- Charlotte Gerber lives in upstate New York on a farm with her military family, along with numerous rescued cats and dogs, a wide variety of chickens and eight ducks.She has published two books: Murder in Middleton, and I Dream of Zombies.Four books that will be published in the near future include: A Very Merry Middleton Christmas, Curiosity Killed the Cat, Zombie Asylum (Rose Lee’s Zombie Adventures – Book 2), and Angelique.Prior to writing books full-time, Charlotte worked as a disability columnist for the New York Time’s About.com website. She has authored hundreds of articles across the Internet and continues to write self-help guides, book reviews, and guest posts as time allows.
Welcome to the blog Charlotte!
What are you addicted to?
Chocolate, especially dark chocolate.
What assumptions do people make about you that are wrong? And what assumptions are bang on right?
People think that I will take whatever they dish out. They’re always shocked when I stand up for myself, often in a very passionate way. My advice to them is ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’.
What scares you the most?
Grizzly bears. They’re huge and they can kill you with a swipe of their paw.
What makes you happiest?
Watching my children doing something that makes them happy. I love to see them smile.
What’s your greatest character strength?
I’m fiercely loyal to my family and friends.
What’s your weakest character trait?
I have a hard time forgiving and forgetting. My husband has spent years trying to help me get over this. Luckily, he doesn’t give up easily.
What are you most proud of in your personal life?
I’ve been married to the same wonderful guy for 17 years.
What do you hope your obituary will day about you?
I hope it says something along the lines that I lived life to its fullest and was loved by my friends and family.
What other jobs have you had in your life?
I’ve spent a lot of time working in the banking industry, and an equal amount of time working in law enforcement.
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
I don’t have an exact location in mind, but I would like to live somewhere warm and tropical, with a waterfall nearby.
What movie do you love to watch?
Blazing Saddles. It makes me laugh every time I watch it.
How do you feel about social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter? Are they a good thing?
Initially I jumped on the band wagon with social networking several years ago. People seem to want to have hundreds or even thousands of ‘friends’ or ‘followers.’ Most of those people aren’t real friends, and if you disappeared from those social networks, few would notice your absence. In my line of work I have to belong to these networks, but sometimes it just feels hollow.
If you could do any job in the world what would you do?
I would do cartoon voices.
What’s your most embarrassing moment of your life?
In second grade I was a narrator in my school’s Christmas play. One of the kids forgot their lines and I grabbed them and shook them by the shoulders, scolding them in front of their friends and family. My parents always remind me of it when the holidays roll around.
Are you a city slicker or a country lover?
I like the city lights, but only to visit now. I live in the country and love the peace and quiet.
Why do you write?
I write because it is who I am. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write in a diary or journal. Writing is how I express myself.
Have you always enjoyed writing?
I have always enjoyed creative writing. I wrote for my high school newspaper, my college newspaper and was editor of my college yearbook.
What motivates you to write?
I always set goals for myself, so my motivation is always to finish what I’ve started.
Is writing a gift or a curse?
I would say that it is a little of both. I love it when I can entertain someone and they tell me how much they’ve enjoyed what I’ve written. It is a curse when I get up in the middle of the night to write down an idea or a paragraph for a story I’m currently working on.
Is there any books you really don’t enjoy?
I love all kinds of books, but I really don’t enjoy books that are filled with expletives. Some may call it raw or edgy, but I think writers can convey ideas without resorting to shock value.
What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?
Marketing. It takes a great deal of time and effort. I’d rather leave it to the professionals!
Is your family supportive? Do your friends support you?
My family and friends have been very supportive. I’m very lucky in that respect. My husband has gone above and beyond supportive by showing my books to anyone he knows.
Do you plan to publish more books?
I have several books in the works, four in fact. Writing is like chocolate to me – once I get started it is really hard to stop! I always have ideas in my head about what I’m going to write next. I probably have enough ideas written on index cards to keep me busy for years.
What else do you do to make money, other than write? It is rare today for writers to be full time…
I’ve been writing full-time for about six years. My most recent job was working as a disability columnist for the New York Time’s About.com website. Unfortunately About.com was sold off this past year, and that is when I made the move to writing books full time.
How do you write – lap top, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?
I usually write in bed on my laptop. I have a dozen pillows around me and a memory foam mattress – very comfy. I always have a cat somewhere on my bed too, keeping me company.
Where do you get support from? Do you have friends in the industry?
I do have friends in the industry, but writing web content is somewhat different than writing fiction books. I’m working to cultivate an entirely different group of people in the book publishing biz.
Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge and thank for their support?
Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you?
To me, being successful is having enough writing income to pay the bills. At some point I would like to own a home and not rent forever.
Do you have any tips on how writers can relax?
Disconnect from the Internet and interact with real people as frequently as possible. Sitting in front of a computer screen all day can be exhausting. Get out and experience your surroundings. You’ll feel better, and odds are you’ll have lots of new ideas for your next book or story.
How often do you write? And when do you write?
I write every day. I may not write pages and pages, but I have a simple goal: write 350 words a day.
I write whenever I want since I work at home. I like to write when it is quiet, but with two teenagers in the house that doesn’t happen very often. My husband makes an effort to take them out on the weekends so I can focus on my latest project, at least for a few peaceful hours.
Sometimes it’s so hard to keep at it – What keeps you going?
My children keep me going, sometimes even dragging me along. They are always telling me what I should write about, saying things like, “Wouldn’t it be really cool if you wrote about such-and-such.” My daughter reads all of my books and then tells me that I have to write a sequel. I don’t think she would ever let me quit.
How do you think people perceive writers?
Some people perceive writers as being lazy individuals, especially writers like me who have telecommuted to make a living. If they only knew how much work it is to be a writer. I spend more time writing than I ever did at a traditional job.
How do you feel about self-publishing?
I’m a self-published author because I chose that path. I’m a ‘run with scissors’ kind of person and I didn’t feel that traditional publishing was for me. I haven’t ruled it out completely, but it would take some convincing to get me to switch gears.
Charlotte’s latest book…
The Blurb: Being a zombie counselor was not Rose Lee’s dream job. However, there was a growing need for people who were willing to work with clients that smelled bad, were falling apart, and had a propensity for bad behavior. She decided to put her college degree to work, and try to help out her fellow man, or rather fellow zombies.
When Rose meets a soon-to-be zombie waitress at the Crispy Biscuit, things go from bad to worse. She has run-ins with zombie landlords, zombie hunters, undercover zombies and mercenaries, just to name a few.
Rose tackles all of her problems straight on, whether she is taking out a thug in the supermarket parking lot or saving a cop’s life at the playground. She battles the dark underbelly of post-apocalypse Hornellsville, and proves that she is more than just a pretty girl named after a famous stripper.
“Welcome to the Crispy Biscuit,” a nasal female voice said over the intercom. “Can I interest you in a Deluxe Chicken and Cheese breakfast biscuit?”
“No, thanks. Give me a brown sugar biscuit with marmalade and a large Lava Java with two creams and two sugars please,” I said.
“Does that complete your order?” the voice asked.
“Yep, that’ll do it,” I said.
“Please pull ahead to the first window,” she said.
I did as instructed and rounded the corner with my 1990 Cadillac Brougham. It was a gift from my father. I’m not sure if it was really a gift, or rather his way of getting rid of the biggest, gas-guzzling vehicle he’d ever owned. I had named the car Beulah.
I maneuvered up to the window, being careful not to hit the concrete pylon next to the service window. Not because it would hurt my car, but rather because the car would probably take a chunk out of the pylon.
Eight feet of car hood later, the driver’s side window finally lined up with the service window. “Five-o-five please,” the cashier said. I handed her the money and was a little shocked when she almost dumped my order into my lap through the window. “Sorry”, she said, her cheeks turning a deep shade of scarlet.
“That’s okay, it is that kind of day,” I said, trying to reassure her with a smile. It never hurt to be nice to the workers at the Crispy Biscuit. Every once in a while they gave me an extra biscuit, and who was I to complain?
I noticed her hands as she went back to work. I could have sworn there were the familiar quarter-sized brown patches on the tops of her hands. I must have looked a little too long because the girl suddenly pulled the window shut, shot me the stink eye, and turned her back to me.
It didn’t take a rocket scientist to know what those patches were – zombie disease. If that were true, all it would take to do the poor creature in was a whiff of pepper and BAM! A very sticky, and somewhat messy, end.
I was torn between pulling into a parking space and running in to alert her manager or continuing on my drive to the jail. I didn’t relish the thought of doing either; in one case the poor girl may be sent away to live out her life in a zombie asylum, and in the other, I had to figure out whether my client was worth the time and effort of sitting through a court hearing.
Life used to be so much easier before the ZA.
A sense of duty won out, since I’m required by law to report this kind of thing. I pulled Beulah into a tight parking space and disembarked. Luckily I had worn one of my sensible suits to work today and didn’t have to navigate the pot-hole filled parking lot in high heels.
I entered the restaurant and stood in line, waiting for my chance to speak with the manager. The hostess greeted me after a few moments.
“Just one today?” she asked.
“No, I’m not staying,” I said. “I just have a quick question for the manager. Is he or she in?”
“Let me check, hon. I’ll be right back,” she said.
I watched her walk away from me, her plump body crammed into a short yellow dress. A starched white apron hemmed with lace helped to cover some of the bulges in front, but from behind it didn’t help her at all. I gave a sigh and felt instantly sorry for her. She probably didn’t make much money, and the management was probably a little too cheap to buy uniforms that fit everyone, especially the more curvy girls.
She returned a few minutes later with a rather unhappy-looking man with a bad comb over. I could feel my stomach clench looking at him. I didn’t like dealing with surly people, especially this early in the morning.
“What can I do for you mam?” he asked in a weak, raspy voice, probably a result from chain smoking. I had a hard time looking away from him. His skin had an odd, oily appearance and he had purple circles under his eyes. His lips had a bluish cast to them; a candidate for a heart attack if I ever did see one.
“Um,” I stammered. “I think one of your waitresses may be sick.”
He narrowed his eyes and stared at me. “Who is sick?” he asked, a little more loudly than was necessary.
“I think the girl who waited on me at the drive thru is a little under the weather, if you know what I mean,” I said. I would have given the proverbial wink-wink to him, but I was afraid that he would misunderstand the signal.
“No, I don’t know what you mean,” he said curtly. “Explain,” he said, even more loudly than before.
I was beginning to feel uncomfortable and regretting my decision to come into the restaurant. There was no turning back now, however, so I plowed ahead.
“I noticed that your waitress has brown spots on the tops of her hands. I don’t need to tell you what that is a sign of, do I? The last thing you need is a horrific accident in your restaurant, right? You know what happens when a zombie gets around pepper.”
The situation was beginning to sink in with the manager, and he looked at the floor. He nodded and then said, “I’ll look into it.” He abruptly turned on his heel and walked away from me. I turned and was about to leave the store when I saw my car pulling out of the parking space without me.
I ran towards the front door of the store, and just then the waitress from the drive thru turned and gave a little wave from the driver’s side of my car. “Holy cheese and crackers!” I yelled. “She stole my car!”
Other patrons who were enjoying their breakfast biscuits stopped eating and looked up at me. “She stole my car!” I yelled again, pointing at the door.
I turned and looked at the restaurant patrons around me, half wondering if anyone was going to help me. Most of them just went back to eating, though a few looked at me expectantly for a moment or two before they also returned to their breakfasts.
If nothing else, people in Hornellsville were a calm lot.
Connect with Charlotte :