Born Charlotte Denise Watson, in 1958 in Seattle (Washington), the eldest
of three children in a working class family. Displayed an early
interest in literature. Dreamed of being a writer since third grade when
Pippi Longstocking hijacked my imagination.
My mother believed it was dangerous for a daughter to always have her head
in a book -- which led to reading by flashlight beneath bedcovers, a
geeky, camouflaged appetite for studying the dictionary and keeping poems
secret until publishing my first at nineteen.
I studied Social Sciences at Seattle University and began law school
shortly after the birth of my first daughter. Once I realized I could
actually become a lawyer, I left the University of Puget Sound and never
I worked as a pretrial screener, outreach coordinator, sexual abuse
counselor, emergency housing counselor, child welfare worker, mental
health screener, volunteer coordinator for a literacy program, research
interviewer, and finally, when my youngest daughter left for college, a
It turns out, writing is the only thing I thought I was any good at, but it is definitely my calling.
Through an extraordinary blast of effort and good fortune, a collection of
short fiction, Killing Color, was published by Calyx Books (1992); then
shortly after, a novel, One Dark Body, by HarperCollins (1993); then an
anthology, Sisterfire: Black Womanist Fiction and Poetry (1994); another
novel, touch, (1995), and finally, a children's book, Eli and the Swamp
I received the following awards, fellowships, grants:
Seattle Arts Commission Individual Artist Grant, 1989; King County Arts
Commission Fiction Publication Award, 1989; Artist Trust GAP Grant, 1989;
Seattle Artists 1991 Research and Development Grant; Great Lakes Colleges
Association Fiction Award, 1992; Black Womenís Gathering Women of
Achievement Award, 1992; Washington State Arts Commission Fiction
Fellowship, 1993; Brandeis University Womenís Committee Distinguished
Authorís Award, 1993; Governorís Writers Award, 1993; Seattle University
Award for Professional Achievement, 1994; Granta literary magazineís Best
of Young American Novelists, shortlist, 1995; Barbara Deming Memorial
My fiction and nonfiction have been published in Essence, Ms., Parenting,
American Visions, The Seattle Times, and Goodness Portland; as well as
anthologies such as When I Am An Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple, The
Bluelight Corner, Spooks, Spies, and Private Eyes, Edgewalking on the
Western Rim, and In Search of Color Everywhere.
I am currently revising a third novel, as well as a YA historical
fiction tale I hope will be published as an illustrated story.
My muse is history. The task of healing and reconciling the past, propels
the writing. My tools: word, image, ritual, dream, magic.