I toyed with the idea of being a jockey for a while, until I found out that jockeys don’t just ride their “favorite” horses. I am also 5’ 9” so height was a bit of a problem too. The first thing that I seriously wanted to be when I grew up was a writer. From about the age of thirteen or fourteen, I have never wanted to be anything else. Writing is truly a dream come true for me.
Tell us your latest news.
I am very excited to announce that my first novel, Life is But a Dream, has just been professionally edited and rereleased as Life Is But a Dream: On the Lake. The novel is now the first of the Grace Adams series. All revolving, oddly enough, on the character of Grace Adams. lol
What are your current projects?
I just finished writing the sequel to previously mentioned book. The sequel is titled Life Is But a Dream: In the Mountains, and it is the second book in the Grace Adams Series. I will be releasing it in early November.
What genre are you most comfortable writing?
I think it can be difficult to define genres. My Life is But a Dream books have a mystery in them, but they are not full-blown mysteries. They are stories written about an ordinary woman who finds herself in extraordinary circumstances. A lot of readers have sent emails to tell me that they can really relate to Grace. And I guess that is the kind of books that I most like to read and write – books where the characters seem real and the reader can identify with them.
What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
I spend my days writing the books that I want to write. THAT is a dream come true.
What is your work schedule like when you are writing?
For most of my life, I have written part time, while going to college, raising children, attending graduate school, and working various jobs. This year, for the first time in my life I am working at least 40 hours a week on writing and I love it! When I am working on a novel, I can easily write 12-16 hours a day. It can be pretty intense. And exhausting! But, honestly, I feel a bit lost when I am not working on a novel.
What do you think makes a good story?
I love character-driven novels with characters I can relate to. For me, the story is important, but not as important as the characters. A strong character can go shopping for hot dogs in a grocery store and still fascinate. I want my readers to think about the characters in my books long after they have finished the last page.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you! My first novel (now titled Life Is But a Dream: On the Lake) sold over 10,000 copies in less than seven months. That absolutely shocked me. And I am grateful for every single sale.
What inspired you to pen your first novel?
As a kid, I loved Walter Farley’s Black Stallion books. Those books made me love reading. That led to My Friend Flicka – a book that was so beautifully written that I was inspired to write my own stories and create my own fictional worlds.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Yes, I frequently hear from my readers. They contact me through the contact form on my website http://www.cherylshireman.com or send me messages via Twitter and Facebook (I am on both under my name). In fact, if it weren’t for my readers, I probably never would have turned Life is But a Dream into a series. I heard from so many of them asking for a series that I thought I would give it a try. Now, I am really happy that I did. It has been so much to write these books about Grace Adams. Now I am receiving messages asking me if Broken Resolutions (my second novel) is going to be a sequel. Again, I never planned on that, but I might give it some thought!
Is there a message in your novel that you want your readers to grasp?
I think the most important message we can learn in life is that we need to show our love to our loved ones. We are all much stronger than we realize, and we each have a unique purpose to fulfill with our life. Those are recurring messages in my novels, and I hope, in my life.
What books have most influenced your life?
The Bible, East of Eden (for its powerful writing), Journey of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters (for an inside look into the mind and life of a writer – Steinbeck), and My Friend Flicka (the book that inspired me to write).
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I have two favorites – John Steinbeck (mentioned above) and Elizabeth Berg. Steinbeck for the sheer scope and power of his writing and Berg because she makes it look so easy.
What are you reading now?
I love reading novels, but I can’t write fiction when I am writing my own novels. So I have to stick with non-fiction at such times. Right now I am reading A Strong West Wind a memoir by Gail Caldwell. The book is a coming of age book set during the 60s and 70s and also deals with Caldwell’s early life in Texas.
Links for some of my books on Amazon
Life Is But a Dream: On the Lake http://www.amazon.com/Life-But-Dream-Grace-ebook/dp/B004JU21YU/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1316133652&sr=1-1
Broken Resolutions http://www.amazon.com/Broken-Resolutions-ebook/dp/B004V9FPB0/ref=pd_sim_kinc_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2
You Don’t Need a Prince: A Letter to My Daughter http://www.amazon.com/You-Dont-Need-Prince-ebook/dp/B004S2KLTG/ref=pd_sim_kinc_5?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2
Thanks so much Sue!
Thank you, Cheryl. It is always a pleasure to chat with you.
Interview by Sue Owen
Interview by Sue Owen
This is part one of a series of interviews for my blog tour through Indie Writers Unite. Look for the Support Indie Authors logo for further submissions. Please support these authors, check out their blogs and purchase their books. They are the best of the best. /Sue Owen.