Posts Tagged ‘Talk Radio’

Debra: Joining me today in the studio for this edition of Talk Radio with NO Radio, is author Rachel Beam, straight from beautiful Key West off the tip of Florida and probably a bit relieved by our cooler climate for a change?7-Mile Bridge 2rachelbeam

Rachel:  Relieved? Oh, hells no. I only ever feel truly alive when I’m on the verge of collapsing from heat stroke. It is nice to be wearing pants for a change though.

Debra:  Oh lord, more power to you…I would melt and be completely miserable.  We lived in FL when I was a kid for a few years and then I also lived in SC for a few years in my twenties…loved the beaches at that age, partied a lot, so glad to be home now, cooler climate, snow men and snowball fights in the winter…oh yes.  Rachel, I was so thrilled you agreed to make the trip for this interview, I loved your book Hear Him Cry, obviously by the review I wrote for you.  What’s next?  And when?

Rachel:  Thanks much for the invite. I was thrilled for an excuse to take a road trip. My husband, DJ, was equally thrilled to be able to hit up Sonic several times along the way, those limeades are addictive. Glad you liked HHC, but I’m sure you didn’t have nearly as much fun reading it as I had writing it.  Then again, your review was positively kickass, so maybe I’m overestimating my sense of fun. I honestly don’t know what’s next or when.  It took about thirty years for me to start writing HHC and then it just kind of happened on its own.  I have, however, been kicking around the idea of trying my hand at writing erotic short stories.

Debra:  I’m hooked on their new BLT sandwiches myself and the M&M Sonic Blasts!  So those questions were more for me than our audience, sorry, but I am anxious to read more from you!  Oh!  I’m such a bad hostess, I forgot to grab us something to drink and some snacks before you got here, what would you like to drink and I have a delicious fruit and cheese tray for us? <has bounced up and is headed for the kitchen, Rachel is staring at the microphone and has this look of “what am I supposed to do now” that seems a bit devious, almost plotting>

Rachel: Feel free to open this dusty bottle of wine that I snuck out of the house.  We’ve been saving it for five years, but I’m sure it’ll take DJ less time than that to forgive me.  I think.  <She gives DJ a chuckle and facial expression that says “we’ll talk about this later”, he smiles back knowingly.  Rachel jumps up, grabs the mic in both hands, passionately, speaks in her best, sexy and husky tone of voice> I suppose you’re wondering why I’ve asked you all here tonight.  Shhh…don’t speak. It’s so much better when you’re mute. I wanna tell you about Texas Radio and the Big Beat. Oh, look! Gouda!

Debra:  <has come back to the sitting area with wine glasses and a tray of fruit and cheese, catches Rachel goofing on the microphone and busts out laughing> You are a trip, I love your sense of humor and so wish I was filming this instead, YouTube, can you picture it?!  So, tell us about you, Rachel, tell us what kind of music you listen to?  <is pouring three glasses of wine, all are enjoying the cheese and fruit tray>

Rachel: In no particular order of importance… Classic rock, Motown, disco, new wave, punk, metal, grunge, blues (Delta & Chicago), classic jazz, ragtime, big band, classic country, folk, 70’s pop, 80’s pop, Brit pop, funk, electronica, classical, anything that features a sitar…did I miss anything?  I just dig the MUSIC, man.  And, yes, I dig The Music Man.

Debra: Wow, that is a really wide variety of music, so let me guess, your mood drives your listening choice from one minute to the next?

Rachel: One might think that, but one would be wrong.  The running stories in my head are what drives my listening choice.  I can’t write without music.  Not odd.  The cool thing is that I always end up listening to songs that compliment whatever it is I happen to be writing in some form or another.  Everything has a soundtrack.  The soundtrack for HEAR HIM CRY can be found on my website,  There are 45 songs that I can no longer listen to without thinking about “Henry” and “Tessa”.

Debra: I also must have music while I write and I have to be careful what I listen to, it has to work with what I am writing, it definitely influences it.  I love when authors do the playlist that goes with the book, I have thought about doing that, but that would require me writing it down and listening to a specific list of songs, I am more random with it….  Tell us about what influenced or inspired you writing this book?

Rachel:  I’m not exactly sure. I’ve had a lot of friends over the years who were victims of molestation and I’ve read a lot of books written by victims of molestation. I suppose I wanted to see if it was possible to turn the perpetrator into a multi-layered, sympathetic character; someone who could be both pitied and despised.  I had a friend from high school who had decided to turn her experiences as a stripper into a novel. She was the one who pushed me to write HEAR HIM CRY when I told her what the idea was. The main character, “Henry”, was somewhat inspired by David Strathairn’s character in the film Blue Car.  It was his face that was in my head throughout the entire writing process.

Debra: Interesting!  I always associate characters with a movie face when I read and I had him as he looked in The River Wild for Henry.  It was your description of the gray hair at his temples that made him click in mind.  How very cool!  How long did it take for you to write it, take us from the idea to the moment you published and share any quirks about it all that might be funny or interesting to our readers today?

Rachel:  Before I answer that, I must say…Yes!  The River Wild!  Exactly!  Was that automatic for you?  If it was, I think you’re my new BFF.  Okay, so back to your question.  I wrote the first page of the second chapter before anything else and quickly gave up. I think that was somewhere around the end of 2005 or beginning of 2006. I sat down and got serious in September of 2006 and had the first draft completed by March of 2007. The entire process was completely nonsensical.  I began with what I thought was going to be the most uncomfortable chapter to get through and worked my way out.  Basically, I wrote the middle first, then the beginning, then went from the end of the middle to the beginning of the end, then back to the end of the beginning and wrote to the beginning of the middle and then, finally, the end.  It’s difficult to say how many actual drafts there were.  The original manuscript was fairly short, so it was more about adding stuff here and there, as opposed to making changes.  Except for the ending, that is.  I wrote at least four distinct endings for HEAR HIM CRY before I started querying agents around December of 2007.  I don’t remember how long it was before I halted the process, but I was inspired to cut about 30,000 words and re-write the last third of the book, this is actually when I had the most fun.  I started shopping it around again after that, but gave up after querying a total of fifty agents and publishers.  I decided to self-publish in the summer of 2010.  That December, the woman who convinced me to write it in the first place, by then we were no longer friends, reached out and suggested I hit up Solstice Publishing because they had taken an interest in her work.  So I did.  I was e-mailed a contract on February 15, 2011, the day after my brother-in-law passed away.

Debra:  Yes, The River Wild was instant, movie stars in a specific role just seem to be a natural progression of the movie forming for me as I read.  Yea, I have a new BFF!  Woo hoo!  <clink of the wine glasses and chug, chug, chug, we both need a refill!>  Sorry for your loss, what a way to remember the date by.  <pause>  Rachel, I find it so surprising that you had such a garbled approach to the writing, it was so well written and very eloquent, like you’d expect from someone that studied writing for years and had several best sellers by now!  Just goes to show, creativity is an individual thing and there is no formula, whatever works for you is what works.  What do you think makes your book special, what’s the hook that will have readers not wanting to put it down?

Rachel:  It’s a little subversive. From the very beginning, the reader knows that Henry did something horrible. I think they’ll keep reading to find out exactly what it was.  I think they’ll continue reading after they find out what it was because people just love train wrecks.  I do anyway.

Debra:  Honestly, that’s half of why I kept reading, I had to know what the something was and you cleverly held it back as long as possible so that I couldn’t guess, I had a list of possibilities going on in my head and as I read on, the list narrowed down.  The other half was just how well written it was, if I see a movie in my head while I read, you have me hooked, period. <both laugh>

Rachel:  If I don’t see a movie in my head while I write, then I’m doing something very wrong.  My educational background is in screenwriting, so it kind of goes with the territory.  That’s why everything I write has a lot of dialogue in it.  It actually makes me feel a little silly to admit that I have such a useless degree.  The most valuable thing I took away from that program was my favorite instructor, the great Richard Wesley, saying that it’s okay to break the rules as long as we know what they are and how to work within them first.

Debra:  Interesting point about those rules. While interviewing freelancers for my editing service, I was surprised at how many editors that are still so old school, with so much change in the industry, and they did not believe in breaking the rules, ever.  Head hopping for example, if they said NO, you should never head hop no matter what, they were a no right off the bat!  You have to break the rules sometimes, how can you truly be creative and develop a piece of literary art otherwise?  You head hopped in your book but did so very skillfully and I thought it made it all more three dimensional.  You allowed the reader to experience the scenes from Tessa’s and Henry’s POV and I never once wasn’t sure whose head I was and that is the whole point.  If the book was made into a movie who would you want to play the main character and why?

Rachel:  Making sure it was clear whose head the reader is in at all times was a challenge. Anyone who’s read the book and knows me personally, knows that both Henry and Tessa kinda sound like me. That’s just something I couldn’t avoid; the alternative wouldn’t have been organic. I think rule sticklers need to get over themselves. Like I said, the rules of writing, or storytelling, can be broken as long as the writer knows how to work within them first. I know how to work within them, so you can pretty much bet that I’ll always break them. If it works, it works and if it sucks, it sucks, but I’m not going to limit myself simply because someone said ‘no’ to me, especially when that someone didn’t come up with the rules in the first place. These people are lemmings and I have no respect for that kind of mentality. Switching POVs throughout was entirely necessary in this particular situation. Yes, it’s mainly Henry’s story, but it’s Tessa’s as well. That being said, it was entirely appropriate to give her the podium, so to speak. She was never meant to merely be some mysterious object, whose inner self was left up to the reader’s imagination.  That would’ve been a cop-out.  Well. That was long-winded, wasn’t it? I’ll keep my answer to the second part of your question short and sweet. David Strathairn, circa 2000. That’s just the way it is.

Debra:  A little reader perspective on your point about Henry and Tessa sounding like you…I found their similarities made sense and emphasized their both being from the same northern area and ending up in the Keys.  Especially, by the time he saw her and ran away…I knew there was a connection and they both were not from there and the similarities started to make sense and were, for me, key to the individual character development since they came from the same place and were finding their way back as the truth came out, so to speak.  The fact that you imagined him as Henry while writing makes that a no brainer so not my smartest question today.  Hey, this is my first NO Radio show ever, I am learning as I go!

the many faces of rachel 003Rachel:  Oh, please, you know you practice in front of a mirror late at night when you think no one is watching.  We all do it.  It’s okay.  I don’t really know how to expand on the Strathairn thing.  I’ve been kind of obsessed with him for nearly a decade now.  DJ thinks it’s hilarious and had a really good laugh at my expense when we finally met him and I was all star struck.  I don’t get star struck.  Ever.  Cool as a cucumber when I met Keith Richards.  Didn’t think it could happen with anyone if it didn’t happen with him.  I think the big draw with David Strathairn, or “Dave”, as DJ refers to him, is his versatility.  He’s one of those actors who doesn’t get nearly enough credit for the broad range of characters he’s played over the last 33 years. There’s an indescribable depth to each one of his performances that most actors nowadays simply can’t produce.  He’s also bloody gorgeous.

Debra:  I am a fan of his work as well, he is a completely different person in each role and you just totally believe he is the character.  I’d argue Sam Elliot is way hotter though!  Without being too specific and without revealing too much about the plot, have you ever killed off a character who you felt particularly attached to and if so was it an emotional experience writing the relevant scene?

Rachel:  I killed off two.  The first death didn’t affect me at all.  I still find myself in mourning over the second.  It had to happen, though, so it was all too easy to write.  Probably took me all of five minutes and I didn’t change a single word of it.

Debra:  There ya have it folks and that will only make sense after you read the book.  Then you will go OHHHHHH, wow, Really??  No way!  <laughs, Rachel is patting herself on the back> Who are your favorite authors, who inspired you?

Rachel:  For some bizarre reason, I always have difficulty answering this type of question. I suppose it always comes back to Nicholson Baker, author of The Fermata, one of my favorites, and Vox. I don’t know if I’d call myself a fan of John Irving, but I always found the density of his work to be breathtaking. I can’t cite Cathy Coote as an inspiration because I’d never even heard of her until about a year ago, but her novel, Innocents, is definitely one of my top three favorite books of all time. I was blown away not only by the story, but by the fact that she wrote it when she was just 19 years old.

Debra:  Oh wow, I’ll have to check that one out myself!  What are some of your favorite quotes from reviews that you’ve received?

Rachel:  I’m just going to go ahead a quote both of my favorite reviews, just because I can.

“The reader of this book is inserted into the minds and souls of two lost people as they both weave through the debris of their shared catastrophic previous sexual encounter. In the end, they both reach a very different peace and closure. This is a dark, yet not depressing novel. I couldn’t put it down. The writing is tense and compelling — a real page- turner. It is one part a road book — think Thelma and Louise, one part Victorian novel — think Pride and Prejudice, and one part horror story — think of the Pit and the Pendulum. A warning: it is not for the prudish.”

“Hear Him Cry is a titillating, fresh, and wonderfully disturbing novel that confronts, or shall I say assaults, the reader. In the Jungian sense, Beam’s character’s shadows are on full display: Henry, the middle-aged, mild-mannered sociopath, and Tessa, the youthful, sharp object of his illicit desire. Written in crisp prose, the plot is a feminist Nabokovian meditation: Henry violates and captures Tessa. Henry and Tessa wrestle with authority and domination, sadism and masochism. Tessa does not capitulate.”  

Debra:  Wow, I am impressed, not just by the reviews but by the fact that you were able to quote them, like you were reading them, and she’s not, I swear!  I wouldn’t have made it past the first three words without notes!  <laughs> What other book would you regard it the biggest compliment to have your own work compared to and why?

Rachel:  I have read those two reviews so many times, the words are permanently inked on my brain.  Actually, speaking of inked, it’s not the worst idea for a tattoo, but the six I already have are probably enough.  But I digress.  What was the question?  Oh, yes, we were talking about me.  A few people actually compared it to LOLITA.  That blew my mind for obvious reasons.  The book’s a freakin’ classic and a daring one at that.

Debra: That is a huge compliment!  That novel is regarded as one of the best known and most controversial examples of 20th century literature and has been the inspiration for many writers, operas, plays and so on.  Originally written in English by a Russian author and published in the mid-fifties but I can’t remember the author’s name actually right now.  That’s terrible…getting old!

Rachel: Vladimir Nabokov.  And was his son ever pissed at the author who thought she could re-write LOLITA from Lolita’s perspective.  I won’t even honor her book by mentioning the title.  It sucked.

Debra: Oh, interesting, do tell me later, I like trivia like that.  That’s all we have time for today, Rachel, thanks again for coming and for doing this interview with me.  I want to share some information with our audience for you, links and such to find your book and learn more about you and then I’ll see you off, unless you want to stay and shoot a game of pool and finish a bottle of red, red wine with me?

Rachel:  Unless I want to stay?  DJ and I ain’t sleeping in the car, woman.  You’re pretty much stuck with us for the night and I feel bad for you because we are not quiet people.  If you think you like me now, you’ll absolutely hate me in the morning.

Debra:  Well, you’ll be delighted to know, this studio doubles as a guest room with all the amenities and you must let my husband and I take you folks out for dinner and show you downtown Asheville.  And, my house is several hundred feet away so you won’t be bothering us!  Thrilled to have you both stay over, well, you have to what with us being new BFF’s and all!

Be sure to visit Rachel’s links and let her know what you thought of her interview!  A special thank you to Rachel Beam for all her help in writing this skit – everything is fiction remember – though we captured how funny and witty Rachel really is and her dialogue is all her own.  It may be on the screen in front of you and never happened in the studio, but we absolutely talked through all of this content to bring you the real Rachel Beam behind the book.  Thanks so much for playing along Rachel! Grill 2_rachelbeam


Welcome to another edition of Talk Radio with NO Radio!  On location and broadcasting remote and straight to you from St. Martin, we will be joining author CLR Dougherty for a Book Release Celebration party, and hopefully, I am going to scoop an exclusive interview for you today!

kimshabeachI’ve just arrived at Kim Sha Beach at Simpson Bay; Charles couldn’t have picked a nicer place for this shindig.  This is quite the party site, too.   St. Martin’s huge annual bash for the Heineken Regatta was held here just a couple of months ago.  Between the restaurants, bars and resorts surrounding this amazing beach, I am going to enjoy my stay…I jumped at the invitation to come to this event, St Martin, come on, who wouldn’t?  This is also a long-overdue romantic getaway for my husband and I — but business first.  Let’s go find Charles and see if we can get that interview!

We are walking down the beach towards a huge tent.  It’s about 4 in the afternoon and a comfortable 82 degrees, complimented by a lovely warm breeze…just makes you want to pop into any one of these little beach bars and ask for a Mojito!  <stops, turns to the water, lifts chin to soak in the sun’s rays with closed eyes, sighs a deep release of tension and breathes in, as if to absorb the entire experience in one breath> 

Wow!  This place is amazing.  I wish I could have brought you all here with me!  The water is the most stunning shade of blue I have ever seen.  There are a couple dozen sailboats anchored just off shore, bobbing gently on this tranquil edge of the ocean.  <walks to water’s edge and gazes out to sea>  Standing here, just at the edge of the water, is the perfect place to take it all in and enjoy the warm, soothing waves as they spread up onto these white sandy beaches and tease our toes.  <Shakes off the dreamy thought of staying in this paradise forever and looks down the beach, takes husband’s hand and refocuses>

Off we go then.  Let’s get to the celebration and find Charles.  I see quite a few people milling around on the beach around the tent.  Right there on the side of the tent is a banner, “Blue Water Ice Book Release Celebration” and “Congratulations C L R Dougherty!” is a on a flag that is waving ever so gently from one of the tent poles in this wonderful breeze.  The tent is set up open air; the sides are pulled to the corners and tied back with rope.   I see tables inside, displaying a long buffet of appetizers and fruit baskets, an ice sculpture and a champagne fountain.  We’ll make our way through the crowd here and ah, there in the corner near a table filled with books, appears to be the guest of honor!  Let’s go introduce ourselves…

DH:  Hello!  You must be Charles.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACD:  Yes.  Hello.  Judging by the microphone, you must be Mrs. Hartmann, all the way from North Carolina to join our celebration.

DH:  Absolutely.  Thank you so much for inviting me!  It’s a great pleasure to meet you.  Please just call me Debra or Deb.  This is my husband, Bob.  Today, he’s my roadie, of course. <Charles extends a hand, but Bob’s hands are full and he rushes to set the bags down and accept the handshake.  We all laugh, and the ice is broken.>

CD:  It’s wonderful that you came all this way just to do this interview.  Thanks!  I have a signed copy of Bluewater Ice set aside for you.  I hope you enjoy it enough to make the trip worthwhile.

DH:  Oh, thank you.  I wasn’t expecting that but I certainly will treasure it.  I have a few signed books, it’s a hobby really to collect them, but only from authors that I have met so they truly have some meaning.  You know this sets you up for another book review too!

CD:  Well, I hope so!  <Grins ear to ear and gestures for us to take seats behind the book signing table with him> So, join me here and we can talk and do that interview.  It may get a bit loud when more guests start to arrive.

DH:  Brilliant!  And then I, well I mean we, can focus just on the celebration afterwards!

CD:  I’m planning to slip out before it gets too crazy.  I left big bashes like this behind when I bailed out of the corporate world.  We’ll have a mob of locals and tourists showing up for the free booze.  I’ll leave a couple of folks here to make everybody welcome; maybe they’ll even sell a few books.  Maybe you and Bob could skip out with us and have a sundowner on the boat.

DH:  You mentioned having your boat just off the beach when we spoke a few days ago.  Can I see it from here?clrdoughertysailboat

CD: <Standing up, gesturing toward the bay> Sure.  She’s the little green one just to the left of that big white one.  See it? With Play Actor across the stern?

DH:  Wow! What a beauty!  Are you always anchored in such lovely spots?

CD:  Most of the time, but all of the islands are different.  Some are a lot prettier in terms of their natural beauty.  St. Martin’s unique because it’s split down the middle, politically.  The northern part is a department of France and the southern part is a Dutch colony.  This is one of our favorite hangouts; we’re sitting here on the border between the French side and the Dutch side, a ten minute dinghy ride from some of the best French restaurants in the world.  And then there are the beaches…

DH:  So is this why so many of your books are set in the Caribbean and feature sailing?

CD:  Yes.  It’s hard to be here and not share it all in a story or two.

DH:  It is getting a little loud already.  Can we walk for a few minutes and talk?

CD:  Sure.  Let’s walk down the beach a bit—

<Microphone tap, tap, tap sounds out, and the crowd’s heads turn towards the source.  A loud squeal comes over the speakers on tripod-like stands in the two corners facing out to the beach.  Positioned dead center between the speakers and just in front of the buffet table is a petite woman with short, curly blond hair.  She’s holding a microphone.>

PA system:  Welcome, everyone!  Welcome.  My name is Dani Berger; I’ll be your hostess this evening.  Thank you all for coming!  We are here to celebrate the release of a new book by Mr. Dougherty over here <waves for Charles to join her, “excuse me” Charles whispers to me and then walks toward the announcer>  Come on over here Charles.  Everyone, this is Charles L R Dougherty, author of the Bluewater Thriller Series as well as some other great novels, but we are here tonight to celebrate his latest release, Bluewater Ice, the fourth in the series, and, well, I wouldn’t even exist if not for this man’s wonderful imagination!  Let’s give him a big hand, everyone!

<Clapping overtakes the crowd, making the number of people in attendance more obvious…at least a hundred people are shoulder to shoulder inside the tent now and another hundred or so have gathered around just outside, all facing Dani and listening attentively.  The din of clapping hands fades as Charles accepts the microphone from Dani.>

CD:   Thanks, Dani.  Is your sidekick here tonight?

Dani:  Liz?  She’s here somewhere.  This is all about you, though. <”Hey!  We love you Charles!” resounds.  From deep in the middle of the crowd a hand rises above and waves frantically.>   Oh, there she is.  Liz and I can’t thank you enough for our parts in your story and of course we wish you much success with the latest release!

<Another round of applause breaks out. The frantic hand in the crowd still waves but moves ever closer to Dani and Charles.  Another blonde about Dani’s size continues to wave as she breaks through the front of the crowd and steps up to join them.  At a little distance, the two women could be mistaken for sisters, except that Dani is blue-eyed where this new woman has flashing green eyes.  They’re dressed alike; both wear white T-shirts with a large picture of a sailing yacht on the back and the word Vengeance emblazoned prominently across the front.  Knee-length khaki shorts and deck shoes without socks complete their crew uniforms.  The newcomer takes the microphone.>

Liz:   Hi!  I’m Liz Chirac.  Dani and I are thrilled that you could make it tonight–

<She’s interrupted by the crowd.>


“Great party!”

Liz:   Thank you!  Thanks for coming.  We want everyone to enjoy their time here with us tonight; it sounds like you are already.  Dani and I will be at the book-signing table <waves toward corner where we first met Charles and now wait for him, so we wave back at the crowd like the two goofballs we are> for a bit while you all enjoy the buffet.  Stop by and get your signed copy of Bluewater Ice and say hello.  Drinks—

<She’s interrupted again.>

“Yea!  Free booze!”

Liz:  Yes.  Free Booze – always a must at a party, right?  Just over there <points to the corner opposite the book-signing table> is where those with the personal invitations should gather in two hours.  Dani and l will be taking you out to the Vengeance by way of those small boats along the beach for a sunset cruise after the party.

CD:   Thanks, Liz and Dani, for all your hard work in putting this together, and thanks for being in the books, as well.  Dani said you wouldn’t be here except for my imagination, but we wouldn’t be having this party except for you letting me tell your story.  <He shakes their hands and returns to the corner where Bob and I are waiting to continue our interview.>

DH:  Well, you have quite the following out here Charles.  They seem to know you so well here on the island.

CD:  I think they know the free booze better! <smiles knowingly>

DH: Shall we take that walk then?  I sense you’ll be needed at this book-signing table as soon as glasses are filled and plates of food devoured.

CD:  Could be, but I signed books for the last two days so that I wouldn’t have to stay.  Liz and Dani will take care of everything.  Let’s do the rest of that interview and then we can all kick back and enjoy the evening.

DH:  Brilliant!  Lead the way.  <We slip through an opening behind the table and next to the corner where the tent sides are tied back in a bundle.  We work our way through a few groups of stragglers waiting to get closer to the event as they sip drinks with umbrellas sticking out of them and laugh.  As we walk by, some of them point and stare.>

CD:  Tourists.  They came in droves when Dani and Liz started posting the signs by the pools of the two big resorts earlier today.

DH:  Such a good turnout for so little advertising.  That’s great. <now walking side by side, microphone in hand, Bob trailing behind with the remote box and the binder with Deb’s notes and a beer he swiped on this way out of the tent> So, Charles, my first question for you is this. Obviously we all know the name of the latest book now, but could you explain to us just briefly what it is about?

CD:  Actually, you just met two of the main characters.  Dani Berger and Liz Chirac own and run a 60-foot charter yacht named Vengeance.  The whole Bluewater Thriller series is about their escapades.   In Bluewater Ice, Connie Barrera is their guest and she’s just run off with $10 million in diamonds that she ‘found’ in Nassau; the people who lost them are chasing her.  Neither the thugs who are after Connie nor Connie herself have any idea what kind of people Liz and Dani are.   Dani has family friends scattered through the islands, and most of them will come to her aid in a pinch.  Dani and Liz are resourceful in their own right, and the Bluewater Thrillers are filled with bad guys who came to grief by underestimating the two of them.

DH:  Do you have plans for more books in the series?

CD:  Yes, I already have preliminary ideas for the fifth and sixth books, so I think it will go on for quite a while.  Part of the fun of a series is watching the characters grow and change as a result of their experiences, and that doesn’t get old.  The evolution of the relationship between Dani and Liz is as fascinating as the predicaments that influence their behavior.

DH:   I haven’t read any of these books but I did so enjoy your book Twisted Love.  Having come here and seen your inspiration and met the ladies, I must read this series!  It sounds very interesting and exciting!  Tell me though, what do you think makes a great story?

CD:  Beyond the basics, I think it’s important to have well-developed characters with whom the reader will empathize.  Even villains should evoke an empathetic response some of the time, if they’re realistic.  Giving the reader a clear picture of the environment is important, too, because it shapes the characters and puts them in context.

DH:   Absolutely.  It’s often said, “A good book makes you feel.”  For me, that is half of what affects my written book reviews, what I feel, how much I feel, etc.  I’m curious.  Which kind of reader do you think will enjoy this Bluewater Thriller series?

CD:  The target audience is made up of people who like action / adventure thrillers with a strong female protagonist – that’s Dani.  There’s a good bit of sailing, and a lot of local color, as well, so there’s a special appeal for readers who like to be transported to exotic locales while reading a fast-paced, realistic thriller.

DH:  Alright, so how about a little background about you Charles.  When you first started writing, how did you write?

CD:  I wrote Deception in Savannah, my first novel, with a pen, working in a loose-leaf binder.  I didn’t key it into a computer until about the fourth or fifth rewrite.  At the time, I could write much faster than I could type.  That’s changed over the course of the last eight books.  Not only has my typing improved, but I’ve developed a process that speeds up my writing.  I spent a couple of years working on that first novel; I wrote Bluewater Ice in eight weeks, from start to publication.

DH:  Are any of your characters based heavily on people you know or have met from real life and if so, would they regard it as a compliment or an insult to discover they were the inspiration for the character in question?

CD:  I recently received an alarming email from an old friend who had just finished Twisted Love.  She said something to the effect that she had really enjoyed it, especially since it was about people we both knew.  You just reviewed the book, so you can understand why that comment rattled me.  All of my characters are composites, made up of traits that I find interesting in people that I meet.  None of my characters is based substantially on any one person, so I wrote my friend back and asked her to elaborate.  Her answer was absolutely fascinating to me; none of the people that she thought she recognized were people that I consciously considered when I was writing the book.  I’m pretty sure that no one would feel complimented to learn that they inspired some of those characters.

DH:  Just goes to show you, you really can’t anticipate all the ways that people can identify or relate to different aspects of your books.  It’s a crap shoot really but well written books can have a wide range of effects on a wide range of readers and that is a great measure of success!  Have you ever written a supporting character who took on a life of their own or turned out to be far more popular than expected and if so do you have plans to feature them as the lead character in a story of their own?

CD:  Yes.  I’ve had that happen more than once.  Two characters from Deception in Savannah come to mind.  One was Connie Barrera; I found her to be an interesting person.  She was a survivor who fought her way up from her humble beginnings; she was led astray by situational ethics and narrowly escaped becoming an out-and-out crook.  She features prominently in Bluewater Ice.  The other character from Deception in Savannah who begs for his own story is Donald Tompkins, a would-be con man with attention deficit disorder and a photographic memory.  He’s going to show up in a book of his own one of these days.

DH:  Why did you start writing?

CD: <laughs and still grinning widely he answers>  I keep asking myself that question.  I couldn’t tell you why I started smoking or drinking, either, but I was able to give up those two vices.  Writing is a different kind of addiction, I suppose…

DH:  Now about that free booze <points back to the party> will you join me in a quick drink and a toast to your success?

CD:  Do you think we are going to be able to get back in through that crowd?

DH:  Maybe not!  The music is blaring, everyone is dancing and having a blast, what a great party but I too left my party days behind me years ago-

CD:  Won’t you both join me for a night cap on the boat?  The dinghy is just right there, and I have some snacks aboard, too—

DH: Oh that’s very thoughtful but we don’t want to intrude and I already had to get on a plane this week.  I don’t want to push my sanity and include a boat at this point!  I am a land lover, I’ll admit it! <shrugs and smiles>

CD:  Ah, another time then, I am going to slip away though, it was so great to finally meet you in person and thank you so much for coming.  I hope you will enjoy your stay on the island, how long will you be here?

<the light reflecting off the water shimmers and the temperature and fragrance of the air changes slowly, yet drastically as Debra awakens from a nap on her sofa near the picture window in her studio, high in the mountains of Asheville, NC.  Cobwebs clear away and leave the memories of the wonderful conversations shared with C L R Dougherty earlier today, about the interview and about how much he loves the time he spends in St. Martin.  She reflects on their conversations, the wonderful pictures he shared and realizes she needs to get the interview written, as promised for publishing today and is running late now because she dozed off.  Looking over the notes, Debra realizes the interview and the skit are done but is quite foggy about how or when that happened exactly…>

Find out more about Charles Dougherty:

From his web page: or his author’s page on Amazon:

Links to his books on Amazon:

Deception in Savannah  

Twisted Love

Bluewater Killer

Bluewater Vengeance

Bluewater Voodoo

Bluewater Ice

Dungda de Islan’

Life’s a Ditch

Author Bio:

Charles Dougherty wrote quite a bit of fiction before publishing Deception in Savannah, his first novel. Most of his earlier fiction works took the form of business plans, written to secure funding for projects and startup ventures during his corporate and consulting work, but he put all of that behind him when he wrote Deception in Savannah, a tongue-in-cheek crime novel.

Since Deception in Savannah was published, he has written a number of other books. Bluewater Killer, Bluewater Vengeance, Bluewater Voodoo, and Bluewater Ice are the first four books in his Bluewater Thriller series. The Bluewater Thrillers are set in the yachting world of the Caribbean and chronicle the adventures of two young women running a luxury charterSunset in the lagoon, Ste. Martin, FWI yacht in a rough-and-tumble environment. Book five of the Bluewater Thriller series will be published in the second half of 2013. His most recent book before Bluewater Ice was Twisted Love, a psycho-thriller, published in February, 2013.

He has also written two non-fiction books. Life’s a Ditch is the story of how he and his wife moved aboard their sailboat, Play Actor, and their adventures along the east coast of the U.S.  Dungda de Islan’ relates their experiences while cruising the Caribbean.

He resides with his wife aboard Play Actor, sailing wherever they fancy and the trade winds take them.

Debra: Welcome to this edition of Talk Radio with NO Radio!  Today’s guest is Tell Cotten and he has arrived a few minutes early so we don’t get to talk about him beforehand like we usually do <winks> but let me start off by telling you a bit about Tell before we start asking him questions today.  He is a seventh generation Texan, grew up in the ranching business and is still in the ranching business with a large cattle ranch in west Texas.  Let me share with you that if that didn’t put an image of a real cowboy in your mind already, add the long sleeve, pearl button snap shirt, wrangler jeans and the boots and hat that he is wearing today and you are there!  No surprise to read Confessions of a Gunslinger and then meet Tell as he appears he could have been a character in his own book!  He brought a picture today of him and his son riding together and it’s so adorable…see for yourself:

Tell:  Thanks for the introduction Debra!  I’m very excited to be here.  All my life folks have been telling me that I have a great face for radio, and now, I finally get to NOT be on the air!tellNson

Debra:  <laughs> Ok, ok, let me also share that my first question when I met Tell was, “Is that your real name?” and it is!  He shared with me that there was a movie in the 70’s called The Sacketts starring Tom Selleck and Sam Elliot. Sam Elliot’s character was named Tell, and his parents liked it.  I’m a huge Sam Elliot fan myself so I have seen that show too.  How very cool to have such a unique name and perfect for a writer’s name I think, too!  Do you get teased or asked about that a lot?

Tell: Yes, growing up I got teased some. My last name is Cotten, and folks would call me Cotten Tell rabbit and things like that. When I introduce myself to older folks they always say, “Tell me your name?” And I’ll say, “Tell”, and they’ll reply, “Tell me what, now?” And then I’ll have to spell it out loud. But it’s okay. I like having a unique name!

Debra:  Very cool!  I think we all got teased about our names in one way or another, it amuses me now but was hurtful when we were kids.  You sound like you were a good sport about though!  I’m going to grab some coffee real quick, leave you entertaining our audience for a moment, would you like some coffee?

Tell:  Yes, please, would love some.  <moves to the picture window over my writing desk> Wow, I really like the mountains! We don’t have any mountains where I come from. Back home it’s just one oil well after another.

Debra:  I can’t imagine living anywhere else…<is in kitchen now>

Tell:  Hi!  <into microphone, waves, thinks outloud> Entertain the audience while she makes coffee….hmmmm….Ah-hah! <sings> I got no dia-mond, tho-ugh I’m shy, still I think I’-m a luc-ky guy <fingers snapping the rhythm> I got the sun in the mor-ning and the moon at night, Got no man-sion, got no yacht, Still I’m hap-py with what I’ve got-Oh, you’re back! <grinning ear to ear>  Didn’t know what to say, so what do you do on the radio…sing!

Debra:  Wow, what a voice!  I recognize the lyrics, Dean Martin but you didn’t quite sound like Dean, good but not Dean.

Tell:  My wife says I sound like Ricky Nelson.

Debra:  That makes sense!  Well done <clapping>

Tell:  <takes a bow, pure cowboy style, hat and all> Thank you, little lady.  <Great John Wayne impersonation!>

Debra:  Wow!  You are too funny and not the least bit shy either.

Tell:  I think a lot of people expect that shy cowboy persona but I’m really not.  I grew up playing guitar, and as a kid I sang and played in church. I also teach guitar now. In fact, I even wrote a song once, but my wife won’t let me play it in public. I don’t know why. It’s called, “I still miss my wife, but my aim’s getting better.” Catchy, don’t you think? <blows imaginary smoke from imaginary finger six shooters and puts them back in imaginary holsters, grinning ear to ear, waxing silly head to toe>

Debra:  <laughing, must stop to respond> Yes, very catchy, Tell, your wife must be proud of your great song writing talent!  <laughs again>  Sorry!  You crack me up!  Oh, here we go, focus, we are on the air…okay.  <deep breathe, sits up straight and looks at notepad with questions on it>  Thanks for sharing that with us and on that note, folks, let’s jump right into the Q&A then?  <Tell nods while sipping the coffee, no longer silly and looking like nothing out of the ordinary just happened> First, tell us a little something that folks might find out of character for a cowboy that you do for fun?

Tell:  I’m an excellent chess player. I have a rating of over 1800 on, and I’m very proud of that! In my opinion, playing chess teaches you how to solve problems and deal with conflict.

Debra:  Neat!  Now let’s talk about that book!  I loved it and I don’t read westerns…you’ve got to tell our audience what it’s called and in 20 words or less, what is it about?

Tell:  Confessions of a Gunfighter is the first-hand account of Rondo Landon, gunfighter. It is a character and dialogue driven story about a boy that must cope with the circumstances of the time.

Debra:  Tell us a bit about how you envision your target audience for this book?

Tell:  There are plenty of westerns out there that are filled with language and adult situations. And, I know a lot of folks that are turned away by that. I purposely wrote Confessions of a Gunfighter to be family friendly. There is some violence, but I was careful not to make it too gruesome or gory. And, as a result, almost anyone can read it.

Debra:  Is there a supporting character who took on a life of their own or turned out to be far more popular than expected and if so, do you have plans to feature them as the lead character in a story of their own?

Tell:  Yes, I have received a lot of feedback on my character Lee Mattingly. He’s an outlaw, but there’s also some good in him. There’s a battle of good versus evil going on inside him, and I think a lot of folks related to him. As a result, he has a big part in my next novel, Entwined Paths.

Debra:  Ewww, a little sneak peak in there too, well done.  Can’t wait to read that one too!  What is it you love most about writing?

Tell:  It’s hard work writing a novel. And, the most rewarding part to me is when someone tells me how much they enjoyed reading it. I think that is the best that any author can hope for!

Debra:  Is there anything about you or your writing that makes you unique from other authors?

Tell:  I grew up riding horses and working cattle, and I also know how real cowboys talk and what their mannerisms are. I think that separates me some from a lot of western writers. I’ve been there and done that, so to speak.

Debra:  What would you say is your biggest strength as a writer?

Tell:  I really enjoy writing dialogue, especially western characters.

Debra:  That makes sense, there was a lot of dialogue in that book, you wrote it very well and I think that may have been a deciding factor for my enjoyment as well…it made it so different from other westerns I have opened and put right back down.  If you were to write a story featuring a fictional character from another author’s novel, who would you choose and why?

Tell:  Tell Sackett, from Louis L’amour. I would love to be able to write some dialogue for him!  Of course!

Debra:  What advice would you give to publishing houses with regard to how to go forward and adapt to the industry over the next few years?

Tell:  EBooks are getting more and more popular, so I think publishers are going to have to learn how to become more and more digital. I’m lucky that I have a great publisher. Solstice publishing is very current with the times, and they do a great job of promoting our books. However, every author has to realize that if they want their books to sell then it’s up to them. They have to learn how to promote their own books, or else they probably won’t make it!

Debra:  That seems to be more and more the case, even for the authors that have the more traditional contracts these days, unless they are already famous and sell on name alone, I see more and more self-advertising or paid advertising but from the authors and not just the publishers these days.  Can you list a few other books which you feel would appeal to a similar audience as your own book?

Tell:  The Long Shooters by Dan Chamberlain is a very good read. I’d also have to recommend Double Crossing by Meg Mims. And, if you’re looking for a western with some humor, try Hustle Henry and the Cue Ball Kid by Jack Strandburg.

Debra:  Would you rather have great reviews but average sales or great sales but average reviews?

Tell:  I’d much rather have great reviews but average sales. That would mean that almost everyone that read Confessions of a Gunfighter enjoyed it! And, so far I haven’t received any bad feedback, and I am very happy about that!

Debra:  Tell, <reaches over and shakes hands>, thanks so much for coming today and doing this interview-

Tell:  Thanks for having me-

Debra:  Anytime and is there anything you want to say to the audience, just to wrap things up for us today?

Tell: Getting published has been a dream come true for me, and I have been very humbled by the positive responses I’ve received. Solstice publishing took a chance on me, and I want to thank Melissa and Nick for taking that chance!tell book 031


Amazon author page

Barnes and Nobles


Solstice Publishing

Be sure and check out the book reviews for Tell’s book, one here on my site but also the many great reviews on Amazon!  CLICK HERE for book review