Author Interview Charlotte Barnes

Author Bio: Charlotte Barnes

I’m a Florida poet, author, and humorist. I was recently interviewed on The Tony Kay Show on ArtistFirst Radio Network. To hear my show, go to www.artistfirst.com/bookshows.htm, and scroll down the alpha list and click on my name. It was my first-ever radio interview! I’m a new addition to the Internet, and you are welcome to visit me at www.charlottebarnesonline.com.

Author Interview Charlotte Barnes:

It’s rare today to find an author who does nothing but write for a living. Do you have a ‘real’ job other than writing, and if so, what is it? What are some other jobs you’ve had in your life?

Charlotte Barnes: I do have a day job. I work for a government agency, but I won’t name it—that way my co-workers can still pretend not to know me if I say something stupid! Previously, I worked as a 7th grade Language Arts teacher.

What compelled you to write your first book?

Charlotte Barnes: I had always loved writing, but I decided to do my first book when I wanted to do a collection of gift/award ideas based on what I had been presenting at my monthly work/awards ceremony. That’s when “Creative Mojo: The Brainstormer’s Book of Gift Ideas for Anytime” came to be.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Charlotte Barnes: I always enjoyed creative writing assignments in school, and maybe on a dream level I would have liked to have become a writer, but I had not intended to become a writer. I was headed into teaching. However, when it became clear to me that I should be open to other opportunities, I had more free time and got into writing again.

Tell us a little bit about your book/s. What are their titles; which is your favorite if you have more than one, and briefly let us know what they are about. Pay particular attention to your most recent book and/or your first book:

Charlotte Barnes: My first book was “Creative Mojo: The Brainstormer’s Book of Gift Ideas for Anytime,” and “creative mojo” means inspiration. It’s a collection of gift ideas that you can use “as is” or you can adapt them for your needs. My second book was “Don’t Schedule Your Wedding on Game Day,” and is kind of a homage to my great love of college football. In it, I combine practical advice and football. My most recent book is the poetry collection “The Mansfield Lighthouse Cats,” and the title comes from the name of the first poem. The poem was inspired my curiosity about where the neighborhood cats might go all day. It’s fanciful.

Are you currently working on any writing projects our readers should watch for release soon?

Charlotte Barnes: My children’s picture book manuscript, “Stella Ducktropolis,” should be out in spring/summer 2008. It’s for girls about age 7. The main character works in a sticker factory by day and fights crime at night.

Have you ever won any writing awards? If so, what?

Charlotte Barnes: “The Mansfield Lighthouse Cats” recently won Book of the Year 2007 in the poetry category at www.books-and-authors.net.

How did you feel the day you held the copy of your first book in your hands?

Charlotte Barnes: It’s really a happy, giddy feeling. I always get such a feeling of accomplishment when I begin a task and see if through to completion.

What type of music, if any, do you listen to while you write?

Charlotte Barnes: When I do listen to music, it’s mostly classical. More than music, I listen to motivational CD’s. I love anything by Nightingale-Conant. Some of my favorites are Napoleon Hill, Brian Tracy, and Tony Robbins.

What inspires you and motivates you to write the very most?

Charlotte Barnes: What inspires me the most is the desire to answer the question, “How great can I be?” By that I mean, “How much of my potential can I fulfill? How much service can I be?”

What one thing are you the most proud of in your life?

Charlotte Barnes: I am proud of the fact that I try to always treat others with respect and kindness. To me, if you do that, you’re a success no matter field of endeavor you pursue.

What about your family? Do you have children, married, siblings, parents? Has your family been supportive of your writing?

Charlotte Barnes: I’m not married, but my parents are still living and I have one younger brother. They are supportive of my writing, but even they don’t get any advance peeks at any of my work—I have a very fragile artistic ego!

The main characters of your stories – do you find that you put a little of yourself into each of them or do you create them to be completely different from you?

Charlotte Barnes: I don’t set out to base characters on myself. I incorporate humor a lot. I think a lot of the time I base characters more on general patterns of behavior. Sometimes I might create a character based not on how I am, but how I would like to be.

Is there an established writer you admire and emulate in your own writing? Do you have a writing mentor?

Charlotte Barnes: I like Frost and Dickinson a lot. I’m a big Mark Twain fan. I don’t try to emulate other writers—I feel my work would only suffer by comparison. The closest thing I have to a writing mentor is my dear friend Mary, who does her own writing and sends sympathetic, supportive e-mails to keep me uplifted.

When growing up, did you have a favorite author, book series, or book?

Charlotte Barnes: I enjoyed “The Little Gingerbread Man,” “The Three Billy Goats Gruff,” and “The Little Engine That Could.” I was also fascinated by the adventures of Amelia Bedelia. We used to have a substitute teacher who was a favorite of mine because when she came she would always read us a new Amelia Bedelia story.

What about now: who is your favorite author and what is your favorite genre to read?

Charlotte Barnes: A current favorite is J.K. Rowling—she has a real gift for detail, for setting a scene. Most of what I’m reading currently is either of a motivational nature or of a biographical nature. I enjoy reading about successful, creative people in the hopes that I can find insights into how to make myself a more successful, creative person.

Hey, let’s get morbid. When they write your obituary, what do you hope they will say about your book/s and writing? What do you hope they will say about you?

Charlotte Barnes: I would like for them to say that reading my books enriched their lives in some way. If even one person tells me, “I enjoyed reading your book,” I consider that a success. As for me personally, I would like for people to say that they felt they were better for having known me.

Location and life experience can sprinkle their influence in your writing. Tell us about where you grew up and a little about where you live now – city? Suburb? Country? Farm? If you could live anywhere you want to live, where would that be?

Charlotte Barnes: I grew up a few miles from the beach. You’ll find that influence, that love of Florida, creeping in a little more as I get to my next collection of poetry, which I’m working on now. I’ve tentatively titled it, “Poems from a Florida Girl.” If I could live anywhere, I would either live in the country in a nice little cottage with a hammock outside for a good nap, or I would live in Tallahassee within walking distance of Doak Campbell Stadium, so I could go see my Florida State Seminoles play.

Do you have any pets? What are they? Tell us about them.

Charlotte Barnes: I don’t have any pets, but I do love animals.

Bring us into your home and set the scene for us when you are writing. What does it look like? On the couch, laptop, desk? Music? Lighting, handwriting?

Charlotte Barnes: I’m usually sitting at my lamp-lit desk, with a blue ink pen and a yellow legal pad. There’s complete silence so that I can hear my thoughts.

Do you watch television? If so, what are your favorite shows? Does television influence of inspire your writing?

Charlotte Barnes: I watch a little. I enjoy Prison Break, NCIS, House, Project Runway, The Office, and Ghost Whisperer. I try not to let television influence me too much—there’s too much negativity!

What about movies?

Charlotte Barnes: Same as above. I don’t go to the movies as much as I used to—they just don’t draw me to the theater anymore. It seems like every other movie is a re-make of some television show or movie. When I do go, I enjoy action movies and comedies.

Focusing on your most recent (or first) book, tell our readers what genre your book is and what popular author you think your writing style in this book is most like.

Charlotte Barnes: “The Mansfield Lighthouse Cats” is a poetry book. It’s been described as “diverse” or “eclectic.” I don’t think I can pin it down to one influence.

How long did it take you to write your most recent (or first) book? When you started writing, did you think it would take that long (or short)?

Charlotte Barnes: I can write a book in three or four months if my “creative mojo” is flowing. If not, then it might take longer. I don’t keep track of time. I write what I want to write, then I move on to my next idea. I was a little surprised I had so much inside me to get out—I thought I would be one of those writers slaving away on a manuscript for years. I have a sense of urgency that spurs me forward, though.

Is there anyone you’d like to specifically acknowledge who has inspired, motivated, encouraged or supported your writing?

Charlotte Barnes: I would like to thank my family members, my friends, and my co-workers for putting up with the mad scribblings and the missed lunches.

Anything else you want your readers to know?

You can find out information about me and my books at www.charlottebarnesonline.com. You can order my books through the publisher, www.publishamerica.com or any of the major booksellers. You can also listen to my recent interview at www.artistfirst.com/bookshows.htm. Scroll down the alpha list and click on my name. Then come and sign my guestbook and say hello!

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Thanks, Charlotte!

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3 comments to Author Interview Charlotte Barnes

  • Rebecca  says:

    Great interview ladies and a successful first day on Charlotte’s virtual book tour.

  • Charlotte  says:

    Michelle,
    Thanks for a great first day! You’re a super host. I enjoyed the interview questions. If anyone has any questions after today, feel free to contact me at http://www.charlottebarnesonline.com.

    Best of luck,

    Charlotte Barnes,
    Author of “The Mansfield Lighthouse Cats”

  • Charlotte  says:

    Michelle,

    Thanks for a great first day! You were a super host and I enjoyed the interview questions. If anyone has any questions after today, or wants to see where else I’ll be on my tour, come by http://www.charlottebarnesonline.com.

    Best wishes,

    Charlotte Barnes,
    Author of “The Mansfield Lighthouse Cats”

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