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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Interview with Charlie Kramer



Please give a warm welcome to Charlie Kramer!

Tell us about your current release?

Don’t Quote Me is the first book the Quotable Women Series and is Claire Montgomery’s story. It’s all about the movie stars of the 1930s, 40s, 50s and 60s.
London’s hottest fashion photographer, Claire Montgomery has a problem. Several actually. One; she remembers every event in her life by the shoes she is wearing at the time. Two; she has rules around dating. Three; her belief in monogamy stops her from marrying and four; her little hot pink book is literally on fire.
Claire’s a fun loving flirt who lives life by her own rules. She does it with style, in her vintage clothes and her over stuffed shoe closet, the only accessories she needs. Oh and of course she absolutely cannot do without quotes from the movie stars. Think Audrey Hepburn, Lauren Bacall, Mae West and you’re on the right track.
Greek shipping tycoon, Sebastian Gionis has been announced as a candidate for Chic Magazines, Man of the Year. He’s good with business, not so good at relationships. He’s aloof and his physical presence has Claire’s her heart doing its own kind of rumba. In her eyes he makes Rock Hudson and James Dean seem decidedly insignificant.
Sebastian’s appearance shakes up Claire’s life and lands her in therapy before she can hit the road on the way to love.

Tell us about your next release?

Clarity & Corsets is book two in the Quotable Women Series and follows the story of Claire’s friend Roberta (Bobbie) Hicks in her search for love.
Bobbie’s become a new ager in the hope of overcoming her body image issues and finding love. Having a weight problem is not a girl’s best feature. So Bobbie sets out on the path to find self-acceptance. A self-employed window dresser by day and the president of the Bridget Jones fan club by night. Any free time she has is spent with her tarot reader or with her nose firmly planted in a self-help book.
So when Bobbie’s tarot reader suggests she takes a night class at the local university in quantum physics to help her understand her spirituality, she reluctantly takes her advice. It would help to know when her planets would line up and what she should do when Mercury went into retrograde. Little does she know that Saturn ends up in her orbit and causes some minor catastrophes.
American Professor Ryan Hunter has recently moved to London to detach himself from a secret past made painfully public. Taking a university teaching position in England is his chance for a new start. He’d read the English were more accepting of people who had a preference for the unusual. Then he meets Bobbie!
Bobbie and Ryan start a relationship and within weeks of meeting they are living together. With the help of her tarot reader, Bobbie slowly starts to uncover Ryan’s deep, dark secrets.
Bobbie and Ryan need to overcome their differences to create a life of love and laughter? Is that what the Cosmic Kitchen really has in store for them?
Clarity & Corsets is schedule for release in December 2011.


Has someone been instrumental in inspiring you as a writer?

I have found the most supportive people are other writers and for me that is the ladies of the Melbourne Romance Writers Guild. They are magical. We celebrate each other’s triumphs and support and encourage each other every step of the way through writing.

Does your significant other read your stuff?

Lol. I would have said no until recently when I caught Tony reading “Don’t Quote Me” which he’d gotten online. Psst….there’s a copy in my office.

What was the scariest moment of your life?

I spent some time in hospital earlier in the year and underwent a battery of medical tests. Prior to this I only had a very unhealthy fear of needles. The scariest moment in my life was when I was undergoing a CT scan and praying like crazy the doctors didn’t find anything.
I found my thoughts amazing because fear does some not so kind things to one’s imagination.

What books have most influenced your life?

“Think Big and Kick Ass” and “Think Like A Champion” both by Donald Trump.
“Screw It, Let’s Do It” by Richard Branson.
Both of these men are self-made. They started with nothing and by sheer persistence and determination they became who and what they are today. I cannot say I agree with all of their philosophies and actions, but I do respect them for their tenacity and courage.
Donald Trump wrote in his book “Never, ever give up.” Each time I back away from trying something new or even to keep on going forward, I chant this phrase to myself.

What book are you reading now?

I have just finished reading Corrine Grant’s memoir “Lessons in Letting Go - Confessions of a Hoarder”. Which is a fabulous read.
A friend recently gave me a copy of “A Will and a Way” a very classic Nora Roberts first published by Silhouette Special Edition in 1987. That’s my next read.

What is your favourite TV Show?

Is there anything better than Masterchef? Because I live in the land down under – it’s Masterchef Australia.

Do you have any suggestions for beginning writers? If so what are they?
1. Be passionate
2. Know your craft
3. Build your knowledge bank
4. Follow your heart
5. Don’t be afraid to break the rules
6. Be the writer you are, not the writer everyone expects you to be.

What would we find under your bed?

A couple of empty suitcases and a few overnight bags. I’m itching to pack already for our August holiday at Port Douglas in far North Queensland.
Lol. I have to confess that I am starting to feel the separation anxiety already. I don’t usually go anywhere without my laptop. One day of the tropics and I’m sure I’ll be over it.

Excerpt:

Chapter Twenty-Three

Eccentric behaviour is not routinely noticed around a movie set.
Gene Tierney

My friend’s state of mind started to worry me and when during one of lunches at the local she proceeded to get heavily drunk. I decided it was time for some intervention.
I didn’t know if I could provide divine intervention, all I knew was our next lunch would be at the local coffee house.
I could not sit by and watch her become an alcoholic like one of Meg Ryan’s characters. Men love women and women love men and relationships ended and starteDd every day.
Women needed an overhaul in between said relationships. I know that much from personal experience.
Helen is so much more and she has two little kids who need their mummy. So I booked her a session with Dr Scott.
The Doc would probably find Helen’s life issues more palatable than my own. But he’d done wonders for me because I was functioning quite normally in a monogamous relationship.
Or was I?

The whole point of liberation is that you get out, restructure your life and act by yourself.
Jane Fonda

That pretty much sums up perfectly my therapy experience and I am confident Helen will benefit from a session. So I made the appointment.
I didn’t see the point in waiting, waiting would only suck her further into the bottle.
If she wasn’t careful I’d be dragging her to AA meetings instead of mothers group where she belonged.
So here I sat once again in Dr Scott’s waiting room with a very belligerent Helen. Her bottom lip drooped and her big blue eyes were blood shot.
My guess is she’d overindulged after the children’s bedtime last night.
I felt a slight twinge of guilt, but then I reasoned she is young and has her whole life ahead of her and one day she will meet someone new. A man who will love and respect her and the kids.
The thought of her two little ones obliterated my guilt. I didn’t want to say anything, but if Helen didn’t smarten herself up, she risked losing her children to the son of a bitch she’d married. And it wasn’t like Dominic would want them cluttering his love nest.
I didn’t voice my opinion, it would probably send her further down the dip of depression. I’m no doctor you understand, I’m a friend who cares.
Finally, the door to the doctor’s inner sanctum opened and out walked Sebastian.
Well shit me.

Imagination is the highest kite one can fly.
Lauren Bacall

And my imagination is running rampant.
Sebastian is a patient. I was so shocked I swear I felt my satin panties go rigid.
I stood abruptly and almost toppled off my 1940 sling-backs.
I imagined all sorts of things. Was he depressed? Had his nanny abused him? Did his parents abandon him to travel the world? What was he discussing with Dr Scott?
Shit, I hope Dr Scott wasn’t giving him my history. I never discussed my relationship with the good doctor with anyone. I’d sought out a therapist for reasons of privacy and knowing that my secrets would never be shared.
I’d sue that’s what I’d do. I doubt Sebastian had heard anything good about the way I used to live my life.
He certainly was not aware of my, shall we say, personal habits of the past. It was not something I felt comfortable having him know.
I’d promised myself a new start where my past would never intrude.
I was shocked and surprised and then weariness set in. He’d never told me he was in therapy. In fact, how much did I really know about this man I loved?
I had to admit he had some pretty appealing characteristics and some pretty spectacular body parts. Sadly, this sums up my knowledge. He kept an awful lot hidden from me.
“Claire, what are you doing here?”
Well it was not like I was going to confess I was a patient. I wasn’t. “Helen has an appointment,” I whispered. “I didn’t know you were a…”
“We all need someone to confide in,” he said and stared at his watch. “I’ve got a meeting.” He kissed my forehead. “I’ll see you at home.”
And he left, just like that.
No I love you, no kiss my butt, no it’s none of your damn business. Nothing, no explanation, no words.
He could have confided in me.
Maybe he didn’t trust me.

I won’t let myself fall in love with a man who won’t trust me no matter what I might do.
Marilyn Monroe

Too late. I am already in love with the jerk.
I spent the whole of Helen’s session in the waiting room with my mind running from one fear to another.
Surely Dr Scott would respect my privacy. Yes. I’m sure he did. It really wasn’t worth the law suit. I’d sue if he so much as breathed a sigh about me.
Sebastian obviously didn’t feel like he could talk to me. And that hurt.
Trust is a big part of any relationship and if he couldn’t trust me with his deep, dark secrets then what did we really have?
A marriage without trust was nothing. Look at Helen’s disaster.
It made me wonder whether Helen had seen the signs earlier than the lipstick on Dominic’s shirt. Did she recognise them and do nothing or had she been genuinely unaware.
Who knew? I didn’t want to end up in her predicament. When I marry it is for life.
And a good start is being able to trust your partner in life.
What is Sebastian really hiding?

Cultivate your curves, they may be dangerous but they won’t be avoided.
Mae West

Some would call it playing dirty. But in the circumstances I considered it very fair.
I dressed for my dinner with Sebastian with care. I wore a black chiffon cocktail dress. It was designed with sex in mind.
With one shoulder bare, its figure hugging body finishing at my thighs. I teamed it with a suspender belt, stockings and a pair of plain black evening pumps.
It was tasteful with a hint of burlesque. I dressed it up elegantly, Grace Kelly with a promise of Mae West. That’s the best I can do.
I need Sebastian to bare his soul to me tonight. I need him to divulge his every secret.
It wasn’t beneath me to use sex to do it. Okay probably not a smart thing to do. I do love the guy, but I also want to get into his head and sex was my weapon of choice.
I didn’t have any others. If this didn’t work I would have to come up with a plan B. Whatever plan B was.
Let’s face it, sex is a girl’s preferred choice and it usually works pretty much every time without fail.
There is always the odd chance it wouldn’t but I shoved the thought aside. It would work. It had to.
Sex meant to a man what diamonds were to a girl. I did say hint not deliver, didn’t I?

Love isn’t an emotion or an instinct, it’s an art.
Mae West

I’ve begun to realise that love is all three. Tonight I chose to treat it as an art form.
No, I didn’t pinch him on the butt. I’d given up on public displays in restaurants. It wasn’t very sophisticated.
I am the partner of a billionaire, who ruled the shipping industry around the globe. So I had to be on my best behaviour.
Add to that, I am scared of being a headliner again and didn’t want to embarrass Sebastian.
At the beginning of our relationship I’d dreaded the press digging up the incident with Pastor John. I’d lived in fear for the first month.
I decided to be like Grace Kelly tonight. As the wife of a prince, she was always very regal in her public appearances.
My dress certainly didn’t put me in the regal category, but it was tasteful to a point without me looking like a complete slut in public.
Now where was I? Oh, yes art. So tonight I kept our conversation light, I never once mentioned our coincidental meeting earlier in the day. No point in airing dirty laundry in public as my mother would say.
Sebastian was attentive but he couldn’t quite hide his frustration. I wasn’t my fun, bubbly self. I kept laughter away from the dinner table.
As our evening progressed, his agitation became more pronounced as he shifted in his chair every few minutes.
Bitch that I can be, his discomfort gave me pleasure.
So when our coffee and dessert were served I toed off one of my pumps and rubbed my stockinged foot up his leg, Sebastian choked on his coffee.
Oh good, it was working. No need for plan B.

I always say a kiss on the hand might feel very nice but a diamond tiara lasts forever.
Marilyn Monroe

When we arrived at my flat, I did the unthinkable. I let him kiss my hand and said goodnight. Then I firmly closed the door.
Dumb I know, but a girl has to do what a girl has to do.
I want the tiara. I want more than the tiara.
The ring, the white dress, I want it all just like in the movies.
I am taking some really good advice from the girls of the silver screen and playing hard ball. I want it all.
Yeah so it was the scriptwriters who did it but hey, I think the movies are also one of life’s best therapists. They had relationship advice down pat.
A documentary on how to catch a man would make the hit parade and become a classic I am sure. Every girl on the planet would be queuing up to buy a copy.
Down With Love had some pretty good advice. Nancy Brown’s transformation was truly amazing and in the end she got her man.
Lizzie enthralled Mr Darcy, Bacall got her man in Bogey, so I figured I, Claire J Montgomery would go right along and capture Sebastian Gionis.
Heaven only knew how long this would take. I didn’t spend many nights alone. And I didn’t want too many more.

I am a woman of very few words but lots of action.
Mae West

In the lead up to Christmas life became very hectic. There were the endless phone calls from my mother. She constantly asked if Sebastian would be joining our family for the holidays.
My mother was totally thrilled that I appeared to be settling down. I didn’t discuss the details. Nor could I confirm Sebastian would be at the table for our family lunch.
Surprisingly, my father told me how proud he was of me. I knew this was because I’d captured, almost captured one of the world’s richest men. I put Dad right on this score. It wasn’t the wealth or the lifestyle which interested me. It was the man.
Life became busy with Helen who seemed to be doing incredibly well under Doctor Scott’s care. She’s settled down into the life of a single woman with her two babes.
Sometimes I caught a glimpse of something but couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I’d keep an eye on her.
Then there were the endless Christmas functions to be attended. I felt as though the number had doubled this year. I suppose it had with the functions I needed to attend and also the invitations Sebastian had accepted. Co-ordinating schedules became a bit of a challenge to say the least.
I still kept Sebastian at arm’s length. And very slowly he seemed to thaw in the winter ice. I love him and didn’t withhold my love, only the physical expression of it was, shall we say, limited.
Even I couldn’t maintain celibacy between us. That was simply too cruel. Our schedules became an effective barrier between us and the bed.
The festive edition of Chic hit the stands and the sales for the month eclipsed all previous records. I assumed it had something to do with the magazine’s new look and focus.
Rachel had broadened the content to suit more mature women as well as keep the younger generation enthralled. The gamble had paid off.
It was the week before Christmas when I really began to worry.


****

Author Bio:

Charlie Kramer lives in Melbourne, Australia with her partner.

She has worked in the building and facilities management industries for a number of years as both a General Manager, private contractor and author of specialised technical manuals.

Charlie is also an award winning speech writer and published short story author. Today she enjoys writing romantic comedy screen plays and novels.

In her spare time, Charlie enjoys creative cooking and watching chick flicks.

Her ultimate dream; to write a one woman stage play.

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