Buying and reading books in a series has long been one of my favorite ways to pick out my next book to read. For years, I've looked forward to my favorite authors' latest books to learn what is happening in their characters' worlds now. Keeping up with favorite characters' lives is so much fun. That's one of the reasons I have developed a few series of my own--the Dead Man and Blues series.
Today's guest, Jana Richards appeared previously in My Writing Corner, when Book 2 of the Masonville series, To Heal a Heart was featured. Jana now gives us the opportunity to return to the Masonville series, through Book 4, Strong Enough. Today, Jana will interview Charlotte Saunders, a character in Strong Enough but let's learn more about Jana first.
Now, let's learn more about Jana's book, Strong Enough. How about a blurb?
Charlotte Saunders has a full life—a rewarding career as a nurse, meaningful volunteer work at a dog shelter, and family, friends and pets she adores. But no matter how hard she tries, she can’t forget the horrible event that’s haunted her for ten years.
A survivor of childhood sexual abuse, Damon Greyson now helps others who have suffered trauma. His experience and intuition alert him to trouble in Charlotte’s past, and he wants to help her, if only she’d let him.
As they work together to help veterans suffering from PTSD and neglected dogs needing loving homes, their feelings for each other deepen. But when the trauma from Charlotte’s past roars back to life, both are forced to confront their painful histories—or die trying.
Jana agreed to interview her character, Charlotte:
Jana Richards: Hi Charlotte. Thank you for sitting down for an interview with me.
Charlotte Saunders: (Charlotte squirms in her chair.) You’re welcome.
JR: So, I understand that you volunteer at a dog shelter.
CS: Yes. I do whatever I can to make the lives of the dogs at the shelter more comfortable, and perhaps a little more bearable.
JR: Why is helping at the shelter so important to you?
CS: Because dogs are beautiful, trusting animals. They deserve our protection. All animals do.
JR: I have a feeling protecting dogs is very personal for you.
CS: Well, yes, of course it’s personal. Through my work at the shelter, I’ve seen how cruel people can be to dogs, how they use them for their own financial gain without any thought of the pain they’re inflicting on fellow creatures. It’s horrendous what people are capable of. I take personal offence to the cruelty, and I feel compelled to save suffering dogs.
JR: You can’t save every dog.
CS: (Frowns.) Maybe not, but I can certainly try.
JR: Fair enough. Let’s change gears. Tell me about your relationship with Damon Greyson.
CS: We’re friends, that’s all.
JR: You’ve been friends for a long time, haven’t you?
CS: Yes, since we were kids, though we hadn’t seen each other for a long time until he moved to Masonville recently.
JR: What did you think of Damon when you were teenagers?
CS: I thought he was very shy and quiet. I wanted to draw him out because there was something…I don’t know…fragile about him back then.
JR: What do you mean?
CS: I guess I sensed he was hurting and I wanted to protect him. I’m not sure what made me think that. But then, not long ago when we were at Blair and Garrett’s wedding, he told me about being sexually abused as a child. I was outraged on his behalf. How could his parents have let that happen to him? But looking back, his shyness as a teen made sense. He was filled with shame he couldn’t speak about. But it wasn’t his fault. He was just a little boy. (Her eyes fill with tears, and she turns away.)
JR: I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to upset you.
CS: (Wipes her eyes with a tissue.) Sorry. Thinking about what Damon went through as a child makes me sad. And it makes me angry, too. Parents are supposed to protect their children.
JR: It’s obvious you care about Damon.
CS: Sure. As a friend.
JR: As a friend, sure. What do you like best about Damon?
CS: He’s a very compassionate person. He’s dedicated his life, and his life savings, to helping veterans with PTSD. Damon is a very special person and I admire what he’s doing.
JR: How do you feel about him, as a man?
CS: (Shrugs, looks away) I think he’s a wonderful man.
JR: Have you thought about having a relationship with Damon, beyond friendship? Have you thought about making love with him?
CS: (Her eyes widen in alarm.) Of course not. Like I told you, we’re friends. That’s all.
JR: What are you afraid of, Charlotte? Why is it you haven’t been in a relationship with a man since you were in college?
CS: I’m not afraid of anything. (She stands up.) I’ve got things to do. Are we done here?
JR: We’re done. For now. But we’ll talk again soon.
CS: (Charlotte walks away.) Don’t count on it.
A very interesting interview! Let's get an excerpt of Strong Enough.
As their names were called, Charlotte reached for Damon’s outstretched hand and stepped into his arms. They glided effortlessly across the floor as if they’d been dancing together all their lives. As if they were perfectly in sync.
“You’ve been holding out on me, Greyson. You never told me you could dance.”
He appeared uncomfortable with her compliment. “My school had obligatory ballroom dance classes. To be honest I haven’t danced in years, but apparently it’s like riding a bike. You never forget.”
“Those classes were time well spent, I’d say.”
To her surprise, his mouth twisted in distaste. “My mother would likely agree with you. She’d be the only one.”
Charlotte heard the bitterness in his voice. Last summer at Everett Branson’s funeral, she’d sensed a deep tension between the three Greyson children and their parents. Blair refused to invite her parents to the wedding. It seemed very important to her, so despite the odd request, Charlotte hadn’t questioned it. Now as she stared up at the tight line of Damon’s pursed lips, she wondered at the reason.
“In any case, you make even someone like me with two left feet look good.”
To Charlotte’s relief, the tension eased from his face.
“Glad the classes weren’t a total waste of time.”
With that, he pressed Charlotte close and spun her into a tight, fast spin. She let out a squeak of surprise and hung onto to his broad shoulders. As he straightened their steps, she laughed in pure delight.
“Maybe I don’t have two left feet after all.”
“Maybe you just needed the right partner.”
Charlotte stared at him, her heart doing a panicked two-step as she tried to interpret what he was saying. Did he want a different, more serious relationship with her? She needed to keep their relationship light because she didn’t think she could deal with a totally serious Damon Greyson.
“Anytime you want dance lessons, give me a call,” he said, a teasing light in his eyes.
She relaxed again, relieved their relationship remained in the friendly, playful zone.
“Get over yourself, Greyson. You’re not that good.”
Damon laughed and spun her again. This time Charlotte was more prepared, matching his steps. He held her close and she was suddenly aware of her breasts pressed against the hard wall of his chest, of his chiseled chin, of the smell of his cologne. As he gazed down at her, all teasing gone from his dark brown eyes, Charlotte found it hard to breathe.
He leaned forward to whisper in her ear. “I think you make me look good.”
Thank you, Jana, for being my guest this week on My Writing Corner. Here are Jana's buy links and social contact information.
Amazon CA - https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B09VNRFZW7
Amazon UK - https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B09VNRFZW7
Social Media Links:
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/janarichards
Amazon UK Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B002DEVWWG
Newsletter Signup: http://janarichards.com/contact.html#newsletter
Are there any comments or questions for Jana?