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Sunday, January 3, 2016

Interview: Viacom Marketing Exec Turns Author

Hi! I am Carolyn Howard Johnson, your trusty New Book Review blogger and author of the multi award-winning HowTo Do It Frugally Series of books for writers. This blog has heretofore been exclusive for reviews but I thought I’d do a special series of interviews after I chatted with Jeanie Loiacono, President of Loiacono Literary Agency – Where ‘can’t’ is not in our vocabulary!  I thought sharing the interviews would help the many subscribers and visitors to this New Book Review blog, including authors, reviewers, and, of course, readers who just might find a new favorite author among the featured books and authors.

So, today welcome Jeanne Charters.

After years of working in radio sales and raising four daughters, Charters became VP of marketing for Viacom TV, then branched-off and opened her own advertising agency, Charters Marketing, with her husband, Matt. “He’s the business brain, I’m the creative one.”

The writing bug had bitten a long time ago, but its effects stayed hidden until it was time.
“People sometimes wonder where a character comes from. ‘When did you think up Mary Boland anyway?’ I don’t know about all authors, but for me, Mary Boland was a magical name I heard through my childhood from my mother and aunts. She was my great-great-grandmother. There were no pictures of her and no records of her accomplishments, but she came to me in dreams…a young girl with curly red hair, riding her horse along the Irish seacoast.

“Tell my story,” she whispered.

In her first iteration, she was the start of a novel called Daughters of Ireland, Mary was the first in four generations of women. Writing class instructors and published authors alike told me, “Each of these women deserves her own book.” They were right. So, I started over and told Mary’s story in Shanty Gold. The next woman’s story is half written and will be called Lace Curtain.”

Publishing Credits and Awards
  • WNC Woman magazine and website. Jeanne Charters’ columns under the title, “funny, isn’t it?” have appeared in most issues for the past twelve years.
  • Clothes Lines: A compilation of women’s writings from across the state and country. Jeanne Charters was honored to be included by Editors Celia H. Miles and Nancy Dillingham.
  • Funny, isn’t it? Charters’ book of some of her best columns, illustrated by noted North Carolina artist, Marie Hudson, of Asheville, NC.
  • Broadcasting: Adopt an Angel for Make-A-Wish…This campaign ran in markets from New York City to Hawaii for seventeen years. Ms. Charters was the sole writer, producer, and director of all television and radio commercials and PSA’s relative to it. Over three million dollars was raised to benefit children with life-threatening illnesses.
  • Awards: Adopt an Angel for Make-A-Wish...Telly, two consecutive years and the Gold Medal from the New York State Broadcasters Association for Best Public Service Campaign in the state of New York.

1. What is your genre? Is it fiction or nonfiction? My novel, Shanty Gold, is historical fiction. It was actually written as YA, but my agent thought it shouldn't be limited to young adults. I think she's right.
2. What made you want to be a writer? From early childhood, I have always wanted to write novels. Instead, I wrote poetry and essays because when I grew up, I married, had four kids, split, and needed to support my children as a single mom. As you probably know, it's tough to make a living with a first novel.
3. Of all the authors out there, who inspired you most? Wow, this is a tough question. If I have to pick one, I suppose it's Maeve Binchey because she is a consummate Irish novelist, and my novels are set in Ireland and Boston.
4. What is your writing style? Do you outline? Linearly? By scene? Why? Sure wish I could outline. It would save so much time. But I just can't. I must keep the creative fluid. I know how the book will begin and end and the rest of it comes to me as I write, often in dreams. Also, a critique partner and multi-published novelist started outlining; and, frankly, her latest book seemed predictable to me.
5. Do you write every day? How much? How long? I write something every day. It might be a column for WNC Woman or my second novel, Lace Curtain. However, I could use some discipline in that regard. There's always so much that needs doing. Like visits to the hospital with my therapy dog, Bucky. I wouldn't give that up for a Pulitzer.
6. Do you think reading is as important to writing for an author? Why? Mixed feelings on this point. I guess it's important to read other books, which I do, but the prime requisite is sitting your butt in that chair and writing.
7. What are some of the things you would like to share with budding authors? Do what I didn't do. Study writing in college. Once I started my novel, I had some major catch-up to do (which I did) at the University of North Carolina. There's all that tacky stuff like formatting. You couldn't be a brain surgeon without study. Neither can you become an accomplished writer without study.
8. Do you have any marketing and promotional advice, referrals, tips you would like to share? Frankly, I'm not very good at marketing, although I made my living as President of an Advertising Agency, Charters Marketing. Social media confounds me. I have a website and write blogs, but I never Tweet. Sorry, Jeanie.
9. Do you think conferences are beneficial? If so, what have you learned? Which ones do you frequent? The best conference I have done was with Writers' Digest in NY. I did an agent pitch slam. It was a blast. It's great to mingle with other writers, too. I just did the North Carolina Writers Conference two weeks ago. I learned a lot about poetry there.
10, Where can we find you, your books and when is your next event? You can find my novel on Amazon  B&N  KOBO  GoodReads  Shelfari  IDreamBooks  Scribd
Published by Rogue Phoenix Press To order directly from RPP:  Ebook  Paperback

As far as book stores, I've been at Malaprops in Asheville, NC; Mountain Made in Asheville, NC; Highland Books in Brevard, NC; Blue Ridge Books and News in Waynesville, NC; The Book Shelf in Tryon, NC; and The Book House in Albany, NY., Mountain Made and Highland Books in Brevard.  I am working to get into a store in Boston, Charleston, and Savannah. Learn more at  Facebook  LinkedIn  Charters Events Represented by Loiacono Literary Agency, Jeanie Loiacono


Jeanie Loiacono, President, Loiacono Literary Agency
A facilitator of dreams, Jeanie Loiacono represents over eighty authors. Her forte is mystery, romance, thrillers, historical/military/southern fiction, and all quality fiction/nonfiction. Her passion is to see her authors succeed.
“There is nothing more rewarding than to hold one of my author’s books and know I helped bring it to fruition. I am so blessed and privileged to be able to work with some of the most talented writers in the world.”


The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. It is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.

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