Is it true you wrote a book about S-E-X?

Nope, that’s not true.  I wrote a book about marriage and trying to stay married and all the things that can weigh down on up when we’re trying to keep a marriage afloat.  You won’t find behind-closed-doors details.  You won’t find graphic details.  You won’t find salacious anything.  What you’ll find is a funny, sweet and very modest account about the year in the life of a regular, everyday couple who decided to mix it up a bit.  You’ll find stories about family and girlfriends.  You might connect with references to faith and family – or you might not.  But you will not find nitty gritty details about “that.”  I hate to ruin it for some of you, but that’s the truth.

Whassup with your name?

I know, it’s a bummer. It’s Charla — pronounced Sharla…like Charlotte, where I now live, but without the “T.” As a child of the sixties, my parents thought it a clever hybrid of their names – Charlie and Charlene. Cute, huh? I have been saddled all my life with a name that has been mispronounced, misspelled and generally maligned. My ninth grade algebra teacher gave up and simply called me “Charo” the entire year.

I would have given an eye tooth growing up to be a Julie, a Karen or a Lisa. When I was 16 and in a general state of drama and defiance, I boldly announced that I wanted to legally change my name to Charlotte and save the rest of the world the trouble of massacring it. My mother was horrified and she may have wept. I can’t remember. My dad said “Fine, you’ll have to pay the legal fees, though.” Well, Charla it is.

I nearly went by Charlotte for the book (to save myself the trouble of correcting people ad nauseum and to save my parents a bit of privacy.) Two of my best friends had an intervention. “But you’re CHARLA! You can’t be anything else but CHARLA! It just seems wrong to even try to be anyone other than CHARLA!” Well, they had a point, but with the names Missy and Carole they can hardly know my pain. Then again, I’ve spent 40 years kindly correcting people and enunciating loudly at cocktail parties, so I’ve kinda got it down.

Don’t even ask about my middle name. It’s worse! Ten bucks to anyone who can figure it out. No cheating – if you know me and my horrible secret you can’t play this time.

Are you really a Christian?

Yes, I am really a Christian and I wrote a book about intimacy and marriage and how hard it is to stay connected.  Despite some popular opinion, lots of the Christians I know are as committed to the idea of a vibrant, healthy and fulfilling marriage as the next guy.  So a Christian writing a book about marriage and intimacy isn’t really that much of a leap…is it? And I think it’s kinda funny, to boot. 

Is Brad really as nice as he seems in the book?

Yeah, it stinks doesn’t it? Although he can get quiet and sullen around my family during the holidays. My family talks a lot and he must feel like he doesn’t have a fighting chance (which he doesn’t).  He does have his snarky moments, though. In fact he had one this morning when I was multi-tasking like a crazy woman and he demanded that “could I please stop what I was doing and give him 30 seconds of undivided attention so he could say something?” I can’t remember what.

Do your kids “know” about the book?

Yes, they “know” about the book — in the abstract. They don’t know the details, though. I’m certainly not ashamed of the details, it’s just that they don’t really know about all that stuff yet. And when they do, we’ll introduce some details of the book and I hope that they’ll be okay with mom writing a book about how much she loved dad.

In the meantime, I hold out faith that some kid on the bus or at school won’t spill the beans and prematurely introduce the topic to my children, but life is a big crapshoot, isn’t it? When it comes to sex and Santa Claus, it’s anyone’s game. And I pray that neighbors and friends who might find themselves openly guessing at some unrevealed details of my relationship remember that little pitchers have big ears and my kids could be in therapy one day. Oh, who I am kidding, they’ll definitely be in therapy one day. NOT because of the book, mind you, but simply because of me. My point is, I’m hoping people will have fun with me and leave the S-E-X talk to me and the “American Girl: Your Body” book I just bought. 

Did you really grow up in the same town as Thomas Wolfe?

Yep, but not at the same time, of course. Thomas Wolfe lived in Asheville in the 1900s and died in 1938. This is the Thomas Wolfe who wrote “Look Homeward Angel.” Not the Thomas Wolfe who wrote “A Man in Full” and “I am Charlotte Simmons,” who is alive and well as far as I know.

Asheville is great and if you’ve never been there, I would highly recommend a visit.

Who are the NBGs?

The NBGs are my college friends – and they are AWESOME! If you don’t have good friends from college who are funny, bright, accomplished, supportive and fabulous (some of whom once held your hair back while you were throwing up), then you are missing some good stuff, gals. NBG stands for Nothing But the Girls and is a signature for all our trips, events, gatherings and such over the last two decades. We do occasionally include guys (and children), especially at weddings. They are a fantastic part of my life – aren’t you jell-ous?

They are, in no particular order: Anne-Lynne, Leigh, Lee Ann, Tania, Carole, Patti, Debbie, Leisa, Kelly, Michelle, Kathy, Nancy, Sherry, Barb, Lisa, Anissa, Elisa, and Wendy. They are scattered up and down the eastern sea board, with one in Italy, one in LA and one in New Orleans.

Is your brother really in a band?

Sort of. He’s a banker by day and a drummer by night. He’s quite good. Listening to all those KISS albums growing up finally paid off. That and a sound-proof basement. His band is called the Balsa Gliders and if you’re ever in North Carolina and want to hear them play, check out http://www.myspace.com/thebalsagliders. 

NOTE: There is no mention in the book of my brother being in a band, I just thought it would be neat to mention it.

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