One thing that has struck me since stepping into the world of writing, is how supportive other authors are. Charlotte is one of those authors who champions others and I’m very pleased to call a friend. I got to ask her some fun questions a few weeks ago, to celebrate the imminent release of her latest book, Absorbing White.
Firstly, a few questions to get to know Charlotte…
CEH: Oh Lordy. I’ve been asked this question so many times and the simple answer is I haven’t got one, currently. There are far too many. However, if I was to name something that inspired me, or made me really believe in reading and the virtues of it, it would be The Silver Brumby Series by Elyne Mitchell. They were the first real books I chose and read all on my own when I was a child, and I still love them today.
CEH: Gin. Oh, do you mean every day? Coffee, I meant coffee. As if I’d drink Gin daily *winks
Your perfect weekend getaway?
CEH: I love city breaks. I’m not a huge fan of idling anywhere unless it involves a bustling street and coffee. If I could get to New York every weekend I would. There’s nothing quite like noise to make my brain a little clearer.
The White Trilogy books to-date have been dark and sexy with a lot going on. Way past the average boy meets girl, boy seduces girl, erotic tale. Did you plan the full story when you started writing or did it develop as you wrote?
CEH: No, no clue at all. It just came to some degree. I did know it would be complex because Mr White is anything but easy, and I wanted to write something people would have to get involved in, but I didn’t expect it to be quite so deep I suppose. I guess my love of Agatha Christie and Dan Brown crept in on me and made me write something other than just an erotic novel.
I get the feeling we haven’t seen all of Mr White’s dark side yet! What have you got in store for book 3, Absorbing White?
CEH: He really is a pain in the, well, you know…. His complexities make him a difficult man to love, and his past makes it even more difficult for Beth to accept him. But, in reality, he’s not been a very nice man, has he? And I can promise you he continues to not be very nice, depending on your point of view. The main issue is his constant pull back to the dark, the place he feels no moral restriction, his comfort zone really. His colours are all out there already, it just all depends on who steers his conscience most, and what positons he’s put in to challenge that conscience. After all, it’s the situations that determine what our behaviour needs to be, isn’t it? And as you said, his dark side is always there waiting for use.
What’s been your biggest influence when writing Beth and Alex?
CEH: Past experiences. Both characters hold an element of me inside them to some degree, the light and the dark so to speak. Their journey together comes from two completely differing standpoints, and as they try to find their way towards each other I feel myself writing past experiences into them, the hurdles, the give and take, the acceptance of another opinion. I think we all find something of ourselves in a character, that’s how they find us.
Who’s POV is easier to write? I know that Alex is often ‘talking to you’ but what about Beth or Conner?
CEH: Conner, who couldn’t write Conner? He’s an utter gent isn’t he? A sweety in bad boy clothing. He’s easy to write because he’s the decent one, the honest, reliable big brother type. Beth comes reasonably easy too, she’s such a strong girl and getting stronger by the day. I love that she constantly wants to prove that Alex is decent under all that exterior, that he is worthy of being loved. And I always look forward to Mr Van Der Braacks scenes, he’s where all the naughtiness flows from. I simply can’t help myself with him. However, if I’m really honest, it’s Alex I love writing. He flows out of me and pours onto the page. All his deviances, his nastiness, his inner loathing, it all manifests itself somehow and keeps me from falling into sappy happy ever afters. Which I generally don’t enjoy too much. Not that I’m saying anything there!
Alex isn’t your typical fantasy hero boyfriend. He’s a very very bad boy. What is it about the bad boy persona that holds so much appeal for us?
CEH: You want a dull man? Or woman for that matter?
We all want something that’s a little bit off the leash really, don’t we? It’s in our human nature to move on, find the stronger, braver, bigger boy, and accept the animal inside him. Perhaps challenge ourselves with the unattainable and relish our self-importance when we get them. The problem is that in this world we live in we have now overridden that natural human instinct to seek that which is strongest, we simply no longer need too. We have become happy to relax in the confines of suburban bliss and tolerate the inadequacies of our partners because we no longer hunt, fish, or maybe even kill to survive. We have adapted, evolved.
Unfortunately with this evolution of human behaviour comes drudgery and boredom, possibly even compliancy, and definitely the thought “Is this it?”.
Harsh, isn’t it? But mostly true, I think.
Books, and the fantasies within them, give us a chance to disregard reality. They give us an opportunity to believe we could have that very bad man and tame them to some degree without care to the consequence of our morals or hearts. That there’s a place where going back to our base instincts, and revelling in them, is okay, it’s safe, and the truth is it won’t damage our real life that way, will it?
Lessons to learn, it think.
What has been your favourite scene in the first two books? Either to write or to read?
CEH: Oh wow. Can I say all of it? Probably not. Ermm…
I adored writing the business lunch in Seeing White where Beth meets him for the first time, the outcome of that meeting was so typically Beth and it really made me giggle. The time at the club where Belle and Beth get drunk and try their hand at pole dancing had me crying with laughter in Feeling White, of course I then ruined it with something horrible, but then that’s me, sorry. I also loved writing the highly violent scene in Feeling White where Alex goes back to his old lifestyle for her. I can’t say anything else without giving that away, but writing that scene actually felt like I was there with him, like I could smell it and touch the ground beneath his feet, rub my hands in the soil and feel the lack of emotion involved in such a thing. It made me feel very close to actually being him.
And of course the sex, all of the sex, I love writing their differing POV’s during those scenes.
The trilogy is nearly complete with Absorbing White releasing soon. Will this tie up all of those sub-plots you’ve been building over the last instalments?
CEH: Ermm…. You’ve asked me this before. (I have! I may have quizzed her on the plot as well!)
From the moment I realised this was going to be a trilogy I always intended to tie up all sub plots. And for a while I stayed true to that. However there are parts of the three books that contain certain elements of the secondary characters lives, certain things that I simply can’t tie up in these three books. So I suppose I’ll have to write more books about those characters and what the future, and past, holds/held for them.
As far as the main plots go, yes, I will defiantly tie those in together and leave most questions answered. I’d hate to make it that easy though, so you never know what I might drop in at the last minute, or rather what he might drop in.
I truly believe that when you write such complex characters and lives you can’t just close the door on them, it’s unfair, and quite a disturbing thought really. I also doubt Mr White will ever stop talking to me regardless of how loud Mr Van Der Braack shouts, and I’d hate him too to be honest, I have too much love for him to let him go any time soon.
Any sneaky bits of Absorbing White you want to share?
CEH: Nope. Sorry, not sorry. Good job you’re one of my harlots, isn’t it? *winks.
I’m currently offering Seeing and Feeling White up for grabs in my November Giveaway. Enter here. Or if you don’t want to risk it, get your hands on them today…
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