#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

 

Pretty New Charlotte Covers!

New Covers!

I decided to become an independent author because I like having control over every aspect of my books. My mother says I’m a bit of a control freak, and maybe she’s a little right. I’ve gone the agent route and I’ve done the publisher thing and this is what works for me. Thanks to Three Birds Press, I can publish when I want, decide on the price and have the last say in covers and marketing – three things that traditional authors often have no control over.

But having great power comes great responsibility.

And it isn’t always fun!

Like deciding to change the cover on one of my most beloved books.

No, it’s not the first time I I’ve made a big switch. Both Unexpecting and Coming Home got a new look because I changed publishers. And Absinthe needed a fresh look because as must as I loved the shot of absinthe, it really didn’t highlight the story’s fun side.

And yes, those who have read it an attest that despite the doozy of an ending, Absinthe is a fun read.

 

 

How to update Charlotte’s Look?

I found myself with the same problem for The Secret Life of Charlotte Dodd and the prequel. I refer to my series as action chick lit. A fun and feisty heroine trying to sort her life out during an action-packed 24 hours, full of car chases, fight scenes, and secret missions.

The original covers are dark with a blonde girl holding a gun. Well, Charlotte is blonde, but the story is light and fun and there really isn’t that much gun play.

It’s chit-lit – those pastel covers showing fav shoes and purses, about women trying to figure out their lives.

Because Charlotte really belongs in that genre, I thought it was time for a change.

 

 

 

 

 

Ta-Da!  What do you Think?!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Changing a cover is scary! How do I know what’s supposed to work? How do I know it’s going to sell better than the original?

And that’s the bottom line – is the new cover going to attract more people, more people that will buy it?

I really have no idea. But I’m the boss here, so my decision is the final one.

Thanks to Sue Traynor for creating such pretty covers and Donna Chaput for helping me put them together!

Hope it works.  What do you think?

New book – The Missing Files of Charlotte Dodd- and a newsletter

I wrote another book.

Actually, it’s a novella – it’s a prequel to The Secret Life of Charlotte Dodd. 

The Missing Files of Charlotte Dodd.

It was so fun to write! More action, more spy stuff. More Charlotte Dodd.

This is the first book I’ve released that I haven’t done any promotion for it. I was going to start that today, for a publication date in December, but I decided, no. It’s coming out today!

So here it is!

CharlotteDodd2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before Charlotte Dodd had a secret life…

A novella; prequel to The Secret Life of Charlotte Dodd

Before she lost her memories, Charlotte Dodd still has a secret life, but at least she could remember it. She was an agent for NIIA, happy in her new found love for Hamilton Short, and dealing with usual missions like saving the world from killer viruses (why are they always named after animals, like swine and elephant? Gives the animals a bad rap).

But then her brother bursts into her life with a secret for her. After being told her mother died years ago, Seamus tells Charlotte she is still alive and being held against her will.

No proof or anything. Just a sketchy plan to rescue her.

Of course Charlotte heads off with Seamus, going against the NIIA and Ham to find out what really happened to her mother.

Sometimes missing things are better off not being found.

Let’s put this part in big letters:

If you would like a FREE copy of The Missing Files of Charlotte Dodd, all you have to do is click here. Or here instaFreebie

If you’ve already signed up for my newsletter and would like your free copy of Missing Files, just let me know and I’ll send you a copy.

If you can’t already tell, I’m doing a big push for my newsletter, so I’d love it if you all would sign up. It will be monthly, with news of brand new releases, giveaways and other fun stuff. I know my first edition will tell you all about my next release, the sequel to Charlotte, Best, Worst First Date!

But until Date is ready, I hope you enjoy The Missing Files of Charlotte Dodd!

button-kindle button-ibooks button-nook kobo-buy-button

 

The Writing Process – Covers

The Writing Process

My writing was not going well last week. I think I have too many projects on the go at once.  When my head got too jumbled with plots and characters, I took some time off to browse the images at iStock. With all these projects on the go, I’m going to need some covers.

When I first started writing, I had no idea about cover art. I’m a writer, not a visual person. But the more books I finish, the more I’m getting the hang of it. When I finished The Secret Life of Charlotte Dodd, I told my graphic girl, Donna (she does all my covers and I love her!) what the book was about and she found the pic to use. This time, because I’m working on both a sequel and prequel, I had a idea what I wanted. And after a thorough search of iStock (you can waste a lot of time looking at pretty pics!) I found them.

Just so you know, I don’t create my own covers. I give input, and ideas and this time I found the images, but putting it all together has proven beyond me. I know – I’ve tried to do it myself. Like editing, cover art is one of those things it’s best to pay for, unless you’re a graphic artist. I am not. So I have Donna Chabot, who has designed all of my covers with the exception of Coming Home. And that’s going to be getting a reboot – more on that later!

So I now have drafts of The Missing Files of Charlotte Dodd and The Best Worst First Date, as well as my next Dragon book, The Dragon Under the Dome.

Of course none of books are finished but if I’ve learned anything, it’s that it’s never to soon to start building the buzz. My next step (beside finishing them) is to pick a release date and then start getting the word out, as well as the pics.

Here’s the images I found for Date and Missing Files. I’ll keep you posted when I get the final covers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having these definitely inspire me to keep plugging along. I predict the words will be flying from my fingers this week!