About Charlene Johnson:
Charlene lives in Sacramento, California. She is married and has a son, a daughter and four grandchildren. She graduated cum laude from Waynesburg College with a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts.
Books have always been her passion. She started reading at an early age and progressed to full-length books by age nine.
The first supernatural book series she read was Dark Shadows, and it sparked her interest in all things paranormal, with a spicy touch of romance mixed in for good measure. She also started writing poetry in grade school and continues to do so today. Being an avid reader, the consummate daydreamer and an incurable romantic with a Cinderella complex, she started creating her characters and storylines because she realized she had her own stories to tell. She’s traveled the world, crossed galaxies, traveled through time and explored history on the pages of books.
Her favorite paranormal romance authors are J.R. Ward, Christine Feehan, Sherrilyn Kenyon, and Laurell K. Hamilton. Her favorite contemporary romance authors are K. Kenner, Sylvia Day and Emma Chase.
Besides reading and writing, she also enjoys photography, travel, music, and great movies.
What inspires you to write?
I love books and great stories. It has always been a dream of mine to be an author and write the kind of books I love to read.
Tell us about your writing process.
I'm an outliner. I'm writing a paranormal romance series so having a clear outline is essential as a subplot in one book will become the main plot or conclude in a future book. I select photos that closely resemble the characters in my books and use them as my muses. It helps me in the writing process. I also do a lot of research. It helps to define the details and draws the reader into the story. They can see it as well as read it. My stories I write are movies in my head; in other words, I visualize them.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I do a little of both. I normally know where I'm going with a scene, but sometimes the characters' words drive me in a different direction. Sometimes, I have to take control to steer them where they should go. They are real people to me, and our relationship is symbiotic – especially when writing a species. The characters are with you are a longer period of time.
What advice would you give other writers?
Don’t let fear hold you back from achieving your dream of being a published author. I did that for many years. It’s daunting and scary, but perseverance and commitment is the key. Keep your eye on the goal. Get involved with Facebook Groups and local author clubs. The groups/clubs offer a wealth of knowledge and good advice. Go to a book signing event as a reader and ultimately as a signing author. Being around like-minded people will inspire and motivate you. Lastly, believe in yourself.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I didn't want to go through submitting my first book to multiple publishers. Each had different criteria for submission, and I saw myself wasting precious time doing that. I looked into self-publishing and decided to try it. After seeing the cost of editing, I decided to find a self-publishing company with reasonable prices and a good reputation. I thought I found a company that offered what I needed, but I ended up having a bad experience. I was inexperienced in the mechanics of publishing, and they didn't provide the support a new author needs. It almost stopped me from writing altogether.
Then I attended a book event as a signing author and met the publishing company hosting it. We talked, and they understood my frustrations and offered to work with me. I broke my contract with the other publisher and submitted my first book to them. We rebranded the series and re-released the first book. Three books later, I just finished writing book 4 and will be submitting it to my publisher in a few days. It was the best decision I ever made.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
In my opinion, the book industry has changed. Ebooks and audiobooks are the future. More authors will continue to self-publish or go to small publishing companies. Books are forever.
What do you use?: Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Paranormal Romance, Romantic Suspense
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.