07-21-18 Patricia Sargeant

Monday, May 13, 2013

My Glamorous Life?

by Elaine Charton

I’ve been a story teller most of my life. I’ve read voraciously for as long as I can remember.  I married another book lover, in fact he used to be a librarian. We were living in Virginia at the time. A college English class changed my life. 
It ended up being more of a creative writing class and I found an outlet for all those voices inside my head. My professor and my husband both encouraged me and I decided to try and do something with those stories.
As luck would have it we were moving to New Jersey, closer to family. We accompanied my father in law to the New York Book Fair. There I found plenty of information and books on writing. One day my husband comes home from work and announces that a romance writer was coming to speak at the library that night and did I want to go with him?  We went to hear the speaker and it was there I found out about Romance Writers of America and the New Jersey chapter. I became heavily involved in the group, especially at the local level and learned a lot.  My husband was patient and supportive and let me follow my dream, 

Fast forward to 2003.

I had been writing and submitting all this time with nothing to show but a folder full of rejection letters. My husband had lost his library job. After the horrors of 9/11 and the economic disaster that followed, libraries were usually the first to suffer in the budget cuts.  Since he couldn’t find a job that paid well enough, we decided to go to friends in Arizona where we hoped to have better luck.
So we settled in Tucson and six months later I sold my first book.  It came out the year I turned 50, Needless to say it was one of my better birthday presents.

 I’ve had various health issues in that time requiring my husband to do most of the driving. It was the most natural thing to hear him say one day, I have to write a book.  I think a part of me knew it would only be a matter of time.

There were adjustments, trial and error but here we are ten years, several short stories and half a dozen books later, still in Tucson.  My husband has 3 books and two short stories out. 
Most people talk about their writing office. Actually we use our entire apartment, except the bedroom of course, I do have some standards. J  It’s far from the glamorous life. We have two cats, both spoiled, no kids, plenty of nieces and nephews. Some of them even think it’s cool that we write. 
Our home is overflowing with books, notebooks, folders with information on our current works all over the place.  We work on laptops in the living room. I like to work with the TV on. I think it’s a holdover from growing up in a loud and noisy house. We can’t travel anywhere without getting an idea for a story. One year my mother in law asked me what kind of holiday gift I would like. You would think jewelry or money, clothes whatever.  I asked for some of the books in a series put out by Writer’s Digest. I thought I would get one or two. I received the entire series of 6 or 8. 
 Best present I ever received.

We’ve had people move to the other side of the restaurant because we were plotting while eating lunch.  People look at us strangely in the supermarket for the same reason.   

Is it glamorous? No.

Do we make a lot of money from it?  Not yet.

Are we happy?  You better believe it.


Sarah Raplee said...

Thank you for shariing your story, Elaine! In my opinion, doing meaningful work you love is as good as it gets

ElaineCharton said...

It sure does Sarah! glad you enjoyed it.

Elaine Charton

Shannon said...

You hit the nail on the head, Elaine. You're happiest when you do the work of you love.
Thanks for the reminder to stay true.
And, wow, what a great 50th birthday present you got!

Judith Ashley said...

Hi Elaine, Was a bit under the weather so missed commenting Monday. So glad you are writing and a Genre-ista! There is a belief that if you do what you love with people you love, money will follow. Looks like you are two-thirds of the way!