Friday, 31 August 2012

Interview: Cheryl Bradshaw

I have the great honor today of talking with mystery/thriller writer Cheryl Bradshaw author of the Sloane Monroe Series.

Thank you for joining us Cheryl.  Why don’t you tell us something about yourself, where you are from, and what you do (besides writing of course)

I grew up in California; I’m from the town I talk about in I Have a Secret.  I got married a few years ago and moved to Wyoming which has been a major adjustment for me.  But I am learning to like it here, little by little, and will be starting a new series set in Wyoming in 2013. 

When I am not writing and chasing after kids, I like to travel.  Over the next two months I’ll be going to Alaska and Hawaii.  I love historical locations.  I’m a big fan of Abraham Lincoln, so I’ve been to his birth place and childhood home, etc.  As a side note, I almost bought a framed (and certified) strand of his hair a couple months ago for $900, but I decided that might seem a bit too obsessive. 
Do you regret not buying it? 

I personally am reading your Sloane Monroe series of books. Book #4 in the series, Stranger in Town, is soon coming out. What is this one about?

Stranger in Town begins with a little girl getting kidnapped.  This is followed by another kidnapping several months later.  Sloane is hired to track down the kidnapper when the case goes cold.

In Sinnerman you go noticeably darker, even the cover is darker than the other brightly colored ones, do you think Sloane will ever be in a dark story line again?

Sinnerman was the easiest book for me to write.  I finished it in four months.  Thrillers are probably more my style than mysteries (for whatever reason it’s easy for me to write the “dark stuff”), but I enjoy writing in both genres, and I anticipate going back and forth between the two as I continue writing.  I might even veer off the path and dabble in a ghost story or two.

Black Diamond Death was the first novel I ever wrote, and I was trying to find my voice.  It wasn’t until I wrote Sinnerman that I got more comfortable with my writing style.  Over the last month I have revised Black Diamond Death and anticipate publishing the second edition in September.  I am also redoing the cover.  It’s amazing what we learn as we go.  Since publishing my first novel, I have a new editor, formatter, and cover artist. 

A lot of writer’s base their main characters on one or more real people. Mine, for instance is supposed to look like Bosco from the show Third Watch but is also based on Bayliss from Homicide, myself, and a real officer I interviewed for the part….who is Sloane Monroe?

I can’t point my finger at any one influence and say they are Sloane.  I suppose in ways she has some of my qualities (some of my relatives are convinced she IS me), but she is a lot different as well.  She has a fear of commitment, is codependent, and has had a lot of life experiences I can’t relate to.  It was fun to dream Sloane up and put her on paper.  I enjoy seeing her evolve; she becomes more unique and more of her own person as time goes on. 

You help other Indie Writer’s to connect with each other and connect with audiences…why?

When I first started, I didn’t know anyone, except a few traditionally pubbed authors, so I created Indie Writers Unite.  I also created a blog for writers.  There’s so much to learn when you are just starting out, and I wanted to pass the information on to all the newbie writers out there who aren’t sure what they are doing at first.  The industry is constantly changing, and there are a lot of things to keep up with.  I believe we all need to help each other out as much as possible. 

What is the greatest part about being an independent writer?

Being indie published is perfect for my OCD!  I love being in control of things like what the cover looks like and when my books come out, etc.  But I don’t just look at myself like I’m independent.  I’m an author.  I have a publicist.  I’ve considered signing with a publisher, and maybe one day I will.  It all comes down to making sure it’s the right fit for me at the right time.  I see all authors the same way, no matter how they are published.  A good book is a good book.

What is the worst part about being an independent writer?

There’s still a stigma attached to it, which I hope will change one day.  I understand why though, to a degree.  We’ve seen a wave of writers publishing books without an editor, a cover artist, a formatter, and things that make the writer look legitimate in the eyes of the reader.  I’m hoping this will change in the future.

Do you have any regrets about going this direction with your writing or your books?

I’ve never regretted publishing this way. 

I’m a chef so I have to ask – what do you like to eat and/or snack on while writing?

I don’t usually eat while I’m writing, but I almost always have a cup of tea nearby.  Sometimes two.  I’m a tea fanatic.  If I were to have a snack, it would be dark chocolate of some kind, preferably chocolate mousse or a frosted brownie.  But since I am keen on keeping my girlish figure, I usually just go with the tea!  Of course, if you were to send me some cookies or brownies, Lorne, rest assured I’d eat them while writing.
I'll work on that.

If Sloane Monroe were to come for a visit for an evening, what would the two of you do?

Probably something practical like dinner and a movie.  If I was playing the role of Maddie, however, I’d try and get Sloane to do something she’d most likely regret in the morning. 

What do you think you two would talk about?

Sloane’s life is always complicated.  The conversation would either be about the case she’s working on, or her love life. 

What is the one thing you enjoy about writing?

I express myself better through writing than I do in normal conversations with people.  I’m a very private person.  It takes years for people to get to know me on a personal level.  But when I write, I don’t care what I say.  There’s a kind of freedom I get from writing that I can’t get any other way.   

When can we look forward to Stranger in Town being out?

Fall 2012.  I’m hoping for October, but it might be November. 

For updates on Cheryl and her books:

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