Meet the Exquisite Quill Authors

Friday, July 18, 2014

Today's EQ Guest ~ Author Charmaine Gordon

Hi from Charmaine Gordon. I’m an admirer of EQ and so pleased to be with you today.

A bit about me:
After years of being an Air Force Wife married to my high school sweetie and mom to too many kids, we moved to New York. Civilians once more. I joined community theater and one day a successful actor suggested I go to NYC and work. What a concept! So I signed up for classes at night on camera techniques, followed casting calls. Before too long, I worked on One Life To Live, a job lasting for eleven years, All My Children, two years, Another World-- studio way out in Brooklyn, for a solid year of fun. I didn’t realize at the time while working as an actor in NYC, I’d become a sponge soaking up dialogue, setting, and stage directions. I learned many tools of writing during the years watching directors like Mike Nichols and actors including Harrison Ford, Anthony Hopkins, and Billy Crystal. And would you believe, I was Geraldine Ferraro’s stand-in leg model, my first job giving me entrée into all the Unions needed to work. When the sweet time ended, I began another career and creative juices flowed.

Where does a story come from? Paul Simon wrote wonderful songs from headlines in the papers. Now I’m not Paul Simon writing “the Fool on the Hill,” or Richard Corey,” two of his early songs nor do I pretend to be Art Garfunkel. What I’m pointing out is that ideas come from many sources. As for me, usually I sleep-write where a story comes to me in a dream, beginning and end, and in the morning, I write. This began as soon as my career went from acting to writing. The idea for She Didn’t Say No came from a news article. I read into it a story to begin with and follow to build on the article.

Hmm. It makes sense to me. Sorry, dear readers, if you don’t get what I’m trying to convey. I made a decision to place the story in 1960. Why? I have no idea. Again it made sense to me to make the heroine a nineteen year old college girl. The title gives you an idea of what happens next. The news article doesn’t come into the story until she’s a grown woman, in business in a small town.

She Didn’t Say No
by Charmaine Gordon
Another Mature Romance... with a twist!

Grace Meredith didn’t say no to the Big Man On Campus, Scott Dwyer. And then her life changed...Grace makes her way to a new town and with the kindness of strangers, establishes a business called The Pet Emporium where she grooms, what else? Dogs and cats.

Years later, a too-close encounter of an unpleasant kind with a skunk and Scott’s German Shepherd reunites the former lovers. What happens in between are their stories of beginnings and endings and love lost, then found.



You asked a what if question about one of my books adapted to a movie. It just so happens that my very first book To Be Continued, Vanilla Heart Publishing, is optioned for a television movie. As a newbie writer, you can imagine how surprised I was to receive a phone call from a producer who read my book and made the offer. He said he loved the way I handled dialogue! I called Kimberlee Williams, my publisher, and she took the option from there. Now we wait to hear good news.

This is irony: Fate has a way of stepping in just when you thought it was safe to go into the water. Secure in my work as an actor and being part of performing company, my voice began to change. In a really scary way. I had to focus harder than ever on stage where lines and emotions always came naturally. Without telling the company, I saw first one doctor and then another until someone, by chance, said his wife had a similar problem. I went to Mount Sinai to see the famous Dr. Andrew Blitzer who, after careful examination and tests, advised me that I have spasmodic dysphonia and it wasn’t going away. I cried, a lot, and when the off Broadway play I had the lead in finished the run, I knew my final curtain had fallen.

What to do with all the creative juices still flowing? A friend suggested I write. I didn’t know how to format but I knew a whole bunch of other stuff so I wrote and when I finished, sent out query letters. Rejections are nothing new to actors. You get over it and move on. That’s exactly what I did. My advice to new writers is believe in yourself. Tell your story. Write each day. Open your heart and let emotions spill onto the page. Cry and laugh. Let your characters interfere and listen to them. It’s a marvelous feeling, intimate in your solitary life as a writer. My fingers fumble along the keyboard writing every day. 

I’ll share one more tidbit with you; here’s my favorite line from Farewell, Hello, my latest book newly released:

Danny wondered if a heart breaks all at once or does it splinter in little pieces over time.


That first kiss… that first incredible, agonizing, bellyache-making first kiss. Soon, Joy and Danny are inseparable, planning a future — a life, together.

A kiss goodbye couldn’t prepare the high school sweethearts for all that lay ahead. A family crisis, a tornado, and the Korean War brought their plans to a screeching halt, and changed their futures… but maybe not their forever.

Farewell, Hello is dedicated to Weekend Writer Warriors, an amazing supportive online group of writers begun a year ago by Teresa Cypher. When I sent out a cry for help one Sunday, that my WIP-work in progress- needed comments, support streamed through and my mind sorted out the problem. A huge thanks to WEWRIWA.

Kimberlee Williams, I often wonder where would I be without you? Nowhere-ville, no doubt still searching for a good home for my books. Together, we work seamlessly always finishing with a laugh to hang up on a high note. Thank you, my friend and publisher for all you do to further my career and Vanilla Heart Publishing.

And here’s to Chelle Cordero, my best friend forever always there for a listen, a laugh, advice. Every story has a touch of you embedded within the pages.


Rose Anderson said...

Thanks for joining us today, Charmaine. We're happy to have you. Geraldine Ferraro’s stand-in leg model! What an interesting life. I think it's wonderful that you turned to writing to keep your voice. Best luck.

Charmaine Gordon said...

'writing to keep your voice'. Rose, I never thought of that. You're so right. So what if I can't sing or be on stage, my voice is in tact on the pages of my books. A positive way of looking at life. Thanks once again. It's a pleasure to spend this time with you.

BTW-the working title of Farewell, Hello was She Never Said Yes. In my haste to complete the interview, I forgot to change the old title.

Rose Anderson said...

Fixed it!

E. Ayers said...

What a wonderful, colorful life! Here's to your new life and your new voice! The lyrics to the Sound of Music just ran through my head. May you sing once more.

Jane Leopold Quinn said...

Hi Charmaine, my heart jumped when I saw the All My Children reference and then looked up your blog post about James Kiberd. Trev and Nat were faves of mine. Anyway, welcome to the EQ blog.

Marianne Stephens said...

Fascinating life you've led! Acting certainly put you in a great position to become an author. Sorry about your voice...will it ever be the same? Happy writing!

Charmaine Gordon said...

Funny thing is , E.Ayers, I thought of myself as an everyday housewife until I spread my wings. What a jump . In my fifties taking classes at night in the big bad city. And I did it to become a little fish in the big pond. Thanks for stopping by.

Charmaine Gordon said...

Hi Jane. You took the time to check out my website. How cool are you. Once on AMC I had the part of a jailbird's wife on visitor's day.The gorgeous Erica was visiting her lover in the net cell.
Thanks for a big EQ welcome.

Charmaine Gordon said...

Sad to say, my good voice is all gone. What remains is in my books. Lots and lots of stories in this creative mind.
I so appreciate your comment.

Lynn Crain said...

Very interesting life you've had...thanks for sharing your tidbits of wisdom.

Charmaine Gordon said...

Hi Lynn. I believe everyone is interesting and has stories to tell. Open your heart and let the words and emotions flow whether you write or act or help someone in a parking lot unload the groceries. That creates a sparkle and a link of giving back. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.