It has been awhile since we had you on, so how about you let us know what you’ve been up to.
Charlotte Hawkins: It’s been a heck of a year for me. I moved to Florida in March 2012. I started a new job, and it has kept me very, very busy. Sadly, I don’t get to devote as much time to writing as I would like, but I try to steal time when I can.
b2b: I was pleasantly surprised by Owen and Isabella. As I noted in my review of the book, their imperfections made them more down to earth, more real to me. Was that a conscious decision on your part? Tell us more about them and what inspired their story.
CH: It started when I was writing My Lady Gisborne. Isabella was not supposed to be a major player in the Gisborne story. She was simply Rene’s lover, and not much more. But as I was writing, my imagination took over, as it usually does. I didn’t like the idea of a female character being little more than a plot device. The character kept coming back into my mind, and I started to think of her as a flesh and blood person – one with thoughts and feelings, a woman who had reasons for her actions, and ultimately, those actions had consequences. I started writing her, and the story just grew from there.
Owen was set in my mind from the start. He would be just like Guy – and yet, different. His upbringing was different, since he was raised in a loving home and never suffered the torments and disappointments his father did. Guy and Cassia brought him up to be a proper you man, which of course meant pursuing the knighthood, as most young men did in those days. Owen was raised to follow a certain code of morals. But of course, his Gisborne passions take over, and just like his father, once he sets his mind to what he wants, he will stop at nothing to have his way.
b2b: This story is parallel to My Lady Gisborne, which is no small feat, and told mostly from Owen’s POV so I wondered what prompted the decision to tell it this way, and not continue from where the other book left off?
CH: I had SO much to say when I was writing My Lady Gisborne, and Owen and Izzy’s story just kept growing in my mind. But I couldn’t cram it all into one story without it being extremely long and complicated. So I decided to give Owen and Isabella their own book.
b2b: I admire the risk you took by creating such a complex character as Lady Isabella. Not many writers would risk it by having her become a fallen woman before she falls in love with Owen. What made you pair young Owen with her and not someone else?
CH: I wanted Owen to fall in love with someone who would be a challenge to him. Much like Guy, he’s stubborn and arrogant, and he needed a spirited lady to match his personality. Isabella’s passions are suppressed by her circumstances, but they’re brimming under the surface, and I like to think she and Owen would have a marriage equally as passionate as Guy and Cassia’s. As for the idea of Isabella being a “Fallen Woman,” it was my way of challenging myself as a writer. Could I create a character that readers would like and sympathize with, even though she commits adultery? Yes, her husband is a brutal beast, but the fact remains that she broke her marriage vows, possibly risking her life and perhaps losing her son in the process. As the writer, I was on her side all the way, but we shall see what readers have to say about her.
b2b: Which book of the three in this series was the hardest or the easiest to write and which couple did you like the best?
CH: This book was certainly the most difficult to write. Going back and forth between this and My Lady Gisborne, trying to make sure the two stories gelled. That was hard enough. But in all honesty, it was hardest just finding the time to finish it. But I knew there were people who were waiting for it for a long time, so I kept pushing until it was complete.
I have to say that Evie and Simon are my favorite couple. Evelyn is my favorite female because she’s a lot like me (Sorry if that sounds conceited). I loved writing Simon because he’s my idea of the ultimate knight in shining armor (Who literally rides in on a white horse.) He’s proud, but not foolish. He’s tough as nails, but he has a tender side. And most importantly, he is completely devoted to the woman he loves.
b2b: Do you let someone read your work during your writing process? Who and why? Or do you wait ‘till it’s finished, then you let someone read it…and who?
CH: I have several friends who read it and help me through the process. They’re a God-send.
b2b: As a writer, I’m sure you read a lot. What do you read the most and what’s on your TBR now?
CH: These days, I hardly get to read at all. My job often keeps me running six days a week, so my free time is usually spent catching up on sleep. But when I do read, I enjoy mostly non-fiction work. I am a big history buff, and I love biographies of historical figures, so that’s what I usually pick to read.
b2b: And that concludes our ‘professional’ part of the interview. Are you willing to share a bit of your ‘personal’ side with our bookworms?
b2b: So, tell us a bit about yourself, something personal that you’d like us to know…anything that makes you comfortable…or not…like how many times did you fall in love?
CH: In my life, I’ve been in love many times. I’m just a romantic at heart. I can’t say if anyone’s ever been in love with me, though. If my true love is out there, he’s hiding himself pretty well. But I’m sure there’s someone for everyone.
b2b: What’s your favorite meal of the day (food)?
CH: Breakfast. I love eggs, especially omelettes.
b2b: Flannels or Silk?
CH: Silk. I’m warm-natured, so I have to be cool to sleep.
b2b: Do you like to cook?
CH: I love to cook. And my roots are country roots, so we learn early. I think I’m pretty good at it, too.
b2b: What’s your favorite spot in the house?
CH: The recliner in the living room
b2b: Cats or Dogs?
CH: Dogs. I love all animals, but I never had cats around me when I was growing up. Our family was all about the canines.
b2b: Champagne or Beer?
CH: I don’t like beer at all, and champagne is OK. But I prefer wine, either white or rose.
b2b: Your favorite time of the year?
CH: I live in Florida, so we don’t really have a change of seasons. But I like autumn the best. Halloween is my favorite holiday.
b2b: Movies or TV?
b2b: What’s your favorite TV show or movie?
CH: The Godfather is my favorite movie. At the moment, I don’t care for much that’s on TV. (I despise reality shows. Ugh!) But my favorite sitcom of all time is “The Cosby Show.”
b2b: Charlotte, you’ve been such a good sport! Thanks so much for stopping by and good luck with the new book. I really liked it a lot!
CH: Thank you so much for featuring me, and I’m so happy you enjoyed the story.
And here’s the man who inspired the story….
I will give away a copy of “The Baron’s Lady” on Kindle. (US or INTERNATIONAL). I’ll use a random number generator to choose from the names entered. To enter, I want readers to tell me who their favorite member of the Gisborne family is and why.
AUTHOR BIO: I was born in the Chicago suburb of Romeoville, Illinois. I grew up in the Midwest, but my family roots are in Kentucky. My parents were very old school, but everyone else around me was more contemporary in their thinking, so I was a bit of an oddball as a child. I was also an extreme introvert, which made it difficult for me to make friends.
That, however, led me to have a very great imagination. I became a writer out of necessity – no one wanted to hear my mind’s ramblings, so I started writing my stories down for my own entertainment. Lucky for me, I eventually found a small but loyal audience (Thanks, in no small part, to a certain lovely Brit actor) I love and appreciate all of my fans, and I hope I can continue writing stories that people will enjoy.
I moved to Florida in early 2012, and on top of being a writer, I’m a proud cast member at Walt Disney World. A dreamer like me couldn’t ask for a better job.