Today on the purple crushed velvet couch I have the lovely British author, Charlotte Stein. If you haven’t read one of her books, why not? She marries dark, angsty, sexy and funny and that is no mean feat.
Lillian: Welcome Charlotte, and thank you for agreeing to being interrogated.
Charlotte: No problems – it’s a pleasure!
Lillian: For those who have never had the pleasure of reading one of your books maybe you can tell us a bit about the genres you write?
Charlotte: Oooh, I’ve done a bit of sci-fi, a bit of fantasy…some zombies, some contemporaries, a touch of steampunk…I’m a bit of a floozy when it comes to genres, though I think my two main loves are contemporaries and sci-fi. And at the moment, my contemporaries are taking on a very New Adult sort of leaning. I started writing New Adult before it was a thing, and it’s been a lovely surprise to find myself actually writing something people want to read! Before that I was always the awkward gal, ploughing unpopular fields. Femdom is another favorite of mine, though it’s obviously not a favorite of most readers.
Lillian: I have read a couple of your books and loved them, but I was surprised at just how big a back list you have. How long have you been writing, and how many books a year do you usually produce?
Charlotte: I’ve been writing for most of my life, but have only been published for about three/four years now. However, I can write upwards of five novellas a year and more than one novel, so I’ve managed to build up a good backlist. Of course I have my moments of doubt and periods of less output, but this business is all about persevering and putting the words on the page, so I try to keep at it.
Lillian: How did you become a writer and at what point did you sit back and say to yourself, yep, I’m a real live author?
Charlotte: I’ve never really wanted to be anything else, so I don’t know if I became one. In terms of publication, I just realized that I was letting my fear and my doubt get the better of me and finally made a deal with a friend. She would join match.com if I sent something off. So I did, and amazingly that first short story was published with Black Lace. As for being a real live author…that didn’t happen right away. Some days I don’t even feel like it’s happened now – though I think giving up my day job played a huge part in making me feel like I might be real and live. And then doing my taxes, as weird as that sounds. Doing my taxes and finally being able to pay an amount to the tax man…that was an oddly “real author” moment. At the very least, it was better than them owing me because I earned so little!
Lillian: What inspires you to write? Where do you get plot and character ideas from?
Charlotte: I’m always faintly embarrassed to say this, because I’m sure lots of writers out there have amazing clever reasons for writing…but basically I’m driven by crushes on sexy men. However, I’ve taken great comfort in the knowledge that many of my favorite writers out there do the same thing…I don’t think it’s that uncommon. It’s just not “I was inspired by my traumatic childhood and the muse riding on a North wind and the pioneering struggles of some historical figure”. I’m passionate about men and all their foibles and flaws and everything that makes them compelling, and that’s a big inspiration for me. My plots all stem from these feelings, from my fascination. And from my desire to see my heroine work some dude out, too.
Lillian: One of the things I enjoyed about your books was your very believable characters. In particular in Addicted and Sheltered the British heroines have all the conversations in their heads that I had in mine in my younger days. How hard is it to take a very English way of thinking and make it believable to a US audience?
Charlotte: I sort of thought that might be a problem…that when I wrote an American character, people would call me out for making her too British. Or that my British characters would be inaccessible to an American audience. However, I’ve almost found the opposite problem in many cases. People believe I’m American or that my characters are, and then are weirded out when they come across references to ASDA or custard creams. I’ve even had internet friends believe I was American…until I mention something British. Maybe I’ve got an American mindset…maybe it’s all the exposure to American TV…I honestly don’t know. But I think for the most part I’ve gotten away with it.
Lillian: Have you ever been rejected because your writing is too British?
Charlotte: No, never. *touches wood* Watch out, tomorrow I will be!
Charlotte: LOL it’s not really the torturing I love. It’s the pure pleasure at the end of giving them what they’ve longed for! If there’s no pain, no fight, then there’s no joy in winning.
Lillian: When you’re not writing what do you like to do with your spare time?
Charlotte: I love watching movies, sitcoms, period dramas. I love reading. Basically just stuff that’s barely different from writing.
Lillian: If you weren’t a writer what do you think you would be doing with your life?
Charlotte: Probably what I was doing before…lecturing at a local college.
Lillian: What can we expect in the future from Charlotte Stein?
Charlotte: More erotic novels with my publisher HarperCollins/Mischief, hopefully…and a New Adult kind of quartet I’m working on. And some sexy contemporaries and sci-fi from Ellora’s Cave…though of course all of this depends on whether people say yes.
Now some questions just for fun?
Movie or a book?
You can’t make me choose. It’s like Sophie’s Choice!
Sex or chocolate?
Oh my God this is Sophie’s Choice. That’s what you’re trying to do, isn’t it? You’re trying to make me go mad like Meryl Streep.
Hot or cold?
Cold. The colder the better, in fact. I feel sure I lived in Iceland in a past life.
Butt plug or flogger?
Flogger. As long as I’m the one wielding it.
Thanks for being my guest.
Thank you so much for having me, hon! It was a blast.
You can find out more about Charlotte and her books at her website