New Orleans contemporary and paranormal romance author Dawn Chartier summed up her chosen genres during a Jefferson Parish Public Library panel last month. Chartier was a guest author on the panel promoting her upcoming appearance at UndeadCon of New Orleans in October. Dawn was also kind enough to agree to an interview with atombash.com New Orleans Literature. “Everything about New Orleans is paranormal to me,” said the bubbly and charming Chartier.
During the library panel, Dawn mentioned that it was Katrina that gave her “the wake-up call” to seriously begin writing. Chartier’s Vieux Carré Witch Sister series is set in a post-Katrina Crescent City. Center stage is NOMA, the New Orleans Museum of Art. The series opens with first book Bewitching the Enemy. A family of grown sisters find out that annually appeasing their mother by gathering around a special painting in NOMA isn’t quite as ordinary as they suspected growing up. Rebuilding New Orleans as part of their construction business, each sister is more lovely than the next. Their lives change in a flash of magic when a world of witches, shape-shifters, paladin warlock hunters, danger, and seduction is revealed to them.
The novel’s main protagonist, Storm Morgeaux, finds magic in the worst way, when her mother loses consciousness in the museum. A trip to the hospital lands her in the sights of a handsome doctor she soon finds she cannot seem to stop focusing her attentions on, and there is more to the equally-attentive doctor than good looks. Danger intervenes, family secrets are revealed, choices must be made, steamy encounters ensue, and a raccoon steals the show.
The ‘bewitching’ title is more a play on words than a sinister forewarning of the novel’s contents. If anything, the writing is conversational and fun, the characters are warm and lovably human in their flaws. Chartier keeps the reader enchanted with pieces to pick up along the way in this enjoyably puzzling twist of adventure and romance. Dawn’s first Witch Sisters book impressed one famous author enough to receive a very special endorsement.
“Dawn Chartier has ‘Bewitched’ me from page one. You will not want to put this one down!”
– New York Times bestselling author Sherrilyn Kenyon
Chartier is a huge fan. “I met Sherrilyn when she came to NOLA for a Conference that she put on called K-Con,” said Dawn during an interview with atombash.com New Orleans Literature. “I remember my husband came with me to her book signing and we waited over 4 hours for her to sign my stack of books. My husband came in very handy because while I waited in line he ran back and forth to the bar getting us drinks. The con is also where I met one of my closest friends.”
“Reading Kenyon’s novels you feel as though you are living inside of them with the characters, like you are actually inside of their heads. She got the city down right. Tourist get a sense of the vibe beneath New Orleans, but the locals (Kenyon once lived in NOLA) allow that vibe to slide into their pores and we become sort of like a host. NOLA gets in your blood, she’s family and we protect her as best we can.”
His Wicked Desire, the second book in the Vieux Carré Witch Sister series, is due for release on August 24. and it is already generating a buzz with early readers. Yet another New York Times bestselling author has some high praise.
HIS WICKED DESIRE is as steamy, sensual, and spellbinding as its New Orleans setting.”
– New York Times bestselling author Maggie Shayne
It is ironic to Dawn that she is now a published author. “Growing up I hated reading,” she said during the July library panel. “My parents owned a book store called The Book Shoppe–in Westwego, LA. My mom, dad, and sister were all heavy readers. Reading was my competition! The only thing I really enjoyed from the book shop when I was young were the comic books. I loved comics. My dad had (still has) a huge collection, and I would read Swamp Thing, Tales from the Crypt, Star Wars, Avengers, Sabrina the Teen-Age Witch, and I could go on and on. I sure wish I had that book store to go to now.”
When asked about characters, writing New Orleans, and inspiration during the library panel, Dawn reached out to new writers. “If someone is searching for book ideas; the newspaper is a great source. I mean, what can be stranger than reality, right. I was influenced to write by an article on Marie Laveau,” shared Dawn during the panel. “I once wrote a book about Marie Laveau’s granddaughter. It is sitting under my bed. That book will never see the light of day.”
Chartier will be appearing as a guest author of Anne Rice’s Vampire Lestat Fan Club (ARVLFC) during UndeadCon this October in New Orleans. UndeadCon is a writers’ conference marked by a series of panels and horror-themed events that culminate in the gala event of the season. Dawn’s very first experience with UndeadCon was when her idol, author Sherrilyn Kenyon, was guest of honor at the annual Anne Rice Ball in New Orleans. Each year, the famous ball held every Halloween Friday is themed after Rice’s books. That year, 2012, it was the Wolf Gift Ball, and Dawn purchased a ticket to attend. This year, Dawn is a guest author of the annual event, and the 2015 theme is the Gathering of the Ancients Ball.
“I remember that night attending the ball, and was blown away by all the people and costumes. It was an amazing event. It’s been a long time, and I can’t wait to attend again. Sue Q, president of the ARVLFC, has taken the ball to a whole new level and I’m thrilled and honored to be on an author panel with other great authors. Talking about it makes me wish October was here already.”
If you would like to see Dawn Chartier before October, she will be a featured guest author of the Writers for New Orleans conference hosted by New York Times beststelling author Heather Graham.
“Heather Graham’s conference was my first writers con experience,” said Chartier. “It has a special place in my heart and I’ll never forget the authors who took me under their wings and helped me along my publishing path. It’s a small enough conference so you get to know everyone there, and they treat you like family.”
If you’d like to meet Dawn but can’t attend the entire event, on Sunday, September 6, from 12 pm to 2 pm, the conference is offering a free book signing event open to the public at the Hotel Monteleone in the French Quarter.
“I owe a lot to Heather and the Writers for New Orleans crew. Heather’s love for NOLA was how this conference started. After Katrina hit, the con was Heather’s way of supporting the city she loved by bringing a bunch of authors, editors, agents, booksellers and readers together to help out the local shops get back on their feet again. Whether you’re a newbie or a pro writer this conference will fit all levels and genres. This is my first year that I actually get to sign books (hosted by Bent Pages of Houma, LA.) at Writers for New Orleans. It will be a surreal feeling after attending the conference after all these years.”
Additional books by Chartier are Masquerading with the CEO, Diamonds [Stilleto Millionaire Club 1], and Not an Angel.