#throwbackthursday – How I refused to give up on Charlotte Dodd

It’s Throwback Thursday!!

The Secret Life of Charlotte Dodd released January 2016; the prequel, The Missing Files of Charlotte Dodd came out last November.

Like the pretty new covers? Thanks Sue Traynor!

 

 

 

 

 

And now it’s time for the sequel – The Best Worst First Date Ever!

Pre-sale begins tomorrow!! Until then, here’s a guest post from back in 2016, from my blog tour for The Secret Life of Charlotte Dodd!

How I refused to give up on the character of Charlotte Dodd.

One of the spots on my blog tour with CLP Blog Tours was Connect with Click Lit Club. Here’s the guest post featured on the site.

I really think I’d like to be a superhero.

holly kerr1Or maybe a secret agent. Nothing too dangerous of course. I am a forty-something mother and I like to think my kids still need me around! But have you ever wondered … wanted … fantasized a bit about having a little more excitement in your life? A little danger? Have you thought about what it would be like to jump out of a plane onto the roof of a building, sneak in, have to fight your way through the bad guys with such awesome moves that you manage this with your hair still in place and not a bruise on your body to rescue your man or someone equally deserving?

I have to admit, I have had such daydreams.

The Secret Life of Charlotte Dodd

Original cover

And that’s why I wrote The Secret Life of Charlotte Dodd.

I’m not a violent person in any means. I’m an average, baseball mom of three. I’m an author. And one of the more enjoyable aspects of being a writer is that you get to imagine your characters (yourself!) in all sorts of situations.

Creating Charlotte Dodd

I first came up with the idea for The Secret Life of Charlotte Dodd years ago. I had finished writing my first novel (then titled Baby! Baby? Baby?!, now Unexpecting), a chick lit novel about a woman who wants to have a baby, and was debating what my next book would be. At this time, I had been quite taken with the Jennifer Garner show Alias. Watching the show – along with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, another of my favourites – really strengthened my little secret agent/super hero fantasy. I loved the idea of a strong, confident, independent woman being able to take control of any situation.

There were a few moments in those two television shows that inspired The Secret Life of Charlotte Dodd. Sydney Bristow sucking the air from a submerged car tire keep from drowning. A car doing a 360 turn during a car chase. And Buffy’s signature fight move – rolling back onto the shoulders and flipping to her feet. Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to do things like that?

And that’s when I came up with the character of Charlotte Dodd. She was part Sydney Bristow, part Buffy with a little Jason Bourne thrown in.

She would be an agent with a super-secret government organization. She was recruited at a very young age and from a family of spies. Her grandfather was the co-creator of the National Intelligence and Information Agency, a super secret government organization that catapulted Canada to the forefront of worldwide espionage. (I know, I know – Canada? Fiction, remember?!)

I came up with other characters – Charlotte’s brothers and their roles in the NIIA, fellow agents Benjy and Payton. I came up with a bit of a love triangle with Ham and Luke. I devised the fight scene where she first meets Benjy, who reminded Charlotte of Neil Patrick Harris. You can tell how long ago I first came up with the story because the early reversions mention Neil Patrick Harris’ childhood character, Doogie Howser!
And that’s where the story stalled. But never forgotten, never far from my thoughts. I had all these characters – I had Charlotte – and they needed something to do.

Charlotte Dodd – Vampire Hunter?

Over the years, Charlotte has stayed with me but the story has gone through a lot of changes. I wrote at least five versions of Charlotte, trunking each one. Charlotte lost her memory, got it back. One memorable version had Charlotte as part vampire, which made her an excellent vampire hunter!

And then last year, after my third book was published – Absinthe Doesn’t Make the Heart Grow Fonder – I pulled Charlotte out again. I had found critique partners and I needed to give them something to critique! This time, Charlotte was still a spy but had no memory of her time as a secret agent. I took few parts of my original story and started again.

I think this is the best revision of Charlotte I could have come up with. She’s a character that I fell in love with, one who wouldn’t leave me alone. It’s been over ten years since I first came up with the idea of Charlotte and so finally publishing the story was a very happy moment. It was great to finally finish what I started so long ago, and let my daydreams of the life of a secret agent run wild!

But Charlotte wasn’t enough for me. I’m ready for my next mission. I’m working on a sequel!

For the full post, check out Connect with Chick Lit Club

 

The Secret Life of Charlotte Dodd features on Jersey Girl Book Reviews today

The Serect Life ofCharlotte Dodd cpl tourI’ve taken The Secret Life of Charlotte Dodd on a blog tour with CLP Tours! This is the last day of my tour and today I’m featured on Jersey Girl Book Reviews.  I thought I’d share the guest post and review!  Another 4 stars!

Jersey Girl Review: The Secret Life of Charlotte Dodd

 Book Review:

The Secret Life of Charlotte DoddWhat’s a girl to do when she doesn’t remember that she has a secret life …. as a spy?!

Author Holly Kerr weaves an intriguing chick lit tale with a spy thriller twist that will easily keep the reader engaged and guessing what will happen next.

Set in Toronto, twenty-seven year old Charlotte “Lottie” Dodd takes the reader along for the ride when her quiet life is turned upside down after she helps a man named Benjamin “Benjy” Lionel get away from two big Russian mobsters. A touch of deja vu and a wild car chase through the streets of Toronto leads Charlotte and Benjy on a wild adventure, and it gets even crazier when Charlotte’s flashbacks become reality when she is told that she is really a spy for the Canadian government, and that her services are needed because her family is in danger!

The Secret Life of Charlotte Dodd is a fast paced and action packed tale that follows Charlotte as she tries to remember her past secret life in order to save her family and the agency from a rival secret intelligence organization that views them as a threat and is trying to destroy them. As the story unfolds, the reader is kept on their toes with intriguing twists and turns that will keep them guessing what will happen next to this sassy spy during her crazy adventure.

The story starts out slow and is a bit confusing as the reader tries to figure out what the heck is going on with Charlotte, but then the author turns it up a notch and gets the reader engaged when Charlotte is told about her past and the secret life that she has led as a spy. That’s when the thrilling adventure begins as her recollections resurface and she has to sort out the questions involving her family, her boyfriend Luke, and the rival organization that is after her family.

So if you are interested in reading a chick lit tale with an intriguing twist added into the mix, then look no further, The Secret Life of Charlotte Doddis the book for you!
RATING: 4 STARS 

Guest Post

 Getting to know me

One of the nicest parts about gong on a blog tour is being featured on different blogs, being able to do interviews and guests posts. Like this one! Authors are always looking to find new readers and a great way to do that is let the potential readers get to know you, the person behind the books.
So let’s get to know me.
The most important thing, the reason I’m visiting Jersey Girl Book Reviews Is that I wrote a book. I’ve written a few actually, but my fourth and latest novel, is The Secret Life of Charlotte Dodd. It’s about a spy who had her memory wiped and needs to remember her previous life in order to save the man she loves. I call it chick lit/spy thriller because there’s lots of action.
When I don’t have my author hat on, I’m wearing my mommy cap. I have three amazing kids running havoc in my life. That’s also very important to know about me. I’m a mother first, writer second, but since I’m here promoting my book and not my kids, I thought I’d put the writing first!
My eldest daughter thinks I’m weird, which translates in me having a greater than average knowledge of pop culture, including super heroes, Star Wars and Joss Whedon television shows. In the eyes of a fourteen year old, this knowledge apparently makes me a geek. I’m okay with that moniker.
The number one thing on my bucket list is to run a marathon. I’ve come close – if you consider finishing a half marathon close. I’ve actually run three halves and I’m thinking this may be the year I make it all the way. Running relaxes me and it’s a great time to plan out my novels. I don’t plot out my books, but I do need some time to plan out scenes or get into the heads of my characters. Plus, the exercise does a great job offsetting the glass of wine I enjoy while cooking.
Along with the running, some other things I enjoy are cooking (I make the best mushroom risotto), movies (one of the reasons I have that geek thing going on), spending time in my gardens and spending time with friends. We live in a great neighborhood and got into the habit of inviting neighbors over on Friday nights for wine and pizza. The kids run around in a pack, the adults get to unwind and socialize after the week at work and everyone has a good time.
Along with my three other novels (since I’m on a book tour, let’s go ahead and talk about all of them, shall we?) Unexpecting, Coming Home andAbsinthe Doesn’t Make the Heart Grow Fonder, I’ve also written a children’s book. I wrote The Dragon Under the Mountain for my kids’ Christmas present last year. They always complained about not being able to read my books, so I decided to write them one, and gave them a starring role. I read a few chapters to my youngest daughter’s class, and I’ll also be going on a ‘Dragon Tour‘, visiting a few classrooms in the area.
So that’s me in a nutshell. Thanks for allowing me to introduce myself!

Check out the full feature here and don’t forget to sign up for the the $20 Amazon Gift Card

Check out my Guest Post! Want to Write one for Me?

I answered a call from Jackie for guest posts over at To Breathe is to Write last week. Check out my post on Invaded by the Kids, how I’m attempting to finish my book with the distractions of three kids home for the summer!!

Thanks for having me Jackie and if anyone would like to guest post on my blog, I would love to have you!! Drop me a comment and I’ll get back to you! 🙂

 

Back from my Blog Tour

I had an amazing time on my blog tour promoting my book Coming Home!  Thanks a wholeComing-Home-banner-2 (1) bunch to Dorothy at Pump Up Your Book!  She did an awesome job organizing my tour, keeping everything on track and generally giving me hold-my-hand support when necessary.

And to finish it all up, Jersey Girl Book Reviews let me visit and gave Coming Home a great review!  It was a good month!!!

Book Review: 

So whoever said coming home can’t be a blessing in disguise?

In Coming Home, author Holly Kerr weaves an enjoyable story that follows the family drama and trials and tribulations of five sisters, and how after a tragedy strikes, it brings them back together.

Set in the Canadian small town of Hill n’ Valley, the reader is easily drawn into the story that is mainly surrounded around the family dynamics of three of the sisters: Brenna, Maggie, and Cat. Their family has had a difficult time with the death of their mother and disappearance of their father, and when you add in the tension, drama, strong personalities and sisterly squabbles, it’s not always easy to maintain a strong family bond. But when tragedy strikes and their dad comes back home, it’s time for the sisters to resolve their issues and get back to being a family.

Coming Home is an engaging story that has a realistic feel for life in a small town and the real life issues that occurs within a family. There is a nice mixture of drama and humor interwoven within the story, it is easy to follow along as the sisters work out the issues that has permeated through their family dynamic for a long time. No family is perfect, but when times of trouble and tragedy come along, it is heartwarming to see how the issues and personalities can be put aside and bring a family back together again, strengthening their family bond.

Coming Home is an enjoyable women’s fiction novel about sisterly relationships that will give you a warm fuzzy feeling and will leave a smile on your face.


RATING: 4 STARS 

                                     

Coming Home by Holly Kerr (Author Guest Post)

Author Guest Post

 

12 Favourite Books To Have With You 

When Planning On Being Stranded On A Deserted Island

A few weeks ago I saw a picture of an author’s 10 favourite books – she had taken a photograph of them and then an artist had painted a watercolour of it. It was beautiful, and I would LOVE for someone to do that for me! (Hint hint, painting friends!)

But then I got thinking – what ARE my favourite books?

It’s impossible to pick just one. That’s like asking a mother to pick their favourite child! Ten seemed more doable, but still tough…

So I asked myself this question – if I knew I was going to be stranded on a deserted island, what books would I take with me?

(I’m not sure if you noticed, but there are 12, not 10 books in my pic!)

All these books are well-read and well-loved. I’m the type who rereads books and some of these books do look a little worse for wear! If I do get a painting out of it, I hope the artist can make them look a little less read!

Here’s my list of 12 favourite reads and reasons why:

In no particular order …

Michael Grant – Gone

I know in the picture it’s called Hunger, but that’s because I let a friend borrow Gone and she hasn’t given it back yet.

This is my latest addition to my top list. I found it last summer at a toystore while we were at the cottage, and it took me a day to read it, in between looking after kids and packing up for home! I seriously couldn’t put the book down, and on the 3 hour drive home, I stopped in the first Indigo I could find and bought the next 2 books in the series!

It’s a YA book about a town where everyone older 15 just disappears one day, and the kids that are left must fend for themselves and deal with their newly discovered powers. There’s also a sinister evil apparition that is hell-bent on acquiring these powers.

It was the tag-line that sold me – If Stephen King had wrote Lord of the Flies. ‘Nuff said.

A.C. Crispin – V

They made a miniseries out of this in the 1980s, about the lizard aliens who invade Earth to steal our water, hiding behind human faces. Remember the scene of the lizard baby being born? Or the alien commander eating a guinea pig?

This was the first sci-fi book I ever read when I was a teenager and it still has a big place in my heart. So does Mike Donovan – the anti-hero hero of the book!

Emily Giffin – Something Borrowed

Even though I wrote a chick-lit book, (Baby! Baby? Baby?!), I was finding so much of the genre focused on characters that were really annoying and self-serving and selfish and…it’s difficult for me to read a book when I am constantly irritated by the main character. So I stopped reading chick-lit for a while. And then I picked up this book at an airport and it restored my faith in the chick-lit genre!

Rachel sleeps with her best friend’s fiancé and it turns out to be a good thing.

J.K.Rowling – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The only deliberation I had was whether to include this one or number 4 –Goblet of Fire. I told myself only to pick one Harry Potter book. If I was planning on being stranded on a deserted island, I would do my best to sneak the entire series into my bag!

Jilly Cooper – Rivals

Jilly Cooper is a British writer whose books are ‘gripping yarns’, set in glamorous settings and are chock full of adultery, infidelity and general betrayals. My favourite of her books are the Rutshire Chronicles, featuring the devastating Rupert Campbell – Black. Rivals is my top pick of Cooper’s books but any one of them are the ultimate beach read.

Jane Austen – Pride and Prejudice

I don’t feel I need to explain. If you haven’t read it, it’s a must! Plus, Mr. Bennett reminds me so much of my father-in-law!

Stephen King – The Stand

This is more thriller than horror and one of Stephen’s King’s best. A plague has decimated the human population and small groups of survivors make their way to Colorado where there is an epic fight between good and evil. Classic.

George R.R. Martin – Game of Thrones

If you’ve seen the show you’ll understand why I picked this one. It’s fantasy with dragons and gods and the three best characters are a little girl, a witty dwarf and a Kingslayer who is involved in an incestuous relationship. And the main character is killed off before the end of the book. If it’s not for you, than I won’t bother trying to persuade you to try, but it’s good!

Suzanne Collins – Hunger Games

The first one is the series is the best

Michael Critchon – Timeline

Time-travel, quantum physics and thirteen century France. The movie was pretty sad, but the book is really cool

Margaret Atwood – The Handmaid’s Tale

I first read this in high school and it’s been a favourite ever since. It was my first time reading about dystopian society and my first time focusing in the status of women in literature; two things that remain an interest of mine to this day

Katherine Neville – The Eight

It’s a mixture of historical fiction, medieval mystery and modern romance. It’s hard to explain, but definitely a cool read.

So there are my 12 favourite books. What about you?

Loving your sisters is easy.  Liking them is the hard part.

Loving your sisters is easy. Liking them is the hard part.

BUY THE BOOK: Coming Home

Book Description:

Loving your sisters is easy. Liking them is the hard part.

Brenna Ebans always wanted more than what Hill n’Valley could give her, so it seemed a simple decision to follow her black-sheep sister Dory’s footsteps and leave Hill n’Valley in her rearview, hoping to locate their missing father. Leaving her sisters and her first love Seamus was harder than she thought, but she’s made a life for herself in Vancouver, started her career at a prestigious law firm, and has found the man of her dreams. But when she finds her husband Toby in a compromising position at work, she loses both her love and her job, and has nowhere to go but home.

Youngest sister Cat has remained in Hill n’Valley, leaving a string of broken hearts—and ex-husbands—in her wake. She’s happy living in the family home, with the ghost of their dead mother to keep her company during the day, and her latest conquest—Brenna’s old boyfriend, Seamus—to keep her warm at night. And she’s less than thrilled to hear about Brenna’s return.

But when tragedy strikes, it brings their father back to Hill n’Valley, and the sisters will have a lot of issues to resolve…

Coming Home – A Tale of Two Sisters

Only three days left on the blog tour!  Today I stop by Lori’s Reading Corner for to talk about my sister!

Coming Home- A Tale of Two Sisters

My book Coming Home, is about two sisters learning to like each other.  Growing up, Brenna and Kat’s different personalities, interests, wicked sibling rivalry, and of course being in love with the same boy made living under one roof almost unbearable.  I had the same problem with my sister when I was younger except the loving the same boy.  Let’s just say the boys she was interested in – ewww!

kris and IMy sister and I resented each other from the get-go.  It didn’t help that she was adopted, so there was a lot of resentment about me being the ‘natural’ daughter and from her being the ‘special, chosen’ one.  I honestly don’t know how my parents survived those years.  Kristi and I were constantly at each other’s throats and did our best to get the other in trouble.  And to top it all off, our birthdays are only a week apart, so there was the added stress of having to share our birthday parties!

But there is a happy ending to our saga.  Like Brenna and Kat, it took a crisis to have Kristi and I find our way back to each other.  As we got older, and more mature, our relationship did improve enough to allow us at least be in the same room together without fighting, although there are a few stories of flying mashed potatoes during family dinners. I think it helped being an hour’s drive away from each other.  We weren’t exactly friends, but we were at least friendly and my parents were grateful.

But it took my sister getting divorced to really lead us back to each other.  Kristi endured almost twenty years with a real…let’s just say my former brother-in-law was not a nice person and leave it at that.  When I found out what she had gone through, without me knowing anything – well that was a real wake-up call.  Sisters should be there for each, no matter how volatile the relationship may be.  I’m sad that it took Kristi going through such a traumatic event to bring us back together, but forever grateful I got my sister back!

comingFile Size: 568 KB
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Etopia Press (February 5, 2014)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Genre: Women’s Fiction
ASIN: B00IA7AAN2
BuyKindle

Loving your sisters is easy. Liking them is the hard part.

Brenna Ebans always wanted more than what Hill n’Valley could give her, so it seemed a simple decision to follow her black-sheep sister Dory’s footsteps and leave Hill n’Valley in her rearview, hoping to locate their missing father. Leaving her sisters and her first love Seamus was harder than she thought, she’s made a life for herself in Vancouver, started her career at a prestigious law firm, and has found the man of her dreams. But when she finds her husband Toby in a compromising position at work, she loses both her love and her job, and has nowhere to go but home.

Youngest sister Cat has remained in Hill n’Valley, leaving a string of broken hearts—and ex-husbands—in her wake. She’s happy living in the family home, with the ghost of their dead mother to keep her company during the day, and her latest conquest—Brenna’s old boyfriend, Seamus—to keep her warm at night. And she’s less than thrilled to hear about Brenna’s return.

But when tragedy strikes, it brings their father back to Hill n’Valley, and the three sisters will have a lot of issues to resolve…

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hollyAsk any writer and they’ll tell you they have always wrote and Holly Kerr is no exception. She’s written stories about bunniesdodging cars and sisters dying, distracting the cute boy in class and dark plots to kill your best friend’s husband.  Coming Home is her latest novel, a story about sisters who can’t get along and living in a small town, two things she knows more than a little about!  A self-professed geek, she loves anything to do with Star Wars, super heroes, Joss Whedon and Harry Potter. She also enjoys running, playing in the dirt and sharing a glass of wine with friends.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Blog * Goodreads * Contact * Google+

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Exceprt ~ 

One little decision changed my life.

The choice I made to follow my husband into the supply closet at work was it for me.

I was in the middle of finalizing the paperwork of a 2.5 billion dollar acquisition for one of my most problematic clients when my sister Cayleigh called. I almost didn’t take the call. I loved my sister dearly but talking to her on the phone meant a certain guilt trip about why I couldn’t find the time to come home for a visit. I much preferred our weekly email communications. Yes, it’d been fourteen years since I’d left home at eighteen and no, I hadn’t managed to come home even once since then. At first it was because I couldn’t afford the ticket to fly home halfway across the country and then it was because of being swamped with school and then work and then…

Instead of trying to justify it to myself, I picked up the phone with a last longing look at the neat file on my desk. I’d been surviving on pure adrenaline for the past three days trying to get the deal done and to everyone’s amazement, but mine, I had done it. I had found the one little loophole that had changed everything and put the power back in my client’s hands. Complicated yes, tedious to some, but I loved my work. It left me no time or inclination for a social life and my hours spent at work both in the office and at home aggravated my husband Toby to no end, but I loved it.

At least I told myself I loved it.

I was listening to Cayleigh tell me some story when my assistant Krystal poked her head into my office to drop another file on my desk with a big smile. There were two yellow post-it notes: “Call them ASAP” with a happy face and “I’m leaving in 10 mins”, with an even bigger happy face. It was already five thirty on a Monday and I wasn’t getting out of here anytime soon. I was going to have to cancel yet another dinner with Toby. We both worked for Davis and Daniels, Attorneys at Law, so it was possible he was as swamped as I was.

Doubtful. My hours at the firm were so long these days that Toby had given up driving me home from work, forcing me to take the bus if I worked late because I didn’t have my own car. I should have really found time to buy a car.

“Are you coming home for Addison’s wedding?” Cayleigh asked, over the phone. I pulled myself back to the reason Cayleigh had called. “Maggie said you haven’t sent your RSVP back.” Addison was the oldest daughter of my oldest sister Maggie and I didn’t remember being told she was engaged let alone being invited to the wedding. I definitely had no clue who she was marrying. I rummaged through my inbox as Cayleigh tried to guilt me into going home for the wedding. I had two inboxes on my desk—one for personal matters and one for work. The contents of the work one were spread over my desk in an orderly manner while the personal one was overflowing and neglected. I spent the majority of my time in my office so I had begun to get my mail forwarded there about a year ago.

“Oh, Cay…work is just so crazy and—” There was the invitation; still unopened in the middle of the pile with my name written in sparkly green ink, along with acredit card bill and an invitation to join the newest fitness center in the area. “It’s been really bad—really busy,” I corrected. “I’m doing this deal and no one thought it was going to come together but I managed it and—”

“You’re always busy. You work over Christmas and you never take vacations. Look at how late it is and you’re still there. It’s been years since you’ve been home, Brenna, and if it wasn’t for your Facebook page, which you never update anyway, I wouldn’t remember what you look like. Come home.” I was readying my arguments but Cayleigh didn’t give me the chance. “Addison’s wedding is in two weeks. Maggie needs you to be there. It’s her daughter. It’s Maggie.”