A pleasure having you today, Charlene. Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from?
Inglewood, California, south of LA.What sparked your interest in writing?
First of all, a love of romance novels. Secondly, a love of history and the old west, and finally, a dream. Not a general dream, like becoming a writer, but a specific dream I had one morning that stayed with me and forced me to put it down on paper. The book that resulted from that task has yet to be published, but I hope to see it reworked and published soon.What components, in your opinion, make a great story?
A delectable hero, a sympathetic heroine, a dilemma that seems impossible to resolve, unanswered questions that drive the reader to keep reading, a good twist and an ending that leaves the reader sighing with satisfaction and wishing for more.Do you set your books/stories in your home town, or do you prefer more exotic locations?
Most of my stories are set in Utah where I live. I did do an Oregon Trail story and my book, Forever Mine, is set on the Oregon coast, an area I know and love.A beautiful area. How much of your writing is based on people or events familiar to you?
I have used characteristics of people I know or have met, but none of my characters are totally based on any one person. As to events, I’ve never traveled the Oregon Trail, or lived in the nineteenth century. I haven’t lived in a dugout, although my mother did. Nor have I lived at a lighthouse. But I have yearned for love, lost a love, found a new love, laughed, wept, trembled in fear, and learned a great deal about life in my time.What inspired you to write Forever Mine?
Years ago I visited the Cape Meares Lighthouse in Oregon where I saw a photo on display of a keeper with his new bride. They both looked a bit forlorn, especially her, that I began thinking about how isolated that lighthouse once was, and what it would have been like to go to live there as a new bride, especially if she’d never met the man before her bridal day. The result was Forever Mine.I’ll bet I'm not the only one who'd love to see that photo. Was there much research involved in this story?
I did have to research what it was like to be a lighthouse keeper and what the area was like at the time period. I received a lot of help from friends in Oregon, the people at the Tillamook County Pioneer Museum, and the son of the light-keeper whose wedding photo inspired the story. Some minor events in the story, such as a stormy sea throwing rocks through the lighthouse window, I got from that man. "Old Hig," as he called himself, had either experienced them himself or recalled his father telling of the event.Thank you, Old Hig! What do you feel is your biggest strength as a writer?
Description, which, unfortunately, is not the best strength to have, since it can cause a story to drag.What do you like least about writing?
Self-promotion. I’m too shy to be good at it.Give us a mini-tour of your writing space.
I have a small office in my home, lined with bookshelves of varying sizes and styles, a file cabinet, a desk, another small desk I use for my printers and supplies, a whiteboard and a cork board where I can write notes on plots, or pin photos of characters, places, etc. A large window looks out on the street and there’s a basket for my cat, who too often prefers my lap instead. He’s a big cat.Which authors do you feel have influenced your writing most?
A. B. Guthrie, Larry McMurtry, Zane Grey, Alfred Silver, Lucia St. Clair Robson, Penelope Williamson, Elizabeth Lowell, Maggie Osborn. I could go on and on.Name a few titles I’d find if I browsed through your personal home library.
If you mean research books, English Through the Ages, The Writer’s Guide to Everyday Life in the 1800s, The Writer’s Guide to the Everyday Life in the Wild West, The Writer’s Journey, The Look of the Old West. I could go on for pages on this subject.You’re marooned on a desert island. What’s the one book you’d want with you, and why?
What a difficult question. My first choice would be my Kindle because it contains so many books. If not that, probably a book of Shakespeare’s works, or a book of poetry, because either would be inspiring and could be read over and over. An encyclopedia would be great too.Have any new authors caught your interest?
There are several authors in Facebook’s Western Historical Romance Book Club Group, but I haven’t had time to read all their books yet. Jacquie Rogers is great.On Facebook. Who knew? What’s next for you? Can we look forward to a new story in the near future?
Oh, yes. I have five books published by Kensington, the rights for which I now own, and Tirgearr will be publishing them all as e-books. I also have a new book I’m still working on and I’m reworking that first book I wrote.What advice would you give an aspiring author?
Don’t get so hung up on the do’s and don’ts of writing that you lose your imagination and inspiration. Don’t take criticism too seriously, trust your instincts, and reach for the sky.I like that advice. Name a few of your favorite non-writing activities.
Digital scrapbooking, needlepoint, crocheting, genealogy, and Ukrainian egg dying.A lady of many talents. Best of luck to you, Charlene. All right, time for a peak at Forever Mine.
Their love was fated…
A mail-order bride from Cincinnati, Ariah Scott traveled all the way to Oregon to marry one man, only to lose her heart to another. What will become of her now? Ever since her father died at the hands of a vengeful relative, Ariah's life has been shadowed by dark secrets. And now her forbidden desire for Bartholomew Noon fills her with uncertainty—and a secret longing that can never be fulfilled.
From the moment Bartholomew saw Ariah standing alone at the Portland train station. the keeper of the Cape Meares Light was lost. Hopelessly in love with this angelic beauty who is fated to live beside him at the isolated lighthouse as the wife of another man, Bartholomew never dreams that destiny will someday bring them together. Is Ariah truly the woman he can cherish…forever?
Cape Meares, Oregon 1891
Hester was coming from the garden when her husband raced out of the woods and around the fenced compound in which the houses stood. She crept along as though each step were an act of painful labor. With one hand she carried the freshly rinsed ceramic chamber pot she used at night instead of making the long walk down to the cold water closet off the kitchen.
"Where you going in such a hurry?" She waited for him to reach her, her shawl clutched over her flat, pious chest.
"Shipwreck," he said, as he passed her. "Crashed into Pyramid Rock. I'm taking the horses down to the beach for survivors."
"What'll you do with 'em if you find any?" she called after him in the waspish voice she was careful never to use around others.
Bartholomew didn't bother to answer. He rushed into the barn, snatched bridles off the wall and went to work readying the four horses they kept for hauling supplies.
Hester was still standing on the path, her thin face scrunched with disapproval, when he led the horses out into the fog.
"Won't have no putrefying bodies stinking up my house," she said, following him to the back porch of their home.
"Don't worry, Hester, I'll put them in the barn."
He glanced up as a white beam cut weakly through the thickening fog, followed by a red flash. On a good day the beam could be seen twenty-one miles out to sea. But today wasn't a good day. At least Pritchard had not fallen asleep and allowed the light to go out.
"Have Seamus relieve Pritchard, Hester, and send the boy down to help me. Right now I need blankets, and that brandy we keep for emergencies...if you haven't drunk it."
Hester blanched, and then colored. In her best imitation of refined gentility, which she usually saved for company, she said, "How dare you accuse me of drinking alcoholic beverages? You know I am a member in good standing of The Tillamook Women for Temperance Coalition...even if you have buried me here where I can't get to the meetings anymore."
Her husband tossed her a look of disgust, saying nothing about the bottle of Dr. Hamilton's Heavenly Elixir he had found that morning under the porch steps. The so-called tonic was mostly alcohol, but Hester had ignored his demand that she destroy her supply. She claimed it gave her strength and made her feel better. Bartholomew no longer cared. It made her easier to live with, if nothing else.
"Yes, Hester. Now get the blankets, please, I haven't time to argue."
"Get them yourself. You can move faster than me."
* * * * *About Charlene Raddon:
Charlene began writing 32 years ago after moving to Utah from Southern California, where she attended college as a fine arts major. She is well versed on the subject of the old west and the flora and fauna of the western United States. At present, she lives in the Salt Lake Valley with her husband and a rather odd cat. She has the best stepdaughter in the world and two fantastic grandchildren. Awards for her books include being a Golden Heart Finalist, receiving a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award Nomination (for Forever Mine) and winning or placing in several minor literary contests.
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Forever Mine / Available from