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An exclusive interview with
Charlotte "Charlee" Boyett~Compo

Charlotte "Charlee" Boyett~Compo talks to Dowse's Bonnie Mercure about her fantasy novels

Charlotte "Charlee" Boyett~Compo


Charlee is the author of over thirty books, the first nine of which are the WindLegend Saga which began with THE WINDKEEPER. She was the first author to be published by Twilight Times Books, now Dark Star Publications. Recently, Charlee won Inscription Magazine's 2000 Engraver Award for Favorite E-Author and The Writecharm's Simply Charming Award for promoting e-books and their authors worldwide. Her sci-fi/futuristic novel, BloodWind, stayed on Dark Star Publications bestseller list for over 18 months and has now been released in paperback. It was named as one of the Best Books of 1999 at eBook Connections as was her dark historical, In the Wind's Eye. Her psychological thriller, In the Heart of the Wind, was recently nominated for a 2000 R.I.O Award and has been named as one of the Best Books of 2000 at Inscriptions and was awarded a Reviewer's Choice Award at Scribe's World.

Bonnie: Tell me a little about the Windlegend saga, its characters, the world you created.

Charlee: The WindLegends Saga begins with the introduction of Prince Conar McGregor, a spoiled brat of a man who thinks the world revolves around him. After having escaped his personal guard, he gets himself into grave danger and his life is saved by someone totally beyond his scope of understanding, a person so unlike anyone he's ever known before that he knows his life is going to change. This person helps him to become the great warrior he is destined to be but there are pitfalls, travails, evils and dangerous curves ahead of them. Each book ends on a cliffhanger and hopefully makes the reader want to continue the series. The same cast of characters shows up in the subsequent books with more being added each time. The story of Conar's life progresses, changes, morphs into situations the reader can not imagine and does not expect. It is a complex, twisting/turning tale of undying, unconditional love, supreme sacrifice and unrelenting evil. The backdrop is a medieval-type setting complete with sword & sorcery, witches & demons, gypsies & princes. There's a little bit of everything for every devotee of romance from paranormal to shapeshifter. So far, each of the four books that have been released in this series have been getting consistent 5 star reviews.

Bonnie: How many Windlegend books are available for purchase? Do you plan to write anymore? If so, how many?

Charlee: In the WindLegends Saga, there are ten novels in all. At the moment, four of them: The Windkeeper, The Windseeker, The Windweeper, and The Windhealer are available. There are also three prequels to the Saga. They are WindFall, WindChance, and The Prince of the Wind. Each of my books are related in that they have generational characters from all the families you meet in each novel. I believe the last book in the WindLegends Saga, The Windschemer, will be the finale for that series, but I don't know for sure. I intend to keep writing novels that are in the same vein.

I have four other trilogies: The WindTales Trilogy (WindFall, WindChance, and WindBorn), The WindTorn Trilogy (In the Teeth of the Wind and In the Heart of the Wind), The HellWind Trilogy (NightWind, WindSpawn, and IllWind), and The DemonWind Trilogy (BloodWind, DarkWind, and EvilWind)and each of those have at least one book out at present. That is five more novels to be released in the next three years.

I generally write two novels at once, in two separate genres. I am working on a paranormal romance adventure titled BlackWind and a mystery/thriller called In the Arms of the Wind. Both require a great deal of concentration because each is a rather complicated tale. It will take me about six months to finish them.

Bonnie: I find it amazing that you are the author of over thirty books. Is there any key element that has kept you going--kept you writing -- through the years?

Charlee: I believe my desire to let escape the stories lurking around in my head is the primary reason. I have so many ideas for novels that I'll probably never get them all written. I'm in my element when I'm alone in my office and writing. I must have total quiet when I'm writing intricate scenes, but Celtic music when I'm doing love scenes. I become completely involved in the creative process and interruptions are something my family has learned to avoid. I love to bring new worlds to light and fashion characters unlike any readers have met before. If I didn't tell my stories, I might well become so depressed there would be no living with me! I really enjoy writing. When I was little, I would sit with my grandfather, my mother and the black maid who helped raise me and we would spin all kinds of fantastic yarns. My Irish grandfather and I spent many wonderful moments on the porch swing trying to out do one another in the ghost story department. When I became old enough to spin really good yarns, I drew my grandfather's respect. To him, nothing was as exciting as a tale well told. To me, nothing is as wonderful as a good tale well received. I am thrilled my books have garnered so many 4 and 5 star reviews because that tells me reviewers are enjoying what I have to say.

Bonnie: As well as being a prolific novelist, you have also contributed short fiction to the anthology Twilight Obsessions, available at Dark Star Publications. Do you plan on contributing to any more anthologies?

Charlee: I try to do at least one anthology every year that is used to benefit a charity. I have stories in the Shards Anthology (Breast Cancer Fund from DLSIJ Press) ; Millennium Milestones: A Celebration of Change (Diabetes Foundation from DiskUs Publishing); and At Grandma's Knee (St. Jude Children's Research Hospital from Gemini Books). The authors in these anthologies receive no royalties from their stories, but we do receive a great deal of satisfaction that we are helping such worthwhile causes. I am always looking for other anthologies along those lines to help.

As for anthologies like Twilight Obsessions: I'd love to do a few more. I am currently under contract with a publisher who may or may not bring out an anthology that contains one of my paranormal shapechanger stories. If not, hopefully I will get the rights back and peddle it elsewhere.

Bonnie: You fiction takes on a dark tone, though you dip into many categories--science fiction, horror, fantasy, romance and even historical. If you had to pick a genre you enjoyed writing in the most, what would it be?

Charlee: Wow, now that's a hard question to answer because my books tend to blend over into many genres at once. That is the main reason I love writing e-books: e-publishers allow you the creativity to express yourself in cross-genre fashion. For instance I don't write strictly sf or horror, but BloodWind contained elements of both plus an underlying romance and futuristic elements. NightWind is considered horror but there is a romance there as well as a large amount of fantasy in the creation of the Nightwind creature. I suppose my main love is the dark world of the paranormal since my novels tend to have more elements of that than any other. I enjoy being able to create new beings (like the Reaper and the Nightwind), new worlds, and new concepts. I don't care for the mundane so my stories will always have combined elements that you aren't likely to find in other novels....that and twists and turns so totally unexpected you'll hopefully be sitting on pins and needles waiting for the next book in the series to come out! I have one reviewer who swears she's going to camp out on my doorstep until the fifth book in the WindLegends Saga is released in Advance Review Copy. (She's gonna have a long, hot wait out there, though! :)) That book isn't scheduled for release until January 2002 and the ARC won't be ready before December.

Bonnie: You tend to write more in a man's POV. Is this more of a challenge for you than writing in a woman's POV?

Charlee: No, not at all. As a matter of fact I prefer the man's POV when I'm reading for pleasure. I have always found the hero's thoughts more entertaining than the heroine's. I cut my teeth on romance novels in the 70s and almost all of those were written from the woman's POV and they drove me to distraction! I couldn't care less what she thought of her corset or her gown or her hairdo. I didn't care to know what she thought of her archrivals corset or her gown or her hairdo. I wanted to know what the hero thought. Did the corset make him want to rip it off? Did the gown? Did he want to run his questing fingers through the heroine's hair and pull out her pins to let the silken mass fall to her shoulders? What was he thinking when he did those things? Did he want to yank the hair of the heroine's archrival and toss her out of the picture? Did he want to snatch HIS archrival's hair out at the root for flirting with his woman? What was he thinking when the silly twit of a heroine got her shapely butt in trouble and he had to rescue her AGAIN! What was HIS take on the GRAND MISUNDERSTANDING every romance novel had to have? What was he thinking while he was engaged in the required 3 sex scenes?

All those questions intrigued me and when I began writing, I realized the woman's POV meant so little to me as to be almost non-existent. When I started writing from the man's POV, my writing came alive and I was able to get across my thoughts. I wanted the reader to share in his angst, his sorrow, his loneliness. I wanted them to taste his tears and now the depths of despair to which he had been forced. I wanted them to laugh with him and to treasure his honor. He became the focal point and as a result, I have been able to garner just as many male fans as female fans.

Bonnie: As an author you have won numerous awards, including The 2000 Dream Realm Awards, Inscription's E-Zine's 2000 Engraver Award, and you were nominated for a 2000 Dorothy Parker Award of Excellence from the Reviewer's Insternational Organization. Is there any particular award that you are especially proud of?

Charlee: I am very proud of the 2000 Engraver Award. It was an award voted on by members of the Inscription E-zine list over 5000 members strong. Being chosen Favorite E-Author of the Year carries quite an honor with it for there are so many wonderful e-authors out here. I can't wait for the certificate and coffee mug to arrive so I can display them in a prominent place in my office!

Bonnie: You initially chose to electronically publish your fiction titles. What led you to this decision?

Charlee: Because the traditional print houses wouldn't take a chance on my untraditional writing. I received the traditional form letters with the traditional rejections and tossed them into the traditional round files, not bothering to read them any more than my manuscripts were read by the traditional print editors. I began looking for untraditional pioneers who didn't want the same-old/same-old cookie cutter pap.

Actually, my first book, The Keeper of the Wind, was published in mass-market paperback through a subsidy publisher. That publisher ran afoul of the law up in Canada and no longer exists (that we know of). I was one of the handful of authors from that publisher who ever received royalty checks and who sold any substantial number of books. I had over 25 book-signings from that title before the feces hit the oscillating rotor. I was also one of the members of the class action suit that brought the publisher down. As a result, I was able to go up to Canda and retrieve over 5000 copies of my novel which I am selling through the Amazon.com Advantage program. The novel is doing extremely well and I am the only distributor of it worldwide.

I was in the midst of having the WindLegends Saga published by another subsidy publisher out of Kentucky when my family finally bit the bullet and hooked up to the Internet. Along about the time that publisher and I were playing class action roulette in the Kentucky courts, I was writing In the Wind's Eye, my dark historical, in chapter installments at The Home of Southern Country. It was such a success, I started looking for a publisher on line and found DLSIJ Press. They bought the book for html download from their website and have since brought it out in trade paperback as well. It has won several awards. As a result, DLSIJ Press sponsored another weekly installment novel of mine: The Prince of the Wind for a mailing list started for me by a fan. That book is being sold on DLISJ Press' website.

Not long after that, I had a chat hosted for me by Romance Foretold and learned they were about to embark on their own e-publishing venture. I asked if they'd like to see any of my writing and they said yes. Unfortunately for me, my writing was too dark, too intense, and too adult for their market, but they believed in my work so much, they created a new publishing house just for my writing. Originally that publishing house was Twilight Times which later became Dark Star Publications. Now, DSP is known simply under the blanket of RFI West. I will be eternally grateful to Gina Haldane, Penny Hussey, Lilda Quillen and especially Lorraine Stephens for believing in me enough to want others to read my work. Without them, I would not be talking to you today.

Bonnie: What advice would you give to authors thinking about submitting to an electronic publisher?

Charlee: Know what to expect before you submit. Many new authors believe that e-publishers will do all the work for them once the novel is in the hands of the editor. They think their work is done. Actually, the hard work is really beginning. Writing the novel was nothing compared to promoting it. If you want to sell more than a few copies to friends and relatives, you have to market that book yourself. The e-publisher doesn't have the time, money, or personnel to promote it for you. They might find a handful of reviewers who are willing to read it and review it but they can't guarantee the review will ever be written or published. They might have a reciprocal agreement with a few websites who will slap a link up to your book but they won't have the time or the personnel to go hunting for new websites for you. In order to be a success in the e-publishing field, you have to promote your book on as many sites as you can get it. The more times your name is seen, the better the chance you will sell a book. People will go over to ABC site and there you are. They might ignore you but when they surf over to DEF and see you there, too, they might become intrigued. Let them hop over to GHI and find you there and they might want to see what all the hoopla over you is about. Along the same lines, you can't let your links vegitate at websites. Keep them updated on what you're doing. Look for new websites who might like to interview you or review your book. Look for cross-genre sites on which you can be listed. Sign guestbooks telling people who you are and what you have to offer. In other words: Promote the heck out of what you have available!

If you go into e-publishing KNOWING you are going to have to do most of the work of promoting yourself, you will be less apt to be disappointed when your publisher does only the minimum amount of publicity for you. Consider the amount of writers in their stable then multiply the demands of promotion and publicity and you'll see it would be daunting for them to even attempt to promote you over one of their other authors. Truth be told, some of those authors might be a better writer than you or their subject matter more interesting than yours. You will need to bring your book and yourself to the attention of others who will find your writing and your subject matter more interesting than the other author's. Only you can do that. Make up your mind whether you wish to make this a profession or a hobby. The ball is in your court.

Bonnie: What authors have influenced your work? Do you have a favorite book you love to read over and over again?

Charlee: Rosemary Rogers, Marilyn Harris, and Anya Seton whetted my appetite for a certain kind of romance: hard-hitting, unapologetic, and mature. I loved Rogers' earlier novels before she took a nose dive into s/m. Sweet, Savage Love was great and had all the elements I find intriguing in a romance novel. Harris' Prince of Eden…the entire Eden Saga series for that matter…made me sit up and take notice. But it was Seton's Green Darkness that first made me aware that there were novels that could satisfy the darker side of my nature and make me want to read more and to keep re-reading it. I learn something new each time I pick up Green Darkness. Many diehard romance readers will list this book among their favorites because they are picking up on the hero's angst and taking it to heart. That is what makes Green Darkness a classic.

Bonnie: What do you do when you are not writing? Do you have a day job, a family?

Charlee: When I'm not writing, I'm either reading or searching the web for places to promote my work. I spend at least five hours each week with Google. He and I have become very close. I've played around with Virisimo.com, too. I am a shameless hussy when it comes to promoting. If there is anything on TV worth my time, I'm in the den in front of the big screen. I never miss the Sopranos, Will and Grace, or ER. If there's a good paranormal, horror, or sf movie on, I'm curled up in the recliner, boiled peanuts or chips & salsa in hand, Pepsi on the end table, cats at head, feet, shoulders, tummy, and hips eagerly waiting to see if the adrenaline will flow.

I have a full-time, Monday-Friday, 8-5 job as our church's office manager (a title promotion only from parish secretary!). I am also the designer, creator and webmaster for our church's website. I hold that same distinction for my own personal website. My husband Tom (affectionately known among my fans as Buddha Belly) and I just celebrated our 35th anniversary last week. We have two sons and two grandkids and six demanding felines.

Bonnie: What can your fans expect to see from you in the future? Are you working on any new projects?

Charlee: I am working on BlackWind which will be run in weekly installments from the RFI West website at http://www.rfiwest.com beginning in September then will be released in trade paperback next year when it is completed. This is a hybrid-genre novel using both my Reaper and Nightwind creatures vying for the love and hand of a human female. I am thoroughly enjoying writing this and think it is some of my best work yet. The characters seem to have created themselves and the writing flows so smoothly it scares me at times.

I am also writing In the Arms of the Wind, a mystery/thriller about a priest who falls in love with his parish secretary who is married to an abusive cop. I began this book six years ago and am in the process of revising it. This is NOT an autobiographical novel and more than likely I will not be having it published for a few years yet, though it is contracted.

Bonnie: Thank you, Charlee.
* * * *

It had been days since Nicholas Cree and his sister, Gillian, had eaten. Their bellies rumbled; their heads ached with hunger; their fingers and toes were numb with cold, their lips blue. The snows through which they were wading had turned their limbs stiff and they could no longer drag themselves through the building drifts.

It had been foolish to try to escape in the dead of winter; they knew that now. The horses had run off the second day, frightened away by the snarling of timber wolves. Nicholas had lost his direction in the blowing snow and they had been wandering uselessly for several hours. In the whiteout that encased them, there was no glimmer of hope; no light toward which they could guide their tired bodies. Now, almost to the point of exhaustion, the two young people took refuge beneath a low rocky mountain overhang and sat shivering as they huddled together, trying desperately to blend the dwindling heat of their rapidly chilling bodies. All that was left was the heartless, icy death that awaited them during the long, frigid night. . .
Excerpt from WINDFALL by Charlotte Boyett~Compo.


For more information about Charlee and where you can purchase her books, visit her website

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An Interview with Charlotte Boyett~Compo