Friday, February 20, 2015

TEACHER BEWARE: Interview with Charlotte Raine, Suspense Author

Meet Charlotte Raine. After fifteen years of working in marketing and advertising, she decided to follow her true love: writing. Charlotte is the author of the Grace Ellery Series, romantic suspense novels that will keep your pulse pounding as you hang tightly to the edge of your seat. I came across the first installment in Charlotte's series, Teacher Beware, a few weeks ago, and Charlotte graciously took the time to visit with Writing Belle and talk about her work. 

Hello and welcome to Writing Belle! Let's start with you. Who are you, where do you live and how did you come to be a writer after working in marketing for 15 years (according to your bio on GoodReads)? 

My name is Charlotte Raine and I live in Vail, Colorado.  

I’ve always had a passion for writing even since I was a little girl.  In college I really enjoyed my creative writing classes, and for a while wanted to be a writer straight out of college.  However, life took over and I ended up getting an advertising job and later got into marketing.  Before I knew it, 10+ years had passed by and I wanted to get the passion back I had in college.

A few years ago I started getting serious about writing.  I read all the books I could in my favorite genre (suspense) and read even more books on how to write.  I made a good amount of money in marketing and had a good nest egg saved up.  This allowed me to take the plunge and start writing.  I gave myself three years to get serious and I’m well on the way.  I’m just starting year two now and I couldn’t be happier.

Which book did you publish first, and how many have you published total? 

After a few failed attempts at short stories, I finally worked up the courage to release my first book “Do You Want To Play.”  It’s a suspense, police procedural story.

A friend helped me come up with the initial outline for this book.  We sat on my back porch, had a couple bottles of wine and there was no turning back after that.  She held me to getting a book published before the end of 2014 and I did.  Do You Want To Play went live on Amazon in November.  

I had to learn a lot about publishing on Amazon.  Compared to how publishing used to be, Amazon makes it easy, but there is still a pretty good learning curve.

I have three books currently available, they are, Do You Want To Play, Teacher Beware and Disturbed Mind.  I just finished up my forth book Midnight Sun which will be released on February 23rd of this year.  After that, I am going to start on my fifth book and hopefully keep going.  My goal this year is to release a new story every 45-60 days.

I want to talk about Teacher Beware. What's the plot line and how did you come up with the idea? 

While doing research back in 2013 and 2014 I came across two types of writing structures that I thought would fit my style.  The seven point structure and the golden triangle structure.  When I created the first outline and character bios (which you can see if you sign up to my newsletter) I did a mashup of these two structures.  

I’m now using my own hybrid of those two and I just love it.

The plot for Teacher Beware is something like this…

Grace Ellery was a teacher in Ohio when she was attacked and stabbed by one of her students.  When she moves to Murray, Virginia to start over she quickly finds herself in between a killer and his target.  After the killer finishes his work he turns his attention to Grace who is luckily saved by Sam Meadows before the killer can shot her too.  Now with the killer after her, Grace and Sam must find a way to keep her safe and figure out who the real murderer is before he sets his crosshairs on Grace.

I got the idea for this plot from a friend of mine in college.  She became a teacher and actually had a pretty scary (near death) encounter with a student.  Everything turned out ok for her, thank god, but she is still scared of big knives to this day and doesn’t go near them.

What is it like writing suspenseful fiction? 

It’s very liberating.  

When I was in marketing I was constantly on the go.  Non-stop meetings, I had to keep up with the latest and greatest, act quickly, implement changes and be tied to my phone, email and communications.

That’s not how things work now!

Since leaving my marketing career, I have found an inner peace I haven’t known in years.  I think meditation helps with that LOL.

When I sit down to write my mind is clear from distractions and I can just let it wonder and imagine anything it would like.  Ideas and thoughts just flow and I either put them down on paper or type them into my Mac.  I find myself carrying around a small notepad everywhere I go now.

I draw on inspiration from my surroundings.  If you visit my FB page you’ll see some photo’s from around my house and when I get stuck I just stop and stare outside.  I’m blessed, it’s so amazing and peaceful here.

I’m always looking to increase the suspense level of my stories.  I feel that with each book it gets better and my goal is to be a best selling suspense author and be on the New York Times list one day!

Do you watch a lot of suspense TV/movies and read thrilling books? Who are your biggest influences in writing? 

I don’t watch a lot of TV, but when I do it is mostly LMN type movies or shows.

I try to read at least two books a month in various genres.  Mostly, suspense but I’ve been known to read a dystopian or horror book now and again!

My biggest influencer would have to be Stephen King.  He is the master story teller and his book about writing called “On Writing” is just amazing.  Another newer writer that I’m a big fan of is Paul Pilkington.  His stories are very engaging and I’ve read a bunch of them.

What do you like to do in your downtime? 

I’m really a homebody.  I like cooking, gardening and DIY home decor stuff.  When I do get out I like going to farmers markets for fresh produce, and can spend all day in a used book store.  Aside from that, I meditate everyday, and purchase a ski pass every year for the hills around my house here in Colorado.

In your opinion, what is the "secret ingredient" that makes for a good suspense story? 

I’m not sure if you would call it a secret but more of a passion for creating characters that keep the reader guessing.  I try to keep the reader in some stage of uncertainty during the story.  Throw in a dash of emotion and I think that’s a winning formula…I hope…hehehe. 

What's your advice for aspiring suspense writers? Any new projects coming up this year? 

I think my advice would be a straight ripoff from Nike…Just Do It.  If you want to write, just sit down and do it.  Then do it again the next day, and the next, and just keep going.

You’ll miss a day or two for sure, we are all human and things happen.  But, after that “something” happens you need to get back to writing.

I am about to release a new two book series.  The first book Midnight Sun will be out by the end of the month and the follow up will be called Devil’s Dawn and will be released in March.

Pre-Order Midnight Sun, Charlotte's upcoming release, on Amazon!

About Charlotte Raine 
Charlotte Raine is the author of several romantic suspense books with more on the way. She worked in marketing and advertising for 15 years before focusing on her true passion, telling great stories. Charlotte gets inspiration for her writing from the scenic but serene mountains around her home in Vail, Colorado.

When she is not writing you will find her after a long day of skiing at one of the many lodges in Vail. She will most likely be next to a warm fire, drinking a glass of wine and telling stories.

if you would like to hear more about Charlotte's books, be sure to join her SPAM FREE mailing list here:

Connect With Charlotte:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Get fictional - it's fun! Thanks for stopping by, and I hope to see you again soon!