Cheri’s publicist (AKA Hubby, Drew) did an interview of her:
(Scroll down if you have no patience and just want to know how to win the free book.)
Drew: So how long have you been writing?
Cheri: About 6 years.
Drew: How long have you known you wanted to be a writer?
Cheri: I only figured that out 6 years ago too. I’ve always had stories playing in my mind. And I always thought they were for my own personal entertainment. Then I dreamed about a story called The Fairy Ring Enchantment which I have a lot of handwritten notes for. Anyway after that dream, I started typing it thinking it was a picture book and was really confused when it started to come out like a novel. I was so confused in fact that I stopped typing in my notes to figure out what was going on in my head.
As I set that story a side for a while (I will finish it very soon though) Fateful started to come to me. And Fateful was coming at me so hard and fast that I was forced to start typing. I finished Fateful and half of Fractured in about two months. And I was shocked. I never knew I had more than 200 thousand words of text and dialogue in my head. Part of that might be because I’ve always been very creative in other ways, painting and photography and crafting...so I think those things sort of overshadowed my skill for writing. I like to say it was a hidden talent that I’ve only just discovered I had.
Drew: When does inspiration come to you?
Cheri: Sometimes while’ I’m driving, sometimes while I’m showering....
Uh, Drew, are you still there?
Drew: Huh? Oh, sorry, I was picturing you showering.
Cheri: ~rolls eyes~ As I was saying, most of my ideas usually come when I’m tucked in bed, comfortable and just on the verge of falling asleep.
Drew: This is why I bought you those little light-up pens...so you’d stop getting up with pen and paper, sneak off to the bathroom, shut the door, flip on the light and write. You always still woke me up...hence the light-up pens.
Cheri: Do I wake you up now?
Cheri: You sure toss and turn a lot. It makes it kind of hard to write...I’m just saying...
Drew: Hmm...On to the next question! When did you write Fateful?
Cheri: Sometime between 2005-2006. Yes, before Twilight was popular. Only my first beta readers know that.
Drew: So did it hurt you when Twilight did become popular because you also wrote about vampires?
Cheri: Sort of but not really. I was editing when Twilight became popular so when it was time to find an agent or a publisher it was like swimming in a sea of vampires. That makes it really hard to get noticed. So I set the Fateful series on the shelf while I wrote Fair Maiden which doesn’t have any vampires in it. I mean I knew vampires would always be popular; at least they always have been for me. I’ve loved vampires since movies like “Love at First Bite.”
Anyway, I knew I could come back to my vampires and then this e-book revolution happened... Now I’m incredibly glad I couldn’t get an agent or a publisher. So in truth the best thing to happen to me was the explosion in vampire popularity. I love having this sort of control.
Drew: This brings me to the indie question. Are you glad you did it?
Cheri: I am sooo glad I did it. The publishing industry is really struggling right now and authors are getting cheated in the process. I feel so free doing it this way. I’d always wanted to design my own covers because I know my way around Photoshop. But every time I asked agents and publishers if they’d let me do that I’d get the explanation that I could put in a submission for the cover. Then the marketing department would make the final decision.
Drew: Okay, since you brought it up, explain what the covers mean to you....
Cheri: With Fateful I wanted a sense of wonder and curiosity. The two characters recognize each other from a time in their past neither of them remembers. I think my models captured that very well.
With Fractured the characters deal with a lot more danger to their lives and I wanted that to show in their faces. Again the models did a brilliant job and I’m extremely pleased. Funny thing, myself and the models like this even better than the first one.
For Fair Maiden, I wanted her to sort of look like she could either be dead or sleeping, but deeply like Sleeping Beauty. This model was also delightful to work with and I got exactly what I wanted for the cover.
Drew: Okay, again....since you mentioned your models, who are they?
Cheri: I’m not going to say who they are.
Drew: But I can...
Drew: You used that word in Fateful, where did “jerkface” come from?
Cheri: Well our teens use it a lot, as you well know. Urban Dictionary has two definitions that fit: “The action of being a jerkface. Being a complete jerk in every sense,” and “a term of endearment between siblings; often meaning I Love You.” I put it in the story mainly for my kids and I think the character would use it too.
Drew: How does the story come to you? Besides when you’re trying to sleep and naked in the—?
Cheri: Do we really need to go back to that?
Drew: I suppose not.
Cheri: Great...anyway, the stories come as ideas in my head. Sometimes, or rather, many times I even hear the characters talking to each other in my head.
Drew: I see... ~Drew raises eyebrows~
Cheri: I told this to a girlfriend once and she said, “That’s not normal. It’s a sign that you really are a writer. Most people don’t hear characters talking to each other in their head.” I wasn’t exactly sure what to say to that, but it felt like a compliment so that’s how I took it.
Drew: Who is your favorite author?
Cheri: I don’t think I can narrow it down to just one. So some of my favorites are: Catherine Anderson, Lynsay Sands, Lisa Kleypas, Leslie Charteris, Brandon Sanderson, and Lynn Kurland, just to name a few.
Drew: You have a knack for drawing emotion out of the reader. How do you do that?
Cheri: I really have no clue...
Drew: Why did you go indie?
Cheri: Because YOU introduced me to Joe Konrath AND because of him, I realized books are something people consume like ice cream, or chocolate or French fries. When it comes to something people consume then they want it cheep and they want it now. I think that’s why e-books are exploding. You can buy a novel with one click and devour it in a day. Much to my vexation.
Drew: Why do you say that? But first would you define vexation for me?
Cheri: Eh, sure. Vexation means the sate of being provoked to slight annoyance, anxiety, or distress. (according to dictionary.com)
And to answer the first question: Because it took me months or perhaps even a year to write and edit the book and then readers just scream through it in a few hours...oh well. May aim is to entertain, so I guess if I accomplish that then I don’t really care if my readers take time to savor it. People are really fast readers. It’s amazing really. I can’t read that fast!
Drew: Did you try to publish the old fashioned way first?
Cheri: You know I did.
Drew: ~clears throat~ I mean, for the kind folks reading this did you try to publish the old fashioned way first?
Cheri: Oh, sorry. Of course I did. I even started off the year with 160 quires sent to agents and a few copies of Fair Maiden in the hands of small publishers. I got a very positive response in terms of my writing, however I frequently heard, “Due to the market right now...” or “Could you make it 30 pages shorter because we can’t afford to print anything over 300 pages...” or “This looks great but it just doesn't fit into our list right now...” Then Joe Konrath showed me the light.
Drew: And me.
Cheri: Right, and you. xoxo Thanks for the support.
Drew: So how do you keep up with everything else? Your Blog? Your Website? Twitter? Facebook? Kindle Boards? Converting your books? Computer backups..the list must be endless!
Cheri: That is why I hired you, my handsome geek you.
Drew: Um....where is my paycheck?
Cheri: You know, hugs, kisses, and don’t forget the Wegman’s cannolis in the fridge!
Drew: Oh and you folks out there in internet-land reading this....if you like it....let us know by leaving a comment and following the blog. Then perhaps I’ll con Cheri into doing another one of these interviews soon
Plus, for everyone who comments, she’ll put your names in a hat and draw a winner to send a fee e-copy of Fractured to. For an extra chance to win, comment AND follow this blog. Deadline is June 7th.