Once upon a time a little girl told her grandmother that when she grew up she wanted to be a writer. Or a lollipop lady. Or a fairy princess. ‘Write, Charlotte,’ her grandmother advised. So that’s what she did. Thirty-odd years later, I write the kind of books I love to read: romances. I live in a village of Greater Manchester with my husband and two children, and many, many books.
Ten random facts
- I have a son named George and a daughter named Matilda and most people call me Charlie. If you’re wondering about a Roald Dahl connection, you’re on the right track. I just need my husband to change his name to the BFG and we’re all set.
- My childhood nickname was Pug, short for Captain Pugwash, a fictional comic-strip pirate. I have no idea why – blame my brother.
- In my teens I shared a stage with James Corden (before he was famous) in a production of Guys and Dolls. He was playing a lead role and I was a weeny speck in the chorus. I can still remember every harmony to ‘Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat’.
- In my early twenties, I bought – on a whim – a £1 EasyJet flight to Barcelona, and I flew off there for three nights. Alone. It was nerve-wracking and brilliant and the making of me.
- I once won a holiday to Spain on a London radio station by answering this question: What was the name of the lady who was arrested on 1 December 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, for refusing to give up her seat on a bus? (The answer, if you’re wondering, is Rosa Parks. My degree in American Studies came in handy here.)
- My favourite movie is Moulin Rouge. I walked down the aisle on my wedding day to its instrumental cover of Elton John’s ‘Your Song’. (And back up the aisle to The Wannadies’ ‘You and Me Song’.)
- I’ve seen the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, Paris; Sunflowers at the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam; Water-Lilies at the Tate Modern, London. My best art-gallery moment: first discovery of The Gold of the Azure at the Joan Miró Foundation, Barcelona.
- I sing – these days, in the shower mostly, but years ago, on stage. The highlight of my dalliance with classical singing was performing Gershwin’s ‘Summertime’ at a concert. It’s since become my children’s bedtime lullaby.
- My husband and I have renovated several houses together. Don’t take that to mean I am in any way adept at DIY. I was once discovered using a garlic press as a hammer and a potato peeler as a chisel.
- Take me to a zoo and I’ll make a beeline for one animal: the tapir – piggy-esque creature, related to the rhino, with a gorgeous little trunk. I’m not alone; there’s a whole community devoted to this endangered animal: http://www.tapirday.org/. One of my greatest ambitions in life is to tickle a tapir.
All sorts of things inspire my writing. Books. Music. Art. People. More than anything, though, it’s places that fire up my muse. Here are some snapshots from my writing research file (a.k.a. The Shoe Box).
Interviews and articles
You can find out more about me and my fiction writing in these interviews and articles. (Note: Some refer to the pen name Megan Tayte, with which I published The Ceruleans initially.)
Interviews: A Lick of Romance, The Right Book 4 U, The Howling Turtle, Mrs Mommy Booknerd, My Addiction Books, Elizabeth McKenna, Fangtastic Books, To Read or Not to Read, Debra’s Book Cafe, The Book Landers, Awesome Gang, Afternoon Bookery, Luvlie Readings, Sacha Black, Novel Kicks, Jess Watkins, Awesome Indies
- Book Sniffers Anonymous: ‘What superpower would you choose?’
- Bookfever: ‘That moment when the muse surprises you’
- I Smell Sheep: ‘Character confession: Cara Cavendish’
- My Guilty Obsession: ‘Five inspirations for The Ceruleans’
- Oh My Books: ‘Writing “mature” young adult fiction’
- Melissa Limoges: ‘Leaving out the parts that readers skip’
- Beauty and the Armageddon: ‘On epic writing’
- So Bookalicious: ‘Naming the main characters in The Ceruleans’
- Brandi Breathes Books: ‘The Death Wish soundtrack’
- Talented Ladies Club: ‘Why you NEED to follow your burning passion’
- Creative Therapy: ‘Writing what’s raw’
- Talk Supe: ‘Dealing with YA tropes’
- The Beestonian: ‘A writer’s Beeston’
- Bookaholic-ness: ‘Fusing poignancy with humour’
- The Bibliophile Confessions: ‘My (hitherto) secret writing trick: dance it out’
- Maureen’s Books: ‘Finding my voice’
- Blackplume: ‘On courage’
- Rose Reids: ‘The Ceruleans: Fusing fact and fiction’
- Sharing Inspired Kreations: ‘Choosing to self-publish: The reason in the “madness”’
- Lore Lush Books: ‘For the ever-hopeful love of cakeage’
- Luvlie Readings: ‘Creating Cara: “So, your sister’s dead and my legs are mangled…”’
- Queen of All She Reads: ‘From ghostwriter to “me” writer’
- Will Read for Feels: ‘Writing of blood’
- Book Bite Reviews: ‘From zombie fashionista to young-adult author: The materialisation of a ghostwriter’
- Talk Supe: ‘If the might of the heavens were in your hands, would you be sinner or saint?’
- InD’tale magazine: ‘Read it loud, read it proud’
- The Librarian Talks: ‘Clearing the Cheerio-strewn decks: ten jobs I have to do before I can write’
- The Book Bratz: ‘Musical inspirations for The Ceruleans’
- Truth About Books: ‘The naked writer: Living with fear’
- Christy’s Cozy Corners: ‘Rocking a tinsel halo’
- Thoughts in Progress: ‘Pen name versus real name: pros and cons’
- Maureen’s Books: ‘One night to write: the biscuit-crumbed reality of a writing retreat’
- Hall Ways: ‘What’s in a name? “Coming out” from behind a pen-name’
- Princess of the Light: ‘The author behind – and within – The Ceruleans’
Heaven Afire is the name of the publishing imprint I use to publish my novels. Why Heaven Afire? Because at the heart of my books are the themes of heaven and hell – what it means to be good, what it means to be bad, what it means to be alive, what it means to be beyond.
Heaven Afire was inspired by lines from the poem Aurora Leigh by one of the great English romantic poets, Elizabeth Barrett Browning:
Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries
Although bramble-picking with my grandmother is a fond childhood memory, these days I try to be the kind of person who takes off her shoes.