The Write Way Café welcomes author Charmaine Gordon who shares some interesting thoughts on her life as a writer.
While on a beach vacation with my daughter and 6+ year old granddaughter last summer, two young women stopped by our beach chairs for a friendly chat. One of them asked my age and when I told her I was born when dinosaurs roamed the earth, she said, “What’s your secret? How do you stay looking so young?”
Never shy, I answered, “Blueberries and sex.”
“Mom,” my daughter cried, giving the word at least two syllables, “you don’t have sex.”
I smiled my secret smile and said, “How do you know?”
You see, kids don’t believe parents have sex. Ever. They forget that after all, in some mystical way, egg and sperm mate and form a child or two. Sometimes more. But not their parents.
When our last child went off to school, I’m talking about kindergarten, sex was the first thing we thought of when the door closed. Alone at last. My latest release Housebroken deals with this. I call it empty nest syndrome.
I reveal this because in many ways it ties to each of my Romance/Suspense books. Take the ingredients and stir well: a woman, a man, a spark of heat, conflict, seesaw of emotion, and eventually an HEA.
To Be Continued was my first book published with Vanilla Heart; followed by Starting Over, Now What?, Reconstructing Charlie, Sin of Omission, The Catch and then the mature adult series under the umbrella title The Beginning. . .Not The End. Sixteen books and I’m not running out of steam, still having fun. I didn’t realize at the time I wrote different stories with a theme of Survive and Thrive running through each one. The stories are not about me. I do know it’s sink or swim in life and to be successful you must put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward. We run our own Marathon of Life and we don’t want to run out of time. So don’t think “I’ll write tomorrow,” not if there’s a story inside you waiting to be told.
A little bit about series. When I wrote The End to Reconstructing Charlie, I cried. A few days later, a couple of the secondary characters came to me. Yes, they did! “How about us?” And Sin of Omission began utilizing some of the characters in RC. A similar event took place a month later and I wrote The Catch. Three stand alone books yet the three are also a series.
My romance writing is not erotic, no gratuitous sex. There is passion and sometimes even when a loved one has gone to a better world, he returns. . .especially when the conflict is unresolved and they can’t let go.
My advice to new writers is never give up. Keep writing your stories and submitting them to find a good home. For the day a publisher or agent says, “I want your book,” is a day worth celebrating. Yes. Someone loves your baby.
I’m offering a copy of Housebroken to one commenter who shares a tidbit of an empty nest experience.
Sally and Steve Atwood must make a big adjustment – a fair number of them, actually – when after thirty-five years, three grown children, and a lifetime of memories, they are alone, together, at last… And, then they found River’s Edge, a small town with big heart, stories to tell that will warm your heart, make you smile, and turn a dreary day into a day of hope for the Kindness of Strangers.
Steve and Sally Atwood held their respective breaths and prayed nothing would upset the get-away. Two children out and now, at last, the youngest is married and going, going, gone. They waved and watched Johnny and his bride drive down the road and turn the corner in their new Toyota.
“Alone at last.” Steve hugged his wife of thirty five years. “Let our honeymoon begin.” And to his surprise when he lifted her chin for a kiss, he discovered tears running down her cheeks. “What’s this, honey? I thought you’d be happy.”
She sniffled and blotted tears on his shirt. “I am happy but now, “ Sally raised her arms and walked through the hall into the kitchen and through the dining and living rooms, “the house is empty. Once it was filled with children, sweet babies laughing and crawling. . .”
“And crying all night and teenagers asking for the keys to the car and thinking they knew more than we do.” He pulled her to him. “Sweetheart, you’ve forgotten the effort we’ve put in to raising three kids to be good people and now it’s our turn at last. How about champagne to celebrate alone at last and I bought your favorite chocolate covered strawberries? I’ll fill the hot tub and we’ll relax.”
Sally kissed her husband, knew he was right and he’d pushed all the right buttons with decadent drinks and chocolate in the afternoon. She pulled the scrunchy from her curly blond hair to fluff up as she climbed the stairs, sucked in her belly, glad she’d done a zillion sit-ups to strengthen her muscles and kept up her shape. The allure of sweets called to her. She resisted so far.
Steve waited ‘til she entered the bathroom before popping the cork to pour champagne. Sally did a coy strip tease and carefully stepped in the tub to sit and soak in hot bubbly water. They clinked crystal flutes, made a toast “To us” and breathed in the moment fragrant with lavender. Steve fed strawberries to his wife; they shared each one and when dessert ended, they had no doubt about the pleasure ahead.
About Charmaine: I kissed my acting career goodbye, leaving on a high note with the lead in an Off Broadway play, “The Fourth Commandment” by author Rich Knipe. “It was great fun and time to move on since my voice was gone, kaput, bye, bye,” Before that, I had a full schedule working on movies like “Working Girl”, “Road to Wellsville” and having the pleasure of Anthony Hopkins’ company at lunch. I worked with Mike Nichols in “Regarding Henry” and sang outside with Harrison Ford during “Working Girl”, cried with Gene Wilder over loss on another set, and sang ‘It Had to be You’ with the whole cast of “When Harry Met Sally”. There were lots of fond memories; “Especially my first job as a stand-in leg model for Geraldine Ferraro in a Diet Pepsi commercial with Secret Service men guarding Ms. Ferraro and her daughters. Eleven years on One Life to Live, a few years on All My Children, and Another World kept my calendar full.”
Housebroken Sneak Peek Video