Natalie is here to talk about her latest book, the scrumptiously delicious Seeking Mr. Wrong, where her heroine Lettie becomes an unexpected erotica author and we read about this delightful secondary character, Portia, Lettie's niece.
Click here for more information about the book and the current reviews.
Q: Where did you get the inspiration for this story?
I was plotting my next book and I had settled on writing about a kindergarten teacher who is somehow forced to write erotica. My five-year-old daughter inspired the best parts of Lettie's niece, Portia. My daughter is feisty and strong-willed, and she comes out with some real zingers at times. Portia and her shenanigans drove a lot of the humor in the first chapter and set the tone for the novel as a whole.
Q: You wrote the heroine point of view from the 1st person POV and the hero from the 3rd person POV? Is there any reason for this? Why not both from 3rd person POV?
When a character is fully developed, I can hear them as I write. Sometimes their voices are so strong that it makes most sense to put them in 1st person POV. Since Lettie is a writer, I thought it would be only natural for her to drive the narrative. I imagined her telling us the story herself, giving us her first-hand account and then filling in Eric's POV. It was another way to empower her.
Q: Because her original publisher was bought up by another company, Lettie had to switch from writing children's books to writing erotic romances. How did she feel about that? Is that a commentary on the state of the current publishing industry?
"Disoriented" is a good way to describe Lettie's response to her publisher being sold. She'd invested so much creative energy in her children's books, and then poof! She's lost her rights to her own characters and she's now writing erotica. That's interesting that you ask whether this is a commentary on the current state of publishing. It wasn't a conscious statement, but the industry is what it is. If you're most writers, then publishing is rocky and uncertain and you've got to be flexible.
Q: Instead of the gay best friend, you had a different role for James, and I love it. I thought it was realistic, in this day and age. It was certainly a refreshing change from the usual. Would we see gay characters snagging a main role in one of your books in the future?
I'm so glad you love James! I do, too. Yes, I anticipate featuring gay and transgendered characters in even more prominent roles in future books. They play an important part in my life, so they deserve a spot in my stories.
Q: How do you come up with emotional scenes that tug at the reader's heartstrings?
The most emotional scenes in any book are the scenes that tackle human issues such as loss, rejection, despair, and joy. We all relate, and when we see flawed, human characters embodying our own struggles with these experiences, we pay attention. We feel and experience what they are feeling. Stories are our instructions for living. So when I plan the emotional high points of a book, I consider a character's particular vulnerabilities and wounds and tailor the experience for that. It feels so cruel, but if they are going to grow, they have to hit bottom first. Of course the emotions ideally balance out, and the level of joy at the end of the book matches the despair in the middle.
Q: If there were something Lettie could do over, what would it be?
Lettie ultimately regrets the time she spent brooding on her couch and feeling sorry for herself after her breakup. Yes, life's a journey, but I think if Lettie had to do it over again, she'd understand that she was never broken to begin with.
Q: What's up next for you?
Thanks for asking! Right now I'm working on Mindy's story. Nothing is set in stone yet as far as a follow up, so I'm afraid I'll have to keep you in suspense for now. Stay tuned!
About the Author
Natalie Charles came at writing in the usual way: as an escape from the pressures of practicing law. She tried literary fiction for a while, but quickly fell in love (ha) with contemporary romance and with romantic suspense. Happy endings and hot guys — what’s not to enjoy about that? (Answer: nothing.)
In 2011, she entered Mills & Boons’ New Voices Competition, never ever imagining she’d get anywhere. When she won, no one was more surprised and, well…she had to come up with a book pretty damn quickly. It was the kick in the pants she desperately needed to focus on her writing career. She went on to publish three books with Harlequin Romantic Suspense, one of which won the 2015 RT Reviewers’ Choice Award and was a finalist in the Daphne du Maurier Award for Mystery/Suspense. In 2015, Natalie decided she wanted to focus on something a little different, so she started self-publishing the Archer Cove Series. She loves reaching new readers with this lighter series of books set in a small seaside town.
When Natalie isn’t writing, she’s probably reading or, you know, spending time with her family doing other stuff. She lives in Connecticut with a hero husband and two bookish children. She’s grateful every day to be doing what she loves.