Today, I have the pleasure to introduce to you Charlotte Volnek, a fellow MG writer I came to know through Twitter.
She's a wonderful, friendly lady, and I thought I'd give you a chance to get to know her as well.
Charlotte, welcome to my blog!
Hello Annie. Thanks for having me on your blog today. It’s a treat to be able to join you.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a wife, mom, teacher, writer and artist rolled up into one quirky lot. I am married to my best friend and now that our children are mostly on their own, we share our home with four zany little Papillons. (This breed is like potato chips…you can’t stop at just one. J) I have always loved to write and draw but with a growing family I limited my writing to short articles for many years. When I finally decided to venture into novels, my family got together and bought me my very first laptop. They are and will always remain my greatest fans and I love them so dearly for it.
We live in rural Nebraska, and our small town can boast a total of three stoplights. It’s a pretty low-key lifestyle though we’ve had some excitement with recent mountain lion sightings close by. It’s a close-knit community where a walk with the pups will take twice as long as it should with all the neighbors stopping to visit as we go by.
How did you decide to be a middle grade writer?
I have always loved writing for the middle grade. Middle Graders are so full of dreams and adventures. The possibilities are endless and I hope to inspire them to always want to know more.
What have you written so far?
My writing career includes many published articles and short stories over the years. My first book, Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island, was picked up by MuseItUp Publishing and debuted in September of last year. My second novel, A Horse Called Trouble, was published in December and my newest book, The Secret of the Stones, will come out in April, all by MIU Publishing.
How did you get your ideas for your stories?
There is a story in everything. Why does the man next door put his garbage out at exactly 6:10 a.m. every morning? Why does the boy down the street wear long sleeves, even on the hottest of summer days? It’s all about asking the right questions.
My book Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island is based on the 400 year old mystery of the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island where 117 colonists just disappeared, never to be heard from again. What could have happened to them? My muse took over, asking questions and coming up with her own solution to the drama.
My tween novel, A Horse Called Trouble, is a dear story, close to my heart. I have always loved horses and was fortunate enough to have several of these loving beasts while I grew up. Animals can aid a person in knowing so much more about themselves and help them strive to be better. Creating my main character, Tara, and throwing her into horse therapy, made me grow not only as a writer, but as a person as well as I watched Tara conquer her own demons of bullying and prejudice.
The Secret of the Stones is a totally different story. It is based on the legend of Merlin and Vivian and is a whimsical story of what can happen when an unsuspecting boy is given a gift of magic.
What is your biggest challenge as a writer?
I find the hardest part being the uncertainty of what will happen to my story after I am finished. The characters are like my children and I only want them succeed and prosper. It’s hard to send them off to a publisher, not knowing what might happen, biting back the disappointment when they reject them. But the tears of joy are so sweet when they are accepted and allowed to bloom.
Are you part of a critique group or any writer's community?
I belong to many writing groups and am blessed to have many writer friends. These people understand my dreams and aspirations and offer their kind hand of support to keep me going and the hard hand of critique to make me better. I wouldn’t be a published author without them.
What other hobbies or occupations do you have besides writing?
Besides my writing, I work full time and design book covers on the side part-time. I also enjoy spending time with family, hiking, puttering in my flowers, crafts and making jewelry. I’m also a big movie buff and enjoy an evening with my hubby and a big bucket of popcorn as we watch a good thriller or drama.
Favorite MG book: That’s such a hard question. I don’t know if I have ONE favorite. From my past, I loved My Side of the Mountain, Follow My Leader and Black Beauty. Others I’ve enjoyed are Tangerine, The Beast of Noor and Briar Rose. I love a great voice as the main character tells their tale.
Favorite quote or expression: My favorite expression when asked why I write…. “I write because my muse won’t let me not write.”
One thing you couldn't live without: My faith and my family. Love is a major cornerstone in my life and my faith and family are the building blocks.
Weirdest thing you've ever eaten: I’m not the most adventurous when it comes to unusual foods, but I did try Octopus and sushi. I tried it. Can’t say I liked it. Lol.
If you were an animal, what would it be? I love all kinds of animals. Horses, dogs, cats…I can’t imagine my life without them. But if I there was one animal to characterize me, I think it would be a kangaroo. I lean to the unusual side, am a bit shy and introverted, but I love my family dearly and have a strong nurturing tendency. I am not a strong person, but if one would mess with my family or back me in a corner they might see a fighting side of me. For now, I will just flick my large kangaroo ear and continue grazing.
Links and Contact Information
Thanks for allowing me to join you today, Annie. I will leave you now with a few links where your readers can find me.
I’d love to have them contact me at ckvolnek (at) yahoo (dot) com.