Friday, June 7, 2013

Interview: Richard S. Charles

Hello wonderful people! The author I'm hosting today have something in common with me. Can you guess? Let me help you... No, it's not the gender, he's male, and I'm female. No, we don't live in the same country, although it has something to do with it, in a way. No? You can't guess? Ok, I'll tell you then... We love my country (France in case some of you didn't know that). And he can even speak French, how cool is that? Anyway, he's not here today to talk about France, but about his books. Please welcome Richard S. Charles, also known as Charles Raines.

 The morning, you are tea or coffee?
I start the day with coffee. Then it’s usually green tea in the evening.
What kind of books do you write?
I have two pseudonyms: R.S. Charles and Charles Raines = {Richard S. Charles Raines}. I write novels with varying degrees of mystery, romance, and erotica which feature gay or bisexual men. I use specific author names to distinguish between two quite different styles of writing and content.
As R.S. Charles, I pen stories where gay and straight characters intermingle in exotic, more mainstream mysteries 'with a liberal sprinkling of racy romance'.  And as Charles Raines, I concentrate on m/m erotic fiction/romance, usually with a heavy touch of mystery.
Why did you choose this genre?
I am a gay man and I love mysteries, so, as an author, the genre seemed obvious. It suits my interests and embraces my experience and knowledge of life.
When you write, are you keyboard or paper?
Keyboard for the manuscript. Bits of paper all over my desk for notes. I also use a Dictaphone to remind myself of ideas whenever they present themselves.
Are you more motivated to write when the sun shines or when the weather is gray?
I have to be in the right mood to write. And that depends on a lot of things. I have no routine. But I will take advantage of specific moods as they arise to write scenes which require the same atmosphere or emotions that I’m experiencing.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I like things to be real and believable. I tend to be a visual/observational writer and love nothing more than to sit in cafes, people-watch, and gather material for characters and plots.
When you start a book, do you already have the whole story in your head, or is it built progressively?
I have an outline in my head. Generally, the reader and I share the same experience. We never know what’s going to happen next. Twists and turns just seem to present themselves and are largely dictated by the characters and the situations they find themselves in. If I can’t ‘see’ it, I can’t write it! The first 5,000 words of “Stranger In Translation” were written in one single session. I just couldn’t stop. The words came flooding out.
How do you feel before the release of a book? Fear, joy? And after?
Usually, I’m excited before a book is released, but this is always tinged with slight apprehension.  Then, like returning from a good holiday, there’s a touch of the blues when everything calms down and routine takes over. The only answer is to start writing and build towards the next publication.
Between your first and last novel, do you feel a change? Do you write differently?
Sales encourage writers. So do good reviews. When they tail off, I either feel like giving it all up, or there’s fire in my belly to write the next ‘bestseller.’  Marketing is a chore which does dampen my spirits. I hate it!
As far as writing is concerned, I am always striving for perfection.  I once spent two hours editing a five line paragraph until I was satisfied. I don’t suppose most readers would have noticed the difference between the original and the finished product. It was minimal. But I won’t churn out as much as a paragraph until I’m happy with it. That may be the only snippet someone reads! They’ll make an instant judgment.
I’ve also got specific styles and content parameters for each pseudonym. They are different and suit the stories I write and the readers’ expectations.
They say that writers project themselves into the skin and into the head of his hero / heroine, is that the case for you?
I select characters carefully. They must be real and believable. Each character should be able to use his or her role to propel the storyline through convincing reactions, behavior, and emotions.
You define yourself more like a bookworm, a city mouse or a country mouse?
I’m a city boy.
Molière said: “Writing is like prostitution. First we write for the love of it, then for a few friends, and in the end for money.” What do you think about it?
That dude sure knew what he was talking about!
Your books have already been translated?
I’d like my books to be translated. As yet none are. But one has to be careful. Translation can go wrong. Subtle nuances need to be properly conveyed in other languages. Very often, the impact of words is not the same.  I’m a linguist by profession. Maybe I’ll translate one of my books myself one day…
There are snatches of French dialogue in all my novels and I take great care to ensure readers get the gist, not by translating, but by the accompanying comments. I’ve been complimented by readers on the way I do this, so it seems to work.
Do you pay attention to literary criticism?
Yes and no. If the criticism is constructive, I’ll listen and take note. I once got a very dismissive 1.5 * one line review on a certain readers’ site. There was no criticism, just a flippant précis of the synopsis. It was a joke. I took it as such. It said more about the reader than about the writer!
The days are 25 hours. You spend that extra hour in the garden or in the kitchen?
I spend that extra hour sleeping!
What is the book you would bring with you on a deserted island?
“Le Silence de la Mer” by Vercors. It’s short, but says so much!
In the evening, do you turn off the light directly or do you take the time to read?
I watch trashy television, guaranteed to make me switch off the lights!

Are you ready now to take a peak on Charles Raines’ book? I know I am! Click on the title of the book to follow the link.
Stranger in Translation   

An opinionated young linguist signs a six month contract to translate a ‘Bestseller’ from English into French, on the condition that he can do the job in France. He has nothing but contempt for the book’s author, hates the dull, routine work he has to do, and despises the banality of his own life. Something is missing. Hesitant and frustrated, his ambivalent sexual desires are untapped, but always bubbling below the surface. Feeling like an outsider, the only way to cope is to find a distraction, try to blend in, and strive to fully embrace the French way of life.
The local cemetery offers shelter and serenity, and the backstreets of Marseilles offer danger and excitement.Balancing the two, he meets a succession of men and has a series of erotic encounters which gradually mould him into exactly the man he secretly always wanted to be.


“T’as chaud?” Yes, of course I was hot, but I wasn’t going to take off all my clothes. And his fingers skimming the back of my neck only made me hotter. Lapping up the sun, he closed his eyes. He knew the unspoken invitation to look him up and down would be easier to accept if I thought he wasn’t scrutinising my every move. I was intrigued... at how different he looked. His hair was no longer hanging in greasy strands. It was scraped back into a short, neat ponytail accentuating the bold features in his face. His skin was cared for, but not overly. It didn’t look obvious. It didn’t look feminine. It looked rugged enough to match the seductive, macho image he had adopted. The pleasing portrait now had just the right frame.
A few moments later, he turned over onto his front. His dreamy, big brown eyes once again caught mine as he slowly raised his head and arched his lower body. His hands adjusted the front of his trunks. Broad shoulders, toned, hairy legs and butt cheeks you could park your pushbike between writhed as he made himself comfortable in the sand. Was this a practised routine for a potential conquest or was it harmless? I couldn’t really tell. One thing I knew; I wasn’t going to be a notch on a bedpost. I’d promised myself never to allow fleeting, physical flirtations to triumph over the emotions true love could bring. But then I’d never known what true love could bring. My vibes usually made it clear I wasn’t interested. Maybe that’s why I was always alone? No-one had never managed to get close enough to taste the waters.
For the briefest of moments, the offer of a cheap thrill, if that’s what it was, was exciting, even tempting, but now wasn’t the time. I had to put a stop to this liaison before it went too far. I stumbled over my words and I explained why I was there. Whether the barber believed me or not, he seemed genuinely concerned. He knew Luc, another of his customers, apparently. Is there some gravitational force that pulls like-minded people together? Probably not. The shop his father owned was the only barbers in the quartier.  Where else could a chap get his hair cut?
“Salut!” A shadow cast itself over us. The figure wearing fitted designer briefs and a flimsy cotton top with a hood momentarily blocked the sun. The barber forced a smile. The arrival was ill-timed. An awkward silence followed. The hovering friend with the mousy brown, crinkled fringe was invited to join us. Pleasantries were exchanged, but no introductions, no names. That’s the way it worked.
A sideways gesture from the barber suggested an apology. I shrugged my shoulders. His new companion got the evil eye. It was my clue to leave. I felt relieved. But I also felt cheated. I don’t know why. Or perhaps I do!

Changing circumstances swiftly mould student, Marc Moreau, into a young man immersed in lies, intrigue, and deception.
Obliged to take on a restaurant job in Marseilles and share an apartment with a woman in an old convent, he suspects he can trust no-one. Love and commitment are luxuries he cannot afford. Flirtatious by nature, and drawn towards danger and diversion, he has a taste for temptation.
Engaging in meaningless physical encounters to satisfy his lust soon becomes convenient and habitual. Yet his life is complicated and unfulfilled. And when two contrasting men cross his path offering far more than he can accept or return, Marc finds himself not only in personal turmoil, but also in an emotional dilemma only he can resolve.

Please go and like Charles Raines’ page on Facebook and follow him on his blog Blog.



  1. Great interview - and more books for my TBR...*heads desk* you're killing me here Jade...hehe

    1. What? *blinks innocently*
      Aren't you glad you have now more to read? lol