Interview with Cheryl Shireman

I would like to thank Cheryl Shireman for agreeing to allow herself to be interviewed for my web site. Cheryl is the author of “Life is But a Dream”, which is available as a Kindle book. Now then, let’s get down to the interview!

Where do you generally prefer to go when you write?
I write in my home, generally dressed in something as baggy and comfortable as I can find – like huge sweatshirts and sweatpants in the winter or huge tee shirts and baggy shorts in the summer. I need to have as little distraction as possible, and clothes that are not comfortable (or that I am even aware of) tend to distract me. If I am writing (as opposed to editing), I need silence or perhaps very quiet instrumental music. Words of any kind (in songs, television, people talking) annoy me. Although, as the mother of three children, I seldom had those kind of circumstances when my kids were home. Once I worked on a novel in one of those indoor playgrounds where kids climb all over toys and throw plastic balls at each other. Now THAT requires concentration!

How many books, and in which genre, have you written?
I have written four books and am currently working on a fifth.
Life is But a Dream – a novel – Women’s Fiction
Character Profile for Fiction Writing – a workbook for writers of fiction – Writing Reference
Heart Breathings – another workbook for writers full of writing prompts – Writing Reference
You Don’t Need a Prince: A Letter to My Daughter – a book based on a personal email that I sent to my daughter – Family Relationships, Love
And I am currently editing/rewriting a novel (also Women’s Fiction) which will be available early this summer.

Tell us three random things about yourself.
I love daylilies and have THOUSANDS of them in my yard.
I love back-packing and have hiked part of the Colorado Trail.
I love the old TV show, Gunsmoke and can watch the re-runs over and over again. Especially if Festus is in them!

Do you prefer to write on a laptop or a desktop computer?
Until just recently, I wrote everything out in longhand, writing and rewriting before then going to my computer and typing the words. I then would rewrite several times, sometimes printing the pages out and rewriting with red ink pen.
Now, I do almost all of my writing on my laptop. For years I resisted getting a laptop. I didn’t like the little keyboard and wasn’t even sure I could type on it. Now, I love my laptop and would be lost without it. I still write and rewrite a lot, but the process is certainly a lot faster with the laptop.

What do you most enjoy about writing?
Gosh, I love EVERYTHING about writing – the solitary nature of the work, the ability to move people to tears or laughter within the space of the same paragraph, holding my own book in my hands, sinking into other worlds and living with characters while you inhabit their space, encouraging other writers, when I write something and then go back and read it and can’t even remember writing it, once in a while when the words pour out so fast that I cannot keep up, beginning a new novel, finishing a novel, getting an idea for another novel, bringing imaginary people and imaginary locations to life, and I guess the thing I like most – working in my pajamas.

What are you currently working on writing?
I am working on rewriting a novel that I am very excited about. I already have the cover created in my mind and I can’t wait to get it done and pull the whole thing together. I don’t really like to talk about what I am currently writing, but I will say that the book is written for women and has been really fun to write. I hope it will be as enjoyable for the reader to read!

When do you find it best to write?
I like to start work in the morning, before I have even showered. And I prefer to work for long stretches of time whenever possible – ten or twelve hour days. Sometimes longer.

What advice would you give a new writer?
Write. If you love to write, just write.
Read great books in the genre you most enjoy. But read the classics too. Read voraciously and with discrimination.
If you are serious about being a writer, take classes. Ideally, get a degree in literature or creative writing. These classes can’t turn you into a writer if you don’t have the innate skill, but they can help you to hone your craft.
If you can’t afford to get a degree, take one writing or literature class at a time at a local college. Do whatever you can to absorb yourself into words – the reading and writing of them.
Write. Did I mention that you should write? Oh, one more thing – write.
And don’t try to get ANYTHING published for at least a couple of years. Concentrate on the work.

What is the most important thing you have learned about writing?
To never give up. If you are reading this, and you really want to be a writer – it is up to you. Your dreams are within your reach if you do two things. Write. And never give up.

What would you do differently if you we just starting out today to become a writer?
I think this is the most exciting time in modern history to be a writer. I recently wrote an article for Independent Publisher that your readers might enjoy!
If I was just starting out as a writer, once I had a novel completed I would not even submit to the traditional publisher. I would go straight to the Indie route. The young writer can take his or her own future into their hands and now it is up to the reader to say yes or no – not the gatekeepers of publishing. Will you sell millions of titles like Amanda Hocking? Will you sign a multimillion dollar deal with the same publishers who would have rejected you before? Probably not. But if you can connect with your readers, you just might be able to make a living writing. And what more could a writer ask for?

© 2019, Steven R. Drennon. All rights reserved.

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