Saturday, March 15, 2014

Chatting with Author Eileen Charbonneau, with *G*veaway*

Today I am introducing the eloquent and gracious Eileen Charbonneau who is represented the Aponte Literary Agency.  She is fascinating and her stories are compelling (I will put blurbs at the end of this
Eileen Charbonneau, Author
interview).  Please help me welcome her here today!

What genre to you write? What drew you to it?
EC: I write historical fiction, YA, fantasy, and mystery.  I love history and time traveling. I like exploring where we came from as Americans. Fantasy is just the way I see the world—tinged with magic. I didn’t realize I was writing YA until someone pointed out that a book I was working on was a coming of age story, so maybe I should market it that way. Marketing is still not my strong suit!
MVF: You write some of my favorite genre’s. J  Now, as for marketing—that is a work in progress for me as well. I envy those who have the natural knack for it.
EC: Me too! But I think it’s not a natural mix except for a very few.

Tell me about your current work (Blurb/book cover here if appropriate) or just give a blurb on a story you are wrestling with.
EC: I am trying to finish up a Civil War novel, and working on a 1960-set fantasy novel.
MVF: Now that is indeed a jump from one time period to another. What I find interesting, is you are working on two novels at once.  How do you do this?
EC: Like a porcupine makes love...very carefully! No it’s actually great when I’m stumped on one to switch gears over to the other. I used to write screenplays and novels at the same time too... it’s like exercising different muscles.
MVF: I am planning on attempting something like this—writing one book during the week and work on another on the weekend (different genres). So this is good—I bet it helps; like you said it exercises different muscles!

What Inspired you to write the Civil War novel?
EC: Some leftover research from another Civil War novel, and  2, a short story I thought might be a larger tale.
MVF: Funny how when one is writing one story another one comes to light. I like that.
EC: Yes, isn’t it great? It’s like one story gives to the gift of another story!
MVF: This is a great thing for a story teller!

How do you write?  Early in the morning?
EC: Yes, I’m a lark writer, preferring the quiet of early morning, but I catch as catch can.
MVF: See, I like the idea of writing early morning—the actuality is different.
EC: It works for me because I’m rested and it’s quiet…especially good if one does not have a dedicated writing space with a DOOR on it! Of course the door would to have a sign: “Don’t come in unless there’s LOTS of blood involved”
MVF: They still do…..

Do you start and stop? Or write furiously until it’s done?
EC: Start and stop. There is nothing furious about me.
MVF: This made me laugh! I must ask—how about deadlines—can you easily make them? You come across as very organized.
EC: I’m not very organized, but a looming deadline with a paycheck attached is a wonderful motivator!!!
MVF: This is very, very true.

Do you plot everything? Or are you a pantser or a mix?
EC: Mix. I punster, then hit the research to find out if it’s got some basis in actual history.
MVF: I like it—the mix is perfect. Now, do you make sure everything is historically accurate even when it’s a fantasy? I am saying this because I had a long discussion with a Historical Writer about this and I find it fascinating.   
EC: I think it’s up to the writer.  But I try to be accurate yes, especially in fantasy as I don’t want to charge the reader with TOO many leaps!!  You know how Stephen King has triscuits and M&Ms along with the undead?  My 1960s story involves an Irish immigrant who has been one of the Magdelenes, a disgraceful part of Irish culture that abused young women for many years.  She’s a damaged soul who gets the gift of knowing a Selkie/Human young man who sees past her damage...her in all her beauty.  I need for her damage to be quite REAL and based in this terrible system.  And I need the story based on the mores of 1960 Ireland and America.  I even included a reference to Kennedy running for president because of course Irish Catholics were ALL excited about that!
MVF: Ah… I see what you are saying. For me, fantasy is complete world building, or a nod in the general direction of fact—but I love what you are doing with the story above—very eloquent and deep (something I’d love to read!)

Do you listen to music when you write or do you need silence?
EC: SILENCE, PLEASE (and ladies: remove your hats!).
MVF: Ah, so no coffee shop for you!
EC: Not for writing, no. But for editing and rewriting? Sure, anywhere I can get a few moments of peace! I was rewriting a scene on a train going into NY City when the planes of the 9/11 hyjackers were going over my head and something very strange happened to the writing…but that’s another story….
MVF: 9/11 was a sad day indeed for all. I tend to need the opposite—for revision I need silence. But I’ve always been an odd sort.

Where do you write? Office, coffee shop, anywhere?
EC: Kitchen table is my current office.
MVF: *Nods* I like it. One of my favorites spaces, the kitchen. Do you like to cook? (I know I am digressing from writing, but I can’t help it!) 
EC: I am not much of a cook, although I can put a one pot meal together..casseroles, pot pies and pizzas my specialties.  My husband is a better cook, bless him.  But I love to bake!  And I make the family’s bread.
MVF: I love to bake and to cook—never enough time. But oh, I love fresh meals… next time I’m going to ask for one of your favorite recipes (baking).

Name 3 books/Authors you’ve read which have had an impact on your writing?
EC: Dickens for story, Austen for perfect-pitch dialogue, JM synge, Oscar Wilde, Lady Gregory, and the Irish Renaissance writers for lilt.
MVF: Yes, the dialogue is wonderful form Austen. I love the list of authors—very much individual and interesting.
EC: Oh thanks!  I think I’m very influenced by what I read when I was young.  And by what I saw...I was so fortunate to live close enough to NY City that my teen summers were spent haunting the free Shakespeare in Central Park, and the world-class traveling companies of Gilbert and Sullivan light opera...that’s when I fell in deep love with the English language.  We are so lucky to be writing in it, aren’t we?  The WORLD lives in English!
MVF: I appreciate it deeply—but there are some phrases and expressions which can never be translated well enough into English…I think language is something beautiful in all variances! But oh, what a lovely experience to hang out in NYC and soak in all those things!

I’m a Sci-Fi/Fantasy buff, I love movies/shows in this genre, was or is there a T.V. Show or Movie which has inspired you (doesn’t have to be Sci-Fi/Fantasy). Name one or at least three.
EC: I have a great passion for wonderfully made movies too. Some of my favorites: Some Like It Hot, To Kill a Mockingbird, Joyeux Noel, Rob Roy, Dances With Wolves, Sullivan’s Travels, It Happened One Night. This awards season I have liked 12 Years a Slave, and Nebraska, very much. In Sci-Fi I like the Aliens movies 1 and 2, and the new Star Trek movies are a hoot. My favorite of the TV Star Treks is Next Generation. Other TV shows I adore:  Mad Men, Masters of Sex, the Original Twilight Zone series, Orange is the New Black, the original Upstairs/Downstairs (and the new one is pretty good too, I think) Call the Midwife.
MVF: I find it interesting to see the what movies you like and T.V. shows. I must ask, do you watch Downton Abbey?  (I’m with you on Rob Roy—one of my favorite movies).
EC: Oh, yay, a Rob Roy fan!  Most of my friends prefer Braveheart, which I found kind of gruesome.  I actually stole from Rob Roy for The Randolph know when the villain goes over the bridge choking?  That was so cool I used it.  I love the family relationships in that movie, and all the derring do, but also all the deep love and forgiveness.  And who can forget “Until my husband kills you, I will think of you dead.  After that, I will think of you not at all.”  There are several people I’d like to say that to!! –Same here!!
MVF: Oh I can relate—One of the reasons I liked Rob Roy better—it had what I considered a happy ending. I am not a fan of tragedies. Braveheart  was good, but I only watched it once, and that was enough. Rob Roy—I could watch again and again. You are right –the ties and the family bonds were wonderful.  I need to watch that again…

For the geeks like me; if you watched Firefly—which character drew you the most? Or were you like me and all of them did (see, I was going to put this in one way or the other!)
EC: My son and son-in-law are great fans of Firefly, and got me to watch a couple of segments, but I’m afraid I was not that impressed and lost interest.
MVF: Oh-well. I loved it, but like with everything we all are drawn to different things—which makes for lots of good stories out there!

What fictional character (Book, show, movie) would you most love to meet?
EC: I wouldn’t mind hanging out with Fred and Ginger when they’re dancing. Sublime!
MVF: Oh, I agree! I love watching them dance.

Tea or Coffee?
EC: Both please
MVF: Excellent choices!

 Thank you so much for being here Eileen, I hope you come again!
To celebrate the release of New Street Communication’s audiobook of Waltzing in Ragtime, leave a comment here and Eileen will be happy to enter you in a drawing for a free download of the book from Visit her blog  and leave a comment there and you’ll get another entry! ** please put your email down as: Name at wherever dot com.  Winner will be selected  March 22nd and posted here and on her blog winner will be contacted by the email they leave.** Ali Hubbard is the winnter! CONGRATS!! :)
Author Bio: Eileen Charbonneau is an award-winning author of ten books, nine of them novels.  She’s been involved with theater and independent filmmaking projects, and is a storyteller of Irish and Native American tales.  Eileen’s multi-cultural heritage includes Huron and Shoshone relatives, including three members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition (Sacagawea, Toussaint, and Jean-Baptiste Charbonneau).  Eileen’s books are published by Macmillan, Scholastic, Kensington and New Street Communications.  They include the highly acclaimed YA historical Woods Family Trilogy, and, for adults Waltzing in Ragtime, The Randolph Legacy, and Rachel LeMoyne.   New Street Communications has recently published Eileen’s guide:  Elements of the Novel, and New Street Audio presents the new audio book version of Waltzing in Ragtime, narrated by Joanna Withey and available on iTunes and  The Randolph Legacy will follow soon.  Eileen is represented by the AponteLiterary Agency.

Where to find Eileen:

Waltzing in Ragtime

Journalist Olana Whittaker meets forest ranger Matthew Hart at the opening of Sequoia National Park.  Together, they learn the heartbreak and joys that come with pursuing their destinies.  “Provocative…a well told, extremely entertaining tale.”The Washington Post  

Winner Heart of the West Award

now available as audiobook from

The Randolph Legacy

When Quaker Judith Mercer comes to Windover with a damaged prisoner-of-war of the British Navy, the Randolph family cannot believe him to be their long lost boy.  Judith and Ethan struggle to overcome their scarred histories to forge a future together.  “Charbonneau shows impressive command of the elements of historical romance in a tale of suffering, revenge, redemption and, of course, love, set in post-Revolutionary America.”--Publishers Weekly

Rita Award finalist:  Best Historical Romance

Audiobook Coming soon from!

The Ghosts of Stony Clove
Asher and Ginny were born and raised in the rugged mountain town of Stony Clove, with its old fashioned traditions and tales. The most famous was the story of the ghost who haunts William Sutherland and the legend that had grown around her death. The mystique of the Sutherland homestead captivated Asher and Ginny, leading them to discoveries about the legend, and themselves, that will bond them together.  First of a three book series-- The Woods Family Saga  

Winner Golden Medallion Award, Best YA of the Year, Best Books for the Teen Age, NY Library System

Elements of the Novel

Critically-acclaimed historical and YA novelist Eileen Charbonneau provides invaluable guidance to process, plotting, structure, character development, dialogue, and more.  “Both beginners and experienced novelist will find many jewels laid out so carefully they won’t even have to go digging for them.”--Romance novelist Jenna Kernan


  1. Great interview and such an interesting range of stories she tells!! I love those genres. And Elements of the Novel is going on my bookshelf. Might be just in time! Haha

    1. Ali! I was thinking the same thing!
      Eileen is truly a neat person and I am glad you stopped by! :)

  2. Wonderful interview! I very much enjoyed getting to know more about Eileen's process and work, and I HIGHLY recommend 'Waltzing in Ragtime.'

    I'm such an angst junkie and love a tortured hero, so she hooked me with Matthew Hart. Throw in a feisty and independent heroine, a fascinating time period (early 20th century), and a host of interesting side characters, and it's definitely my kind of book :)

    1. Thanks Dana! I have it on my TBR for sure! Already I love her varied stories---!

  3. A long fan of the CCCC, I did a brief stint in forestry, and with a daughter in the National Park Service, Ragtime sounds like a book I need to add to my TBR pile. Great interview.

    1. Thanks for stopping by D.T.; I think I'm never going to finish by TBR pile...

  4. I love that she writes so many genres and that's quite an impressive awards list!

    As a (VERY) distant descendant of Rob Roy - have to also give it the nod over Braveheart. :)


    1. Debbie--you constantly amaze me! :) How absolutely fascinating you are distant relation to Rob Roy...!