May - 2013
No movies currently on deck to watch.
Mystery Video of the Moment

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Interview with Ann Charles - Part 2

Welcome back readers! This installment features questions to help you get to know a little bit more about her writing. Enjoy!

MLM: As this is January and the start of a brand new year, we have to ask: Do you have any holiday memories from 2010 that you would like to share with us? (Memories can be nice and sweet, naughty, or just plain goofy!)

ANN: Four words for you: Dutch Baby & Yorkshire Pudding!

On Christmas, my husband made Yorkshire Pudding and I stuffed my gut and cheeks full of it. My sister-in-law and I fought over the last bits of it like a pair of hyenas. It wasn’t pretty, but Yorkshire Pudding makes rotten leftovers, so you have to gobble it up while it’s fresh from the oven.

[For those of you who don't know, Yorkshire Pudding (according to Wikipedia) consists of flour, salt, eggs, and milk. All ingredients are mixed together to make an unsweetened batter. Traditionally, the batter is baked under meat as it roasts to catch the drippings or baked separately with a small amount of meat drippings.]

Then, on New Year’s Day, my lovely mother-in-law made a Dutch Baby for breakfast. That blew all thoughts of starting my remove-the-jiggle-when-I-walk diet on January 1st. I squeezed lemon juice on it and dusted it with powdered sugar, and then started chowing. Lucky for me, my sister-in-law wasn’t there to fight me for rights to it, and the rest of the family was distracted by the quiche my MIL made, so I snatched the pan and hid in the pantry while I scarfed it all down. Had I choked on the Dutch Baby and keeled over there alone in the pantry, I’d have died a happy woman.

[For those of you who don't know, A Dutch Baby Pancake is (according to Wikipedia) also called a German Pancake or a Bismarck. This too is made from flour, eggs, and milk. However, this dish is mainly flavored with cinnamon and vanilla. In some instances, sugar is added. Baked in a metal pan, this dish usually falls soon after taking it out of the oven. Traditionally served with butter, fresh-squeezed lemon and powdered sugar.]

MLM: Many people make resolutions to change something about their lives.
a.)Do you make resolutions each year? Why or why not?

ANN: I have had a standing “lose weight” resolution every single year since 8th grade. I should be a walking toothpick by now, but while my brain makes the resolution, my stomach refuses to go along with the plan. It grows hungry, breaks into the control booth, and takes over the show. My hands are mere pawns in this game of dominance.

b.)Do you take your resolutions seriously, or do you find you’re just going through the motions because you feel obligated to make a resolution each year but have no expectation to succeed?

ANN: I have good intentions every year, but food just tastes too dang good.

c.)What kind of resolutions do you make?

ANN: I actually make career “goals” every Dec/Jan. I even have this super-geeky goal worksheet I created that employs an acronym I stole from my day job’s yearly review process. Periodically, throughout the year, I consult my goals’ list and see how I’m doing. At the end of the year, I tally my accomplishments and reward myself with some of my favorite treats—Frozen Coke Slurpees and Toffee Nut Lattes. I’m all about celebrating accomplishments.

d.)How successful are you at achieving your resolutions? Do you ever find yourself making the same one, year after year?

ANN: Besides the weight loss baloney, I probably accomplish 70 percent of the goals I have listed. However, that worksheet doesn’t include all of the additional achievements I have throughout the year (for opportunities I hadn’t known would come my way when I set the year’s goals). I also keep monthly, weekly, and daily goal lists. Yes, I need to attend Goal Setters Anonymous. My husband shakes his head at all of the pieces of paper covered with goal lists that flutter around the house.

e.)What resolutions, if any, you’ve made turned out to be extremely difficult or utterly impossible? What made those resolutions so challenging?

ANN: I used to have the goal, “Get The Call from an editor/publisher,” years ago. Then I realized that this is totally out of my control and, therefore, frustrating as hell when it didn’t happen year after year. So, I started making my goals more tangible.

f.)Any successes? Which ones and why do you believe you were able to succeed in the light of other less successful attempts?

ANN: Yes, I got published. I succeeded because I made it happen. I realized about 5 years ago that I was the one in charge of building this Ann Charles empire, not my agent, not an editor, and certainly not a publishing company (since I kept NOT getting The Call). That epiphany spurred me into action. I started actively building my platform higher and higher, and haven’t looked down since.

MLM: The buzz all over Tweetland and Facebook is how stressful many of us tend to find the holiday season (Thanksgiving through the New Year). This year they’ve seemed to be even more so with everything that’s been going on in the US and abroad. Stress isn’t usually conducive to writing, so we need to shed that stress, clear our minds so the words will follow. How do you plan on recharging your soul? Any relaxation tips you’d like to share?

ANN: I recharge with my favorite movies. I love old movies with Humphrey Bogart, Gregory Peck, and John Wayne, such as The Big Sleep, The Big Country, and North to Alaska. Sinking into one of those is a real treat. But I also love more recent movies like Tremors, The Mummy, The Thing, Aliens, and Twister. Anything with a nice dose of comedy and fun dialogue gets my brain cranking out creative ideas and makes me want to hit the keyboard. No dramas allowed, though. I have enough drama in real life.

MLM: One of the greatest things about the Internet is that we can connect with writers of all kinds from all over the globe so we want to know:
a.)What area of the country/world are you from?

ANN: I currently live just north of Seattle, Washington, in a town my mother keeps telling people is named “Brothel” (it’s really named Bothell). I just love meeting her friends and hearing her say, “This is my daughter. She lives in Brothel.” I get a lot of raised brows from her cohorts.

b.)What are the average temperatures of your area?

ANN: 40s, cloudy, and lots of rain in the winter; 70s, cloudy, and a little less rain in the summer.

c.)What type of clothing would most residents be wearing today?

ANN: Fleece, rain gear, and a latte mug/cup.

d.)What tips do you have for people to “survive” the weather where you are?

ANN: First and foremost, if you get depressed by gray sky and long periods of rain every day all day, the Pacific Northwest is not for you. Personally, I love the rain and dark days. My coworkers have decided I am a vampire and do their best to block out the light coming in from the surrounding windows on my behalf—they rock! However, I have no delusions about me being a blood-sucker. I know the truth—I’m a cockroach. Where’s the sugar?

MLM: Say you’re at a cabin in the mountains, it’s not exactly warm out and you had the option of where you wanted your hot tub to be. Would you have the hot tub inside or outside the cabin? Why? What is it that you like specifically about it being inside or outside the best?

ANN: That hot tub would be inside of the cabin placed right in front of the big, BIG screen T.V. and cranked so loud I could hear Humphrey Bogart say, “Somebody’s always giving me guns,” while the tub jets were running.

I’m not into extremes on the weather front. This is one of the reasons I love the Pacific Northwest. I don’t want to shiver uncontrollably or sweat buckets. For that reason, I’ll keep the hot tub inside in front of the T.V. and fill it will bubbles so my two kids, Beaker and Chicken Noodle (nicknames), want to play in there with me.

MLM: If you could go anywhere in the world for the holiday season, where would you choose to go? Why this destination over others? What’s its connection to you?

ANN: I’d fly home and drive my family utterly crazy for a full week. It’s not a glamorous trip, but I miss my family a lot during the holidays. When the week was up, I’d fly to Australia (first class, of course) to visit some wonderful writing buddies I know who live there and spend New Year’s trying to perfect my Aussie accent in between filling my gullet with Tim Tams.
[a chocolate coated cookie with a creamy center]


  1. Thanks Ann for a great and interesting interview!

  2. Ann, those holiday treats sound and look absolutely scrumptious. AS for goal-setting, I think you're doing amazing! You're a self-directed, risk-taking, don't-tell-me-No, kinda gal. I LIKE that! Guess that's why we clicked. :) So glad , too!

  3. Thanks, Deena, for the compliments! "It takes one to know one." I'm looking forward to running into you in person some day. Here's to another week of goals.


  4. Great food pictures, Anne. But I reserve my calories for champagne and chocolate. I'm envious of your goal setting and that you accomplish 70% of what you try to do. I make an effort, but don't make a statement, hoping to be pleasantly surprised and out foxing conniving Time.

  5. Hi E.B,

    "out foxing conniving Time"--ha! That made me chuckle.

    I like chocolate a lot, but bread-related foods are my downfall always.

    I was raised by a stepmom who always made to-do lists. She got me started long ago. Now, since having children (and my brain turning to mush), I've found that without them, I just spin in circles. I have a couple of goal groups with fellow writers that help me keep on task, too.

    Thanks for stopping by and saying "Hi"!


  6. Awesome interview. That food looks amazing and I am jealous.
    I can't wait to see where you're at this time next year!
    Brothel. LOL. Coming from Nevada, I especially love it.