Today I am so happy to welcome E.A. West, author of The Key to Charlotte as she celebrates the release of her new book. Welcome!
Please tell us about your latest release.
My latest release is The Key to Charlotte, an inspirational romance. The heroine, Charlotte Harris, is a mute autistic who cleans her church twice a week. Zakaria Rush is the new director of children’s ministries at Charlotte’s church. More than anything, Charlotte wants to be able to carry on a conversation in her own voice, and Zakaria longs to help her achieve that dream. But will his efforts lock away his chance for a relationship with Charlotte?
Do you have any other books?
Yes, I have three other ebooks currently available. My two other inspirational romances, Dreams Do Come True and Healing in Haven Falls, can be purchased from Pelican Book Group (http://www.pelicanbookgroup.com/ec) and Amazon.com. Riley’s Mission, my sweet romantic suspense, is available from The Wild Rose Press (http://www.thewildrosepress.com) and Amazon.com.
What inspired you to be a writer?
I’ve been reading since I was three years old, and I have loved making up stories just as long. Writing gave me a way to share the stories I made up. It also allowed me to take my love of books in a new direction. Instead of just having a love of reading books, I discovered a love of writing books as well.
What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started writing?
I wish I had known the importance of critique groups. When I first started writing, I thought I knew how to write. My friends and family were very encouraging about my writing, so I started submitting my work. Every submission was rejected and I finally joined a critique group. At that point, I learned just how much I didn’t know about writing. My critique partners provided the constructive criticism and advice I needed to grow as a writer so my work was publishable. Although it was a bit of a shock to go from hearing my loved ones say my writing was great to receiving rejection after rejection, joining a critique group is one of the best things I’ve ever done. Without their guidance, encouragement, and honest words about my writing, I doubt I would have ever gotten anything published.
Where can readers learn more about you and your books?
You can learn more on my website http://eawest.mcphitty.com and my blog http://thewestcorner.wordpress.com. If you’re on Facebook, please “like” my author page for periodic updates and thoughts from my writing life http://www.facebook.com/pages/EA-West/34280264617. I’m also on Twitter http://twitter.com/eawest and ShoutLife http://www.shoutlife.com/eawest.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Thank you, Regina, for having me on your blog today! I hope you and the readers have enjoyed this interview as much as I have.
And here’s a blurb and an excerpt:
Charlotte Harris can’t speak due to a quirk in her autistic brain, but that doesn’t stop her from communicating with others. Unfortunately, it prevents her from achieving two of her dreams–to praise God through singing and to carry on a simple conversation with her own voice.
Zakaria Rush is the new Director of Children’s Ministries at Charlotte’s church, and he can’t keep his thoughts off the partially mute blonde with a love for guitar music. Her innocence and love of the simple things in life intrigue him and make him long to give her what she wants more than anything: her voice.
Can Zakaria help Charlotte find the key to unlocking her ability to speak, or will his attempt to help her only lock away their chance for love?
Charlotte switched off the vacuum and breathed a sigh of relief. The silence in the small church was pure bliss. She pulled the plug from the wall and coiled the cord around the top of the vacuum, then returned it to the janitorial closet in the basement. Turning around, she pulled out her cell phone and checked for reminders.
Take the rag bucket home.
Yes, she needed to wash the rags and kitchen towels. She returned the phone to her pocket and grabbed the bucket handle. As she headed upstairs, she heard the sound of a guitar coming from the sanctuary. Was someone playing a CD? It sounded like live music, but she’d never heard anyone in the church play a guitar.
Drawn by the soothing strains of the strings, she turned right at the top of the stairs.
No one ever came in the church while she was cleaning. The entire congregation knew her schedule—Tuesday and Saturday afternoons—and they always made sure to come at a different time. Charlotte had never been sure if it was because they didn’t want to get in her way or if her parents had talked to them about the importance of routine for her. When she was little, she’d gotten upset by people showing up unannounced, but now that she was twenty‐three, she liked to think she could handle surprises a little better.
She peered through the open doorway and saw a man sitting on the edge of the platform by the plain wooden altar playing a battered acoustic guitar.
Her breath caught in her throat and her heart raced as she studied him. Not only was he a talented musician, he was gorgeous, more gorgeous than anyone she’d ever seen in this small Indiana town. His black hair was a little shaggy but stylish; his straight nose, high cheekbones, and tan complexion made her think of Native Americans and Italians; his lean build clothed in faded blue jeans, an olive green T‐shirt, and worn‐in sneakers made him look laid back. Peace filled his face as he strummed his guitar. The corners of his mouth turned up slightly, making Charlotte wonder if the sound of a guitar brought him as much joy as it did her.
Suddenly, he stopped playing and looked up at her. She tightened her grasp on the bucket handle.
He studied her with the most beautiful, warm brown eyes she’d ever seen. His smile caused her heart to flutter. “Hi there. Are you Charlotte?”
He didn’t seem to mind that she shifted her weight back and forth. Just as well. If she didn’t rock to release it, the nervous energy building under his gaze would make her cry.
“Pastor Ed told me I might run into you if I came this afternoon. I’m Zakaria Rush, the new director of children’s ministries.” He laid his guitar across his knees and chuckled, a deep, rich sound that warmed Charlotte clear through. “It’s a fancy title for a guy who didn’t want to grow up and found a way to turn it into a career.”
About the Author
E.A. West, author of sweet and inspirational romance, is a lifelong lover of books and storytelling. In high school, she discovered the wonders of sharing her stories with others through writing. She picked up her pen in a creative writing class and hasn’t laid it down yet. Her love of writing encompasses not only the romance genre but also a variety fiction and non-fiction styles.
Born and raised in Indiana, she still resides there today with her family and a small zoo of pets that includes the typical dogs and cats, and the more unusual African water frogs and a ribbon snake. Her interests are as varied as her critters. She has been known to carry on conversations about everything from politics and current events to gardening and theology. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her working on her latest knitting or crochet project.
Thank you so much for visiting today and best of luck with your writing!