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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Cheryl Pierson's Romantic Flings by Tom Rizzo

(This interview originally appeared on my blog - on Jan. 29, 2013 - on the feature StoryTeller's 7,  a series of interviews with authors/writers who answer seven questions about themselves and their craft).

CHERYL PIERSON began the New Year on a high note --capturing 1st place for Kane's Redemption, in the 2012 Preditors and Editors writing competition. The short story represents the first of a trilogy of Young Adult historical western series of novellas, which include Kane's Promise, and Kane's Destiny.

Prolific might be the way to describe Cheryl. In addition to short stories, and novellas, she has written three novels, contributed to anthologies, and wrote the first two chapters of Wolf Creek Book 1: Bloody Trail, the first in a series of novels written by members of Western Fictioneers under the pen name Ford Fargo. She is also a regular contributor to several blogs.

Her favorite genre is romance novels. But, since her debut novel in 2009 - Fire Eyes - Cheryl has published historical westerns, contemporary romantic suspense, paranormal westerns, and a number of short stories.

Cheryl, and her husband, have called Oklahoma City home for the last 30 years. A big welcome to Cheryl Pierson.

StoryTeller's 7

1. Describe your trilogy in a sentence, and genre, and tell us your inspiration for the story.

CP: I have the first two of them out, and the third one will be released hopefully in February. This was a brand new genre for me--western, but meant to be a young adult on up through adult ages. It's written through the eyes of a ten year old boy, Will Green.
Kane's Redemption: A ten-year-old boy fights for his life when he is taken prisoner by a band of raiding Apache. 

Kane's Promise: Jacobi Kane must lead a band of lawmen in their mission to find and annihilate the remnants of the Apache renegades who were responsible for killing Will's parents and Kane's wife and children.
I'm not really sure what inspired me to write this trilogy--I just started writing the first one as a short story for a western anthology, and as I wrote, I knew it was going to be longer than the guidelines called for. So I wrote another short story for the anthology and went back to this one, turning it into a trilogy.  Book 3, Kane's Destiny, will be out next month.

2. What gave you the motivation and desire to become a writer?

 CP: I used to get into trouble for writing in my storybooks when I was little. I've always been fascinated with reading, spelling, and writing. I don't remember the first moment I thought "I want to be a writer." I just always knew it.
Love of reading that was given to me by both my parents from the time I as very young. We read stories every night before bed, and a big treat was going to the library every Saturday. I guess I would have to say that as I got older, I read some BAD fiction and was  thinking, "I wouldn't have done it this way. And my way would have been better." LOL. Though I love true stories and autobiographies, etc., I love the idea of being able to create my own characters and story line. That is magical.

3. Imagine you're on a late-night train traveling across the US, in conversation with your favorite authors. Who would they be, and what would you want to know about them?

CP: My favorite romance author is Christine Monson. I liked her writing so much because it was "real"--so many romances are like a fairy tale, all sugar coated and with contrived conflict. Her books were not that way at all. They're filled with hurt and angst and true love always, always finds a way, but getting there is a long road. Sadly, she committed suicide. I guess I would want to talk to her about how she was able to break through with this kind of gritty writing in a genre that is so often characterized as not being taken seriously. She was able to write seven books, I believe, and nearly every one of them is in a different time/setting, and so masterfully done--to me, that's amazing.

My favorite historian is Shelby Foote. I think I would probably just let him talk, and talk, and talk--he was never boring and I learned something every time I saw him on television or read any of his books.

All time favorite book--To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. My question for her would be..."Why didn't you write another book? The world was waiting, and it never happened." To me, that is a tragedy, to have that much talent and not carry it forward; to have that much impact on our society, and leave it at that. I guess that's the one thing I would want to know from her.

4. How do you feel the Internet has changed the way you think and write?

CP: Researching things has become so much easier. I grew up with a mom and dad who said, "Look it up in the dictionary." Now, there's Google. LOL Everything is right at my fingertips. I still write everything in longhand first, then enter it into the computer. I'm truly a technophobe, but I do appreciate the conveniences that the internet has brought in research, and in finding other writers, publishers, and groups of people who are like-minded.

5. I read, in an interview, where you said "alternate history is a new up-and-coming genre. Would you describe alternate history and tell us how it differs from traditional genres, and what makes it appealing?

CP: Alternate history is a relatively new genre that a history buff will either love or hate. One of my very favorite alternate history writers is Eric Flint. The first book I ever read by him was called 1812: The Rivers of War. He uses characters we know from history; Andrew Jackson, Sam Houston, and so on. There's humor in the story, when Francis Scott Key is trying to come up with the words to the Star Spangled Banner, for instance; but there are also things that were completely implausible--like the different Indian tribes uniting to fight on the side of the U.S. soldiers.

6. Give us three "good to know" facts you want readers to know about you.

CP:  One thing most people don't know is that I am a classically trained pianist. I don't play much anymore, but used to do more than two hours a day of practice. Another thing that I've gotten quite involved in . . . is doing what I can to help different animal organizations. There are so many of them out there, Middle Mutts, Pet Pardons, and so on, with volunteers who just work tirelessly to save animals,stop animal cruelty, and stop the killing in the shelters across so many of our states.

I once worked in the security department at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum for about two years. It didn't pay much, but was one of the most stress-free jobs I ever held. I often say it was the BEST job I ever held, even though I had worked for the federal government, a hospital lobbying group, and two universities. I met a lot of good people there, and every day there was a new crowd that came through the doors.

7. What do you consider the best moment of your writing life?

 CP: I've had two of those. One was when I sold my first short story to Rocking Chair Reader, an Adams Media series that was reminiscent of the Chicken Soup books. There is nothing like that first sale.  The second was when I sold my first book, Fire Eyes,  to The Wild Rose Press. I've wished so often my parents could have lived to share that with me. Those sales were important because of the validation, and getting the stories out there for others to read, but for me they were important because I had realized my dream.

  • Visit Cheryl's Amazon Author Page
  • Western Fictioneers Blog

22 comments:

  1. I loved Kane's Redemption. Can't wait to see more!

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    1. Hey Miriam! I'm so glad you enjoyed K'sR! The other two are out there now, too-I really had trouble letting go of Will and Jacobi. LOL I may be revisiting them in later years.
      Cheryl

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  2. I enjoyed the interview and always learn something new about Cheryl. I can picture you as a classical pianist as I know how dedicated you are to getting your stories just right. I believe the same would apply to your music and everything you attempt in life.

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    1. Hey Rebecca--I've thought about that in reference to the dedication that you have to give to learning music--it's something that affects you in all areas. Back then, of course, I was being forced into it. LOL But now, I'm glad of it, because I can sit down and play almost anything, and I do think that it made me more conscientious in my creativity. I think I've just coined a phrase..."conscientious creativity"LOL Thanks so much for your kind words!
      Cheryl

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  3. I liked Tom's questions. Great interview.
    Shelby Foote has such a mesmerizing voice and southern drawl. I could listen to him talk all day. He speaks as if he knew the historical characters personally.
    Whether you write contemporary, western or romance, Cheryl, you stories are always so well plotted and your characters so layered with emotion that I am never disappointed and always delighted to read them.
    All the best to you.

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    1. Aw, thanks so much Sarah! You are always so supportive and complimentary. I appreciate that! Yes, Shelby Foote's voice is interesting alone, not to mention his subject matter, which he knew inside and out, as if he actually DID know the people themselves. Thanks so much for coming by today! I know you're busy promoting The Light of Valmora right now!
      Cheryl

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  4. Cheryl, I like angst and struggle in my romances, also. I'm a reality buff. ;-) I can't decide yet how I feel about alternate histories. I haven't read any. It goes a little against my grain as a reality buff! Nice interview.

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    1. Loraine, I really love the ones this guy writes. I haven't read any by anyone else. You know how I love angst, too! LOL Thanks so much for stopping by!
      Cheryl

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  5. Whew! I thought the title read "Tom Rizzo's Romanctic Fling with Cheryl Pierson." Wow, I'm glad I re-read that.
    And now on to the more serious stuff--writing is serious business, or maybe I should say intense. It's not all fun, that's for sure. I've read--almost everything Cheryl has written, and each story is uniquely Cheryl, but different in all other ways. She has branded herself with the "wounded hero," and I bet many people on Jeopardy, would answer to the question: an author who always includes a wounded hero,"Who Is Cheryl Pierson." There. I just made you famous! Good job, my friends.

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    1. Celia--that's Cheryl's Romantic Flings BY not WITH --lol. And, I bet she's grateful to you for making her famous.

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    2. HA! I wish that was true, Celia! Now, I'm a legend in my own mind...LOL Tom does know how to write a catchy title, doesn't he? I wonder how many other people read it that way first...LOL Thanks so much for stopping by today--I know you are busy. And how very cool to know you've read almost everything I've written! THAT makes my week, girl! Thanks again for always being so supportive and such a dear friend.
      Cheryl

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  6. Great interview, Cheryl, and good to know more about you. I envy you your talent as a pianist, something I always wished I could do but never had any talent for.
    As an historian, I tend to agree with Loraine about alternate histories. I prefer 'real' history, which is one reason I'd love to meet Sharon Kay Penman, who writes the most amazing novels about medieval England and Wales.

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    1. Oh, Paula, if you could have SEEN the battles my mother and I fought over piano practice! LOL She always said, "Someday you'll thank me for this." Thank goodness I DID thank her for it before Altzheimer's came along. I guess the reason I love alternate history as well as REAL history is that good alternate history is based on what might have happened--not something too far "out there"-- I really enjoy Eric Flint's books.
      Cheryl

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  7. Interesting interview. I loved the different quesions. And I really like my history straight up, based on the real thing. Oh, the author can twist the facts a tiny bit but stick to what is known to be fairly accurate.

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    1. Hi Allison,
      I love it all! LOL I guess it depends on my mood--whether I'm in the "purist" mood or the "Hmmm, I wonder what would have happened?" mood. Either way, it's good reading. Thanks so much for coming by!
      Cheryl

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  8. Cherly, I always wanted to play piano and took lessons but they didn't "take" on me. So I did the next best thing, I married a man who plays piano and several other instruments and both our children are musical. I got my wish in a roundabout way. As for history, I love to put real historical characters in my books but I don't rewrite history. I use the true facts and fill in the gaps where needed. A very interesting interview. Unique questions, Tom. I wish you both succcess with your books.
    Linda

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    1. Thanks for your kind wishes, Linda. Glad you enjoyed the interview.

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    2. Linda, that is a great solution! My husband plays the guitar extremely well. Both my kids play piano and guitar, though they don't have much time for it these days with the busy lives they lead now that they're in their 20's. Tom is a fantastic interviewer--great questions. Thanks so much for your very kind words, Linda!
      Cheryl

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  9. Hey Cheryl,

    I learned something about you in this interview. The piano part - if I knew that before, it just leaked right on through. And I agree with you about the first sale. My first was also to The Wild Rose Press. To say I was over the moon is to make light of the ebulation! I'm always anxious for your next release.

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    1. Hi Maggie!
      I'm not comfortable just playing by ear on the piano, or singing and playing. I didn't ever do that when I was young. My music I practiced on the piano was classical, so I never really got the hang of singing and playing. But I learned the guitar in a not-so-structured way and there's no way I can play it and NOT sing! LOL Oh, yes, that first sale--it's a wonderful feeling, isn't it? I'll never forget that!

      Thanks so much for coming by today, Maggie!
      Cheryl

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  10. Hi Cheryl,

    I learned something new about you. I didn't know you played the piano! How wonderful.
    When I first had access to the Internet, I couldn't believe how easy it was to find out what I needed to know. I typed in a question and with one click, the answer appeared on the screen. lol Okay, it's not always that simple, but compared to when we were young and had to hunt through books and books for the answers--the Internet was magic. lol

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    1. Hi Karen,
      Yes, I had a taskmaster of a piano teacher, let me tell you! LOL Whether you were sick, overwhelmed with homework, etc. it didn't matter--you should still be doing AT LEAST two hours every day. I hated it then, but now, I am so thankful.

      It took me a while to "warm up" to the computer/internet. I still don't do as much as so many others can, but it just doesn't "click" with me. LOL (no pun intended) I love it for research and e-mail, though. It is so much better than having to scour through books, research-wise, for sure!

      Cheryl

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