Author Interview: Charlene Johnson
About the author:
Charlene lives in Sacramento, California. She is married and has a son, a daughter and four grandchildren. She graduated cum laude from Waynesburg College with a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts. She's spent 30 years in working at a defense contractor before embarking on her career as an author.
Books have always been her passion. She started reading at an early age and progressed to full-length books by age nine. The first supernatural book series she read was Dark Shadows, and it sparked her interest in all things paranormal, with a spicy touch of romance mixed in for good measure. She also started writing poetry in grade school and continues to do so today. Being an avid reader, the consummate daydreamer and an incurable romantic with a Cinderella complex, she started creating her own characters and storylines because she realized she had her own stories to tell. She’s traveled the world, crossed galaxies, traveled through time and explored history on the pages of books.
She is an author with Kingston Publishing Company and has published three books so far in her erotic paranormal romance series Circle of the Red Scorpion. She is working on book 4 in the series and is also writing book 1 in a romantic suspense series Sterling Woods.
Besides reading and writing, she also enjoys photography, travel, music, and great movies.
What inspires you to write romantic fiction?
Since I was a little girl, I've always loved romance novels. I started reading paranormal romance with the Dark Shadows series and progressed to gothic novels and historical romance. I'm a romantic at heart and it was only natural for me to write romantic fiction.
Tell us about how you write.
I'm an outliner. I love to have a plan when I write. It is especially critical when writing a series. I also do extensive research as I want my books to have interesting substance and believability as well as romance.
Do you listen to or talk to to your characters?
I do both since it is their voice I'm writing. Sometimes I steer the conversations, sometimes they do. Since I'm writing series, It's important to know the characters' paths as theirs affect other characters, plots or subplots.
What advice would you give other romance writers?
Use your imagination and try to write something fresh and interesting. There are so many writers and you want to stand out. Most important, have fun and enjoy what you write. I write what I like to read and hope readers like it too.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
In the beginning, I planned on finding a publisher but I was overwhelmed by the manuscript submission process that varied with each publishing company and didn't want to spend my time submitting my first book to multiple publishers only to be rejected. I decided to self-published not knowing all of the mechanics of it. I did some research regarding self-publishing and in the end, chose to use a vanity press since I had no experience with publishing and was working full-time. I didn't have a great experience with the vanity press publisher and was very discouraged. Most of it I chalk up to not understanding the publishing process. Then a great thing happened. I was at an author signing event in April 2018 in LA and met the publishers sponsoring it. After talking to them, I was able to break the contract with the vanity press and signed with them. We rebranded my first book and re-released it and have published two more books since then. It was the best decision I ever made.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Authors will continue to self-publish in record numbers and small publishing companies who have the interests of their authors at heart will flourish.
Which romance sub-genere(s) fit your stories best?
Paranormal Romance and Romantic Suspense
My books are available in the following formats: