Welcome to my blog, Cheryl. I’m so happy you’re here to discuss your book, A Sisterhood of Women Living Life: A Short Story Collection – Book 1, and to find out more about you too. I’m currently reading your book, and I have to say, you have a keen way of setting up the conflict for your characters right from the start. I’ve been able to feel the emotions along with your heroines. I can’t wait to dive back in and discover what else they have in store for me as a reader.
On with the questions... ♥
Q: In the preface of the book you address your readers and explain that most of the stories are based on real-life events: from your own experiences and those of your close friends and relatives. I won’t ply you to find out which ones are real and which ones are fiction, but I wondered what kinds of emotions you felt while breathing life into your characters and putting them in some familiar situations?
A: Jan, my emotions while writing this book were all over the place: anger, frustration, love, happiness, joy and pain. I wanted to develop characters that were like the actual person, but I had to also make my characters fictional. In some stories, I added believable events, while elaborating on the truth.
Q: The stories are geared around romance but from the title I’m sensing some real camaraderie between women in order for your characters to survive the circumstances you put them in. Can you say a little bit about the roles your secondary characters play?
A: The Dreaded After Call, is about a long–distance relationship gone haywire and the main character leans on her secretary, Avril, who is a wise young woman. In Wine A Little, I was a wine connoisseur many years ago and used some of my background to write that story and the secondary character was a kind gentleman who was not afraid to show his love. In Rape’s Revenge, the secondary character was a mother, who was strong in her faith and beliefs; and she guided her daughter to do the right thing. In A Widow Moves On, the man she had fallen in love with was not the man that she knew and loved. He had a secret and skeletons in his closet. In Dark Secrets and White Lies, I show how when you tell one lie, you generally have to tell another lie to keep the first lie a secret. The lies had escalated and it was almost as if the truth was hit by an avalanche of lies.
Q: Given that your book is a collection of short stories, was there one story in the grouping that you found easy to write? One that was more difficult? Were there any stories that didn’t make the cut; meaning you decided not to share it at this point?
A: The easiest story to write was Wine A Little, because it was a “light weight” topic. LOL. The hardest story to write was Rape’s Revenge. Anytime children get hurt in the process, I tend to cry. Yes, I had a couple of stories that didn’t make the cut for Book 1. I don’t want to reveal them because I think they will make the cut for Book 2.
Q: Settings in a story can play a big part. Sometimes the setting is subtle; in the background not rousting much conflict. Sometimes, however, it adds to the drama and escalates the tension. Can you whet our appetites by picking a setting from one of your stories and how it was the perfect place for conflict to arise?
A: Yes, in A Widow Moves On, the couple always went out to dinner or other places, rather than his home. So, the setting of his family room was the perfect place for her to “notice” things that seemed out of place. I don’t want to give away the ending.
Q: Which heroine was your favorite to write? What trait of hers do you think your readers will pick up on right away and fall in love with her?
A: The young woman in Dark Secrets and White Lies, was a Millennial and she was somewhat of a challenge for me to write her character and stay true to the events. I think my readers will pick up on the fact that she was frustrated and angry with herself for continuing to lie. I, especially, wanted this book to have something for women of all ages.
Q: On the flip side, which hero was your favorite? What trait of his do you think the readers will connect with?
A: In Wine A Little, I so enjoyed writing the hero and making him a man that we can all love. He was kind, caring and loving—all the time.
Q: Romance is easy; love is not. Were there any heroines/heroes that as you wrote their story, you weren’t sure they were going to get their happily-ever-after because they didn’t seem to be able to resolve their issues?
A: You’re absolutely right, romance is easy and love is not. In Rape’s Revenge, I knew what the outcome was going to be, but I had to figure out a way to execute it without making all of the characters look bad.
Q: Please describe how you felt when your book was finished. Were you emotionally spent from everything you put your characters through? Did you break into song? Dance around the room? (There have been times when I’ve burst into song and danced when I type The End - *grins*)
A: Of course, some stories drained me more than others, but, overall, I was elated when the book was finished. I usually give myself some type of treat when I finish a book, such as a special chocolate candy, a movie that I’ve been wanting to see or dinner at a new restaurant.
Q: This was book 1. Are you currently working on book 2? If so, when do you plan to publish it?
A: No, I have two projects that I need to finish before I start working on Book 2. However, I plan to publish Book 2 in late 2017 or early 2018 depending on the editing.
Great information about your book. Thanks for sharing it. Okay, now a little about you...
Q: You wear a lot of hats when it comes to the whole scope of writing. You’re a writer, journalist, editor, writing instructor, accountability writing coach for debut authors, and an experienced blogger. You are so kind to fellow authors and pay-it-forward by highlighting them and their books on your blog. How in the world do you balance everything?
A: It is definitely a juggling process. I took an early retirement, so that I would have time to write. Now, I’m busier than ever. I teach writing workshops and have several clients in my accountability writing programs. On my blog, I pay it forward to other authors on a regular basis and I write every day. I am extremely busy and yes, each day still only has 24 hours. LOL
Q: Regarding your workshops, I see on your blog that there's one coming up in March. Would you tell us more about that in case some aspiring writers/or seasoned writers want to attend?
A: Yes, my workshops are held in Maryland at a Bed & Breakfast, so writers feel relaxed and they can get their writing juices flowing. Each workshop has a specific theme. On March 4th the theme is Getting Focused. Writers can get help to start or finish a novel, write poetry, or revise a short story. I provide motivation and inspiration. On April 15th the theme is Getting Published. Writers get tips, shortcuts and advice on self-publishing and traditionally publishing their books. The workshops are a one-day event from 9-5 and at a reasonable cost. Writers can email me.
Q: When it’s time to step away from writing, what do you like to do? How do you recharge the batteries for your muse?
A: I recharge by writing a “new” story. I also enjoy going once a month to the local Writers Group for a few hours. We share our stories, good news, tips, advice and new releases. The camaraderie is great for renewal.
Q: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
A: On the beachfront, where I could look out at the water and enjoy the sound of the waves and the smell of the ocean. But then, I probably wouldn’t get any writing done.
Q: Music is a constant inspiration for me. Is it for you as well? Which musical artist sings to your soul?
A: Yes, music is an inspiration for me. I wouldn’t be able to write without some kind of music playing. I like R & B and Gospel. If the house is too quiet, I cannot concentrate. My grandkids all know that they can talk to me when they come over, but they say, “Shhh. Grandma is writing her new book.” They love to look at my blog and see my picture.
Q: You have a trailer for your book. Would you like to share it with us?
A: Yes, I have a new trailer coming out soon for A Sisterhood of Women Living Life. Readers can check my blog for actual release date. I currently have a Blog Giveaway in Celebration of 500 Blog Posts and 500 Tweets. The prize is for three winners. They will receive an eBook copy of A Sisterhood of Women Living Life and The Proposal: A Leap of Faith, as well as a $10 Starbucks Gift card. All they have to do is leave a comment on my blog.
You’ve been a joy getting to know, Cheryl. I’m glad you visited my blog and I hope you’ll come back soon.
Bio for Cheryl Holloway:
is an amazing contemporary romance author, journalist, award-winning editor, writing instructor, accountability writing coach for debut authors and experienced blogger. She has written several eBooks, , ; ; , , (Teen Drug Prevention), and her latest release, . They are available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords. Cheryl has worked for the Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press. She has several forthcoming books, including and . When she’s not writing books, she is either writing her blog or reading.
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