Well, hello!
I’m Charlene.

More importantly, I’m a lover of stories.
Reading, writing, watching, listening, telling …
If it’s a tale that involves realistic characters
and true-to life interactions,
I’m all about it.

I love reading! I love writing! I love words!

Oh, wait. Did I say that above? When something’s true, it’s worth repeating.

I don’t just love any old story (also referenced above). A good plot is key, a page turner is great, words weaved together in ways that make me stop and marvel are wonderful, but I need more.

I need some truth in my fiction.

You know those books that are almost impossible to put down, not because of some great mystery, or high-speed chase, or sexy scene, but because they’re full of characters who enrage and delight you; Imperfect people in circumstances that could hit any one of us.

Characters full of human frailties who make awful, sometimes stupid choices …

Then something shifts, and they make a choice that has you itching to stand up and cheer.

Or, at other times, you can’t cheer, because too much has been lost and the price has been SOO high, but you nod your head, you understand where they’re coming from, and you’re satisfied, because sometimes that’s all life offers us, and that’s okay.

The books that you finish and still wonder about, because there were no fairy-tale endings, just a closing of that chapter in the character’s life, with a lesson learned or a hurt resolved.

Yet beyond the pages you know there’s so much more …

Books that feel like they become a part of you.

Those are the books I love, and those are the books I set out to write.

It helped that I started doing all this writing in one
of the most beautiful spots my country has to offer
– St. John’s, Newfoundland.
So, when the muse went for a hike,
I could too, and find her again!

Want to know more?

MY BIG WHY

When I was younger I LOVED literary fiction and read voraciously.

Hours and hours.

I was that nerdy kid reading Dickens and Tolkien and Brontë – in grade 3. I was chubby and not very popular, but my books accepted me. They were my safe place.

They challenged me. They let me know life was hard, but I could overcome.

However, my attention span isn’t what it used to be. (Thanks, TV!)

Honestly, now when I try to read classic literature, I too often find myself thinking, ‘Geesh, edit much?’ or ‘Get on with it already!’

Don’t get me wrong. I still LOVE these books for their intricate stories and complex characters, but I no longer need the lengthy descriptions of moors and sunsets, deep historical backgrounds, or oh-so-many inner monologues that span pages.

I prefer my fiction a little more succinct.

THE PROBLEM

When I started reading modern books, so many of them were as fluffy as cotton-candy.  The characters felt like paper-doll cut-outs, I could guess what was going to happen from the first few pages, and they wrapped up in picture-perfect happily-ever-after endings.

They didn’t feel real.

They didn’t challenge me—mentally or emotionally.

And they were full of women who were defined by their man. Yuck.

Don’t get me wrong. I love a little love in my fiction and can swoon with the best of them, (Jamie Fraser, anyone?) but I want MORE.

It took a while before I found the types of books I was looking for.

Books full of the complexities of the human condition, age-old questions, imperfect people living imperfect lives, and women who had goals and struggles and lives that went far beyond their romantic interests.

Books with a little grit.

AND that got ‘er done in 300 pages instead of 600. WIN!

Still, I had to wade through a lot of misses in order to get my hands on the gems I craved.

Is that why I started writing those books myself? Maybe.

Or maybe it’s because I write what I love. Yeah. It’s probably that. 😉

Want a taste? 

Click below to get a free copy of the novella, Before I Knew You. It follows the story of Joanna, a woman struggling to fulfill the greatest desire of her heart. Joanna’s not quite as ‘gritty’ as some of my other characters, but she’s determined, focused, and refuses to give up, even when everyone around her thinks she’s making the wrong choice.

Click the button below to get started now.

EVERY CHARACTER HAS A BACKSTORY … HERE’S MINE!

Charlene Carr drinking teaI’m the youngest of four children and the only girl. Living in a house full of boys taught me to fight for what I want and to always try to reach higher (you have to when everyone in your family towers above you).

I’m Canadian. I grew up in Toronto, Ontario, moved to Riverview, New Brunswick when I was almost fifteen years old, and, after graduating high school, spent the next five years living and travelling in five provinces and five countries. Since then, I’ve added two more provinces to the list of places I’ve called home and explored seven more countries – I’m a bit of a nomad!

I’ve always been a huge reader and spent seven years in University reading, writing, and otherwise immersing myself in all things words.

I have a BA and MA in English Literature and a Bachelor of Journalism, yet after my final graduation, I found myself working a job that didn’t have a whole lot to do with any of those studies.

To make matters worse, the job was making me sick. Literally. In the 11 months I worked there I was on antibiotics at least five times.

Although the work itself was stimulating and my co-workers were lovely, the management made the job toxic.

Something needed to change. I needed a way out. But I couldn’t afford one. This was 2010. The market hadn’t yet picked up from the recession, and jobs were scarce.

And to be honest, I was scared. Scared of finding myself in the same position somewhere else. Manipulated. Taken advantage of. Made to feel small.

I never wanted to be in that position again.

So I took a leap.

I sold my house, keeping the deposit as “safety money”, quit my job, and decided to go into business for myself.

charlene carr book signingA Communications business, with the goal of having the freedom and flexibility in the inevitable lulls to finally fulfill my childhood dream of becoming a novelist.

Only there weren’t really lulls. I was working more than before, 60 and a few times 75 hours a week.

After a few years of struggle I was making a decent income and loving the work, but I didn’t have time to write.

Drat!

So, when my husband of only a few months was offered a job at the edge of our country, I packed our bags, finished out my contracts, and followed him with the resolution that I would spend the next year focusing on the writing I most wanted to do.

Four years, nine books, and a novella later, and I’m still a writing machine.

Want to get reading? 

Click below to get a free copy of the novella, Before I Knew You. It follows the story of Joanna, a woman struggling to fulfill the greatest desire of her heart.

Joanna’s not quite as ‘gritty’ as some of my other characters, but she’s determined, focused, and refuses to give up, even when everyone around her thinks she’s making the wrong choice.

Click the button below to get started now.