Thursday, July 9, 2009

Interview with Charlotte Boyett~Compo

Today we have an interview with the very prolific author, Charlotte Boyett~Compo. Thanks for joing us today Charlee. Let's get started with your interview.

Have you always wanted to be a writer or is it something you discovered along the path of life?

From the age of six I knew I wanted to write. I was fascinated by television…which hadn’t been out that long…and I began making up stories to go along with what I was watching. Inner Sanctum was one of my favorite shows as was Shock Theatre so I grew up being mesmerized by the macabre, the supernatural, and the unexpected. My Irish grandfather and I would sit in the swing on the front porch as the cicadas and crickets sang and Venus appeared in the sky over rural Georgia and he would start a story then insist I finish it. It had to make sense and not be ridiculous…which is hard for a six year old child not to be…or he’d make me ‘re-write’ it. We’d spin tales until my mother dragged me in to bed. I’d lay awake and think up more stories I could tell my PaPa the next night. I believe he helped me hone my skills for he was a master seanchaĆ­, an Irish storyteller of the highest order. The stories had to be believable and they had to hold his attention or he’d tear them apart, explain what was wrong with them, and make me start over again. I credit him with giving me the ability to make my tales believable.

How has your writing path evolved? Where did you start?

I wrote my first ‘novel’ at the age of twelve. I was enamored of Michael Landon’s character of Little Joe on Bonanza. My first crush had been on cowboy actor Lash LaRue and westerns were like a drug to me. I spent every Saturday at the movies watching Gene Autry, Roy Rodgers, and Bob Steele. It was natural I’d fall in love with Little Joe. He was cute, had a killer smile, great hair, and he was a cowboy. So I filled up a spiral bound notebook with a book called Western Flame. I wrote my next book at age fifteen. By then I was madly in love with Robert Vaughn who had been one of the stars of my favorite movie of all time: The Magnificent Seven. He had done a circus movie called The Big Show so my next book was about a circus lion tamer. It was titled The Great Giovanni and it was terrible! By the time I reached high school, my best friend and I co-wrote a play that was put on by the ninth grade assembly for the entire school. It was called Did You Say Ghost? It was a silly comedy but it impressed the hell out of our English teacher who encouraged us both to take up writing in college.

Do you commit to a daily writing goal? Like so many words or chapters?

No, I’ve always felt that limits you, boxes you into a set routine. I’m not a linear thinker. My mind wanders and when my characters go off on a path I hadn’t planned I just sit back and enjoy the ride. I’ve had reviewers comment that they thought they knew where the story was going and then were blindsided by something totally unexpected. It’s that unusual element that has drawn so many readers to my work. If I planned a certain number of chapters or a specific word count, I would be restricting my creativity. I give it free rein and if I write two chapters today or only a few dozen sentences, it is what the muse has dictated and that’s where I go.

If you could give a new writer one piece of advice, what would it be?

Don’t ever let your family, friends, co-workers, or neighbors discourage you. Too many would-be authors have been stopped cold in their tracks by a ‘well-meaning’ relative who didn’t want them to ‘get your heart broken’. I’ve seen a lot of writers who I thought were very talented lay aside that talent because no one supported them, believed in them, and did everything they could to ‘make them see the light’. The thing is: if you want something bad enough you’ll find a way to get it. Wait until the kids are in bed, the hubby is snoring, the interfering parents or in-laws are occupied and then take your laptop or your pad and pen and have at it. Live the dream because one day it just might pay off for you. I was very lucky in having a husband who believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. He was my staunchest supporter and my biggest fan. He read everything I wrote and was the first eyes to see every book. He died in April but I know he’s sitting beside me right now…just as he did at every book signing I had…with his hand on my shoulder to encourage me. He never allowed me to give up and when my grieving is less intense, I’ll get back to the writing he insisted on his death bed that I continue.

Are you a long time paranormal fan or new to the “Other” world?

As I said, I grew up watching Shock Theater. My mom and I would sit glued to our chairs in her bedroom as we watched Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr., Bela Lugosi, and a host of the scariest creatures that era could produce. The only light in the room would be from the screen so it was eerie and set the mood perfectly. I loved the horror movies and when I got old enough, subscribed to Famous Monster Magazine. Most of those old movies are cheesy by today’s bloodthirsty standards but some of it still scares me. The sight of the Mummy lumbering toward you with his arms outstretched, the Blob oozing under the door, the Creature from the Black Lagoon emerging from the watery depths, the werewolf stalking its prey….thrilled me at the same time they sent chills down my spine. To this day, I don’t like anything that comes at me with steady intent. Something unstoppable, incapable of being killed because it’s already dead, or so powerful that nature can’t rein it in, scares the bejesus outta me. I loathe robots and although I enjoyed Transformers and intend to see the sequel, I still get gooseflesh when something lumbers toward me…even if it’s on a movie screen.

Tell us a little about your newest book.

WyndStones is the first of two long-awaited sequels to one of my most popular books, NightWind. I have had readers begging me for the continuation of the story. Wyndstones tells the tale of a young woman who goes to join her brother in the high mountains of Appalachia where he has been assigned as a priest to the people of Tabor Hill. What she doesn’t know is that Fate has arranged for her to be there. The people of the Hill have been waiting a long time for her to join them. Something else is awaiting her arrival with plans of its own. A Nightwind demon, a succubus who is blood sworn to protect the women of her family, has come to see that she unlocks the door to the Abyss in order to free more of its kind…especially the Prime Nightwind, Syntian Cree…and unleash an unholy vengeance on womankind. There is a lust story mingled in with the plot and the sex scenes are very explicit.

How did the idea for your newest book/series come about?

I had always planned to do two sequels to NightWind. I just hadn’t found the right formula that intrigued me until I had a strange dream one night. I dreamed I was living in the Appalachian mountains and was married to a blacksmith named Josia. We didn’t have any children but all the village children flocked around me because I’d sit and spin tales to them. I didn’t love Josia because he was a cruel, hateful man so when a handsome stranger suddenly appeared out of the night, my hormones went haywire. He could not come into the village because there were white-washed stones circling the entire settlement to keep him out. Josia called them wyndstones and said they were there to keep the demons away. The stranger…who never had a name in my dream…couldn’t cross the wyndstones but I could so I joined him in the forest only to find out he was a succubus there to claim my soul. I woke up with my heart pounding and couldn’t get out of bed fast enough so I could write down the impressions from the dream while they were still fresh.

What kind of research do you do for your books?

Unless there is a plot point that I want to make sure is correct in regard to history or location or an it requires an explanation of what something is, I don’t do research. I love to world build, to create creatures of my own imagination, mix vampires and werewolves traits…as I did when I created my signature Reaper shape shifters…so a new entity is born. I will incorporate as much of the original legends and data on any creatures I use as I can find to make it believable to those who are familiar with them but I try not to go into too much depth because most readers don’t really want the ‘research’ laid out for them to have to wade through. They want the meat and potatoes, hold the beans. Although I might bend the facts a bit, I don’t stretch it so far that it isn’t recognizable or believable.

What books are currently on your to-read list?

I am reading John Sandford’s latest novel, Wicked Prey. He is one of my favorite authors. I just finished Stuart Woods Hot Mahogany so when I finished Sandford, I’ll pick up the latest Christine Feehan or Sherrilyn Fenyon novel to even out the interest. I go from mystery/thrillers to paranormal to something by Dean Koontz or John Saul then skip over to Fr. Andrew Greeley’s Irish series of novels. I have very eclectic tastes and get bored reading the same genre over and over again. I liked it to having to eat oatmeal every morning of my life when I was growing up and hating it so much that I can’t even look at oatmeal now without cringing. I need variety so there are four or five different genres of books sitting on my nightstand.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

John Sandford, John Grisham, John Saul, Dean Koontz, Robin Cook, Andrew Greeley, Michael Connelly, Ken Eulo, Dennis Lehane, David Wiltse, and Brian Lumley are my favorite male authors. Christine Feehan, Shirlee Busbee, Johanna Lindsey, Rosemary Rogers, Jude Deveraux, Sherrilyn Kenyon, JR Ward, Lucy Blue, and Kresley Cole are my favorite female authors. I never miss a book by any of them. My favorite book of all time is a tossup between Anya Seton’s Green Darkness and Rosemary Rogers’ Sweet, Savage Love (which was the first bodice ripper romance I ever read and I was hooked!)

When you are not writing, what can you usually be found doing?

I watch a lot of television because I have certain shows and actors I follow. I love movies and have a large collection of horror, SF, and fantasy movies on DVD. I go to the theater to see the latest big, sweeping movie like Transformers or Star Trek, Terminator or Wolverine. In order for the movie to get my money, it’s got to be a cinema graphic experience for me. I wouldn’t pay to see a chick flick or a comedy or a romantic movie on the big screen. There’s got to be explosions, complex graphics and thrilling music for me to sit in a theater. Movies like Braveheart, Titantic, 300…those I will stand in line to watch. I can’t wait for Gerard Butler’s The Gamer to come out or G.I. Joe. I’ll be there with SweetTarts in my purse alongside a bottle of orange juice. :-)

1 comment:

Roxanne Rhoads said...

Great interview Charlotte. I hope to read some of your books soon.