Please welcome the fab Charlotte Howard to the StudioBlog, where we’ll be having a jolly good chat about her latest release, which is bound to be all manner of scrumptious! Yum yum bubblegum!

Studioenp: Silence or noise when writing?

Charlotte: A bit of both. I tend to have something playing in the background when I’m writing, but at the same time I can’t be in a noisy room full of people. I try to write while my husband is at work and the children are at school so it’s peaceful, but with the TV on. Not the radio, though, or I get too distracted singing along to the songs!

Studioenp: LOL. Em always ends up typing what she’s listening to if she writes with music on. What’s your latest release?

Charlotte: One Night in Inverness. It’s a short story and my third piece for Tirgearr Publishing’s City Night series.

Studioenp: That’s marvellous! You must like the line/series if you’ve written three. How did the plot come about for it?

Charlotte: All of my stories for City Nights have been set in Scotland, so finding the setting wasn’t too difficult. The plot came about after discussing the use of pen names with a friend. I realised that we never truly know who the author is if they use a pseudonym, and one of my favourite books could easily have been written by a close friend and I would never know unless they told me! It just went from there really.

Studioenp: Yes, you could be reading anybody and not have a clue! The marvel that is pen names, eh? How long did it take you to write it?

Charlotte: A couple of months in total. The first draft only took me a few days—once I get into the flow, I just keep writing. It’s been known for me to forget to go to bed when I’m really into something. But then I had to re-write and edit it before sending it off to my editor, and that’s where the time factor comes in.

Studioenp: Ah, the dreaded tidy-up. Boo! What’s next on your writing list?

Charlotte: I wrote a piece for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) back in November, which has come back with some good feedback, so I’m going to re-write it over the summer and try to craft it into a best seller.

Studioenp: Ooh, brilliant! Are you a plotter or panster?

Charlotte: Generally speaking, I write by the seat of my pants. However, I’ve got some projects (non-erotic romance) that I’m having to plan. I’m working on a fantasy piece that has some elements of Medieval England, and I want to get the facts right, so that’s taking a lot of planning.

Studioenp: And research, we bet. Still, you get to learn a lot while you’re at it, don’t you. So when you’re not busy writing, planning, studying, or looking after your family—that’s a full-time job in itself!—what is your go-to form of procrastination?

Charlotte: Facebook and Twitter. I’m awful for social media. I’m sure there should be a Facebook Anonymous group for addicts like me!

Studioenp: LOL. Good way to make friends and chill out, though. So when you’re not engrossed in social media, how many hours per week do you write?

Charlotte: At the moment I’m finishing my English degree, so not as many as I’d like, but when I’m not studying it can be a 40-hour a week job.

Studioenp: Ooh, that’s a lot, but well done for doing a degree. Whoop! What’s one genre you’ve always wanted to write but haven’t—and will you ever write it?

Charlotte: Fantasy. I love the Game of Thrones books (A Song of Ice and Fire), Lord of the Rings, Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld… I’d love to write an epic fantasy series. I will one day, I’m just not sure when! I’d also love to write a dystopian piece, maybe even a script for TV.

Studioenp: You must have so many plots swirling around in your head. And as for a TV script—mad skills! What’s the best book you’ve written?

Charlotte: That’s like asking me to pick a favourite child! If I really had to pick one, I’d probably say The Final Straight—it was the first novel I wrote, although it was the third or fourth to be published. I really enjoyed creating the characters of April and Max, and it involves hot men and horses, so it’s a win-win.

Studioenp: And on that note, we urge you to gallop off to finish your degree—and thank you for joining us, it’s been lovely. And you, dear readers, trot along now to read Charlotte’s excerpt!

Blurb for One Night in Inverness:

In order to save their marriage, Des and Frankie decide to mix business with pleasure when they attend a literary festival in Inverness. But once they arrive, Frankie soon discovers Des's long-kept secret, and has left her questioning whether she can ever trust him again. Des isn’t the only one with secrets, and Frankie wonders if it's all worth the heartache. As the night wears on, they are both forced to face the truth about their marriage.

Can Frankie accept the truth about Des?

Can Des forgive Frankie's past?

Can one night in Inverness fix their marriage?

Excerpt for One Night in Inverness:

The sound of my husband swearing snapped me out of my mouth-watering daydream, and back into the dullness of reality. I put my book, and the sinfully delicious Nathan Mathers contained within its pages, down on the hotel bed and glared at him. “What’s happened?” I asked, trying to sound concerned and not irritated that he had ruined my fantasy.

“They want Roberta Hathaway to attend the festival,” he said, pacing the room and running his hands over his head, raking his fingers through his light brown hair, which was in desperate need of a trim, I noticed. I’d started doing that – picking up on little things about him that grated on my nerves. I gave myself a mental chastising. This was supposed to be a weekend for us to rekindle our long-lost spark. And it hadn’t been that long, after all. Some couples go years without sex. What were a few months? My stomach knotted as unwanted memories began to swim towards the surface of a very deep lake.

I grazed my teeth along my bottom lip and glanced down at the name on the cover of the book I’d been reading. “Is that a problem?”

I was secretly giddy at the prospect of finally meeting my favourite author, and didn’t understand why he was so stressed. Roberta Hathaway was a prolific, and best selling, erotic romance author. She’d achieved the top spot on numerous sought-after lists. The Sunday Times, New York Times, USA Today, Amazon… They all raved about her novels. But she was also famously reclusive.

In the ten years that Des’s company had represented her, she had never once attended a signing, festival, or book launch, leaving all the publicity down to him and his business partner, Peggy. In fact, the only time anyone saw her was when they looked at the rather dated black and white photo on the back of her books. My husband had been her agent for a decade, and I’d never met her. The idea of her finally attending a literary festival was immense! I mentally played out the conversations I’d have on the playground when the other mums found out that I had met Roberta Hathaway. They’d be insanely jealous.

I’d first discovered her through Des a few years earlier, when he’d handed me a copy of her first novel Sinfully Yours to glance over. He’d called it an Advanced Reading Copy. It hadn’t even had a front cover then, and was full of typos. It had been a good read, but hadn’t really been my thing at the time. I’d glanced over it, more than read it. Before Roberta, the most erotic thing I’d ever read was an old Jilly Cooper novel, tucked away and gathering dust in the school library when I was a teenager. It had felt naughty at the time – I was sure it had been put there by mistake. Probably a prank by one of the sixth formers. When I look back, I realise how tame it was in comparison to what I read now. Especially when compared to Roberta Hathaway. She had certainly improved since that first book I’d scanned all those years ago.

About Charlotte:

British author, Charlotte Howard, was born in Oman and spent much of the first part of her life flitting between Oman, Scotland, and England. Now settled in Somerset, Charlotte lives with her husband, two children, and growing menagerie of pets.

Her career as a writer began at an early age, with a poem being featured in an anthology for the East Midlands. Since then Charlotte has written many short stories and poems, and finally wrote her first full-length piece of fiction in 2010.

During what little spare time she has, Charlotte enjoys reading and writing (of course), spending time with her family, and watching action movies whilst eating curry and drinking tea.

Charlotte is an active member of Yeovil Creative Writers Group.



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