Meet Contemporary Romance Author Chelle de Notte
It is a great pleasure to introduce you to contemporary romance author Chelle de Notte. Before we learn more about your newest book I Don’t Want to Wake Up, let’s talk about your life as a writer and and how you overcome challenges that come with this beautiful calling.
Paige: Did you always know you wanted to be a writer? Why do you write romance and what drew you into this genre before you started writing?
Chelle: While my elementary school classmates saw creative writing assignments as a slog, I embraced them, got the best grades on them, and wrote for pleasure outside of school. As an adult, I got fed up with the endless Hallmark/Lifetime movies that dragged people out of the city to the middle of nowhere to find the holiday spirit and love—New York is amazing at that time of year! That sparked my first novel, Christmastime in New York City.
Once the story idea was in place, I checked some romance novels out of the library to get a sense of how this would work. Now that’s practically all I check out of the library, while buying the ones I don’t want to return. I can’t think of any other genre that allows for so many choices of setting and ways that people of all ages, races, gender identities, and sexual orientations can find their happily ever after.
Paige: Have you ever attended a writer’s retreat and where? If not, what would an ideal retreat look like for you?
Chelle: I’ve never attended a writing retreat, but I would be open to it once we’re truly post-pandemic. My ideal retreat would have dedicated writing sessions interspersed with talks from other writers and experts, light physical activity to get our blood moving (think yoga or a long walk) and breaks where we get to talk about what we’re working on and our process.
Paige: What kind of work environment do you like to work in? What are some things you must have in order to stay focused, and what kind of distractions bother you?
Chelle: My ideal writing environment is a semi-bustling café with optional Wi-Fi and imaginative drinks. However, when I’m working on dialogue and want to read it out loud to make sure it sounds like real people talking, I recognize that it’s best to write at home. Wherever I am, music keeps me on track, but I find TV too distracting. And while I get annoyed when people interrupt me while I’m writing, I can’t stay mad when my cat does.
Paige: Do you think you can change people with your stories and how?
Chelle: I hope my stories can brighten up people’s days with either a moment of levity, a bit of a perk-up during a steamy scene, or a feeling of satisfaction at seeing my characters get their happily ever after. I also hope my stories help people recognize that New York City isn’t as white and straight as some media would suggest.
Paige: Finding details for your book can be hard even if you have a whole storyline written down. Let’s talk about names. How do you find the names for your characters? Is this a hard process for you, or do you keep it simple and just go with the first name that comes to mind?
Chelle: I keep it simple for my side characters but put more thought into it for my main characters. Some protagonists’ names are inspired by people I like a lot, and antagonists’ are inspired by more irksome people. Either way, I try to keep it subtle with nicknames, anagrams, foreign equivalents, or other variations.
Paige: Some writers enjoy writing dialogue, and some thrive on character descriptions and settings. In your process of writing, what do you enjoy writing about the most?
Chelle: When I write about food, I like to take it beyond simply listing items on a menu. I can use these parts to enhance the setting, get further into characters’ heads, give readers an idea of where in New York my characters are, and show the connection between all my characters, from the main couple to families having dinner together.
Paige: Is writer’s block real? What do you do when it hits and how do you stay prepared?
Chelle: Writer’s block is real and unpleasant. I try to stay ahead of it by putting together notecards for every scene and doing research, but sometimes I find that I’ve written myself into a corner and can’t go any further. When that happens, I’ll try writing one innocuous sentence – sometimes that gets the story going again. If that doesn’t work, I’ll create a new document with everything leading up to the scene that tripped me up and restart the story from there.
Paige: How difficult/easy is it for you to write characters from the opposite sex? Is it hard to get inside a man’s mind and write from his POV?
Chelle: It can be a challenge to get into a man’s head about a lot of things, but reading both romance novels and craft books has proven helpful in that regard. It also helps that most of the characters on one of my favorite TV shows are male – those guys give me a lot of different perspectives!
Paige: If you could travel to any place in the world right now, where would it be and why?
Chelle: I’d go back to Sydney– it’s going on ten years since I was last in Australia, and I’d love to go back. Not to mention the days are getting shorter and colder, so switching hemispheres now would be a welcome change.
Paige: How did publishing your first book change your process of writing? What did you learn along the way?
Chelle: Before I wrote for publication, I wrote whenever I felt like it. But when I had the goal and then the deadlines, I became a more mindful writer by carving out time for it and making the most of my writing time.
Paige: Share your morning/daily routine with us.
Chelle: Sometimes I start the day with a workout; other times I take it easier with a rest day. Either way, I do the New York Times crossword and play a little Spelling Bee to get my brain going for the day. I also like to take time to enjoy my coffee while reading or writing, as opposed to just knocking back caffeine and jumping into the day.
Paige: Imagine yourself on a deserted island. All your basic human needs are met, such as food, water, and shelter. What two items would you want to have with you and why?
Chelle: Sunscreen and an e-reader
Paige: Name three things that you always carry in your bag.
Chelle: My journal, my MetroCard, and at least one ponytail holder
Paige: You just won $400 million. Would you still continue to write and why?
Chelle: Definitely – just because my financial worries would suddenly be nonexistent doesn’t mean the stories would have vanished from my head! I’d still want to write them, spend time in those worlds, and see where these lead me.
Paige: And finally, how would you encourage someone who really wants to pursue a writing career but has doubts in their writing abilities?
Chelle: “If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.” That quote from Toni Morrison has been a powerful motivator for me, and here’s another: Someone needs your story to light a fire under them, make them think, give them hope, or brighten up their day. Don’t keep that someone waiting.
Chelle’s newest novel I Don’t Want to Wake Up comes out December 8 and you can find it here!
It’s a dream come true…isn’t it?
He’s a hot firefighter
Between the demands of his job and his own work ethic, it takes a lot to get Lieutenant Mike Devierse to loosen up and relax. One woman managed it, and now Kat’s at his firehouse’s Thanksgiving dinner.
She’s a beautiful masseuse
In Kat Kominsky’s work at a spa, all the people she meets and massages tend to blur together. There are some standouts, though, and she’s excited to see Mike outside a professional capacity.
As Kat and Mike grow closer, their time together is right out of a fantasy. But will they be able to handle the moment when the reality of each other’s jobs sets in?