Thursday, December 2, 2010

Joelle Charbonneau

Get Lost in a Mystery to Make You Laugh ....

Joelle Charbonneau is one of the nicest, kindest people I've had the pleasure to know. If she's not teaching voice lessons, or playing with her son Max, she's laughing with her husband Andy, or writing in the wee hours. Trust me I know because I'm usually up at the same time....

About Joelle:

While Joelle is happy to perform for an audience, she is equally delighted to teach private voice lessons and use her experience from the stage to create compelling characters in her mysteries. Her first Rebecca Robbins mystery, Skating Around The Law, which Kirkus Reviews called “Funny and sexy”, hit shelves this past September. The second book in the series, Skating Over the Line, will be released in September of 2011.

Please welcome, St. Martin Minotaur Author Joelle Charbonneau as she answers our GET LOST IN A STORY
"Get to know you" questions.

Which of your characters would you most/least invite to dinner, and why?As long as Pop shows up at dinner without one of his dates, I would love to have him at the table. His dates are a little too aggressive for my taste, but Pop is a hoot. People might be laughing too hard at his stories to actually eat, but that’s okay. I think laughter is the best part of friends getting together.
Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?Yeah, I admit that I do read some reviews. Hey – I can’t help it. My publisher e-mails some of them to me. However, as a former professional actress and singer, I am used to dealing with reviews. Whether they are glowing or hideously awful, they are just one person’s opinion. I’ve read fabulous reviews of books that I’ve hated and scathing reviews of novels I’ve loved. Most of the time I’m just amused at what the reviewer chooses to focus on. Often they see something in the book I never even thought was there.
Have you ever written a character who wasn’t meant to be a hero/heroine but he/she wouldn’t go away?Well, in Skating the camel wasn’t meant to be a huge part of the storyline, but he wouldn’t leave me alone. All of the sudden he was taking over scenes and looking for people to love him. Does that count?
What is your favorite cheese?Provolone with Brie as a close second – yikes, both of those sound kind of pretentious. Perhaps I should have stuck with cheddar.
Tea or coffee?Coffee – if it doesn’t taste like coffee. Then I’ll choose tea.
What name have you been dying to use as a lead character, but haven’t found the right fit yet?Roberta. I love being able to shorten the name to Bobbie, but so far, it hasn’t managed to fly in a book. Maybe some day.
What’s in your refrigerator right now?Diet Pepsi, left-over ham, eggs and lots of veggies. Hmmm…I think you just reminded me that I need to go to the store – or maybe I’ll just make a frittata for dinner tonight *grin*
Is Elvis really dead?I sure hope so, otherwise all those Elvis impersonators are in for a huge lawsuit.
What is your favorite tradition from your childhood, that you would love to pass on or did pass on to your children?My dad wasn’t a fan of cartoons, but every year during the holidays he scoured the paper looking for the kids’ specials. On the nights they were on, my father popped popcorn, pulled the big comfy arm chairs in front of the T.V., got out blankets and pillows and watched Charlie Brown, Rudolph and Frosty with us.
What does it mean to love someone?I tend to go against the popular saying and believe it always means you’re willing to say you are sorry.
What color would you make the sky if it weren't going to be blue anymore?Can we make it more than one color? I think streaks of silver, chartreuse and gold would make for an interesting morning commute.
What do you do to unwind and relax?I read. (Yep, I’m that boring.) I also love to cook. More often than not, I create my own recipes by throwing whatever I think might taste good in a pan together. Then I tell my husband that we might have to order out for pizza. So far – no pizza has been ordered, but that streak is bound to end some time.
What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?I’ve been fortunate to meet a great number of the writers that I’ve always loved and admired. And the best part is they are all fabulous people.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?I can’t come up with last names for my characters. For Skating Around The Law I asked my mother to list all the people she could remember from her competitive roller skating days. Lots of those names ended up in the book. Now that I’m on FB, I tend to scroll down the list of friends for inspiration.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing/researching a book?That one humped camels are faster and better for racing. Even more surprising, camel jockeys sit on a saddle which rests on top of the one hump. Go fig.
What is your favorite kid joke?What is black and white and red all over? (A newspaper – HA!)
Which era would you least like to live in, fashion-wise? Most?Don’t you dare drop me into the 70’s. Me and bell-bottoms would NOT get along. However, feel free to time warp me back into the mid-1800’s (although I’m taking my modern plumbing with me.) The opera singer in me loves to wear corsets!
Tell me how many hats you have in your home?Wow – lots. Do we count the hats that are part of Halloween costumes, too? If so, I’d guess somewhere around 40 or 50, which means it is time to give some of them away.
Dog person or cat person?I love cats. I love dogs. However, I own a cat. Cats are a lot less work. When you have a toddler in the house, less work is a good thing.
Which is your favorite language other than your native language?French. I love the sound of it, although I’m not always so fond of French when I have to sing it. The speaking rules and singing rules are different. (Although, I admit that my first response to this question was English – not American English, but the British variety. If you’ve even spoken with a Brit you’ll agree that the two versions of English sometimes bare no resemblance to the other.)
If you were given a chance to travel to the past where would you go and specifically why?1908 to watch the Cubs win the World Series. God only knows if I’ll ever see it in my lifetime, so I might have to do a bit of science fiction magic in order to experience it.
What would you do if you had a time machine?Beat it with a very large sledge hammer. I know me. I like to tinker and play with things. The world would not be better off if I started traveling through time. Trust me.
How much money does it take to be happy?Enough to pay the bills and go out and see a movie once and a while.

What question are you never asked in interviews, but wish you were?How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?
If you couldn’t be a writer anymore, what profession would you take up?Well, the smart money says I’d go back to stage performing, but I’m also intrigued by public relations. Can I do both?

What’s the first thing you do when you finish a book?Call my husband. (Is that weird?)
If you could interview one person (and it doesn’t have to be a writer) who would it be?Stephen Sondheim. If you’ve seen Sweeny Todd, Sunday in the Park with George, Assassins, Into The Woods, A Little Night Music or any of his other shows you know why. The man is a genius. I’d love to pick his brain and see the world from his point of view if only for a moment.If you could interview one person (and it doesn’t have to be a writer) who would it be?
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?Everyone talks about writer’s block, but I think that phrase means different things to different people. I don’t suffer from it in the traditional sense. I always can write something, but occasionally I get hung up half way through a chapter as to what my final chapter hook is going to be. I can’t write well after the mid-point of a chapter until I know where the chapter is going. Those are moments where I have to put aside the typing and let my brain think a while. I use that thinking time to wash floors and do laundry. It’s amazing how having to do those tasks always kick starts my mind into coming up with an idea so I can put away the housework and start typing again.

~ ~ ~
Thank you for being our guest here today, Joelle. What wonderful answers to our questions! To learn more about Joelle visit her web page at Today, one lucky commenter will receive a $25 Barnes and Nobel gift certificate.

Come back tomorrow when The Lost 6 tell just a little about ourselves. Should be fun!
Please "like" us on Facebook: Get Lost In A Story to get a daily update on guests and prizes.

AND A QUESTION FOR OUR READERS to get the comments flowing...
Which of Joelle's answers surprised you the most?
Thanks everyone for stopping by. Just to clarify, The Get Lost crew have come up with this fabulous questionnaire, and we hope authors and readers will enjoy reading them. I will do more serious interviews but later when I'm not on deadline. ;) Or of course authors have their choice of this "getting to know" you form.

~~ As for yesterday's winner of the Barnes and Noble $25 gift certificate, ALEXA, you are the winner! If you didn't leave your e-mail please contact me at Happy Storytelling, everyone!! ~~


  1. Thanks for "Getting Lost" today, I really enjoyed your answers to Donnell's questions.

    I can't imagine growing up without my scaredy-cat Great Dane Scooby Doo. Of course, I probably come from an earlier era than you when Saturday morning cartoons let our parents sleep late. LOL

    The answer that surprised me most? 40 to 50 HATS? Where do you keep them all? My hubby complains about me trying to keep up with two ballcaps (I always lose them).

    Nice to 'get to know you'.

  2. Joelle, good morning! Love your professionalism about reviews. I met you through the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense, and as you know Daphne du Maurier had critics ad nauseum, and more than seventy years later, she still has the last laugh.

    Speaking of laughter, I am laughing out loud at Skating around the Law. What a voice you have. It's Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Jennifer Cruise on mystery steroids. Too much fun. I laughed and I cried when Rebecca almost didn't get her camel ride.

    Thanks for letting us get to know you.

  3. Joelle, Thanks for coming here and sharing a little about you. I loved your answer about Stephen Sondheim. I'm a huge fan of musicals and our local community theater is doing Into The Woods in January. Although Bernadette Peters won't be in it, I can't wait to see it.

    Congrats on all your success with SKATING AROUND THE LAW. I'm looking forward to reading it.

  4. Hi Joelle (and Ladies),
    So nice to meet you here. I loved your answer about the camel not leaving you alone, wandering around looking for someone to love him. I am a huge, huge animal person, so anything with a needy (or savvy) critter in it is right up my alley. Can't wait to read "Skating Around the Law."

    Congrats on the new blog site--it's great fun. What fabulous questions!

  5. What a wonderful interview! Terrific...and you both are such examples of the lovely people who inhabit our little world! Great blog...see you again soon.

    Ah...opera singer?

  6. Entertaining interview! Joelle, what gave you the idea for setting your series in a small-town skating rink? I love the premise.

  7. Great questions Donnell--who would have known that one hump camels are faster? Good luck on your series Joelle. I'll pick one up and enjoy it!

  8. Loved the questions and the answers. Joelle, so true about British English. My boyfriend is British, complete with accent. Sometimes I don't know what he's talking about. :)

  9. Loved the interview--so refreshing. Joelle--now I'm rooting for the Cubs next summer! And Provolone is not a high brow cheese. Now, a St. Andre triple cream...

  10. Wow - my tot finally gave me a moment on my computer and look at everyone who has already stopped by!

    Angi - yep - we have LOTS of hats. About 10 of them live in my husband's car. He plays with a Blues Brothers Tribute band and tends to wear hats on the gigs. He also has an extensive baseball hat collection that lives in a closet. I can only claim 12 of the hats as my own, but I love them all.

    Donnell - thank you for inviting me to share the day with you here in GLIAS and for loving the book. Your comments made my day!!

    Cat - I hope you enjoy Into The Woods. The first act is silly fun, the second act lets you know that sometimes you really shouldn't get what you wish for. The show never fails to make me laugh and cry.

    Lizbeth - I hope you like Elwood the camel as much as I do. I never thought of a camel as warm and cuddly until I started writing about him.

  11. Hi Hank! Ha - yep, my Masters degree is in Opera Performance. I've sung in quite a few professional opera shows as well as music theater and operetta. I've lived a very unfocused life.

    Jane - good question. I got the idea for writing a roller skating book from the fabulous Nephele Tempest of The Knight Agency. A bunch of us were relaxing after hours at a conference and someone asked about my performing career and whether my parents performed as well. My answer was "Well, my mother was a World Champion Artistic Roller Skater" and everyone looked at me like I was crazy. Nephele was the first one to recover. She smiled and said "You should write a roller skating book." I laughed. I mean, who writes a roller skating book? 10 days later I started writing Skating Around The Law. Skating rinks are very much a part of the community in small towns so I decided to create my own rink and town. The people of Indian Falls are lots of fun to write!

  12. E.B. - Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoy the Toe Stop rink and the camel!

    Cindy - Ha! Yes, but with a fabulous English accent, I rarely care what the person is saying. I just smile and listen to how fabulous it sounds:)

    Amy - St. Andre Triple Cream - yum!

  13. Joelle, so nice to get to know you. :)

    And I almost snorted my coffee at your Elvis answer. :)

  14. Hi Joelle! Lovely to have you here as our guest at Get Lost In A Story today!

    LOVED the tea and cheese answers...of course that might be the historical author in me, but really...what's better than tea and Brie?

    My favorite answer though was:

    Is Elvis really dead?
    I sure hope so, otherwise all those Elvis impersonators are in for a huge lawsuit.

    Laughed out loud.

    Great to see you.

  15. Ah, Maureen! You beat me to it! GMTA, I guess :)

  16. Hi Joelle! So much fun to see you here! Loved loved loved Skating Around the Law!! Answer that most surprised me: 40-50 hats. Really? Is that all? Tell your hubby I said he's a slacker ; )

  17. Just love all these comments and Joelle's explanations to them. I'm on deadline, but I'm sneaking reads of SKATING AROUND THE LAW. And as someone who clumsily (like Rebecca) grew up around skating rinks, reading SATL is like reading "old home week." In the book, the author mentions that most high school graduations involved limos or trips to Europe. In Indian Falls, the high school graduates put on skates and go round in circles.

    Who can't smile at that? ;)

    BTW, is Indian Falls a real place?

  18. Joelle...I'm looking forward to picking up a copy of your book. I went to a very small high school in a very small town (which has completely boomed since). There were only 49 in my graduating class. After us the class was in the 100's (woo hoo). Skating...yes, it was a very big part of our lives. I still manage to do a few backward moves --well, when my knee isn't recovering from surgery.


  19. Hey Joelle! Love the interview. I feel lucky to have had a chance to hear you sing at B'con. Maybe sometime I'll be lucky enough to go roller skating with you...

  20. Maureen and Heather - Glad you liked my thoughts on Elvis. That question made me laugh because there are a few references to Elvis in Skating...

    Hi Jen (waving madly!) - I'm so glad you liked the book. And I'll pass along your comments to Andy. Perhaps he'll ask Santa for a few hats to help up the total.

    Donnell - Nope. Indian Falls isn't located on any map. I created it out of my warped imagination, which meant I also got to draw my own map of the town square. I keep adding more stores and store owners as the series continues.

    Angi - My dad's graduating class was something like 25 kids. Do your reunions involve multiple classes, too? - Yikes - I hope your knee is recovered soon!!

    Hi Meredith - Ha! Wait until next Bcon...I think there might be some more singing:) And I'll bring my roller skates along if you want to take a spin. See you soon!!

  21. Joelle, the older classes do have multiple years that are together. And of course, there are some graduates that attend several years because we were so close. (Like I went back this year to the 30th reunion of the class behind me.) But strangely enough, almost all of the class lives within 20 miles of our home town and they see each other all the time. LOL There are aprox 10 of us who live farther.


  22. Well, darn, this book sounds good. I might have to add to my towering TBR pile. Welcome Joelle!

  23. What a laugh out loud and GREAT interview. I too, feel for all those Elvis impersonators if the King is still kicking.

    Thanks to the Get Lost In a Story ladies for hosting Joelle and giving us a glimpse of how she produces her genius.

  24. I did not know Joelle was such a Cubs fan. I look forward to picking up a copy of the book when I am home for Christmas. Happy Holidays to Joelle and her family!

  25. Hey, babe! Donnell does a kick-ass interview, so I learned new things about you.

    I hope you had a blessed and healthy Thanksgiving.

    Pink Fuzzy Slipper Mama Mary

  26. Wow - this is a great party:)

    Simone - I hope if you get a chance to read that you enjoy Skating:) I had a blast writing it.

    Erica - You should ask my father-in-law about my Cubs addiction. Let us know when you are in the states. We'd love to see you guys - especially the newest addition.

    Pamela - somehow I don't think genius is the right word...wacky seems to work better:) Thanks for stopping by and laughing with us.

    Hi Mama Mary! I'm glad you stopped by and YES - Donnell does an amazing interview...she also flatters me way too much:) But she is right in that we are both up way to late most nights.

  27. Oh, Joelle, Sunday In the Park with George? No thank you! But Sweeney Todd, YES. Loved the comment about Elwood. I'm glad he never went away, he's my favorite!

  28. Shannon - I think the way he mimics pointalism in the music is really cool. And Move On is an amazing song - although I do think the show could use a trim to make it more commercially viable. I'm so glad you liked Elwood. He is so much fun to write!

  29. Wow! Another great interview with FABULOUS questions!

    The answer to the time travel question surprised me most.

  30. Alexa - I really meant it. No one wants me screwing around with time. Thanks for stopping by!

  31. Hi Joelle!! I'm so sorry to have missed one of your many signings! I have your book..yippee! And it's next in line to be read :)

    As for the one-hump I lived in Turkey and I actually had a camel saddle for many years. Don't know whatever happened to it, but it did make the trip back to the States. I'm looking forward to lovin' the camel!

    Good luck and keep us posted on the next book.


  32. Jean - You have a camel saddle? Really? OMG! That is awesome:) I hope you enjoy the book!!!

  33. Hi Joelle,

    I do adore the camel in your story...and his many hats. He definitely was a wonderful part of the story.

    I loved "Sunday in the Park with George". It was the first play I saw when I arrived in London.

  34. We want to thank everyone again for stopping by, and especially Joelle for sharing her day with us. It's been great getting to know you a bit better!


  35. The winner of today's drawing will be announced sometime on Friday: here and on our Facebook page.

    The Get Lost Crew

  36. Thanks for having me here today:) It was lots of fun to spend it with The Gest Lost Crew.

  37. What a fun interview! I laughed out loud at the "taking a sledge hammer" to the time machine. I love your cover, and am looking forward to tracking down your book. :)

  38. Hi Joelle. Wonderful interview. The book sounds like loads of fun and I'll be picking it up. The camel alone sounds like a hoot.

  39. Hi Joelle ... wonderful interview! what arre you working on next?

  40. ~~ As for yesterday's winner of the Barnes and Noble $25 gift certificate, ALEXA, you are the winner! If you didn't leave your e-mail please contact me at Happy Storytelling, everyone!! ~~ DONNELL

    (Posted as a comment for those subscribed by email)

  41. Sweet! Thank you! I would come back to the blog anyway, but the win is definitely a bonus!

  42. Wow - I just popped back in and realized I missed a few commentors from yesterday. Hi:)

    Gillian - I wish I could say I had something to do with the cover. My art department is fabulous:) I hope find and enjoy the book!

    Adrienne - Thanks for stopping by. I look forward to your debut from Carina:) Make sure to keep me posted on the release date!!

    Jim - Currently I have books two and three of the Skating series written and am now editing the first book of a new series I hope someone will want to publish:)