Cheryl: Hi Cate, and thanks so much for inviting me here to your blog to be interviewed. I’ll be glad to share a short bio with you! I was born and raised in Oklahoma and love it here. I have two semi-grown kids, a daughter and a son, and have been married to my husband, Gary, for 31 years (Feb. 10 is our anniversary.) I’ve always wanted to write, ever since I can remember, and I love being able to do it at this point in my life.
Cate: Happy anniversary! Tell us about your latest releases and where they're available.
Cheryl: Actually I had two releases at the first of December. The first one was my second novel, TIME PLAINS DRIFTER, through Class Act Books, a very special project for me because my daughter Jessica created my cover for this book.
Time Plains Drifter and Fire Eyes were both a PNR REVIEWER TOP PICK!
The other was a western historical short story, through The Wild Rose Press, called A NIGHT FOR MIRACLES.
December was a great month because TIME PLAINS DRIFTER was released on the 1st and A NIGHT FOR MIRACLES was released the very next day!
Cate: Double congrats! You've had a busy few months then. And I love both those covers! But I can only imagine how proud you must be of your daughter's. :)
Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Cheryl: All right, here’s one for TIME PLAINS DRIFTER.
FROM TIME PLAINS DRIFTER:
Substitute teacher Jenni Dalton is flung backward in time 115 years with seven of her students when a comet passes close enough to Earth to rearrange the bands of time. They find themselves in 1895, Indian Territory with no way back to 2010.
U.S. Territorial Marshal Rafe d'Angelico was murdered, along with his brother, sixteen years earlier, in 1879. Now, he finds himself a reluctant angel, brought through time to help Jenni Dalton and her students escape the Dark One who is after one of them. But which one? And for what evil purpose?
Rafe only knows he doesn't want to be an angel, now that he's found the woman he wants to spend his life with. Keeping one step ahead of Satan's man who's teamed up with Rafe's murderer proves to be the hardest thing he's ever faced--until he's forced to choose between saving the woman he loves and spending eternity in a Hell of his own making.
Will love be strong enough to save the TIME PLAINS DRIFTER?
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.
EXCERPT 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.
She gasped, yielding to him, her cool palms sliding over the fevered heat of his skin, across his chest and shoulders. He began to unbutton her blouse as he kissed her, his fingers moving deftly. He pushed away the first layer of material with his customary impatience, then started on the stays of her corset.
She twisted beneath him at the loosening of the undergarment. He pulled her upright momentarily, whisking blouse and corset over her head, dropping them in a heap on the floor.
In silent invitation, Jenni lifted her hand to him. She touched his side, and he flinched slightly as her fingers lingered over the very place the Bowie had gone into him earlier that day. Even though a red scar marked the spot, there was no pain for him, and he saw no puzzlement in her eyes...only concern.
“Does it hurt?”
It was as he had suspected. She’d seen what had happened, how bad it should have been...but wasn’t. And she had accepted it, unconditionally. They would talk later, as she’d said, but somehow, he felt he would find the words he needed to explain things to her. He shook his head slightly. “No.”
A vulnerable uncertainty crossed her face for a moment. “Well, then, Marshal—what’re you waiting for?” He unfastened her skirt and petticoat, then made short work of the stockings and underpants.
God. Rafe swallowed hard, reaching to trace the faded tan lines across her shoulders. He moistened his lips, his teeth sinking into the lower one momentarily. His pulse raced as his gaze moved over her face—then lower, to her breasts, her flat belly, and the triangle of soft hair, below.
Here’s what Romantic Times Magazine had to say about TIME PLAINS DRIFTER!
“Pierson's fresh, well-crafted novel pits some unlikely heroes against evil incarnate. The characters are vibrant and tell a story of courage in difficult circumstances. An open thread invites a sequel.” ~~Romantic Times Magazine~~ 4.5 Stars
Cate: Wow, very exciting! Congrats on the wonderful review. What inspired you to write about the theme?
Cheryl: I had subbed a very long historical western, my first book I ever wrote, to about 50 agents, and had gotten positive responses from 5 or so. Every one of them LOVED the book, but they all said, “It’s too long—do you have anything shorter?” As it turned out, I was working on a shorter novel at the time, and after I subbed it, the agent I was working with said, “Westerns are dying out. Do you have anything paranormal?” That’s how the idea of this book came about, and once I started writing it, I just couldn’t get it down on paper fast enough.
Cate: Any specific inspiration for your characters (an actor/actress or personal hero)?
Cheryl: No, not specifically. I know a lot of writers tend to model their characters after movie stars but I don’t do that. I have a composite of the character in my mind and each of them has their own distinct personality, flaws and traits.
Cate: How do you pick the character’s names?
Cheryl: That’s a great question. I am VERY picky about naming my characters. To me, that’s one of the most important things about them. When I’m writing a western historical, I am always careful not to name the heroine something like Misty Dawn or Brandy, etc.—names that we would associate with modern times. Some of my characters might have unusual names or variations of a common name, just to set them apart—but not anything TOO wild. I’m really sensitive about that, since my parents saw fit to name me a strange name. LOL They pronounced my name CHAIR-yl rather than SHAIR-yl, like most everyone says it. So I used to tell people that it was CH rather than SH. It was complicated. I named my daughter Jessica because of that. LOL
Cate: Too funny! Do you feel as if the characters live with you as you write? Do they haunt your dreams?
Cheryl: Sometimes! I know when I was writing my first book, the long tome that will probably never see the light of day,
Cate: I hear you - mine was the same! And also may never see publication! What's next for you?
Cheryl: I have a contemporary romantic suspense coming out with The Wild Rose Press later this year—not sure of the release date yet, but I’m working on the galleys right now. It’s called SWEET DANGER, and involves a whirlwind romance that occurs during a hostage situation between an undercover cop and a young bookseller who both just happen to be in the same deli for a pastry one morning when it’s taken over by a gang of criminals.
Cate: At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.
Cheryl: I used to sit in church and write my ABC’s on a pad of paper to occupy myself. LOL So I was always writing stories from a very young age, and bless my dear mother, she kept them all, I think. LOL I was first published by our local metro newspaper with some feature stories I did for them, and then through Adams Media’s Rocking Chair Reader series of anthologies. But my first novel was published through The Wild Rose Press, and I will be forever grateful to Helen Andrew, my wonderful editor there. She took a chance on me and helped me hammer my story, FIRE EYES, into a fantastic tale of unexpected love in Indian Territory between a U.S. Territorial Marshal and a young widow who must join forces to defeat a and of renegades that is terrorizing the area after the States’ War. FIRE EYES has gone on to become an EPIC AWARD FINALIST! I have to wait until March to see how it does, so wish me luck.
Cate: Describe your writing in three words.
Cheryl: Twisty, realistic, emotional.
Cate: Oo, twisty - I love that. :) Do you have a writing routine?
Cheryl: No. I wish I did. LOL My life is so crazy right now, I’m lucky to catch 15 minutes here and there—but it helps that I write everything in longhand rather than on the computer.
Cate: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Most rewarding?
Cheryl: Most challenging, anymore for me, is finding the time to do it. I love writing, but I’m terrible at promoting—so maybe that’s the most challenging thing. LOL The most rewarding, for me, is hearing from a reader who says, “I loved your story,” or “Will there be a sequel?”
Cate: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Cheryl: I think the most interesting comment was that I had two different people who are close to me that told me they couldn’t finish Fire Eyes because they couldn’t believe I could create a villain that realistic—knowing me as they did. LOL One was my cousin and one was a good friend. It dawned on me then, that people who aren’t writers may have some difficulty understanding that just because you create someone in your stories, or a situation, doesn’t mean that you have personal knowledge of that behavior or scenario. It’s just a product of a good imagination. So, although I was sorry they didn’t finish the book, I felt good about the comments, because I knew I had done my job.
Cate: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Cheryl: I absolutely LOVE Teresa Medieros! I’m reading “Some Like It Wild” right now, and just enjoying it immensely. But I enjoy all of her books. She’s my hero, and I want to be her when I grow up. LOL
I am also re-reading Francesca Prescott’s “Mucho Caliente.” Francesca has such a dynamic writing style! So full of energy and life, and she does the impossible—she writes in present tense first person and carries it off !!!
As for favorite authors, I have a ton of them. You know, I read a lot of different genres and sub-genres. I love Eric Flint—he writes a lot of alternate history, and much of it takes place around the area here in Oklahoma where I’m from, and in West Virginia, where my husband is from. So that adds a lot of interest for me. I’m a history FREAK, so the alternate history is a great slant on what actually happened.
Love Diana Gabaldon, Kat Martin, Thomas Eidson, Karen Kay, early Stephen King and Forrest Carter. Probably my all-time favorite romance writer is Christine Monson. Her characters are so real! And the conflict she uses is very multi-layered and hard to figure out how they are going to get out of it. But they always do.
Cate: What impact do electronic readers create on the bottom line for authors? Or in people/the environment in general?
Cheryl: You know, I’m not sure how much I would use one if I had one. I LOVE holding a book in my hands. Love the feel of the paper and being able to turn the page, or go back to re-read the page before, etc. I think it’s maybe because I’m such a technophobe, but I really don’t even think that much about e-readers, other than when I’m traveling and then I wish for one. But I’m going to hold out for the iPad, I think. I know a lot of people who love e-readers, but where I live, most people I know want a regular print book.
Cate: I'm the same, but there are so many great ebooks too!
Where can you be found on the web?
Cheryl: My website is: www.cherylpierson.com
My writing blog is: http://www.cherylpiersonbooks.blogspot.com
My historical blog is: http://www.westwindsromance.blogspot.com
And if anyone wants to e-mail me they can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
A Night For Miracles is available at The Wild Rose Press.
I also have another Christmas short story, a FREE READ, available there, Until the Last Star Burns Out.
My debut novel, Fire Eyes, is also available at The Wild Rose Press.
My second novel, TIME PLAINS DRIFTER was released through Class Act Books on December 1st.
Cate: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Cheryl: Oh you bet! A lot of people in New York City say (and have been saying for years) that the western romance is dead, or is dying. Yet it seems like I know a lot of people who love to read western romance done right. Readers, what do you think about this? I host a day (the second Wednesday of each month) at Classic Romance Revival called “WILD WESTERN WEDNESDAY” and we talk about everything western, but also have discovered that the “West” spills over into many other sub-genres. How do you feel about western romance and what would you like to see changed, if anything, in that sub-genre?
Cate: Readers, Cheryl is giving away PDFs of both Time Plains Drifter and A Night for Miracles to a random commenter... so leave a comment before Sunday night to be in the running. Be sure to also leave your email address so Cheryl will know how to reach you.
Thanks again for being my guest, Cheryl! Best of luck.