Monday, August 08, 2011
FEATURED AUTHOR: Cheryl Robinson
Born in Detroit, Michigan, Cheryl Robinson has a Bachelor's of Science from Wayne State University. Her love of writing was sparked while taking a fiction writing course as a college elective. She began her literary career by self-publishing two novels before acquiring a literary agent and then a publishing deal. Remember Me is her sixth novel with New American Library, an imprint of the Penguin Group.
Cheryl lives in Central Florida.
How did you start out your writing career?
I self-published my first book, Memories of Yesterday in 2002 with a goal of landing a contract with a major publisher. I was working a full-time job, and I didn't think I could dedicate a lot of time to the business side of self-publishing, so I really wanted to get picked up by a literary agent. I truly believed that if I showed publishers I was serious about writing by self-publishing that eventually I'd get picked up, and that’s exactly what happened in 2004.
What did you learn while writing this book?
Some people get stuck in their past. Mia and Danielle both struggled with their childhood and their fathers in particular. I also learned that some things that we think are really important aren't always, a real friend is a valuable asset, and time can heal most, but not all wounds.
What did you hope to accomplish with this book?
I didn't set out to write a book about best friends who become estranged as adults. I wanted to write a book that focused more on the events surrounding a car accident that was caused by a young woman who was texting while driving, but it developed into a book about friendship.
Which character did you have the most fun writing about?
I had the most fun writing Danielle since she was a writer. Even though, Danielle has her issues and can be annoying at times. I related to her when she was in her writer’s zone and nothing else mattered but her characters. I liked and disliked certain things about both women, but I understood both of them. Mia had her issues too, but I understood Mia and enjoyed writing her as well. A lot of Mia’s high school experiences were things my sister dealt with when she attended an all girls, predominately white, Catholic high school. The fight that happened in the cafeteria that led to a retreat to iron out racial differences was also something that happened while my sister was in high school. She called my dad to come pick her up just like Mia did, but unlike Mia’s dad, our dad went to get her.
What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
The most surprising aspect is how much the industry has changed in such a short time. The closing of Borders was a shock to me. I really thought they would pull through somehow. The explosion of Amazon.com and e-books was something that in 2002, when I was first getting started, I never imagined would happen. I always thought that the majority of people would always go into bookstores to buy their books.
What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?
I love the revision stage the best, and that used to be the aspect I hated the most. I'm currently writing my next novel and I'm itching to get to the revision stage. I hate when I’m writing and I know what I want to say, but I get stuck on the page. It’s not really writer’s block, but it’s just as frustrating.
Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?
Don't get discouraged, and it's easy to get discouraged even when you're a published writer. My one do is to write every day, and give yourself a daily word count goal, if necessary.
What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
Writing is hard work. A writer doesn't set out to write a book people won't like. That is never the goal. We'd love to write a book everyone will enjoy. But the closer we are to the story the harder it is to recognize the flaws. At the end of the day, everyone is looking for validation no matter what they do for a living. If you work a 9-to -5, and your boss sits you down and points out everything you did wrong, I think most people would be hurt, especially if they thought they were doing a good job. That’s how it feels when I read a bad review on any one of my books. I try to keep in mind something I heard once, which is to never get too high on the good reviews or too low on the bad ones. But what I should probably do is stop reading reviews.
If you could be a character from any book you've read, who would you be?
I'd be one of the main characters in the book I'm currently writing—shameless plug.
When you're not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?
That's a trick question since I feel like I’m always writing. I have a love/hate relationship with reality shows. I complain about Basketball Wives, but I still tune in every Monday. I really enjoyed Toya: A Family Affair. I’ll watch a new season, if there is one, or if she and Memphitz return with a spin-off. I also enjoyed Braxton Family Values, seeing the five sisters interact with each other and in their own lives was refreshing. There wasn’t any over the top drama. I love how close the sisters seem to be. And of course I love to read, but I'm not a fast reader. I pace myself. It amazes me when people say they finished a book in a day or two. If I really like a book, I can probably finish it in a week.
What do you do to interact with your readers?
I have a Facebook page for my new novel and I have a web site and readers can email me or post a comment on my guestbook. I’m also doing another Win Dinner for Your Book club contest this year. I did one last year and the response was great. Details are posted on my facebook page at www.facebook.com/remembermebycherylrobinson
Our theme for this month is NON-FICTION. Have you ever written non-fiction? If so what did you write?
No, I've never written non-fiction.
Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?
I'm happiest when I'm writing.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?
My next book will be set in the Dallas/Fort Worth area where I lived for four years, instead of my usual Detroit setting. Some things may change slightly so it’s too early to say too much. It’s not a sequel. Although, I am seriously considering doing a sequel to When I Get Where I’m Going. Girl Fridayz book club gave me the idea so I'm thinking about it.
How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
Web site: www.cherylrobinson.com
Two best friends test the limits of loyalty in a stirring new novel of friendship, betrayal, and forgiveness.
Mia and Danielle had vowed to stay best friends for life-- until one indiscretion destroyed that bond forever. Twenty years later, tragedy reunites them in an unexpected way. Now they must confront the past, discover its untold truths, and rebuild a friendship destined to endure.
ANSWER ONE OF THESE QUESTIONS FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A COPY OF REMEMBER ME.
1. What year did Cheryl started writing?
2. What was the name of the book Cheryl self published?
3. What type of t.v. shows does Cheryl like?
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