Wednesday, June 25, 2014

INTERVIEW With CHERYL PIERSON


                                              CHERYL PIERSON

BIO—June 2014

Cheryl Pierson is a native of Oklahoma. She lives in the Oklahoma City metro area with her husband. Her short stories have been published by Prairie Rose Publications, Western Fictioneers, Adams Media, Chicken Soup, and Western Trail Blazer (WTB). She has six novels to her credit, FIRE EYES, TIME PLAINS DRIFTER, THE HALF-BREED’S WOMAN, GABRIEL’S LAW and SWEET DANGER (PRP); and TEMPTATION’S TOUCH, (The Wild Rose Press).
Her novel, Fire Eyes, was an Epic Award Finalist. Cheryl received the PNR PEARL Awards Honorable Mention as Best New Paranormal Author of 2009 for her time-travel paranormal western Time Plains Drifter. She also placed third in the San Antonio Romance Authors (SARA) Merritt Contest with her novel, Gabriel's Law.
Writing is so much a part of her life that recently, she and long-time friend Livia Reasoner, opened a publishing house. PRAIRIE ROSE PUBLICATIONS furthers the western-themed writing offerings of women. www.prairierosepublications.com
Cheryl is currently serving a 2-year term as President of the Western Fictioneers.
To learn more about Cheryl and her exciting books, visit her at www.cherylpierson.com/
You can e-mail her at prairierosepublications@yahoo.com
       Visit her Amazon author page here: www.amazon.com/author/cherylpierson


INTERVIEW
What is the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?
Having a child. Actually, having two of them. Life is one big adventure when you have a baby—you never know what to expect next, and I still don’t, even though they’re 27 and 24 now!

What adventure would you like to have that you haven’t done yet if money and skill were no problem?
I’m not a big risk-taker except when I visit the casino 3 or 4 times a year. So probably I would say, something like traveling to Ireland just to see it, and if I could, I’d want to complete some genealogy research while I was there. Oh, another big adventure—I’d like to open a rescue for animals like The Gentle Barn, where they just live out their lives there—all kinds of animals together—cows, horses, pigs, goats, dogs, cats—you name it, they’ve got them!

Who are some of your favorite authors?  What commonality do you see in them? 
Hmmm. I read so many different kinds of authors, I’m not sure there is a commonality in them. I read a lot of westerns, romance, and mainstream—right now, I’m reading The Help, by Kathryn Stockett. One of the best books ever. Her “voice”, going from the black “help” to the white rich girl is just flawless, and I enjoy seeing that no matter who she’s writing about, white, black, rich, poor—they all have their own problems.  But I also love western romance authors—which is what I started out reading in my “adult” life—Sweet Savage Love, by Rosemary Rogers, which will always remain one of my favorite romance books in any genre. Another favorite romance writer is Christine Monson, who wrote in many sub-genres. She’s no longer with us, but her books are just wonderful—so realistic. I just finished up Penelope Williamson’s book, Heart of the West, which I really enjoyed. I think if I chose a commonality, it would have to be the realism that each of these authors is able to portray.

I believe color says something about a person’s personality.  What’s your favorite color?
That’s a hard one! LOL When I was a little girl, it was magenta! And it was that color all through school, up into high school. Then, of course, that was the 70’s—so it was a rainbow world! LOL I truly like all colors—even black. But probably oranges, yellows, golds and browns are my faves.

If you could have a do-over life, what one thing would you do differently?  What would you do again?
I would start writing sooner for submission to different places, and I would have opened an animal rescue or become a vet. (I was terrified of math!)

What I would do again—I would have my kids again. They are the dearest things in the world to me.

What is your writing process from conception to finished MS?
Truly, I don’t have a process. I come up with a scene and the thought processes are running wild…what might happen before/after? How did they get to this crucial scene? Then I have to come up with the story to fit the scene and the problem. I write everything longhand. Then I type it into the computer and edit it as I go—typing helps me see when I’ve left out a word or used the same word too closely together  in an “echo” and I can fix that as I go along.

Are you a planner, panster or both?
I’m mainly a pantser. It makes me nervous to have things too well planned out. I do use a time line for plotting purposes, but only after I’m well into the book.

How did you research for your book?
I live here in Oklahoma. So a lot of what I write about I’ve learned in school or through just living here. I do research, too, if needed, but most of my books just flow without a ton of extra research, and I’m glad of that.

What is your all-time favorite movie?  TV show?
A tough one…probably my all-time favorite movie would be To Kill a Mockingbird or Gone With the Wind.  My all-time favorite TV show would have been most any western that was on. Even now, if I’m searching for something to watch, if I see Lucas McCain or Ben Cartwright, I stop to watch.

How important do you feel writing workshops are to any writer?
It depends on the writer, the workshop and the teacher of the workshop, truly. Some people don’t live in an area where they are able to physically attend, but there are some excellent on-line writers’ workshops that are very reasonably priced.  But like anything else, I believe these are more beneficial for some than for others. Critique groups are another story. NO CRITIQUE GROUPS. NO WAY. NO HOW.  Too many opinions about YOUR story can make you doubt yourself to the point of quitting—I’ve seen this many times.  Trust yourself and just write.

If you could learn one new skill, fear and money no deterrent, what would it be?
Hmm. I’m not really sure, because I’d also have to have TIME be no deterrent, either. LOL Seems I don’t have enough hours in the day as it is. But if that was no deterrent, either, I would say it would probably be how to speak some of the Indian languages, and teach them to others. These languages are dying out and need to be kept alive—that can only happen if we take a hand in making sure they’re taught to the younger kids.

If you had a million dollars to donate to any one charity, what would it be?
It would be given to animal charities—so many good rescues out there that do so much good, and often are kept going by the workers’ own money when funds run out.  Oklahoma Rescue Rangers is a good one, Safe Haven is another one. But there are so many, I would probably have to break it down and give a few thousand to several of them to make that million bucks do the most good.

What advice would you like to give to an aspiring writer?
Don’t ever quit, and don’t join a critique group.
Did anyone mentor you or help you along the way?  Please tell us about your mentor and what you feel they contributed to your writing career.
I never really had a mentor. I knew from early on that I wanted to write, but wasn’t sure WHAT I wanted to write until I read SWEET SAVAGE LOVE by Rosemary Rogers, when I was about 19. Then, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my writing. I think, because it was so hard to try to learn it all on my own and by trial and error, I’ve always wanted to help others any way I could in this business. That’s the main reason Livia and I opened our publishing company and its multiple imprints.

What is the best advice anyone ever gave you?
What sticks in my mind is this: When I was growing up, I had a piano teacher who was a very strict woman. We were always getting ready for recitals or competitions. I hated both of those things, but they were expected. My mom used to tell me, “Cheryl, remember, there’s not another person in the room who can play this particular piece of music better than you can. Today, you are the best at playing (whatever it might have been) in this room.” At the time, it made me feel somewhat better, but as an adult, I understand better what she was trying to do to help me realize that everyone has their own talent—that’s helped me immensely in my writing. I can’t ever be anyone else but me, writing my stories better than anyone else in the proverbial room. And each author should feel that way about their writing—it’s so personal, how could anyone tell your story better than you? It’s not possible.

If you could live anywhere in the world you wanted to, where would it be?
(Language is no barrier)
I’ve often thought of moving near the ocean, but I know I’d get homesick for Oklahoma. Part of my family has been here forever, as Indians, and the “newcomers” showed up about six generations back. I guess I’d have to say, I would just stay right here where I am.
Where do you write? 
We have a beautiful Florida room that looks out onto the backyard and the pool. That’s usually where I do my writing. It’s really relaxing.

How much time do you devote to writing each week?  Do you have a day every week that you take off?
From my own writing, yes, I do take time off. But from work—editing other people’s manuscripts, running Prairie Rose Publications and its imprints, and just the constant business of writing—no. I never take a day off.

What is a genre that you have not attempted that you would like to try?
I don’t have one. If I want to try it, I do it.
Is there anything you would like readers to know about you?
Sarah you’ve done such a great job of interview questions, I don’t believe there’s anything they DON’T know about me now! LOL We’re always looking for submissions at Prairie Rose Publications and our other imprints—just a reminder to readers if you have anything you might want to submit to e-mail me at prairierosepublications@yahoo.com Thanks for a very in-depth interview, and it’s my pleasure to leave you with an excerpt of SWEET DANGER, my latest re-issued novel through FIRE STAR PRESS, our contemporary and sci/fi imprint.

I will be giving away a digital copy of SWEET DANGER to one commenter today! Thanks to everyone for stopping by.





Sweet Danger

 Love and bullets at first sight…

When bookseller Lindy Oliver and undercover cop Jesse Nightwalker sit down to share a pastry at the local deli, they're strangers. But as breakfast suddenly becomes a heart-stopping life-or-death ordeal, a stolen kiss changes everything between them.
Escaped convict, Tabor Hardin, blames Nightwalker for his imprisonment. With Lady Luck on his side, the brutal murderer plans to quickly gain a fortune, then make the cop pay with his life – very slowly.
Hardin's gang enters the deli in a hail of bullets, and Jesse shoves Lindy beneath a table to shield her. But as he does, he steals one hot, life-altering kiss that forms an unbreakable bond between them. Now, with someone to live for, survival takes on new meaning for both of them.
Secrets and vengeance are bound to crush any thoughts of a future between them.
Fate provides a glimmer of hope for true love, but can it last in the firestorm of this Sweet Danger?

 Love and bullets at first sight…

EXCERPT FROM SWEET DANGER:

This excerpt takes place in the first chapter. Jesse Nightwalker, an undercover cop, runs into his neighbor, Lindy Oliver, in the local deli. Though they've never met, they are very aware of one another. The deli owner introduces them officially and points them toward the only available booth. But their Friday morning takes a quick nosedive in the next few minutes. Here's what happens.

Jesse looked past her, his smile fading rapidly. As the flash of worry entered his expression, Lindy became aware of a sudden lull in the noisy racket of the deli. Jesse’s dark gaze was locked on the front door, a scowl twisting his features.

“Damn it,” he swore, reaching for her hand. “Get down! Under the table, Lindy…”

But she hesitated a second too long, not understanding what was happening. In the next instant, the sound of semi-automatic gunfire and shattering glass filled the air.

Lindy reflexively ducked, covering her head. The breath of a bullet fanned her cheek as Jesse dragged her down beneath the sparse cover of the small table. He shielded her, his hard body crushing against her, on top of her, pushing her to the floor. The breath rushed out of her, and she felt the hard bulge of the shoulder holster he wore beneath the denim jacket as it pressed against her back.

Her heart pounded wildly, realization of their situation flooding through her. A robbery! But why, at this hour of the morning when the take would be so low? The gunfire stopped as abruptly as it had started. From somewhere near the counter, a man shouted, “Come out and you won’t be hurt! Come out—now!”

Lindy looked up into Jesse’s face, scant inches from her own. What would he do? They were somewhat concealed here at the back of the deli, but these men were sporting semi-automatic weapons.

“There’s a back door,” Jesse whispered raggedly. “Get the hell out of here. I’m gonna be your diversion.” She didn’t answer; couldn’t answer. He was likely to be killed, helping her go free. He gave her a slight shake. “Okay?”

An interminable moment passed between them before she finally nodded. “Get going as soon as I get their attention.” He reached to brush a strand of hair out of her eyes, his own gaze softening as he leaned toward her and closed the gap between them. “Take care of yourself, Lindy,” he whispered, just before his mouth closed over hers.

The instant their lips met shook her solidly. Every coherent thought fled, leaving nothing but the smoldering touch of his lips on hers, burning like wildfire through her mind. Soft, yet firm. Insistent and insolent. His teeth skimmed her lower lip, followed by his tongue, as he tasted her. Then, he pulled away from her, their eyes connecting for a heart-wrenching second.

“Safe passage,” he whispered.

Lindy didn’t answer, more stunned by the sudden sweet kiss than by the madness surrounding them. Jesse pushed himself out from under the table and stood up, directly in front of where Lindy crouched. Only then did she hear his muted groan of pain, his sharp, hissing intake of breath. The blossoming red stain of crimson contrasted starkly with the pale blue of his faded denim jacket as his blood sprang from the bullet wound, soaking the material.

He’d been shot!

Lindy gasped softly at the realization. How could she leave him now?


BUY LINKS:

AMAZON TRADE

KINDLE

BARNS AND NOBLE



15 comments:

Livia J Washburn said...

I enjoyed learning more about you, Cheryl. Having children is definitely an adventure.

I'm glad you said that about critique groups. The last thing a novice writer needs more of is self doubt. Writers worry enough as is.

Oh my, how I hated piano recitals. Mom wanted all of her kids to take piano lessons. I was the youngest. The problem was the teacher never taught me to read music, so it made for some interesting times.

I do hope you find more time to write more novels. You have an amazing talent.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Isn't it funny how, once we settle down somewhere, that's where we want to be forever? I think a summer or winter home somewhere lovely would be nice to get away from bad weather or for a change of scenery. We put down roots of family and friends and then we're in for life.
I loved Sweet Danger. The horrible villain made the hero really have to work at overcoming the impossible odds. It was an exciting story. I love a good villain.
I know you're super busy now trying to write your own stories and working with Livia at establishing a new publishing company. You're doing a great job.
You like the happy, positive colors of the sun.
I never could learn to play the piano. I tried though. I envy those you can.
Thank you so much for doing this interview. It was such an honor for me.

gail jenner said...

Cheryl:

Your tenacity and energy can only be matched by the Ever-ready BUNNY! I admire all that you do and have enjoyed getting to know you better.

I love the fact that you have such strong roots to Oklahoma! And just like you, I read Sweet Savage Love at around 20 or so!!

Congratulations on all the novels you've written and this wonderful enterprise you and Livia have taken on :-)

JoAnne Myers said...

Good interview Cheryl. I am a risk taker when it comes to sports and traveling, but not when it comes to gambling. Losing money scares me off. Good luck with you publishing company, and the best to you.

joannetucker98@yahoo.com

Cheryl Pierson said...

Livia, I have two older sisters, and Mom insisted on all three of us taking piano--I think that was the last "holdover" from the old South...young ladies learning how to play the piano was just expected. LOL Anyhow, my oldest sister would become a ball of nerves and forget her piece when she got up to play in front of everyone, but she had a beautiful voice and it didn't bother her one bit to sing in front of huge audiences. My middle sister was able to play without the nerves as much as Annette (the oldest) but they both had a teacher for a while that would whack them with a ruler if they played the wrong note! (No wonder they were so nervous!) I had a taskmaster of a teacher who expected her students to devote their lives to their piano practice/performance. Music theory was one of her big things and we had testing on it constantly. Now? I can barely remember so much of it, other than the basic things.

Critique groups are the bane of our existence, aren't they? You're so right! So many fragile writers just give up because of the harsh or unkind words of someone who they perceive to have more knowledge than they do about writing, and who truthfully may not even know as MUCH. I've seen this happen many times.

Thank you for your kind words, my dear, dear friend. I have another half finished novel I'm determined to get out there by the end of this year! LOL

Hugs,
Cheryl

Cheryl Pierson said...

Sarah, thanks so much for this opportunity to be interviewed here. By YOU! You're a great interviewer! I loved these questions of yours. This was so much fun, sitting down and thinking of the responses to your questions.

And I've been in such good company!

You know what made playing the piano so easy for me? Being able to SEE THE KEYS. I'm such a visual learner, that for me, reading music and seeing what I'm doing at the same time was probably the only way I could have started learning to play instruments. It sure helped when I took up the flute and guitar. I would love to learn to play the banjo.

Oh, yes, Hardin was such an evil villain, but I know your favorite villain of mine was in FIRE EYES, Andrew Fallon. LOL

Thank you so much for having me, Sarah!

Hugs,
Cheryl

Cheryl Pierson said...

Hi Gail!

I think we all think each other does so much more than we ourselves do. See, I was thinking about how it must take up every single minute helping your husband run the ranching enterprise you all have, and raising a family on top of that. How do you find time to write! I am going over to your interview when I get a chance and read it. I didn't make it yesterday, but I will get there. I think your life must be one of the busiest because of everything that has to be done for everyone else.

Oh, wasn't Sweet Savage Love just the best? I remember reading that and feeling like I couldn't WAIT to turn the page and see what came next, but at the same time, dreading it because it meant I was one page closer to being finished with the book. LOL

Thanks for all your kind words, Gail. I'm so glad you are part of the PRP "family"!

Cheryl

Cheryl Pierson said...

JoAnn, my dad was an alcoholic, so I was never a risk-taker of any sort throughout my life. I think just recently, over the past few years, I'm becoming a little more of one here and there. My daughter tells me it makes her sick to even think of going into a casino and losing even $20! I remember being at that point in my life, too, so I can relate.

I think taking risks with things like our publishing business would be something I would never even think of doing alone--but with Livia, everything I don't know how to do, she DOES. I can't imagine one person doing this job all by themselves. That would be so overwhelming.

I'm so glad you stopped by today! I've got you entered in the drawing!

Cheryl

Kaye Spencer said...

Cheryl,

What is it with moms and music lessons? lol I endured a few years of organ and piano lessons, and I never did learn to read music. But the harmonica... now that I can play because I play by ear.

And living right where our original roots are is something I relate to. I was born and raised in the northeastern corner of Colorado and, after moving around for a while, I ended up back in Colorado about 300 miles south of where I grew up. lol I'm a Colorado prairie girl, and I love it here.

(BTW, I'm loving these Prairie Rose interviews.) Thanks, Sarah. ;-)

Kaye Spencer said...

Forgot to add...

I have never been involved with a critique group, either. In fact, I don't show my stories to anyone but Me, Myself, and my Editor before the publisher sees them. 0_o

I will, upon occasion, brainstorming with a couple of people I trust or talk over a troublesome scene with them, but that's as far as 'critiquing' goes for me.

Cheryl Pierson said...

Hey, Kaye!

I tried to play the harmonica--but I was too shy to play for anyone. LOL Loved it, though. Now, I doubt I'd have the breath for it. We are having such a blast today--here at The Romance Room AND at the PRP Summer Fandango over at FB.

Thanks from me, too, Sarah for these interviews. I sure have enjoyed every one of them.
Cheryl

Kristy McCaffrey said...

Cheryl,
I'm a little late to your interview. Really enjoyed getting to know you better. I LOVE that you can pretty much write a story without much research. I look forward to that day. I love writing westerns, but there's so much I'm not well-versed in.

I, too, played piano and had recitals. But I was blessed with a wonderful teacher--who had multiple sclerosis--but she was a hoot. I absolutely loved her. But, like most kids, I hated practicing. I still occasionally play when I'm alone. I really just like it for myself. But I'm glad I came to know Mozart and Bach. My teacher would tell me the stories behind the music. It was very enriching.

You're a wonderful writer and you've been a good friend and mentor, as well as publisher. I feel really blessed to have you in my life.

Onward and upward...

Cheryl Pierson said...

Kristy, thank you so much. As Sarah was wondering the other day, what kind of an impact do we have on the world and others? I'm glad to know I've made a good one in your life and hope I always will.

I think all kids hate practicing anything. LOL But especially a musical instrument, because it's hard for them to realize that they're improving. Like you, I love the old classical masters, but I'm glad I've got the ability to play the modern stuff, too (now, when I say "modern" you know I'm talking about the 1920's-1980's, right?) LOL I remember the day I learned to play Lara's Theme from Dr. Zhivago. Thrilled my mother's heart. LOL

Thanks for stopping by, Kristy! I look forward to more and more of your wonderful stories!
Cheryl

Cheryl Pierson said...

JoAnne, you are my winner for SWEET DANGER! I will contact you with the details! Thanks to everyone for stopping by and to Sarah for being a wonderful hostess and interviewer!

Cheryl

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Congratulations, JoAnne.
It's been a pleasure, Cheryl.