Welcome to the Author Spotlight, Charmaine and congratulations on the release of ‘Four Leaf Clover ’! Can you tell us a bit about it please?
A sexy, sugar-laden David vs Goliath story about a local bakery, a national chain, and what really matters. Clover Loveday has worked hard to get her café Four-Leaf Clover up and running, her ticket out of an increasingly alarming financial situation and her dream come true. When she literally falls off her ladder into the arms of national bakery chain Upper Crust owner, sexy-as-sin Liam Sinclair, who owns the new bakery being built just across the road, she decides that no matter how nauseated she is about the idea, it is best keep your enemy close, rather than leave things to fate.
Liam has never put too much thought into the competition when he opens a new outlet, other than taking their customers and strengthening the Upper Crust brand. But here in the beautiful Dandenong Ranges, Clover Loveday’s cafe is a little too close for comfort, and Clover Loveday a little too good-looking. So Liam asks his PA to put together a Fact Sheet about his new competition. He has a business to run, a father to please, and hundreds of people to keep in jobs. Surely information can keep an unwanted strong sexual pull at bay… A sexy, caffeinated, satisfying story about unexpected temptations, forgiveness, and putting love before money.
What was your road to publication like?
Actually, it all happened pretty fast. I had a few manuscripts written. I’d finish one and then keep on going with the next one (for practise sake – I lacked the confidence to send anything off to any publisher). I usually work on a couple of mss’s at any one time and they all pretty much finish off at the same rate. I approached Destiny with ‘Double Exposure’ and ‘Wild At Heart’ which they accepted. At the same time Crimson Romance was acquiring submissions, so I sent ‘Daman’s Angel’ and ‘Paradise Island’ off to them, which they also accepted.
I met with Kate Cuthbert from Escape Publishing at the 2012 conference and submitted ‘Makeover Miracle’ to her which she liked enough to offer an acceptance to me. Over the past eighteen months I had all five books published in E format which was a whirlwind for me.
Escape Publishing offered an acceptance to ‘Four-Leaf Clover’ which is coming out on the 1st May (I say with fingernail nails between teeth.)
You write contemporary romance, is there any other genre you’d like to venture into?
I write Paranormal Romance. ‘Daman’s Angel’ and ‘Paradise Island’ are both Paranormal Romances. I like writing them as I can really go wild with the characters and the background. I can create whole worlds where my characters live by different rules. Like the ideas of magic, psycic talent and a good old ghost story.
I’m finishing off Book Two of a Paranormal Romance at the moment and will continue on with Book Three., although I have a couple of new Contemporary Romances in my head busting to get out. Too many stories, so little time!
You are a graphic designer. Does being a visual artist help in regards to your writing, for example, describing setting in ‘Double Exposure’?
I can see my husband’s eyes roll into the back of his head when we pick paint – ‘It’s a different white. It’s got too much blue in it. It doesn’t match properly, can’t you see it?’
I usually have a pretty good idea of how scenes ‘look’ before I write them. If I don’t have a clear picture in my mind, I usually have to work harder at it to get it down properly. I guess being a graphic designer, I’m a very visual person and I do rely on it a lot. The hard thing is translating a visual scene into words and feelings.
With Double Exposure, I know the area intimately as I’ve virtually grown up there. When I was a child my parents spent every weekend going to Jamieson, so setting a story in the Victorian High Country wasn’t a hard push for me. In fact, the scenes I have included in the story are the parts of the country I have visited often and love the most!
What would we find on your bookshelf and e-reader?
My e-reader has about 900 books on it and counting! I pretty much cover most romance writers from Sylvia Day to Maya Banks, Ilona Andrews, Kerry Arthur. The list is endless.
Is there one book or author in particular that has been an inspiration to you?
Years ago the Diana Gabaldon series took me away. I DEVOURED those books. I love the Maya Banks series – that girl can write anything! I love the way Keri Arthur has made Melbourne into an alternate world. I wished I lived in her world! All of our local home-grown talent. I take my hat off to you all, ladies.
What is your next work in progress? Can you tell us a bit about it?
I’m working on three at the moment. One is a paranormal trilogy as I mentioned before. That’s all about ghosts, psychic ability, other worlds, unrequited love and duelling with the Devil.
The next book is more of a thriller, a woman trying to keep her marriage together while grieving for the son she loses. She is a detective who, through making a massive mistake, is put on cold cases, but they’re more hot than cold and she is soon wrapped up in a cult that promises her answers for why her son died. Her world tilts from professional to personal.
The third is a contemporary romance. Elizabeth saves a child from drowning and lands right in the arms of her rather hot father. Phew, I’ll leave it there! (another Bradley Cooper look-a-like — hey, I like Bradley! I can hold him in my mind all day long!)
If ‘Four Leaf Clover’ was to be made into a movie, who would be your ultimate cast?
Ooooo. Bradley Cooper would play Liam. The choppy hair, to-die-for eyes, tall, lean frame and the sexy way he can wear a suit. I envisioned Clover to look like Carly Rae Jensen with her thick, brown hair, fringe that is cut just over her eyes and delicate frame. I actually had a picture of the both of them at the end of my ms I wrote Four-leaf Clover.
Could you give us a sneaky peek at one of your favourite parts of ‘Four Leaf Clover’, please?
Clover was tired. More tired than usual. Lack of sleep often did that to her, compounding the effects of a physical day. She’d been unable to go to sleep because of a kiss she hadn’t wanted or asked for and still couldn’t seem to push from her mind. Clover checked the bread in the covered bowl she’d set aside that morning. She always liked the smell of raising bread in the morning. Made it more earthy.
It had been a nice kiss, well, a great kiss. She rolled the risen dough onto the floured surface and started kneading. Hell, it had knocked her socks off. Left fist. Exactly what she hadn’t wanted. Right fist. Clover blew a strand of hair from her face. Making dough usually let off steam, but this morning it didn’t have the desired effect.
She rolled the soft dough into a long sausage. The dough would make great lunch rolls. She’d add them to today’s menu. Take the rest to the shelter at finish time. She knew exactly what she wanted to do and where she wanted to be. No diversions.
She’d never got so caught up before. Now the sausage was too thick, so she had to start again. This time less force. She just didn’t need a man in her life, no matter how good he was at kissing. She certainly didn’t need to feel so damn good because of it. She picked up a broad-bladed knife and chopped the sausage into sections. Chop. Chop. Chop. The blade made a satisfactory thump on the cutting board. What was it about Liam that had her all confused about her simple life’s rules?
‘Huh? Clover looked up to see Holly lounging on the doorframe. Holly looked from the knife in Clover’s hand to the small blobs of dough scattered over the bench. ‘Are you planning to make rolls for dwarves?’
Clover kept in the sound of frustration as she gathered the bits of dough and started kneading. Again.
‘I’m okay. Just couldn’t sleep last night,’ Clover said.
Holly locked her arms over her chest and rested a hip on the bench. ‘Ah-huh. Any reason you want to particularly share?’
‘No reason.’ The kiss wasn’t the problem. It was the fact she’d let him do it. Just stood there, waiting for him to plant his mouth on hers. She hadn’t the will power or the inclination to stop him. And it had been so nice to let him do it to her. So nice to feel desired, wanted. Nice to give in to what she craved. Just for a moment. A nano-second of bliss.
Then reality had stepped in. Knew where a kiss could lead and that she couldn’t let it pull her into its sweet embrace. The nagging weight of responsibility pushed on her shoulders and she had listened, like she always did. Responded by letting him walk back out her door, angry that she had let it happen in the first instance. Besides, she’d be getting into bed with the enemy. She just couldn’t do that.
To be in the running to win an E copy of Four-Leaf Clover, Charmaine’s latest contemporary romance set in the beautiful Dandenong Ranges just leave a comment below. This competition is open world wide and the winner will be drawn on May 7th, 2014. He/she will be notified by email.