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....
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 http://www.joellecharbonneau.net/ 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!
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy Storytelling, everyone!! ~~