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Meet 2014 Golden Heart Finalist Charis Calhoon!

Today we’re delighted to welcome Charis Calhoon, 2014 Golden Heart Finalist in Historical Romance.

Charis was lucky enough to work as an intern at the national office of RWA as a college senior. After graduating with a degree in Journalism, she was hired full time at RWA, and eventually became the association’s Communications Manager, editing the RWR and handling public relations at the RWA Conference and for RITA finalists. After eight years, she left RWA with a new baby and a new dream:  to write a romance novel herself.

Since that time, she’s worked to balance writing with stay-at-home motherhood. She’s written three complete manuscripts—two Regency historicals and one romantic suspense—and her current work in progress is a romantic suspense. She finaled in RWA’s Golden Heart contest with her first suspense in 2011, and now the historical this year. She says, “Romance fiction is very central to me.  I’m not sure I could live without the pro-woman, pro-family (all kinds of families) undertones and hopeful, love-trumps-all theme of romance—as a writer and a reader.”

charis calhoonHere’s a blurb for THE EARL NEXT DOOR:

Rich American heiress Piety Grey has fled to England to escape her hateful mother and the oily suitors she forces upon her.  All of them, Mom included, are after Piety’s money, but she protects the inheritance by sinking it into a ramshackle townhome mansion in the heart of Mayfair, which she plans to restore. The new home progresses beautifully until renovations (and Piety herself) spill over onto the property next door—home to the private, prickly, lonely Trevor Rheese, Earl Falcondale. They clash, the kiss, they halt construction by fighting (and kissing), even while the opportunistic Americans arrive in town and aggressively pursue Piety. Now the only thing to protect Piety from an abusive future is…the earl next door.  But can he pretend to be her fiance if he failed so miserably to be her neighbor?

Oh, yay!! What a great storyline! I love everything about it—and that you keep balancing your Romantic Suspense writing with Historical, because I want to read more!

Readers, grab some tea and scones (or for you Romantic Suspense folks, some straight black coffee) and settle in with us, while we learn a little more about what goes on behind the scenes with Charis!

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Let’s start with my fave question: what was it like when you got the phone call telling you you were a finalist?

When the call came in, I was receiving rental furniture to our temporary apartment, and I celebrated with the delivery men. A tree fell on our house in March, and we’ve had to move into temporary housing (with temporary furniture) until our roof is restored.

It was late in the day, because RWA had to figure out my cell phone number (the tree took out our landline).  I didn’t recognize the number and almost didn’t answer it….But then I did, and the Board member (whose name I, unfortunately, lost in the excitement) identified herself, and I remember thinking, “Did I forget to vote on something?”  I had no idea it was finalist day, and I couldn’t imagine why RWA was calling me.  When she told me I was a finalist, I stopped breathing, then I started hyperventilating, then I started screaming.

Off all the books I’ve written, THE EARL NEXT DOOR is my favorite.  I’ve entered it for several years, revising it each time in hopes of…something.  I had all but given up hope, so the joy of actually making the finals with it is overwhelming.  After I assured the delivery men and my kids that the call was good news and not tragic news, I danced around the empty apartment and repeated some dazed version of, “I can’t believe it!” again and again.  Delivery men Moses and Horatio were very happy for me and assure me that they will read my book as soon as it comes out.  (You and me both, guys!)

OMG! A tree fell on your house—that’s gotta be the best excuse for not being able to take the RWA phone call I’ve ever heard! (And, um, sorry it happened to you!) And I love that you don’t remember the name of the Board member who called—that seems to be a verrrry common form of amnesia—but you do remember the names of the delivery guys. Maybe you should send them flowers if you win…. So, this isn’t your first time at the Big Dance. Having been there twice, what would you say is the best thing about being a GH finalist?

This is my second time to final, and without a doubt, the best thing is the bolstering gush of VALIDATION you receive in the otherwise futile vacuum of, “Why Am I Still Trying?”

The validation is definitely powerful! So, are you going to Nationals again this year? It must be a pretty different experience from being on the other side of the RWA desk—especially being a Finalist!

When I worked for RWA, I attended eight RWA Conferences…arriving before the Board meeting at the beginning and staying for days after to clean up at the end. It was the culmination of our year, our biggest push/effort, and I loved it. Fast forward ten years of stay-at-home motherhood with writing on the side. When I returned to the Conference in 2012, I was an RWA member and Golden-Heart finalist; and it was STRANGE to be on the other side, almost…”imposter-esque.” It made me nervous and jumpy, and I ended up touring the host city of New York with my date (my mother) for much of the week.

I knew a lot of people in RWA, but they were all NYT-best-selling authors that I used to accompany to interviews or established authors who I had hired to write for the RWR. They were former Board members. Beyond saying hello, my “place” was no longer with them. Even though the RWA Executive Director is a dear friend, I couldn’t hang out with her or the other staff—that would be weird and counter-productive. Yet, I hadn’t joined my local chapter, and I didn’t really know anyone at my same place in the writing journey. I was…unprepared to navigate the social/networking aspects of RWA, because I didn’t really know where I fit in.

Nora Roberts used to say (and I’m sure she still does) that your closest writing friends are the women in your own “class”—so, the people “you come up with.” Even though she is arguably the best-selling romance author in the world, her closest writing friend is a much lesser-known category author who published about the same time as she did, back in the late ’70s, early ’80s.

This year, I have vowed to approach the whole thing differently.  I have still not joined my local RWA chapter (won’t go into excuses here!) but I do have a critique partner, and she is coming to the RWA Conference. We correspond every day and trade pages, but I have never met her in person. I am so looking forward to giving her a hug in San Antonio. And I want to make new friends and contacts. I can be reserved and tentative about this in a new setting…and it’s even weirder in a new/old setting…but I’m determined.

Most writers I know are introverts, and need a little coaxing to navigate the Nationals social whirl. Guaranteed: you’re never the most nervous person in the room. And hopefully you’ll meet some new friends today—our Finalist guests often tell me people at conference recognize them from their guest blog, and come to say hello. (Quick, everybody: take another look at Charis’s picture and be sure to at least give her a wave when you see her!)

Okay, next question: you’ve been immersed in the romance writing world for awhile now, from different angles. What are some of the most important things you’ve learned so far about the publishing industry and what writers need to do to get a foot in the door, and/or thrive?

Some of the best advice I have heard (or experienced) is, don’t submit until your work is ready.

I wasted a lot of contacts and industry-insider “short-cuts” from my years at RWA by submitting manuscripts that were still in the “learning” phases.  I thought I was ready…but I was not.  Some people may disagree…say, “Be aggressive early!” or, “Put yourself out there!”  But I wish I had held off, worked with a critique partner, had more readers, evolved my voice and my pacing before I started to pitch work that was really a beginner effort.

Of course, this can also back-fire. Now that I may (possibly) be ready, I hold back on submitting because…what if I’m STILL not ready?  How can you ever really be sure you’ve reached your so-called A-Game?  It’s a fine line, but simple rules and guidelines can help.  Is the book an appropriate length (I have beginner efforts that are nearly 600 pages long!)? Are your goals, motivation, and conflict intact?  Have you created heros and heroines that fit the archetype for romance?  (This is not always essential, but it can’t hurt in the beginning.  Prostitute heroines can be a hard sell. So are heros who are something like…florists.) Mostly, are you getting multiple positive comments from HONEST readers?

An straight-shooting critique partner is essential, I’d say. I can’t believe I toiled for so many years without one.

Hallelujah for straight-shooting critique partners!! And I hear you 100% on the thinking-you’re-ready-before-you’re-ready / then-second-guessing-yourself-forever conundrum. Sigh. But I sense you’re ACTUALLY ready now. With two GH nominations in two different categories, and several manuscripts under your belt, you’re somebody to reckon with.

Speaking of being a multi-genre writer—and in such very different genres!—what are your creative inspirations? Books? TV shows? Movies? Pop culture stuff? Do you have a favorite author…or several?

Oh, my goodness, I love pop culture….You may be sorry you asked.

Where movies are concerned, I like anything hopeful. Anything from indie films like, “In A World” or “Safely Not Guaranteed;” to sentimental, it-all-works-out-in-the-end movies like “Million-Dollar Arm;” to movies designed for 14-year-old boys, such as “Transformers” or “Battleship.” And my husband and I also love a good “dance-off” movie…where one “crew” of teens dance-battles another…generally so that an outsider to the dance world may prove to his/her parents that dancing is a legitimate pursuit. Love it. These movies almost always come out in the Sahara-movie-month of February, and we always see them opening weekend with the handful of other dance-off enthusiasts in the world.

What I will not watch is/are tragic movies, films that feature drug use, hazing, or beloved pets that die. I hate unhappy people floundering in their own futile unhappiness; movies without a single female character; and movies where no character is redeemable or “good.” Except for the original “Star Wars,” I’m not big on Outer Space. My favorite movie of all time is probably….”Speed.”  ….Or “Sense and Sensibility.”  Exactly what I write.  Go figure.

I read romantic suspense that is heavy on the ‘adventure/thriller’ side of suspense (not the mystery side) and Regency historicals.  My favorite authors are Suzanne Brockmann, Pamela Clare, Loretta Chase, and Julie Ann Long.

Outside of romance, I’ll read general fiction if it is HOPEFUL.  Maria Semple (“Where’d You Go, Bernadette?”) or Maggie Shipstead (“Astonish Me”) or Jennifer Weiner (“Then Came You”) are some recent books I devoured.

My favorite television show of all time is Veronica Mars.

LOL…”Speed,” “Sense and Sensibility”…what’s the diff, right? At least you’ll never get bored! (And you’re probably the 85th person to tell me of the wonderfulness of Veronica Mars, which I’ve never seen. Must get on that.) Anyhow, you’re clearly a complex and multi-layered person. What aspects of your personality would you say are most valuable to you as a writer? What aspects (if any) make the writing life more difficult?

My minor in college was Theatre, and I find writing dialogue to be a lot like improvisational acting.  You are basically typing out a “scene,” as it comes to you, fast and furious, in your head.  I love dialogue, and my books have a lot of “talking.”

I am also a controlling person (ask my poor husband), and that “control” carries through to my writing in a frustrating way.  My critique partner says I will write:  “She picked up the spoon, she raised it to her lips, she placed it in her mouth and relished the steaming soup to rolling down her throat, burning a path to her stomach….”  When I could (should!) simply write, “She ate.”  I am trying to reign in my need to micromanage my characters and the way readers meet them.

Ooh, ooh! Me too on the former actor / dialogue connection! Which is so great for historicals especially (hint, hint. Okay, also good for Romantic Suspense tough guy sass, but still. I want more historicals!!). And the micromanaging character behavior—sigh, I do that, too. I’m always trying to learn to cut it down to ONE actually interesting detail that synchs with the character’s emotional state. Like maybe if she’s having an angry conversation with the hero while eating that soup, stick with “Her soup burned a path to her stomach.”

One last thing: What question would you like to ask our readers to get the conversation going today?

I’d simply love to know what everyone is reading….What new or lesser-known author has blown you away recently?  I don’t have much time to read, but it’s one of my favorite things to do.  I’m always looking for the author or series that I haven’t yet met.

58 responses to “Meet 2014 Golden Heart Finalist Charis Calhoon!”

  1. Elisa Beatty says:

    Welcome, Charis! It’s delightful to have you here!

    Have fun today!

    As for what I’m reading: Hild, by Nicola Griffith. It’s a fictional treatment of the life of St. Hilda of Whitby. Very intense and beautifully written.

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    • Charis Calhoon says:

      Elisa, this is been so lovely! You did a beautiful job throwing out the questions and weaving this piece together. I feel very Cinderella-at-the-Ball today. Thank you so much!

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  2. Julie Mulhern says:

    While I love a good historical, I’m currently reading a cozy – Board Stiff by Kendel Lynn. It’s funny and sassy and all about how deadly serious raising support for charities can be. The topic hits home (the fundraising, not the murder).

    Congratulations on your final!

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  3. Suzanne says:

    Great in-depth interview, Elisa! Charis, I will definitely buy that book. Strong heroine, prickly hero–if I saw it in the book store, I’d get it based on the blurb alone. Lots of times we’re led to believe the heroine is strong, but her actions make us scratch our heads. Your gal makes some daring moves for the time period. I was in the same boat you are–balancing the raising of kids with pursuing my craft. I tried to keep the focus on the former, trusting the latter would come organically as I quietly and determinedly pursued it. It WILL happen, so enjoy your kids while they’re still under your roof!

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    • Charis Calhoon says:

      Thank you for the kinship about balancing it all Suzanne! (As I sit down to follow up at 11:00 p.m.! Doctor’s today…Strep positive and pink eye at the Calhoon house!)

      You are mighty right about the “bold moves” of my heroine in 1809. I’ve had to really dig in the research materials to find examples of women who owned property in England at that time. It was very rare…but it ~did~ happen….

      Thanks for stopping by and reading my piece….!

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  4. Wonderful interview Elisa, and great getting to know more about you and your fabulous book, Charis. Looking forward to meeting you in SA.

    I am currently reading Snapped by Laura Griffin (romantic suspense:), and the second Outlander book, Dragonfly in Amber (and yes, I know I’m late to the party:). I am reading all of Laura Griffin’s books. I love her writing and the tension she keeps on every page of her stories. The romance is always woven seamlessly into the suspense.

    I have the audio books for Outlander and am in love with Jamie Fraser – my book boyfriend of the moment:)…looking forward to watching the adaptation on STARZ later this summer…

    See you in a few weeks!

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Oh, the Outlander books! Those are so terrific. Jaime and Claire really lived in my head for years.

      I’m not even sure I’m going to watch the show–they exist too fully in my imagination, and I think seeing all the ways the actors aren’t “them” would drive me a little crazy.

      But I may get lured in anyway….

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    • Charis Calhoon says:

      Looking forward to meeting you, Denny! I have been late to the game with Laura Griffin’s suspense (for some reason?), but I do love discovering an author after she already has a backlist….So many books to enjoy! Thank you for stopping by!

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  5. Charis,
    I loved learning more about you! And, don’t worry, just head to the bar and I’m sure you’ll find me…erm, I mean lots of other writers to hang out with.

    I’m not sure you ever feel like you’re 100% ready. I’m still learning new craft techniques and applying them. But, I agree about pulling the trigger too early. Been there, done that too. It’s like jumping off a cliff. You don’t know if you’ve made until you’re in the water.

    I’m giddy over my next book club pick – The Invention of Wings by Sure Monk Kid. I loved, loved, loved her book The Secret Life of Bees (The Mermaid Chair-eh, not so much). But, I’ve heard fabulous things from my book reviewers (my parents:) about her latest.

    Can’t wait to see you in SA!

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    • Charis Calhoon says:

      Hi, Laura! I just saw the Monk Kid book named as one of the best books (so far?) of 2014….Will be interesting to see if your book club agrees! I will look for you in the bar in San Antonio! : ) Thank you for stopping by!

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  6. Charis,
    What an interesting career path you’ve traveled. From behind the scenes to center stage. 🙂 And then writing in different genres–yet still with kick-ass heroines. Yay! Love them spunky!
    As I read predominantly young adult books, I don’t know which book to recommend. I’ve read a ton of fabulous YA books recently. So many with more diverse characters, which is a wonderful path for books to take. And for people, for that matter.
    My favorite adult series is written by none other than a Ruby. Anyone who knows me is sighing right now. I know! I just can’t help it. It’s Darynda Jones! 🙂 When her sixth book came out, I ordered it even though I knew I couldn’t read it until my revisions were done. I was going to use it for my reward. So I left it on my table (not very long), and then I thought, “Just one chapter…” I finished it in one sitting. I love the Charley Davidson series. It’s no wonder FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT won both the Golden Heart® as well as a RITA.
    And still my revision is not finished.
    Good luck with all your books, Charis! Can’t wait to meet you in person.

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    • Charis Calhoon says:

      Dear Kim,

      We should all have as our goal to win the Golden Heart AND the RITA…: ) Perhaps not! Can you imagine? I have not read that book, but I will look it up…. It really is an honor simply to be finaling….

      The YA category is on fire….And I just read a piece in Entertainment Weekly discussing the “New Adult” category…with a suggested reading list. It’s popular for a reason, for sure.

      Thank you so much for stopping by….I look forward to meeting you in San Antonio! — Charis

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  7. Charis Calhoon says:

    I’m loving this book recommendations (and promises to ‘friend me’ in person in San Antonio!)….Thanks so much for reading my interview….I am making note of all these titles!…

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  8. Jessica Ruddick says:

    Right now I’m reading Killer Frost, the last book in Jennifer Estep’s YA Mythos Academy series. Jennifer has been nominated for a Rita (multiple times, I think), so she’s not exactly an unknown writer, but when I discovered her years ago, she was relatively unknown, at least to me. I was browsing the stacks in the public library when I came across Karma Girl. I picked it up and have been a fan ever since.

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  9. Shelly Alexander says:

    Charis,
    I love it that you worked for RWA, and we finally get to meet those that do so much work behind the scenes.

    I also love historicals with American heroines. I so hope to read this book soon.

    I’m currently reading The Fault In Our Stars. I wanted to read it before I saw the movie. Having gone through cancer myself, I usually read lighter, funnier stories, but I felt this one was worth a few (or many) tears.

    Great interview!

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      That’s a fine book. It’s really a YA, though so many adults are reading it. Very funny, very romantic, very sad.

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    • Charis Calhoon says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Shelly. Re: the American heroine in a Regency book….I always want to assert that I conceived of this book and wrote the first draft ~before~ dear Cora of Downton Abbey fame ever graced the small screen as our favorite American heiress. I suppose it’s simply too fun of an idea not to see a lot of exposure….I love them, too. Enjoy “Fault in our Stars.” It’s having a great run, for sure!

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  10. Great interview, Charis!

    Since it looks like you love both historical and romantic suspense (like I do!), try Zoe Archer’s Nemesis Unlimited series. For me, it encompasses the both of best worlds.

    And congratulations on your second time as a GH finalist! I can’t wait to meet you in San Antonio. 🙂

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    • Charis Calhoon says:

      Done and done! I looked up Zoe immediately (she was no on my radar!). Thank you! I appreciate the visit here today, and I look forward to meeting you in San Antonio! — Charis

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  11. Tamara Hogan says:

    How cool that you used to work for RWA, Charis! It must be both odd and awesome to attend the conference wearing that “Golden Heart Fianlist” ribbon!

    What I’m reading: I just gobbled up Nalini Singh’s latest Psy-Changeling novel, “Shield of Winter”. In new-author-to-me land, I’ve been slowly but surely chipping away at my TBR pile, and recently finished “About Last Night” by Ruthie Knox. LOVED IT. Non-fiction-wise, I’m reading “Privacy in the Age of Big Data: Recognizing Threats, Defending Your Rights, and Protecting Your Family” by Theresa Payton and Ted Claypoole. Oh, and Rob Lowe’s latest memoir, “Love Life.” The dude can WRITE. 😉

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Rob Lowe can write??? No kidding. Will check it out.

      And, DANG, girl, how many times have you sung the praises of Nalini Singh, and how many times have I said I was going to read one of her books, and how many times have I forgotten to actually get one. Too darned many, that’s how many. I seem to have a block. Maybe this time will be the charm.

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    • Charis Calhoon says:

      Hi, Tamara. So funny you should mention the GH ribbons (and my years on RWA staff). We regarded those ribbons as such a hassle (!!!!). There seems like 40 different colors of them…all with a different significance and hierarchy …and attendees were forever losing them or (accidentally) getting the wrong ones/missing ones in their registration packets…and then tracking us down (rightly so!) to change them out JUST when we were leaving the registration booth at the end of a long day. NOW that ~I~ will be in possession of one a coveted finalist ribbon, it takes on a whole new meaning. The GH Finalist ribbons used to be green….I can already see mine now! Can’t wait!

      Thank you so much for stopping by! — Charis

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  12. Hi Charis! I really enjoyed reading about you, and I’m also a big fan of Veronica Mars (and Speed!) I enjoy historicals, too, and right now I’m reading a great historical set in the American West by Jacqui Nelson, one of my GH sisters from last year. Fantastic. Looking forward to meeting you in person in SA. #GHDreamweavers!

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    • Charis Calhoon says:

      Hey, Amy….If you see this, I’m just wondering if you caught the Veronica Mars movie…and what you thought? We felt is was thoroughly entertaining….Nothing like the series overall, but Logan Echolls in Navy whites? OMG!!!!!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Charis

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  13. Hi Charis! Congratulations on finaling with your favorite manuscript! Don’t duck out on the GH experience this year. Attending the Conference as a finalist puts you in a great place for meeting the nicest people that will be your best friends in the coming years. Now that National is upon us, I’ve been trying to clear through some of the books I picked up last year in Atlanta. I read a Sarah McLean historical I hadn’t read before–always a treat! I’m just starting A Little Night Mischief by Emily Greenwood. Recently read Leslie Lynch’s Hijacked, which is fabulous. Finding the time to read AND write is a trial, isn’t it, when you’re also trying to live a somewhat normal life. Good luck!

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    • Charis Calhoon says:

      Hi Jacqueline,

      Thanks so much for stopping by…and with such great recommendations. I know Sarah MacLean (I think she reviews romance for our local paper, The Washington Post, once a month!), but the others are new to me! Love the title “Hijacked!” Will look that up on title alone!

      Best,
      Charis

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  14. Hello, Charis, and congratulations!!

    Probably not a lesser known author, but I’m loving Jill Shalvis’ contemporary romances right now. I just enjoyed one of Monica McCarty’s Highland Guard series I hadn’t read yet. I also recently returned from RomCon and heard our very own Ruby sister Elizabeth Essex reading a passage from one of her historicals and LOVED it. So, of course, that’s at the top of my TBR list now. 😉

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Oh, yes! Elizabeth Essex’s books are just terrific!

      And I’ve got to add Jill Shalvis to my TBR pile. I’m a big Kristan Higgins fan, and so I’d imagine I’d like Jill’s stuff as well.

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    • Charis Calhoon says:

      Hi, Anne Marie! Thank you for stopping by. I’ve learned ~all about~ Jill Shalvis because my dear critique partner writes exactly this type of book. Such a talent…I can’t want for my CP to be among her contemporaries. Shouldn’t be long now!

      Best,
      Charis

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  15. Carrie Padgett says:

    Hi Charis! I love your call story. And I’m a huge Veronica Mars fan, too. I’m reading the book, The Thousand Dollar Tan Line right now.
    The last book that really blew me away was The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty. I also love Kristan Higgins.
    See you in SA!

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    • Charis Calhoon says:

      Dear Carrie,

      Thank you for stopping by! Is “The Husband’s Secret” the book with the pink hydrangea on the cover? I love the art on that book but not ventured inside….I asked another Veronica Mars fan if she saw the film this spring….Did you? What did you think? What’s not to like about Logan Echolls in Navy dress white?! Look forward to meeting you in San Antonio!

      Best,
      Charis

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  16. Jillian Lark says:

    Hi, Charis! Congrats on being a two-time GH finalist! Great interview, too. Love the latest blurb for the “Earl Next Door” and learning more about you. Sorry about the tree falling on your house, but it made a great call story. Can’t wait to read your books someday soon and swap more stories in person at RWA14.

    Since I’m in writing cave mode, I haven’t read any new or lesser-known authors lately. I stick to comfort reads, enjoying my favorite books. If your reading time is limited like mine, I recommend listening to audio books in the car while you’re running errands. It’s easier to stop listening and get back to life and writing.~Jillian

    P.S. Elisa, tea and scones! How did you know they’re my favorite? Please pass the clotted cream and Veronica Mars. I never watched it either.

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    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Oh, yes, the clotted cream!! Just brought out a fresh bowl, plus strawberries!

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    • Charis Calhoon says:

      Jillian, my…Golden Heart God Sister!!!!

      I am getting very close to audio books, I tell you! The only time I have time to read right now is on the Kindle ap on my phone while I dry my hair! I get a little bit every day…about eight-minutes at a time. — Some of my favorite minutes of the day (besides dessert!).

      I cannot wait to meet you in San Antonio! I owe you an enchilada platter with extra guac!

      Best,
      Charis

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  17. Gwynlyn Mackenzie says:

    Welcome, Charis! Lovely learning more about you. The whole ‘wrong side of the desk’ thing really touched me–like a fish whose pond has flooded and is suddenly filled with strange creatures. So glad you managed to find your place in the altered pond universe.

    Love the premise of your story. I look forward to meeting you in SA!

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    • Charis Calhoon says:

      Gwynlyn…love your name…It’s nearly as challenging to spell as mine is! Thank you for stopping by. I will cling to your comparison of my experience on the “other side of the desk”…because it makes me feel like a mermaid instead of simply a wallflower. : ) Looking forward to meeting you in San Antonio!
      –Charis

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  18. Charis Calhoon says:

    How fun is it to have so many people read my interview and send well wishes! Thank you. I continue to make notes about books….But what is “RomCon?” Is that the Romantic Times convention…?

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  19. jbrayweber says:

    GREAT interview! I absolutely adore your blurb, too. And hooray for control freaks! LOL!

    Good luck on your Golden Heart final, Charis.

    Jenn!

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  20. Nan Dixon says:

    Congratulations Charis!
    This is terrible — I don’t think we ever met in NYC and we were Starcatchers – right? That was a big group that year and it sounds like you might have been hiding.
    I am reading BJ Daniel’s Intrigue for June from Harlequin Rescue at Cardwell Ranch. I wanted to check the pacing, since I am currently revising a short romantic suspense. I bought the bundle – which includes another GH sister – Angi Morgan and a book by Alice Sharpe.
    Really hope to meet you this year!

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    • Charis Calhoon says:

      Hi, Nan! Thank you for stopping by! Yes, I was a finalist in 2011, too. I thought your named looked familiar. I knew it couldn’t possibly be from so, so, SO much posting on the YahooGroups loop (on which I lurk). Yes, let us meet in person this year! I am turning over a new leaf and will seek you out….I love hearing you reading category. Long live!

      Best
      Charis

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  21. Piper says:

    I’m so sorry about the tree, that must be awful Charis. It sounds as if you are going about life, doing as you must. What a great attitude.
    I love Veronica Mars too and I love the sound of your story. I’m looking forward to meeting you in San Antonio. Doubtless you have a lot of stories to share–“from the other side…”

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    • Charis Calhoon says:

      Dear Piper,

      Thanks for the sympathy about the tree. It’s been very strange…randomly, we have ~loved~ living in the apartment. It’s like a vacation from real life…no yard to maintain…if something breaks, they send a man to fix it right away….It makes me wonder why we all scramble to move from a college apartment into the obligation and work of a house in the first place (?). And I am getting a new kitchen out of the ordeal, so mostly it’s been fine. The tree fell over my daughter’s bed (while she was asleep), but she was pulled out just in time, so….After we knew no one was hurt…nothing else really mattered. — And, hey, tomorrow they actually BEGIN work, and it’s only been FOUR MONTHS (don’t ask!). Just wondering if you saw the Veronica Mars movie…and what you thought? It was all about Logan Echolls in Navy dress whites! Thanks for stopping by….I will look for you in San Antonio! Best — Charis

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  22. Marni Folsom says:

    Charis, it’s great to learn more about you, and I cannot WAIT to read The Earl Next Door. I love the idea of a wealthy young woman escaping society life to flip a house. 😉 Plus, I’ve been watching Mr. Selfridge on BBC America, so I’m all about Americans in London right now.

    I’ve been reading The Goldfinch for a while, but I needed a reprieve from the heavy (seriously, it’s HEAVY) narrative…so I just picked up The Seduction of Sarah Marks by my GH Firebirds sister Kathleen Bittner Roth. It’s so good! I started it at bedtime last night, read until I dropped off into sleep, and have spent the whole day trying to occupy the kids with one hand so I can hold my kindle with the other. Frankly, they’re not cooperating the way I’d hoped.

    Congrats on your second GH final! I’m trying to approach this year’s conference in a similar fashion (making connections with amazing writers above all else). I hope we meet!

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    • Charis Calhoon says:

      Marni — I will make a point to find you at Conference…love your goals! So, I have “Mr. Selfridge” on my to-be-watched list…because I adore Jeremy Piven, and I lived two years in England, just down the street from this department store (which I ~loved~). Eventually I’ll get to watch it….See you soon….Thanks for stopping by….

      Best,
      Charis

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  23. Hi Charis! Your book sounds like a lot of fun. 🙂 I haven’t been reading much lately since I’ve been writing as quickly as I can to beat te clock.

    You must go talk to people at conference – that’s probably my favorite part, especially since I dont have a chapter either. Say “hi” in line ups, or enter a bit behind the crowd at lunches so you sit with people you’ve never met. It’s marvelous! You meet all sorts of people who understand this chosen career and life more than anyone else. Have fun, and look forward to meeting you!

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    • Charis Calhoon says:

      Dear Shelly,

      Thank you so much for stopping by and the encouragement! I will be hoping I sit next to YOU at that table of strangers in the luncheon. : ) What a great approach….Hope to meet you soon….

      Charis

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  24. Elisa Beatty says:

    Thanks for being with us today, Charis!

    I’m sure you’ve found yourself some new allies to team up with at Nationals!

    Good luck on the big night!

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  25. Hey Charis!

    I’ve been out of town in the wilds of Montana, without internet. So, I’m way late to the party but wanted to stop by and say how much I enjoyed your interview. Looking forward to seeing you in San Antonio!

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