Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Welcome Cheryl Wyatt! Win a free book

Cheryl Wyatt's closest friends would never dream the mayhem she plots during announcements at church. An RN-turned-SAHM, joyful chaos rules her home and she delights in the stealth moments God gives her to write. She stays active in her church and in her laundry room. She's convinced that having been born on a Naval base on Valentine's Day destined her to write military romance. Prior to publication, Cheryl took courses through Christian Writers Guild. An active member of RWA, FHL and ACFW, she won numerous awards with multiple manuscripts. Visit her on the Web or here. Sign up for her newsletter for news and chances to enter contests with great prizes. You can also find her skittering around Steeple Hill's message boards as "Squirl" at www.SteepleHill.com.

Welcome Cheryl,

I'm so glad you were able to stop by and say hello.
Tell us about your new book that's now out on the shelves? (I just bought it last night at Target!) And how you came up with the ideas for your Refuge stories.

Thank you for buying the book! I give away your books frequently on my Free Book Fridays on my blog.
Ready-Made family is the third book in Wings of Refuge. Each book is its own story and a person need not have read the previous books to jump right in. Each WOR book features one man from a fictional Pararescue Jumper (PJ) team.

Ready-Made Family
April 2009-Steeple Hill Love Inspired--IN STORES NOW!
(Received 4.5 Stars from Romantic Times)

Wings of Refuge Series
This is Ben's story.

Back cover blurb:

Amelia North needs refuge, and finds it--in Refuge, Illinois. Stranded there after a car wreck, the single mother expects to be cold-shouldered. After all, she’s already been rejected by her parents, her church and her daughter’s father. Instead, she finds a town full of people with open hands and hearts…including pararescue jumper Ben Dillinger.
Ben wants to help Amelia and her daughter find safety and stability. Instead, he finds himself freefalling—right into love with the ready-made family.

I come up with ideas many different ways. I love to eavesdrop on conversations and sometimes all it takes to spark an idea is hearing something say something original that sparks a story premise.
I don't really have to (thankfully!) try very hard to think of stories. Ideas come to me in droves...they stalk me really. I have to fend them off. I get countless story ideas every single day. Other aspects of writing don't come so easily though. LOL!

I want to hear the story (abbreviated is fine) about how you detained an ambulance while driving a stick shift!
HE HE! WHO TOLD? My sister was trying to teach me how to drive a five speed car. I had learned to drive on a stick shift pick-up, but for some reason I could NOT seem to keep from grinding the gears in her little car. I kept getting the clutch timing off and the car kept stalling in traffic. So in a panic, I swerved the car into the next available parking lot. Unfortunately that was a hospital. And more unfortunately, when I swerved in the car stalled at an angle that blocked an entire row of the lot. An ambulance with lights and sirens quickly approached (not for the car! LOL) and I could NOT get the car to GO! My sister was shrieking at me, "GO!" And laughing hysterically. I was sobbing and yelling, "I'M TRYING!" And the ambulance driver was jabbing fingers at the windshield and yelling what looked suspiciously like, "Move that stupid car!" And I think there were a few #&@!* words in there somewhere too! I finally jumped out and my sister crawled across the consol and moved the car. I felt HORRIBLE for the poor patient having to wait on that ambulance.

Why in the world is Cricket your favorite sport?

I think because it's so different than any sport we play in the U.S. I became addicted to it when I went to India on a media/humanitarian mission after the big tsunami. We watched it constantly. I brought a real Cricket bat back to the U.S. but it was so huge (like a boat oar) that it would NOT fit in my luggage. So I tried to carry it on.
I was accosted by security who said I could technically use it as a weapon if I wanted. Of course I had no intentions of trying to hijack a plane but they didn't know that. So they would not let me get the bat on the plane in India. This was after 9-11 of course and security was uber tight.
Security in India seemed even more daunting than in the U.S. The Indian security guards have an automatic weapon strapped to one side of them plus another rifle plus belts of ammo criss crossed over their chests. They all look like Rambo. Most of them also carried at least one sidearm or other handgun plus these wicked looking machete swords. I mean these guys were STRAPPED with weapons. At least at this particular airport.
Trust me, I did NOT want to tick them off.
So I bid goodbye to the Cricket bat which was to be my souvenier to my husband. They confiscated the bat and I burst into tears. Part of it was because I'd walked so many miles to get that bat and had wanted to bring it home more than anything.
Security must have felt sorry for me because they chased me down and told me they could try to send it through along with the checked luggage, but they doubted it would ever make it to the U.S. much less past Paris. They tied this itty bitty rubber band and a two inche tag that had my name on it and the destination.
I never thought that bat would make it home...but it DID!
My husband terrorized my children (kidding) by telling them it was a paddle for when they didn't obey me and Time-Out didn't work. LOL! They were a little worried for a few seconds until he started laughing. Because that bat is about five feet long and flat like a paddle or a boat oar.

What are you working on now?

Wrapping up A Soldier's Devotion (Vince's story which releases in January 2010) and mailing influencer copies out of A Soldier's Reunion (Nolan's story which is will be in stores June 1 and is available for preorder now). Then I'll finish writing Chance's story (title pending) which releases in Fall 2010.

How long does it take you to write a novel?

Rough draft: 4-7 days. All the other stuff that goes with it? 2-3 months.

What do you do when you're not writing?

Read! Spend time with family and friends. Worship. Go to NASCAR races and sound gigs with my hubby who runs sound for just about every major Christian band out there.

Do you have a certain process when it comes to writing? For example, do you create your characters first or do you come up with the story idea first? And so on.

It varies. I might have a premise first then create characters around the premise. But more often I have an idea for a character first and create a story around that character. I do extensive research on the character's career. Then comes the characterization then I brainstorm the story structure with friends like Camy Tang, who is an ace at sensing sound story structure. I also love brainstorming with my editor and agent. And getting their feedback before really diving into the story. Then I do a brief and scantily clad scene index and I'm off and running.

Any advice for new writers out there?

For authors targeting CBA:
Write as worship.
Be willing to hear hard things about your writing yet never let anyone discourage you into giving up.
Remain teachable and join supportive groups such as the eharlequin community www.steeplehill.com , American Christian Fiction Writers www.acfw.com and Faith, Hope and Love http://www.faithhopelove-rwa.org/ the Inspirational Chapter of Romance Writers of America. http://www.rwanational.org/

What are your goals for your writing/career?

I hope I can always write category romance and especially for Steeple Hill. I love working with them. But I'd also like to branch out into single title romance and also so I can focus more on the more complex/longer action-driven stories. Romance that is high-action where I have room for subplots.

Are you driving yet? LOL!

LOL! YES! Finally. (For those of you who don't know, I was in a car accident last year that resulted in several surgeries. The accident broke my right foot and ankle so I was unable to drive for a few months.) I tell you, have a new respect for shut-ins and those homebound.

What's your favorite food?

Grilled chicken caesar salad, ribeye steak salad, baked potatoes, McD's sweet tea, my husband's chicken and my daughters' famous chocolate. Well, famous in our household anyway.

Any parting comments?

Thank you for having me here on your blog! It's an honor. And thanks to those of you who drop by and take time to read it.
Blessings everyone!

Cheryl! What great answers. Thanks so much for stopping by to visit.

All right, people, leave those comments and tell Cheryl what you think about her books and I'll enter your name to be drawn on Saturday for a copy of Ready Made Family. Thanks for stopping by!


Jessica said...

Awesome interview Lynette and Cheryl. I can't wait to read this book. You don't have to interview me though because I'm already going to have it.
Thanks for posting!

donna said...

I would love to read this book, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the first two Pararescue Jumper stories by her!


Renee Knowles said...

I've just started Cheryl's book--and I can't put it down. The writing is so intense, fast-paced and emotional.

Great job, Cheryl!


~Ley said...

I love the Wings of Refuge series! I keep trying to get my mom to read them, but so far... I've failed. Never fear, I'll win her over some day! *grins*

Edna said...

I would love to win one of the books, I am an advid reader and love books, good Christian books


lastnerve said...

Ready made family looks soooooo incredibly good! I can't wait to read it!


Carmen7351 said...

Cheryl is a new author for me, and would love to win one of her books to get me started. Please enter me.
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com