A small change

So, I realize it’s been a while, but my silence has been deliberate. Since handing in my third book for Harlequin Romantic Suspense, I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching/navel gazing. You see, I’m a writer without a contract for the first time in a long time. The big question since November has been: do I tee up another one of the romantic suspense plots rattling around in my head, jot down a synopsis and write three chapters, and hope that Harlequin offers me another contract? Or do I seize this opportunity to do something different?

I’ve opted to do something different.

Harlequin has been good to me. I love my editor, Rachel. She reads my submissions quickly, and she seems to like my books, which means she has good taste. I have a tendency to repeat myself repeat myself, and she’s great at making sure I don’t look like an ass. I’m still going to take a few steps back.

That’s crazy, right? I won that New Voices competition, got a contract, dream come true and so on. The thing is — and this is hard for me to admit — I’ve felt wrong about everything for a long time. One day, I was a writer entering a contest and hoping to catch an editor’s eye. The next, I was the winner of this international competition and an Instant! Romance Writer.

But see, I don’t think I’m a romance writer. I can write romance. I enjoy reading romance. But mostly, romance had never been the focus of my writing until I won New Voices, and I’ve expended a lot of time and energy since winning that competition in an uncomfortable place, trying hard to prove that I was worthy of the honor. It’s felt dishonest at times, and I know my writing has suffered as a result. My readers deserve better than that.

So, no more. I’m going to be returning to my roots as a writer and focusing on my passion, which is mystery. There will be some romance, but my next book won’t be romantic suspense. While I write this next book, I will be blogging about the process: my doubts and my fears, my private successes and failures. I will share with you the choices I’m making as I craft my characters. It’s all part of my general resolution to be more honest as an artist. I respect honesty in others, and I’m going to demand more of it from myself.

And if that wasn’t enough: I’ve also decided to self-publish my next book. (Huzzah!) It will be an experiment in every single sense of the word, but I’m very excited about the decision. I’ll share my reasons for going this route rather than traditional publishing in future posts. Can’t give you everything at once now, can I? (<— hook)

Oh, and in case you didn’t notice, I redesigned my blog. I’m now doing the whole minimalist thing. Next thing you know I’ll be wearing my hair in sleek ponytails and dressing in jeans and black turtlenecks. You know, so as not to distract from my words.


  1. Hi Natalie! Just wanted to drop by and wish you loads and loads of luck with your change of direction. I think you’re really brave for following your heart, it’s something I’ve also struggled/am struggling with. I will love to hear how it all goes so looking forward to your posts.
    Charlotte xx

  2. Hi Natalie! Just wanted to wish you loads and loads of luck with your change of direction. I think you are brave for following your heart – it’s something I’ve also struggled/am struggling with. I will love to read how you get on, looking forward to your posts.
    Charlotte xx

    • Natalie Charles

      Hi Scott! Yes, I do plan on writing my next book in the first person, although I’ve been debating that a little.

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