Congratulations, Cheryl! Just in time for the New Year, you have the distinct honor of making the EPPIE Finalists’ list for your debut novel Fire Eyes. How does this make you feel? Does it make a difference in your writing goals?
CHERYL: I am thrilled to be an EPPIE finalist. I am not a “competitive” person—don’t do a lot of contests and such, so to final in this one was a real surprise for me, and very exciting. I wouldn’t say that it makes a difference in my writing goals, per se, but that it does add another bit of satisfaction and reliance to my own personal goals. I always strive to write the best thing I can, using what I know and trying to make it interesting and a good storyline. Gleaning another little bit of self confidence never hurts.
Celia: In December, your newest release, Time Plains Drifter from Class Act Books, hit the market. The novel is a paranormal romance not confined to one year, or even two…but three. It begins with an exciting train robbery in 1879 Nebraska and the action never lets up. The hero Rafe and his brother Cris are assigned to prevent the robbery. But others interfere, and in the melee, something very strange happens. The cast consists of: angels (good and evil), US Marshals, a modern-day teacher and her high school students, and…a Comet!
I know you love Western Historical Romance. So, where did you get your unique ideas for Time Plains Drifter?
CHERYL: That is a good question! LOL I think the idea came when the agent I had at that time said, “Can you write something with time travel? That’s really hot right now.” Up to that point, I’d written a story that was far too long, one that was shorter but still had a lot of “broken rules” in it (head hopping and such) and was working on yet another historical western. I think my agent wanted something more contemporary; he was not a big fan of historical westerns but liked my writing style. I think we always need to stretch ourselves creatively, and this was a way of doing that. I didn’t want to use werewolves or vampires, so making it a paranormal was, I felt, equal to making it an ultimate “good vs. evil” battle. I wrote a paranormal time travel historical western romance…about as hard to say as it was to do.
Celia: Will we see more Paranormal Romance from you? The genre seems to be the hot ticket right now. I think you made a wise choice to write this one.
CHERYL: Thanks, Celia. Yes, I have a sequel in mind featuring Rafe’s older brother, Cris, and Jenni’s younger sister, Tori. But this time, Cris will be going forward in time to bring Tori back with him to 1895. I think time travel will always be of interest to a broad range of readers. There are so many ways to do it and so many possibilities once the hero or heroine (or BOTH) are displaced from their own time period.
Celia: Just for fun, Cheryl, name two things people might be surprised to know about you.
CHERYL: I think most people would be surprised to know that as a child and adolescent I was terribly shy. To know me now, you would never think that. Another thing people might be surprised to know is that I am a classically trained pianist. Although my two sisters and I all took piano lessons, by the time it was “my turn,” they were both ready to leave the nest. We had moved to a new place, another small town in Oklahoma. My parents were not wealthy, but they wanted good things for all of us girls, and I seemed to have a lot of manual dexterity and an aptitude for the piano. In our small town, it was amazing that I was able to study under a teacher who was so well trained. I sometimes think about what I might have been able to accomplish had I appreciated it more at the time…but who thinks of that when they are a kid? I would much rather have been outside playing with my friends than inside practicing the piano.
Celia: I know the cover for TPD is very special to you. Will you tell us why?
CHERYL: My daughter, Jessica, created it! She always wanted to do one of my book covers from the time she was about 9 or 10 years old. She is an accomplished artist/illustrator and I was so excited that we had this chance to work together on a project.
Celia: Cheryl has an imagination that transcends time—literally! If you're intrigued and like Paranormal/Time Travel Romance, without a doubt you’ll love Time Plains Drifter. I promise—you will thoroughly enjoy this clever, well-written story. Here’s a brief excerpt to showcase Cheryl’s writing:
In this excerpt, Rafe has prepared himself to be honest with Jenni and tell her who and what he is, fully expecting her to reject him. But she surprises him with her understanding and acceptance, and he realizes he's fallen a lot harder than he ever intended.
FROM TIME PLAINS DRIFTER:
He closed his eyes, letting the pleasurable feel of her wet mouth on his body wash over him, along with her voice. “Some things never change,” she’d said earlier. Her Oklahoma accent was a slow waltz to his mind, its lilting cadence urging him to accept what they had between them. Still, he couldn’t let it go. Couldn’t ever be dishonest with her, of all people.
“Don’t you want to know—”
She stopped him, placing two cool fingers across his lips, smiling at the tickle of his moustache against her skin. The smile faded as she absorbed the worry in his expression, the smoldering fire in his eyes, and made it her own.
“Not now, I don’t. You asked me—earlier—if I felt it. Whatever it is between us. I do.” Debating with herself, she hesitated a moment before coming to a decision. “I want you, Rafe,” she murmured. “I trust you.” She nuzzled his neck.“It doesn’t matter now, who—or what—you are.”
His hand closed in a fist around the shimmering satin of her copper hair, his chest filling with a sweet peace at her quiet words.
His mind churned as Jenni kissed him once again. Accepting him, for whoever he might be. She loved him. She hadn’t said it yet, but he knew it by the gentle way her lips grazed across his, then claimed his mouth completely, as if that was the only way she had to let him know how she felt. They breathed together, as one.
He answered her wordlessly, his tongue going into her mouth, fingers splaying and tightening against her scalp as he pulled her to him.
She came across his bare chest, the stiffness of the material of her own blouse gliding with gentle abrasion across his nipples. He groaned in pleasure and felt her smile against his mouth. She made the move again as she lifted her lips from his, emerald eyes sparkling into his searing gaze.
“We’ll talk later,” she assured him.
“It’ll be too late to change your mind about me then,” he said, half-jokingly.
“I won’t change my mind, Rafe.”
The sweet sincerity in her voice and the promise in her eyes reassured him. He pulled her down silently. As their mouths melded once more, he rolled, taking her with him, changing their positions so he lay atop her.
You may purchase TIME PLAINS DRIFTER here:
Thank you so much, Cheryl.
Please leave a comment for Cheryl—I know for a fact she LOVES to talk!
“Romance…and a little bit o’ Texas.”
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