Q. You depict the life of an alcoholic in a very realistic way through your character, Sarah. What do you hope your readers will learn from Sarahs story? A. Even though we all pay the piper at some time in our life, it is never too late for self-redemption. Q. Another social theme that you address is domestic violence. Neils wife, Anne, verbally and physically abuses their daughter, Victoria, and Thomas Drake abuses his wife and daughters. Were these difficult chapters for you to write? Why did you decide to address this important issue in your book? A. These chapters were a challenge to say the least. When I was writing the story, tears kept streaming down my face because I felt so much compassion for them. It was as if the characters and their situations came to life through me. Q. Your character, Dolores Drake, seems to suffer the worst. She is a victim of domestic abuse, of discrimination, and of racism. How does she put a stop to this vicious cycle and stop becoming a victim? A. When times were at their worst, she finds her strength through the kindness of Ruthie Jackson. It is because of their friendship that Dolores makes a life commitment to do what she can to stop racial violence. Q. Your depiction of the Strattons serves as a stark contrast to that of the Drakes. They seem to have it all: wealth, power, and beauty. And yet, underneath the veneer of privilege, they have problems just like anyone else. You write very sensitively about Karens predicament what to do when one suspects her husband is having an affair. Tell us how Karen fights back. A. Instead of spending her life wallowing in self-pity, Karen transfers her feelings of hurt, betrayal, and inadequacies into positive energy. She strives for her own independence and, with the help of her mother, opens a small swimwear shop. Q. You tackle many serious issues in your novel: racism, domestic abuse, alcoholism, and adultery, but your book is not weighed down by these topics. On the contrary, its a spellbinding saga. I couldnt put it down, and Im dying to know what will happen next to the Robbins, Dvoraks, Drakes, and Strattons? Can you give us a hint of what is to come? A. The tables turn for all the families in the sequel, entitled HARBOR NIGHTS. You will meet new characters who create new situations for revenge, dishonor, and unexpected love. Additionally, as the four children grow into adulthood, you will experience their tragedies, intimacies, and unforeseen victories.
Ms. Valentine began writing as a hobby in her spare time while operating her own travel agency, Prestige Travel by Valentine. After 9/11, she made the life-changing decision to devote herself full-time to writing. BETTER DAYS AHEAD is the wonderful result. Charlie is now writing the sequel, Harbor Nights, which will ultimately be part of a trilogy about the Robbins, Dvorak, Drake, and Stratton families.
Prior to running a travel agency, Charlie Valentine worked for GTE, a national communications company. There, she held diverse positions as a business service manager, technical support manager, and customer service advisor.
Over the years, Charlie Valentine has resided in Pasadena, Detroit, and Thousand Oaks, California. She now lives in Washington State with her husband, Roger, and Kokomo, a 14-year-old Japanese Chin.
Ms Valentine's ability to create characters with such depth and intensity is quite remarkable. Through this ability, she enables the reader to enter their lives and share not only... Read morePublished on March 13, 2006 by J. Dodd
WOW WOW WOW!!! All I can say is once you pick it up you'll never put it down. FANTASTIC!Published on March 7, 2006 by Karri Emon-davidson