What does Author Charmaine Pauls want us to know about her?
The rules are simple. I gave my authors 20 questions but the only have to answer 10 to 15 of them. Let`s see what the lovely Charmaine chos...
The rules are simple. I gave my authors 20 questions but the only have to answer 10 to 15 of them. Let`s see what the lovely Charmaine chose...
As a writer, what drives you?
My love of books. I’m not sure if I became such a romantic because of all those stories I read, or if I read all those tales because I’m such a romantic. In any event, I’m driven by a love of words and books. I love the intangible possibilities that each novel offers as much as I love the tangible properties of the book – the smell of the ink, the dusty perfume of the pages, the feel of the cover, the golden color of the imprint on the spine, the places it takes you to and the people it creates… I’ve been that nerdy bookworm that spent school breaks in the musty library. Writing is something that was planted and anchored in me a very long time ago, so much so that it defined who I was, and who I was going to become. I’m motivated by elements of beauty in people, environments and objects to write about those, and especially by energies that move my six senses. Like most people, I love to feel, taste, hear, smell, see and experience, and am fascinated by the ‘unreal’ or sixth sense. I like to crisscross these sensory elements like a spider’s web in my stories by attributing the physical properties of a wine to a woman, and the sensual attributes of an alluring woman to wine, as in The Winemaker, for example. It’s about evoking emotion and sensory experiences as much as about telling a story. But what drives me to get these stories on paper is a lot of determination and perseverance, which is maybe my strongest characteristic. I write at least four hours per day, and spend two to three hours on marketing and other writing, like articles for my blog. My imagination is my fuel and my senses my input, while my perseverance is the drive that keeps the wheel turning.
Can you tell us about The Winemaker?
Zenobia Rambling feels like a very ordinary, round-around-the-hips woman when her ski-instructor fiancé, Marcos, dumps her for the dashing, model-thin Monica. Only, nothing about Zenna, or the situation, is ordinary. Zenna has just given up her job, her flat, her family, her friends, and even her cat, to follow Marcos from her London home to Santiago, Chile. She possesses a sought-after talent for seeing glimpses of the future and past, which she has been trying to hide from the world and the men who have been after her for as long as she can remember. Alone, penniless, jobless, and man-less, just as Zenna thought things couldn’t get worse, the Chilean police arrive on her doorstep to arrest her. Prohibited from leaving the country, her only way out of a grand mess is to accept her influential neighbour’s offer to work as a temporary public relations officer on his wine estate.
Etán Perez-Cruz has been blessed with a line of history inspiring ancestors, the country’s most prestigious wine estate, and a supernatural developed sense of taste and smell. He is his country’s best winemaker. He is also the most sought after bachelor, with a heart turned to stone. Nothing entices him as much as the perfection he creates with each intricate bouquet of wine. Until he meets Zenna… Alarmingly his heightened senses are rendered defenseless, thrown into a maelstrom of seductive sensations.
As Etán wrestles a passion that he believes has no place in his life, Zenna fights for her life when her worst fear is realized. It will take all of Etán’s strange family’s talents to save Zenna: his younger brother’s empathic skills, his mother’s visionary ability and his senator father’s connections. But can they win against powerful world organizations? And will the seer’s prophecy, that one of the Perez-Cruz brothers will claim Zenna, but not the one her heart belongs to, come true?
My review of The Winemaker will be posted tomorrow
Happy Ever After or Happy For Now? Why?
For me it has to be happy ever after, for the idealist that I am.
How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in your books?
Truthfully, not that much. I write about people much more interesting than what I am! But my characters’ feelings and perceptions are involuntarily influenced by my frame of reference, which is why I try to keep as open a mind as possible.
Describe yourself in five words…
Passionate, driven, energetic, perfectionist, idealistic.
Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track?
Once a story takes shape in my mind, I ponder on it for several days – in the shower, while cleaning the house, driving... – until I have the plot fully developed. Then I put it all down on paper as a rough outline, mapping chapters and the development of the plot. I live myself enough into the story until I find the characters talking all by themselves, giving me flashes of dialogue, before I put pen to paper. During the creative process (getting it all down before editing) I don’t regard my outline as cast in stone. I let the story take me where it wants, sometimes off track or someplace else, to see where it goes. If it flows, I let it be. If not, I use the outline to bring me back on path. For me personally, I find that I cannot write the beginning of a story if I do not know how it is going to end. Also, I like to add teasers and pointers in the beginning chapters that ties to the end, forming mini-circles within the bigger picture, and therefore have to start with the end in mind. Having the full plot mapped out helps me to keep track of where I’m going and how to get there, but I keep enough flexibility not to inhibit creativity.
When were you first published? How were you discovered?
My first book, Between Yesterday & Tomorrow, was published with CreateSpace in 2011. As an inexperienced writer you could say that I was shooting millions of arrows into the dark. I sent out countless requests and had more rejection letters than pages in the book. For my second novel, Between Fire & Ice, I understood the importance of market research in order to present my manuscript to a targeted selection of publishers who printed my type of work. Between Fire & Ice (a sensual romance with a subtle twist of futuristic fantasy) was immediately accepted by my current publisher, Mélange Books and released in 2012. Mélange Books also offered me a contract for The Winemaker (just released) and for Second Best (due for release in February, 2014).
Time for favourite: song, color, book, TV series, movie, food, drink…
My all-time favourite song is Bon Jovi’s Livin’ on a Prayer, I guess because it has sentimental value for me and not only reminds me of a great time of my life, but also expresses in musical tone and lyrics a lot of what I stand for. My favourite color is purple, all-time favourite book remains Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, TV series is the classic 1964 French series Angelique (adapted from 13 French historical adventure books by the novelist duo Anne and Serge Golan), my favourite movie is As Good as it Gets with Helen Hunt and Jack Nicholson, most loved food is (unfortunately!) anything with caffeine – especially chocolate and coffee – and as drink I love a good old French champagne!
How (or when) do you decide that you are finished writing a story?
When I reach the end of the plot and I’ve edited it to the point that I know I can’t improve the story any further, I know it’s done. It’s also that moment where I’m intuitively starting to cut the ties, to say goodbye to the characters, that I know that the last full stop has come.
People are always asking me this so I’m paying it forward. Where does your inspiration come from?
Settings and environments especially inspire me. Put me in some (known or unknown) place for long enough and a story explodes in my brain. My family travels a lot and whenever we do, we try to visit new places, such as Costa Rica, Brazil, Argentina and Easter Island. All of these places either have or are going to feature at some point in my stories. I’ve been to magical Brittany in France twice, and both times I came back with powerful stories in my mind. Chile has inspired two stories and South Africa, in particular Oudtshoorn and Johannesburg, has produced its share of inspiration. And of course the south of France where we lived before. The people I meet often inspire the characters of my books. The protagonist in The Winemaker was inspired by a world-renown Chilean winemaker, while my brother and father inspired the characters in Second Best (to be released by Mélange Books in February, 2014).
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on a story of a bright and talented woman, an astronomer (inspired by an astronomer friend), who ends up with the best man instead of the groom. Like my other romances this one has its subtle twist of futuristic fantasy too, where males and females can only be ‘paired’ or ‘mated’ if they have compatible blood types and hormones. I love this particular cocktail of romance – a lot of emotion with a twist of fantasy.
The good guy, the bad boy and the right guy…could they be one and the same?
Absolutely. On the exterior my heroes are mostly the man your mother warned you about, with sound principles on the interior, enough dare and dash to make a woman drool and fundamental goodness worthy of loving. For each protagonist they are the good, the bad and the one-and-only, Right with a capital, rolled into one.
If you could have a power or ability what would it be?
If I could wish for any power, I’d wish for an ability to do only good, for each thought and action to only provoke positive nuances.
Between Fire & Ice
Between Yesterday and Tomorrow