Friday, July 29, 2011

Christmas in July with C.K. Volnek

I'd like Charlotte, aka C.K. or Charlie, to introduce herself before we get to the interview I recently did with her. 

I was born in Colorado, and moved to Nebraska when I was five. We lived in several different towns in Nebraska but they all had one thing in common, they were all small towns. Boring some may say, but it gave me the opportunity to roam free and create my own adventures. I have always loved to read, spending countless hours at the library and signing up for all the reading contests I could. I still have the very first book I ever won after reading every horse story in the library. 

I was tagged the family story-teller at a young age. I always had a rather wild imagination and as we would sit around the campfire, all eyes would turn to me. So what else could I do, but share my own spine-tingling ghost story. 
After college, I married my best friend and we moved around some following his job...Iowa, then Tennessee. But we anxiously grabbed at the opportunity to return to Nebraska to be close to family. My husband and I have three wonderful children and four Papillon fur-kids, still enjoying life in small-town USA.

Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island, by C.K. Volnek, due to be released September, 2011 through MuseItUp Publishing  (

Could you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m the fifth and final child of a very simple man who stood only 5’2” but who in my heart stood 12’ high. I still miss my daddy very much. I grew up in small town Nebraska, riding horses in summer and sledding the ginormous hills in winter. I married my best friend and together we have three wonderful children and four Papillon fur-kids. I’ve always loved to write and am thrilled that my first MG novel, Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island will debut in September. A Horse Called Trouble will follow in December with The Secret of the Stones (the first of a series titled The Lost Diaries of Northumberland) being available in April 2012

When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

As a young adult, my goal was to write and illustrate my own children’s books. But, sigh, I let life get in the way. I got married and had a family and (as it should be) they came first. I still dabbled with my writing, creating Christmas letters, skits for church and short stories for Chicken Soup. But it wasn’t anything serious. Once my children got older, I began to take pleasure in spending a little more time for myself and returned to my passion of writing. Finding time to create on the computer was slim though, until my children got together and bought me my very own laptop about six years ago. This touched my heart, not only that they wanted to help me with my passion, but that they believed in me as well.

What genres do you write and why?

I love to write for Children, Middle Graders/Tweens and Young Adults. Kids are our future. When you can capture their interest, they are extremely passionate and enthusiastic. I only hope I can entertain them while teaching them a thing or two to help them become the great person they will be.

What's a typical writing day like for you? 

For me there is no such thing as a ‘typical’ day. Life is busy with family, friends, and I work full time. Much of the time, my writing has to be snuck in and around my daily activities…for now at least. I can only hope I’ll be the next J.K. Rawlings and be able to give up my day job. ;-) But for now, I will keep my muse happy and satisfied by writing into the middle of the night.

Do you outline before you write?  If not, what's your initial process?

I do outline somewhat, but mostly I write as a panster. My stories are character driven and I just type the words as they whisper in my ear. I may have an outlined suggestion, but if my character has a different idea, we end up going down that road or not at all. They can very stubborn that way.

What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?

The hardest part of writing for me, is putting all distractions away. Life can be very busy. People call, kids stop by, there’s dinner to make, dishes to wash, laundry, cleaning, etc. Lucky for me, my husband is an early riser so he goes to bed early. I’m a night owl, so about I’m looking at him a little cross-eyed and he gets the hint, heading upstairs to our bedroom. Then I turn off the TV and pull out my laptop and write or research until I’m bleary-eyed and stumble to bed.

What are your top three favorite books and why?

Just three? Oh my. And my top three will probably change from day to day…lol
One of my ultimate favorite books has to be Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. This is the story that truly instilled my passion for reading and writing at that very tender age I read it. Next I would have to acknowledge The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I loved the period piece, wonderful visions created, growth in characters, and I’m a sucker for a happy ending. Lastly, I do love the Harry Potter series. I enjoyed and truly marveled at how J.K. Rawlings took every character she introduced and wove them in and out of the story. There were no blank faces, every character introduced has a purpose.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

I have a lot of loves in my life. I love to be with family and friends when I’m not writing, watching movies or just enjoying a good dinner. I love the outdoors, whether it’s hiking in the mountains or taking my four Papillons for a walk. I enjoy making jewelry, drawing, photography and making t-shirt quilts. Though I’m a little behind in all my crafts since promoting my book took over my life the last few months.

If you could have coffee with anyone (living or dead, real or fictional), who would it be and why?

Oh my, there are so many…but I guess I would love to entertain a good conversation with Jesus. I have so many questions as to why he would do what he did for me and ask how I can be the person he wants and expects me to be.

Do you set daily, weekly, or yearly goals for yourself?  If so, what are some of your goals?

I have found my writing experience to be making progress in baby steps. I seldom make yearly goals but do make lists daily and weekly. I admit, I’m amazed at how far I’ve come in less than a year as far as promoting my books, but I know I have a long way to go. Daily lists will include my goals to write interviews, reviews, research, catching up on social media, etc., and alas…writing. Not everything gets done every day, but they just get moved to the next day. But it’s nice to look back over the week and see what I HAVE accomplished.

Do you have any unique ways to market your book that's different from how other authors are marketing their books?

I’m still learning all the different ways to market. So far, I tweet, blog, maintain a web page, post on facebook, as well as e-mail the many groups I have joined. I’m also always on the lookout for the next possible new friend that can share blogging posts.

What are you currently working on that readers will have to look forward to in the future?

I currently have two works in progress. The first in the sequel to The Secret of the Stones which comes out in April 2011. This is a light fun story about a boy who is entrusted with a magical gift, a gift that will ultimately lead him to the one and only Merlin the magician.

Do you have any final thoughts to share?

I would like to thank Susanne for hosting me here today. It has been my honor and privilege to be here. I would like to leave my readers and fellow writers with a quote I like to live by…

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.  ~William Wordsworth

Life is about living what it is your heart. Be true to yourself, your family and friends and your word.

Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island


Available September 2011


MuseItUp Publishing



Evil haunts Roanoke Island and a young boy must unravel its mystery and destroy it, before it destroys him.




In 1587, 117 colonists disappeared from Roanoke Island without a trace, leaving behind not only unanswered questions, but a terrifying evil.

Now it’s up to twelve year-old Jack Dahlgren to unravel the age-old mystery and save his family from the hateful beast that haunts the island.

With the help of newfound friend, Manny, a Native American sage, and an elusive Giant Mastiff, Jack must piece together the clues of the Lost Colony to discover what this evil is and where it came from. Shrouded in ancient Native American folklore, Jack must uncover why the evil haunts his island and how to stop it. But can he destroy it...before it destroys him?

Today's daily giveaway is (1) $2.00 MuseItUp gift certificate.

This is available as U.S., Canada, or International


Dianne K. Salerni said...

Great interview -- and love the title! I've always been interested in the Lost Colony of Roanoke, and I enjoy teaching 5th graders about it every year!

Roseanne Dowell said...

Great interview and I can't wait to buy a copy of The Lost Colony of Roanoke. My grandsons will love it. The oldest just learned about it and his brother will learn about it this year. I might print it out for them and give it to them in book form.

Cheryl said...

Fabulous interview. I so want to read this book. We visit Roanoke Island every summer when we are on the Outer Banks. Last year we took in The Lost Colony outdoor theatre for the first time. I'm fascinated by this unsolved mystery and I've purchased local booklets about it.

Thanks for the chance to win.



Marlena Cassidy said...

Hi Susane! Thanks for hosting C.K.!

I must say, C.K., that I can't wait for Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island to come out so I can read it! This was a great interview and I enjoyed learning more about you. Best of luck with your future and present books!

Ann Best said...

So glad I met you, C.K. Your Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island sounds wonderful. I'm glad Susanne hosted you today so I could learn about it, and about you.
Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets

Monti said...

Enjoyed the interview. Roanoke Island ghost story sounds fascinating.


Laura Ann Dunks said...

I agree, children are our future. That is why I choose to write for them too! Good luck. I'm so happy you have such a supportive family!


Joylene Butler said...

It's so nice learning more about you, Charlie. I also grew up in a small town, and remained a small town girl even when I was living in the big city. And I loved The Secret Garden.

Thanks, Susanne.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Hi C. K. Your book sounds so interesting. Historical fiction, especially about the early U.S., is one of my favorite reads. Looking forward to your book.

A great interview, ladies.

Susanne Drazic said...

I wanted to thank everyone for stopping by to meet C.K. Glad to hear that everyone enjoyed the interview. Thanks for all the comments that were left.

C.K., thanks for participating in Christmas in July!

Charlie said...

Thanks so much to everyone who stopped by. Sorry I wasn't able to drop in sooner and say so, but was on vaca and no internet. It's wonderful though to meet so many new friends and I'm glad you find the book interesting. This mystery is so fascinating, my muse wouldn't let me put the pen down until she told me what she thinks happened. ;-)
Thanks again to all of you. You're the greatest!
C.K. Volnek


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