Saturday, May 7, 2011

Authorial Mom Ann Charles

Authorial Moms:   Welcome to the Authorial Moms blog! Tell us a little about yourself. How many kids do you have? How old are they?

Author Ann Charles
Ann Charles: Thank you for the having me here, Sarah. A little about me:  I’m a full-time technical writer by day and a full-time fiction author by night (almost makes me sound like superwoman, huh? I want to wear purple tights, though!). In between, I am a wife and a mom of two young kids. My husband keeps me fed and my gray hairs colored, and my kids keep me laughing and grounded—there is nothing like having to wipe your child’s hind end to keep you from getting too big for your britches. My life is crazy busy, and my head often spins so much I am unsure which way is up. But each day is full and fun, and all of the insanity makes for great fiction. I’m sure all of you author moms can relate.   

AM:  What do you write? How many books have you written/published? How old are they?

AC: I write humorous mysteries mixed with romance (or “sex,” as I tell the guys) and paranormal. I have written eight full manuscripts, but only the last five are publishable. The first three were all about learning how to write (and how to NOT write)—in other words, they suck and aren’t allowed out in the light of day. I’m currently working on my ninth story, which is book three in the Deadwood Mystery Series. As for actual published books—Nearly Departed in Deadwood is my first published book. Whew! Lots of numbers there. I feel like I slipped into the body of my old math teacher. We should find a way to make this paragraph into a story problem and have a test at the end of the article.

I started writing in the mid-nineties. The first three books were written before 2000. The remaining ones came after 2002, when I finally finished with my college degree and had time to write something other than two-page papers on this, that, and anything else my teachers instructed. Nearly Departed in Deadwood was written in 2009. I wrote the second in the series, Optical Delusions in Deadwood, in 2010.     

AM: Tell me about a typical day. How do you write with kids around? Or do you have to ship them off to school or grandparents’ houses to get anything done?

AC: Warning—this answer may cause drowsiness. Do not read while driving ... My typical day is pretty normal. I work a full-time day job as a technical writer, so the morning starts out with dragging my butt out of bed around 6:00 a.m., checking email and Facebook/Twitter, and then getting the kids up and moving. My husband gets breakfast going while I get the munchkins dressed and ready for school/preschool. Then I head to work and play technical writer for eight hours, but my brain is constantly dabbling in fiction during long meetings and on “slow” days. I go home in the evening, hang out with the family until the kids go to bed around nine, and THEN I get to start working on writing. I usually stay up until around 1:00 a.m., then crash and start over again when the alarm goes off at 6:00 a.m. By Friday, I’m existing solely on caffeine and sugar and look like an extra from a zombie flick, minus the craving for brains. Saturday morning, my husband keeps the kids busy so I can sleep in and return to looking somewhat human. The weekend nights are major writing time, too. Then Monday roles around and I’m back to the weekday grind. Someday I hope I can drop the day job, but that’s far into the future at this point.

AM: Did you write before you had kids, or after? What changed with your writing when you had kids?

AC: I wrote both before and after. What changed was how much sleep I got a night. I used to sleep closer to seven hours a night, but now I average five hours. Also, I have to juggle a lot more, and I find that I deal with guilt issues if I have two writing-related events during a week that keep me away from my family. Since I work during the day, being gone in the evening is tough on all of us, so I have to be very picky about what writing events I attend. I used to participate a lot more in local writing chapters, serving in volunteer positions. Now I just can’t. There is no time for that, which is a bummer, but I figure in time that will change as my kids reach the age when they want nothing to do with me because I’m so uncool. Then I’ll happily be “lame” and hang with my writing friends again.

AM:  How old will one or more of your children have to be before they’re allowed to read your books?

AC: Twelve seems like a good age. By then, they’ll have heard all of the swear words plenty of times that I use in my stories. But we’ll skip the sex scenes for a few more years after that. Maybe I’ll lie and tell them that the sex scenes are all about their father and my love life and scar them for life. LOL! Ah, it’s so fun to be a parent sometimes. 

AM:  Becoming an author means having a public persona. How do you combine motherhood with the demands of a public life? Do you feature your kids, keep them shielded under pseudonyms, or leave them out of the equation entirely? Have they asserted their opinion(s) on this matter?

AC: I call my kids “Beaker” and “Chicken Noodle” in public, whether they like it or not. J Those are some of the nicknames I gave them as babies, and they roll into my writing life perfectly. I want to shield them as much as possible, which I think most parents understand. They are too young yet to have a vote on how they are represented in public, but I’m sure my youngest, Chicken Noodle, will make her opinion know before too long. She’s a chip off the old block, and I feel very sorry for her poor, poor father. 

AM:  Most Moms I know have a limited amount of free time. Give me a few reasons why they should dedicate some of that time to your characters. What’s in it for us?

AC: Laughter, and lots of it. I love to laugh, and my hope is that I get a smile or a chuckle or more out of you while reading about Violet Parker’s crazy life. Kids make us all a little crazy. In between the yelling and cleaning and snuggling and yelling some more, we all need to decompress and share some laughs. Also, Violet is a mother of twins, so her struggle with raising her kids is something with which many moms (and dads) can identify with, grin about, and shake their heads over.

AM:   Let’s have a little fun with fill-in-the-blanks. “The floor of my kitchen is so ___ you can ___ it.”

AC: “The floor of my kitchen is so freakin’ cold you can chill champagne on it. But on a miserably hot summer evening, it’s wonderful to lie on in in your bra and underwear.”

AM:  In what way have you turned into your mother? How are you coping with it?

AC: My mom has always been a kick-butt saleswoman and a wily entrepreneur, so I’m trying to follow in her shoes. She’s been one of my biggest advocates in the writing business, and she’s constantly teaching me lessons on salesmanship, marketing, and promotion. I bow to her skills. That being said, I also now catch myself saying some of the same things to my kids she said to me, and that makes me groan. Things like, “Don’t you talk back to me,” “Give me that look one more time and you’ll be sorry,” and “Keep it up and I’ll give you something to cry about.” Dang my kids for bringing out that side of my mother in me. LOL! 

AM: What’s up next for you?

AC: Besides promoting the second book in the Deadwood Mystery Series, finishing with writing the third book, and then plotting book four, I might try to get a few extra hours of sleep here and there. I also have an Arizona Mystery Series—the first one is called Dance of the Winnebagos—that my publisher is working on getting out there in a different format. We’re considering something audio. This book was a finalist in the Pacific Northwest Writers Contest about five years ago, and we decided it would be a good “in between” book to put out while I continue writing the Deadwood Mystery Series.

AM:  Where can we find you and your books online?

AC: You can find me at I am also at, but that site is about to go “Under Construction” while we give it a facelift. 

I am the co-owner of, a website where authors can go to teach, share, and learn about marketing and promotion. Also, I’m at once a month and twice a month.

You can either just go to my websites Buy Links page:

Or click the following links:


·         Amazon
·         Barnes & Noble
·         Sony Reader Store
·         Smashwords
·         Diesel eBook Store

Print Books:

·         Amazon
·         IndieBound
·         Barnes & Noble
·         Powell’s Books
·         Borders
·         Romance Books
·         (Bookstores & Libraries) Also available through Ingram

AM:   Ann, thanks so much for stopping by today! 


Rebecca J. Clark said...

What a fun post! Ann, I don't know how you survive on so little sleep. Maybe if I could do that, I could write more. But lack of sleep makes me crazy, crazy, crazy (more than usual).

Your book is on the top of my Nook TBR bookshelf--can't wait to read it. The cover alone makes it a keeper.

Ann Charles said...

Thanks, Rebecca. Sarah asks fun interview questions. The lack of sleep does make me a little wacky by the weekend, but caffeine is my good friend. ;)

Thank you in advance for giving NDD a chance. Have you seen the cover to book 2 in the series? Optical Delusions in Deadwood? My brother and the graphic artist, Mona, did a wonderful job. I love the colors on book 2's cover.

Thank you for stopping by, Rebecca (Miss Amazon Bestseller in Romance!!--talk about kickbutt covers and books, yours rocks!).


Sarah M. Anderson said...

Ann, 'fun' is a prime objective of the Authorial Moms! I'm so glad you were able to drop by and join us on this Mother's Day weekend! And Rebecca, I can't recommend Nearly Departed enough--it was wonderful!

Mary D. said...

It's great to get to know all the authorial moms. Can't believe anybody can do so much creative work with all the rest of life going on!

Indian T.v Serials said...

Lynne used to worry she had a serious problem with daydreaming, then she discovered she was supposed to write the stories in her head. A late bloomer, Lynne came to fiction writing after her children were nearly grown. Now she battles the empty nest by writing stories which always include a romance, sometimes medicine, a dose of mirth, or both, but always stories from her heart. She is a Southern California native, married for almost thirty years, has two adult children she is super proud of, is a dog lover, cat admirer, a power walker, and fellow traveler on this wild road called life!