Connect with Chelley
Can you pinpoint a life-changing experience? Mine was on a camping trip. We were in our RV, unable to go outside because of a snowstorm. I was stuck with kids, dogs, a husband, a sister-in-law; there was nothing to do but twiddle my thumbs… until sis unearthed Sweet Savage Love by Rosemary Rogers. We took turns reading aloud to each other. At page 150, the weather warmed and everybody went fishing – except me. You couldn’t drag me away from that book. I quit reading at 3am when my flashlight went dead.
I was officially a romance reader, and I had a whole new world to explore!
Reading my first historical romance, I couldn't believe that it was based on fact. A bigger surprise was that I, a history hater (flunked out of high school history), loved the historical detail and craved more. I couldn’t wait to see if the bookstore had more of the same.
A hundred plus historical romance novels later, I acquired a new craving: to write, which wasn’t too surprising since I come from a family of writers. My mom wrote true confessions (the kind you read under the covers with a flashlight), my brother-in-law, Martin Dardis, co-authored Money Players: Inside the New NBA, an acclaimed examination of pro basketball, my brother, Gerald Clarke, is the NYT bestselling author of Capote, the 1988 biography on which the film, Capote, is based. Additionally he wrote Get Happy, a biography of Judy Garland and Too Brief A Treat: The Letters of Truman Capote.
While I do indeed write a lot of non-fiction – magazine and newspaper articles – my heart is in writing romance novels, especially historicals.
My writing goal is to give readers what Rosemary gave me: a joyfully painless history lesson wrapped in an emotional, action-packed story. Because I am also a huge animal lover, I try to include at least one animal in each book to lighten things up. Animals are such fun to work with, even the fictional ones. Next to my husband of many years and my writing, animals are my great love. I generally have up to eighteen dogs and nine cats and kittens living at my house on any given day. Most are fosters and will eventually be adopted through the rescue I began – Have A Heart Humane Society.