PK: Please tell us about yourself. What do you do when you're not writing?
CG: I garden and I play the harp. I also love hanging out with my family, having dinner together and watching movies and television series especially if they are British.
PK: I'm a musician too! How wonderful that you play the harp. What would your fans be surprised to know about you?
CG: I can drive a back hoe.
PK: That's pretty interesting! I'm sure that's something most of your readers can't do. What's your idea of an ideal vacation?
CG: It’s been so long since I’ve been on a vacation I can’t remember what that would be. J But wherever I might go it would not involve any kind of housework or cooking. :)
PK: That definitely works for me. What life experiences helped you become an author?
CG: There isn’t enough space or time to list them all. All authors bring their life experiences to their writing because it is a key ingredient in making each author’s voice unique.
PK: Very true. How did you choose the genre you write in?
CG: One day my husband said, “You love to read romance why don’t you try writing one?” So I did and I kept going. :)
PK: Good for you! What inspired you to write your first book?
CG: A need to put the words in my head on paper that I couldn’t ignore.
PK: What books/authors have influenced your writing?
CG: My favorite book of all time is Jane Eyre because for me it is one of the most passionate love stories ever written and it contains absolutely no sex. At the end of the book there is no doubt in my mind that Jane and Mr. Rochester are forever soul mates who will have a lifetime of happiness. If there is any book out there at all that influenced me it was this one.
PK: Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published? CG: Trying to get published was like pushing jello up a vertical drop with my pinkie. I can’t tell you how many times I thought about quitting especially when the rejections came fast and furious. Sometimes they hit our mail box so hard and fast it shook and caught on fire. It was my husband and my daughter and my fellow writer friends—the members of Heart of Denver Romance Writers and Colorado Romance Writers—that kept me going. They kept telling me not to quit, that I could do it and they were right. I still have a little plaque in my office entitled Don’t Quit followed by some words of encouragement. One of the sentences states, “Success is failure turned inside out.” And that is so true. I also have these wise words of Theodore Roosevelt framed in my office so I can see them every day:
“It is not the critic who counts, nor the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows great enthusiasms, great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
PK: How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
CG: I have a web site, a blog, I’m on Facebook and Twitter. I post all of my publishing news on these venues and I do guest blogs like yours today, but I believe that book sales comes down to one thing and one thing only: Word of mouth.
PK: Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published? CG: Yes, but since I have decided to enter the exciting world of independently published authors I may publish that book in the future.
PK: What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
CG: Years ago, when I first started writing I went to a sort of free-for-all critique session and one of the people there said, “How can I say this in a nice way? I hate your heroine. I hate everything about her.” That was beyond hard to hear but it was a turning point for me. After I had a pity party I decided to make it my writing mission to turn that weakness to strength. Good, well-built, believable and likable characters are the life blood of any novel. It took some time but now great characters are one of my strengths.
PK: What has been the best compliment?
CG: “You have a kick-ass voice.” This compliment came from Roxanne St. Claire. www.roxannestclaire.com when she was a guest on the Plotmonkeys blog.
PK: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
CG: If you really want to be a writer you must never, never, never, EVER give up on your dream. Surround yourself with supportive people and never let anyone belittle you for wanting to be a writer and this includes family members, friends, minister, doctor, lawyer or Indian chief. Learn to handle criticism—good criticism—and you will learn the good from the bad as you grow as a writer. Because of the head-turning changes happening in the publishing industry today, the opportunities for writers are incredible. You don’t have to go with a traditional publisher, an e-publisher or acquire an agent in order to be published. You can publish independently but the one thing you must do is have your manuscript professionally edited before you publish it. You have only one chance to make a first impression and you want your readers to be wowed.
PK: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
CG: Home is truly where the heart is.
Where can we find you and your books?
Web site: www.cherylgorman.com
Excerpt (warning: rough language)
WELCOME TO SALVATION, TEXAS. The sign sported a smiley face as an exclamation point and a bullet hole over the “I”...which pretty much summed up Salvation in one image.
“Welcome to hell is what they should say,” JC Barrett said to herself. Thank goodness she was only passing through her home town and not staying. Her brother, Cade still lived in Salvation but she knew he’d understand if she didn’t stop by and see him. He loved this town and she hated it. Always had, always would. Besides, Rafe McCord lived here and she had mixed feelings about seeing him again.
She glanced at the dashboard clock. Another hour and a half and she’d be in Dallas to oversee Senator Grant’s fundraising gala for her Shreveport employer, ‘Affairs to Remember’. She cranked the fan on the air conditioner of her compact car and grabbed another chocolate chip cookie from the bag sitting on the passenger seat.
She bit into the cookie savoring the sweet chocolate, and tried to ignore the fact she’d be wearing the cookies tomorrow on her hips and thighs. True, she’d have to put in some extra time on the treadmill to work off the calories, but right now she needed chocolate—bad. Especially before planning a big event. She zipped down Main Street, passed Duncan’s Hardware, Joe’s Market and Phillip’s Pharmacy. The town had always been on a first name basis with itself. Some people might call that cozy and comforting. JC called it suffocating.
With one hand on the wheel, she dug around inside her purse with the other. Damn it. The cell phone continued to ring. Probably her boss with some last minute instructions.
For a moment, she took her eyes off the road while she groped for her phone. A siren’s wail filled the air with an ear-piercing scream, and her head snapped up. A police car with flashing lights ate up the road behind her. “Holy Christmas monkeys.”
Her gaze jerked back to the road as a small dog darted across the pavement in front of her. A spurt of panic fueled with adrenaline zipped through JC’s body. She wrenched the steering wheel to the right and slammed on the brakes, narrowly missing the ball of white fur. The car skidded in a circle for what seemed an eternity. Breath gusted from her lungs in short, ragged gasps. “OhmyGodOhmyGodOhmyGod!”
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