This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Charlene and Arie will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
Charlene: Planning and outlining are crucial to me. I have to get to know my characters and have some pretty solid plot points before I start writing—but nothing is set in stone. As I get to know my characters I understand the story may change and as I develop my story, I realize the characters may change. I have to give them the freedom to grow as I delve into every layer of what makes them who they are.
Before I got my first computer, when I was still working on a typewriter, I would “cast” my characters as if producing a movie or a miniseries. I went through fan magazines, looking for actors who resembled my characters as I saw them in my head. Then I’d cut out their photos and tape them up next to my desk so I could glance up at them as I worked. At first I used models from fashion magazines but I soon realized they were too static. I’d never seen them walk or heard them speak. That’s when I switched to using pictures of actors.
Now I do a quick search for images on the web and save them in a file on my laptop. If I’m having trouble developing a character, I pull up the photos. It helps me see them more clearly, especially for my ghostwriting projects when I didn’t create the characters myself. That’s how Arie and I met and how The Congressman’s Wife came about. Arie came to me as a ghostwriting client with lots of stories and an array of colorful characters. During the course of the project we saw what a good team we made and became co-authors.
As I outline and make notes for things I need to research, I immerse myself in getting to know the players in my story. I’ve even created a personality questionnaire for my hero and heroine (and sometimes villain), and I go through it, answering each question as if I’m that character. The idea came to me after taking a couple of those tests for job interviews back when I was working survival gigs.
After doing at least a bare-bones outline I start writing, filling details into my outline as they come to me. The deeper I get into the work, if I’m lucky, everything comes together and after about the first five chapters, it takes off. That’s when I’m pulled completely into the story and the real fun begins.
All Eden Bancroft has ever been to her high-profile politician husband is a trophy wife, born and bred for the part. She believes she has no choice but to play it—until she meets a talented chef and restaurant heir who makes her feel loved for herself alone. The more her husband uses and belittles her, the more deeply Eden falls for Kaleb. Even with Mitchell’s congressional campaign in full swing, the lovers manage to find brief stolen moments together. When her husband is wounded by a bullet from a disgruntled lobbyist, Eden must stay by his side. What she learns can set her free, if she has the courage to take a stand.
Enjoy an Excerpt:
Kaleb had been standing close enough to hear it all—not that he’d intended to eavesdrop. He only wanted to try and give her some kind of signal—to beg, if necessary—to get a moment alone with her. When he heard her husband’s caustic words, Kaleb wanted to punch him. He wanted to take Eden’s hand and lead her out of there, away from the complete jackass her husband seemed to be.
Instead, he followed her into the room where coats were checked for the evening. The maid who’d taken them was nowhere about, and Eden was digging through the racks when Kaleb walked in. She looked up, surprised.
“We need to talk about it,” he said.
“About what?” She found her wrap and Mitchell’s Brooks Brothers overcoat, draped them over one arm and turned to face him.
“About this thing between us.”
“That’s not very original.”
“I feel it and I know you feel it.”
“Look, I’m very flattered,” she began but he cut her off.
“We don’t have much time.” He moved closer, aching to touch her. “Your husband will come looking for you any minute. Just tell me when and where I can see you again. Alone.”
“You can’t,” she said. “My husband is running for congress. It’s . . . it would be impossible.”
“No,” he insisted. “I don’t know why we met or how we’re going to pull this off but I do know one thing.” He was speaking so softly now that she had to move closer to hear him.
“What?” she asked, her lips just inches from his own. They were of equal height and he could see how well, how perfectly, they would fit together.
“I won’t give up. I want to make love to you.”
“At least once?” she countered.
He moved closer still. “Once will never be enough for us. You know that, too.”
She sighed, lightly, and her sweet breath lingered on his cheek for a moment before she moved away and broke the spell.
“My husband is waiting for me,” she said. “You’re a little crazy, you know? You need to forget about this. I’m married. I have kids. I don’t have time for an affair.”
“Have lunch with me.”
“Just let me talk to you. Give me two hours—maybe over the weekend. Then if you never want to hear from me again, that’ll be it. I swear.”
She didn’t say anything for a moment, as if she was considering it. “As intriguing as that sounds, I’m afraid it’s impossible. I’m going to the season opening at the Village Resort up in Hunter this weekend, with my best friend.”
“Your husband going too?” Kaleb persisted.
“No. He has a previous engagement. Not that it’s any of your business.”
He opened his mouth to answer but Mitchell’s voice rang out in the foyer. “Edie—let’s go. Where are you?”
She flashed Kaleb a warning look and called out softly, “Coming, Mitchell.” Then she left, quickly, before her husband could see Kaleb standing in the shadows.
About the Authors:Charlene Keel has written over a dozen novels and how-to books as well as multiple episodes of popular TV shows such as Fantasy Island and Days of our Lives. Her Dell book, Rituals, was the basis for the first made-for-syndication soap opera. Recently she co-authored The Tracks, a YA supernatural trilogy. Shadow Train, the final installment, won a Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewer’s Choice Award. Keel has also written screen adaptations of novels by bestselling authors, and has worked as editor or managing editor for a few international magazines. In her spare time she ghostwrites books and screenplays for celebrities, doctors, corporate moguls, spies, strippers and anyone who has an interesting story to tell.