has now, as well as many other teens I'm sure.  

Is there a book trailer for your books?

Yes I have a You Yube channel (Writerchar) and my trailers can also be found on my blog.

How much research if any did you put into writing the Embrace Series?

OMG, I did so much research, my head wants to explode thinking about it. I researched vampires, history, names, demons, supernatural beings, witches and Wicca. I had the opportunity to meet with a coven and participate in some gatherings and rituals. I try to stay very true to Wicca in my books as well as vampire history. I continue with research now, anytime I get a new idea or need to refresh about something.

Would you say that the setting of your books was as vital in the telling of your stories as the characters themselves were?

Absolutely. I did a ton of research to find the perfect setting. Wenham, MA is where the story takes place. The reason I picked Wenham is because it was the first town to break off from Salem. Salem is very important to the series because of the witches, who play a major role as to why the vampires can walk in the day and live a more mortal life.

Without giving away any spoilers, what would you say was the most challenging part of Forbidden Embrace to write?

I would say there was two parts, one was the fight scene that was building from Immortal Embrace. The second is the tension between Sophia and Danika and what was causing it.

What was your favorite part?

In Immortal Embrace, I love the relationship building. In Forbidden Embrace it is hard to say as I have several, maybe what Danika goes through.

Which character do you identify with the most?

Sophia, in every way. She is insecure, hard on herself, and just can't understand why anyone would love her. Yet she proves to be a very strong woman.

Which was your favorite to write?

My favorite character? Hmmm It is really hard to choose, I love them all so much and really hope to expand on each character and their story more. If I have to pick I guess I would say Nate, he reminds me so much of my husband. Nate is big and strong, yet super smart and a goofball. He has the cheesiest lines, most taken right from my husband. Then again I really like Ebony too, she is strong and passionate, she is sick of putting up with everyone's crap, yet scared as hell that everything is going to fall apart. She has finally found where she belongs and is ready to do so much good.

Are any of the characters in either of your books a direct reflection of yourself or someone you know?

Almost all of the characters in some way or another a reflection of myself, my family and my friends. Writing in first person, I kinda become that character and in turn they take on some part of me as well. The most notable is Sophia, she is a combination of me and my daughter, who is so much like I was as a teen.

Where and or how did you come up with the names for your characters?

Some names I researched to find the perfect name, others come from loved ones. Matilda, and Florence were my grandmothers, Triggs and Williams are family names from my family tree. Then there is Danika which is what I wanted to name a daughter if we had another, Luke my son, Ebony my neighbor and the list goes on and on.

How much input do you have in the cover art of your books?

My publisher, World Castle Publications is amazing! Karen and I decided on the covers together, she wouldn't pick a cover until she knew I was completely happy. We sent pictures back and forth to one another until we found something,Then she sent me several fonts and let me pick from there. Most publishers have the last say, but Karen is very big on the author being happy with things such as cover, she too is an author so she understands what it means. I think we are both very happy with the covers.

Would you like to share any news with our readers about any upcoming books?

Well Mystic Embrace is almost ready and will be released on November 1, 2011. This is also a little different, instead of being mostly Sophia's POV, it is Ebony. We get to learn so much more about the witches and see them through some of if not the most trying times of her and her sister's lives. This is a very exciting book.

My publisher has also requested that I begin work on a fourth book and we have many ideas to continue the series on further and keep it very exciting.

Which of your two most recent books would you say was your favorite to write?

Forbidden Embrace. Immortal Embrace was amazing to write, it was my first, but I have learned and improved my writing for book 2. Also Immortal Embrace has a very similar feel to other YA paranormal romances that are out right now, where Forbidden Embrace really takes a turn and sets the Embrace Series apart from others. At least I think and hope so.

How many more books do you plan on writing in the Embrace Series?

Well as I mentioned book 3 is nearly done, Mystic Embrace. Then there is the fourth book requested by my publisher as well as plans to publish the Embraced Book of Shadows, which will contain all the character bios, spells and stuff, just like the witches book of shadows in the story. I do think this could turn into a long series though, I have so many ideas and would love to see them play out. I guess as long as readers want them I will keep sharing the story.

Why do you think that readers can relate to your characters?

I think the characters are very real. They have the same thoughts and feelings that many of us have, even if we won't admit to it. They also go through many of the same struggles, and choices that young adults and teens have to make. I mean what high school student isn't faced with, love, hate, drugs and sex. Well the Embrace characters go through so much of this too. I hope it will show readers they are not alone and maybe give them the courage to talk to others about what they are going through.

What if anything do you want readers to take away from the Embrace Series?

Life might be hard, but don't shut yourself off to others. Let people in, let them love you and love them back, you may be surprised how much they accept and understand you.

Do you have any bookmarks or signed bookplates that readers can inquire about?

Not at this time, but I have been looking at placing an order, so please let me know if you are interested and I can let you know when I do get them in. Also I believe Embrace novelty items can be ordered through the World Castle Publications website, the café I believe it is called.

Aside from writing, what are your other hobbies and interest?

I love traveling, just a little day trip with the family is so amazing. Then of course anything to do with my kids, my eldest is a performer, so I love watching her on stage. I also love watching TV and movies.

Do you have a favorite book that you would like to give a shout out to?

Well a fave series, The Grant Brothers Series by Kathi Barton (yes my best friend, but I swear I am not biased). This is an adult romance and gets a little spicy, but OMG I love these Grant brothers. Kathi gave me one to read and I hounded her to do another and another until all six brothers had their own story. She didn't believe me on how great they are, so I asked who wanted to test read them and got half a dozen responses. ALL of the test readers loved the story as mush as me, so Kathi finally decided to submit them and got her deal with World Castle. Now she is getting something like 18 books published through World Castle. If you are 18+ this series is a MUST read.

Is there an author out there that our readers may not have heard of yet or been exposed to that you believe could use a little bit of extra recognition?

Aside from Kathi, that I think I have name dropped a million times already. For YA and adults alike Mary Ting, Karen Fuller and Jasmine Denton are all amazing authors that I have met through my publishing house.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your books?

They can be purchase most places books are sold. Some stores don't have them on the shelves, but are able to order them in for you. Although if you go to the World Castle web site for ordering you can receive a discount code located on the top of the YA page, and then just click on my book cover. This will take you strait to the distributor and you can use the code and save a little. 

What format are your books sold in?

Print, e-book, Mobi, Kindle, and various other e-pub formats, I just can't remember them all.

Where can readers get in touch with or follow you?

Blog: http://charlotteblackwell.blogspot.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CharlotteBlackwellAuthor or http://www.facebook.com/pages/Embrace-Series/202120666510450
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/CharBlackwell
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4836172.Charlotte_Blackwell
Formspring: http://www.formspring.me/CharBlackwell
Library Thing: http://www.librarything.com/profile/Charlotte.Blackwell
email: embraceseries@gmail.com
Will you accept inquiries from other bloggers to host giveaways on their blogs?

Yes, I am always willing to consider, but it may be better to contact my publisher for giveaways.

Would you mind other bloggers contacting you about interviews or guest posts?

I would love and appreciate it.

Do you review books?

Have never done a full review, but have some interest in beginning. For now though I have done a few small paragraph reviews that I have posted on Goodreads.

Is there a link somewhere that will take readers to a "frequently asked questions" page?

I don't have a FAQ page yet...but a lot of info can be found on my blog/website. If it is not there, please use one of the many ways to reach me and ask away. I am more than happy to answer.

Aside from marriage proposals, are there any types of questions that you will not answer for readers?

I am a open book, and very much willing to take questions of all kinds from readers. Of course if I am uncomfortable with the question I will let them know and ask if there is something else they would prefer to ask.

Is there anything that I may have missed that you would like to talk about?

I can't think of anything that doesn't include my shoe size. This has been really great. Thank you.

And lastly, a question for fun.
What is the airspace velocity of an unladen swallow?

I am going to answer this question with another question. What the heck is an unladen swallow? LOL. I know I could have cheated and searched the net making my self look super smart...but then I would be lying, and I hate lying.:)

(-:  The question is a line that my husband so dearly loves from the movie Monty Python's Holy Grail. I asked him for a fun question and this is what I got in return.  LOL

With all that having been asked, do you as an author have any questions for our readers?

I would always love to know what readers think, of my books and the characters. Is there something they would like to see happen in the story? So please readers, share with me. I love to hear from you.

Wow, thank you for stopping by to answer all of our questions in this very fun interview. I hope that you will visit us again soon. We would love to have you back when your next book is released to talk again.

Thank you again, I had a blast and would love to come back again. Anytime, just give me a shout.

Charlotte Blackwell


The winner of the pdf copies of Immortal Embrace and Forbidden Embrace is Cherry!  Congratulations!  Be looking for an email from me in the next couple of days (-:  Happy Reading  <3

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