Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Meet Charity Barger

1) I was about 15 years old when I discovered my love for writing.  I read a small paragraph in my history class about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory.  It was the only information in the entire book about the fire that killed 147 workers and brought to the forefront the need for reform in the working conditions in the United States. That single paragraph described a couple, who kissed each other goodbye and then jumped nine stories to their death. I wondered what had happened in their life up to that point, and that was how my first book was created. I have never stopped writing since that day in history class. 

2) A muse?  My muse can change from day to day. I find that inspiration comes from many people in many places.  If I need inspiration, I will go to the park or sit on the beach.  It is amazing what can come to mind when you sit and watch people interact with each other. 

3) The hours I write change from day to day as well. There are times when I feel so inspired that I will lock myself in my office for days, and come out only to eat and, sometimes, to sleep.  Then, there are weeks I can go without writing because it is just not there.  I do not believe in forcing a story.  When I do, it comes off all wrong, and I spend more time fixing it than anything else. I have never had a problem finding a story, when it wants to be found. 

4) If I get blocked, the music will, suddenly, become extremely loud in my office. Music is what usually clears my mind.  If you were to walk into my office at that time, I would, most likely, be found  laying in the middle of the floor, my eyes closed, and music blaring all around me.  It is peculiar, I know, but It does not take long for that technique to work. 

5)  I enjoy reading young adult series to see what readers are most interested in these days, however, I try to think of what new and exciting material I can add to the genre more than anything else.  My goal is to create something new and relevant to young readers today.

6) I enjoy reading classic books.  I love Shakespeare.  I believe he had an understanding of human nature that went way beyond his time. Jane Austen is also a favorite. 

7) Interestingly enough, I write for fun. I am a full-time student, receiving my Bachelor's at the University of West Florida.  Next year, I will be attending law school.  So, when I want to relax and enjoy myself, I enter the worlds I create inside my stories. 

8) My Teenage Life: Freshman Beginnings is a high school series set in the 1960s.  The story is told from the point of view Cindy Lawrence as she enters high school for the first time.  Friendship, boys, homework, gossip...all those things that make up a high school experience...are intermingled with the history of the time.  Segregation, women's rights, communism, and Kennedy's election and assassination are all seen through the eyes of a young teen girl, who is trying to make sense of the world. 

I began writing the story after working with a group of teen girls.  I realized that their concerns were similar to concerns that, I imagined, all teen girls had experienced at one time or another.  After my several discussions with them, I decided I wanted to write a story that would be relevant to the youth of today, while trying to capture the magic of a more distant era.  I was a teen in the 90s, but I loved everything 60s.  I listened to singers like Elvis, Bobby Vee, Shelley Fabares (my favorite song being "Johnny Angel"), and I watched movies like "Gidget," "Tammy," and "Pillow Talk."  The early 60s was my favorite time period, and I have enjoyed, immensely, learning more about it as I create the characters of My Teenage Life. 


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