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Charrie Hazard grew up on the Potomac River in Hallowing Point, Virginia, a small, isolated community at the river’s end of Mason’s Neck Federal Wildlife Preserve. She was one of seven children in a rather chaotic household run by highly intellectual, talented and loving parents, both of whom were children of alcoholics.

Her father, John W. Hazard Sr., a journalist, author and editor, was executive editor of Changing Times Magazine (now Kiplinger) during Charrie’s youth. He spent his evenings writing books, humorous columns and short stories, such as “The Flying Teakettle,” which after first appearing in The New Yorker was made into the movie You’re in the Navy Now, starring Gary Cooper. Although her father was somewhat aloof during Charrie’s childhood, and a strict disciplinarian, he nevertheless instilled in his children a strong sense of ethics, integrity and generosity.

Charrie’s mother, Helen K. Hazard, was a poet and author of children’s stories as well as the director of Gunston Hall School, a private elementary school which specialized in children with learning disabilities. She taught ancient history and had her young students read classics, such as Homer’s Iliad. As reflected in her collected poems, Footnotes Along the Way (available at, Helen struggled with depression but tenaciously held to the belief in the goodness of life and its primacy over death.

As a teenager, Charrie spent much of her free time either sailing the Potomac with her parents in her father’s nineteen-foot sloop or riding the family’s chestnut hunter through the wildlife refuge, often bareback and accompanied by only the family dog. Otherwise, she had her nose in a book. The bookshelves of her home were filled with classics. With her mother’s encouragement, Charrie became a voracious reader of literature and poetry. She quickly graduated from The World of Pooh to A Little Princess and Little Women to Pride and Prejudice and Huckleberry Finn to The Brothers Karmozov and Les Misérables.

Though her parents were members of and attended the historic Pohick Episcopal Church, her mother’s spiritual views were quite liberal and often defied the boundaries of organized religion, including the idea that only one religion held the key to God. Instead, Helen believed God revealed Herself through not only the world’s major religions but also great art and literature. Consequently, she introduced Charrie to such spiritual works as The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran; Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl; and Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

By the time she was a high school senior, Charrie knew she wanted to be a novelist. After graduating from The College of William and Mary with a B.A. in history, she discussed this dream with her father. He encouraged her to go into journalism to develop the habit of daily writing and to learn to write on deadline. Charrie took a job as a feature writer at the Lynchburg News & Daily Advance, was soon promoted to the news side and, over the next two years, won numerous awards, including two first-place awards for investigative reporting from the Virginia Press Association.

One of these honored her twelve-part investigative series on the Lynchburg Training School and Hospital, at the time the nation’s largest institution for the mentally handicapped. The series exposed patient neglect and abuse, low employee morale and poor working conditions, and touched off state and local investigations that led to corrective measures.

She then took a job with the St. Petersburg Times, where she started as a police and court reporter, graduated to special projects and ultimately became a member of the editorial board, writing editorials, by-line columns and Sunday Perspective pieces. Her favorite columns and editorials were those that called for justice for the disenfranchised whose voices would otherwise go unheard.

She continued to use her investigative reporting skills, leading her, at times, to break news in her editorials. She exposed, for example, negligence on the part of the Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services (HRS) that contributed to the death from abuse of seven-month-old Eddie Elmore. Charrie wrote the editorial despite an HRS official’s threat to press criminal charges against her, personally, should the Times publish information from the HRS abuse report, which state law protected from public scrutiny. (The local sheriff’s office mistakenly included the report in the criminal investigation of Eddie’s death, a copy of which Charrie received through a public records request.) The Times editors published the editorial.

While working at the Times, Charrie began to date Michael Moscardini, who at the time was the paper’s national editor. They were of very different temperaments—Charrie was outgoing and optimistic; Michael was an introvert and a self-proclaimed pessimist—and of those who knew them both, few thought they were a good match. They married a year after they met.

After ten years as a successful journalist, Charrie nevertheless felt unfulfilled. She also had come to believe she was not a good enough writer to become a novelist. After the birth of her second child, she left the Times and pursued her M.A. in English at the University of South Florida. While working on her degree, she had her third child. But her attention became increasingly focused on her oldest child and only son, whose volatile temper was leading to increasingly violent confrontations.

After earning her M.A. she taught English and writing at St. Petersburg College and writing at the University of South Florida (USF). She might have made that a full-time career, but for a life-changing moment: She walked in on her neighbor’s suicide. He had hanged himself in his garage. The sight caused her to envision her son in the same position. Charrie realized then that the kind of despair that drove her neighbor to suicide fueled her son’s outbursts. She sought psychological help for her son, who ultimately was diagnosed with anxiety disorder.

The suicide also forced Charrie to come to grips with the legacy of alcoholism in her family and her own issues with anxiety. It also drove her to re-evaluate her life and her beliefs, a process encouraged and guided by her son’s psychologist, Dr. Michael T. Smith, and her godmother and spiritual mentor, Jane Carrigan, a close friend of Charrie’s mother. During this period she read and was profoundly influenced by Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way as well as India’s sacred scripture, the Bhagavad Gita. She resurrected her dream and wrote several award-winning creative nonfiction essays before starting a novel titled In Our Midst, which chronicles the parallel journeys of two women thwarted in the pursuit of their dreams. But often, when she sat down to work, her neighbor’s suicide bubbled up. Finally, she put aside the unfinished In Our Midst and began to write about her neighbor. The result was Falling into the Sun. Though loosely based on her experiences, it is a novel.

Charrie currently teaches a creative writing workshop at the Dunedin Fine Arts Center, Dunedin, Florida, and is working on her second novel. She is a member of the National League of American Pen Women, Inc., and is a former program director of Lifelong Writers, the now defunct membership arm of The Florida Center for Writers at USF. She is a board member of the Kiwanis Club of Safety Harbor and Paint Your Heart out Safety Harbor, Safety Harbor, Florida, as well as the Gunston Hall School Foundation, Washington, D.C., which provides scholarships to elementary and secondary school students with learning disabilities who cannot afford the specialized education they need. She has won six major journalism awards. Her creative nonfiction has been published in a number of literary journals and newspapers, including the Tampa Bay Times and Sunscripts, and has won prizes from Organizations such as The National League of American Pen Women, Tampa Writers Alliance and Mount Dora Festival of Music and Literature.

Charrie Hazard lives with her husband of 29 years and their three children in Safety Harbor, Florida. The marriage, as it turned out, was a keeper.


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Falling into the Sun, the award-winning novel by Charrie Hazard, is now available through all major book retailers.

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