SHERYL: Thank you so much, Jonty! Are you sure you know what you’re letting yourself in for?
As an avid reader I am always intrigued by how writers became writers. I’ve always wanted to be a writer but sadly lack the talent, imagination, time or energy to pursue this dream. When did you decide you wanted to be a writer and how hard was it to make the transition from what you were doing to being a Literary Superstar?
SHERYL: Well, I decided to become a literary superstar when… Haw, haw. I’m still trying! I’m not sure many writers become literary superstars nowadays, unless they can come up with something new, like, um… Fifty Shades of Harry Potter? Seriously, I am artistic by nature therefore I’ve always had a creative imagination. Reading, anything and everything, and making up stories in my head was a kind of escapism for me. And, believe me, when you come from a large family, escapism is as necessary as food for survival sometimes. I suppose then I’ve had a passion for writing since childhood, when – perhaps realising I wasn’t overconfident – my English teacher awarded me 21+/20 for one of my essays and went on to nurture what he thought was a talent! I’m an avid reader. I love anything that explores life events and how people cope with and grow through those events. Looking back, my first attempts at novel writing were possibly a catharsis to loss in my own life. Without going into too much detail, I’d taken compassionate leave from work to nurse my mum through early onset Alzheimer’s. I’d always worked and being a young single mum back then, giving up completely wasn’t an option. Losing my mum in my twenties was devastating, of course (it is any time), but I found my way of coping was to remember the quirky, hysterically funny moments we had (and we did, much to the bemusement of my father, who just didn’t get women’s SOH.) Anyway, long-short, my first book got picked up by a top London agent (who will remain nameless). Sadly, it didn’t get picked up by a publisher… sniffle ...but the bug had bitten. I worked part-time thereafter, determined to keep writing, so… here I am!
You have made the
SHERYL: Do you see me looking miserable about this momentous decision?
Where do you do most of your writing now and do you want to kill people who disturb you mid writing flow or are you pretty easy going?
SHERYL: Doing all the peripheral stuff around writing, I’m pretty easy going, often breaking off to crawl around the floor – with little Snoops, I hasten to add. In fact, when my agent (yes, I’ve had one or two) called me once, I had to ask her to hold on as I had Big Max’s (my OAP doggy’s) collar caught on my jumper. Max’s head was still inside the collar, unfortunately. When I’m writing… Let’s put it this way, the man and the son have now purchased ear phones with which to watch TV! Oops!
Have you been sucked into the whole 50 Shades phenomenon? If so, what did you think? If not, why not?
SHERYL: To be totally honest, I can’t help wishing her luck. She obviously found that something different and got in front of the right eyes at the right time. Did I read it? Yes. Did I rate it? Um, personally I find the 50 Sheds puns more entertaining.
Have you ever written anything risqué? By risqué I mean have you written anything and thought, ‘Oh heck that could get me into trouble/arrested/ thrown out of church.’
SHERYL: I tried. A publisher suggested I write for their ‘sexy’ line (this was after the editor concerned read a sex scene from Warrant for Love, btw. Be warned!). I couldn’t do it, though. It’s that zany SOH again. I try to be serious, really I do, but my characters get to that all-consuming climatic moment, and I can’t help typing ‘and then the bed broke’. Does a hero’s ego no good at all.
I have many vices including copious amounts of
wine to help wash down the truckload of chocolate I eat. What are your vices?
Or can you not tell us!?
SHERYL: Wine, crisps (cheese and onion), cheese of any variety, wine and Pringles (salt and vinegar). Oh, and listening to George Clooney. Pardon? I have him on my desktop. I have to admit I go quite weak at the knees when he drawls in his sexy American accent, ‘OK, that does nothing for me.’ Course I’d much rather do something to him… Um, for him, but…
Your love of animals is evident in your writing. My sister once brought home a stray goat. Have you ever rescued any strange animals, apart from your three legged dog and a Ninja Cat that recently got its claws into you?!
SHERYL: Frogs. I rescue frogs. They turn up at the front door for some reason; maybe waiting to be kissed, not sure. Haven’t tried that yet. I rescued a hedgehog once, before Snoops thought it was a prickly ball and got the surprise of his life. I also rescued the fish, which in an attempt to escape the water the man had tested another algae-reducing chemical in, threw themselves out of the tank. Have you ever tried picking those things up off the floor? Oh, and a hamster once. It died. My son, who was seven years old then, was totally distraught, so I gave it the kiss of life. To my surprise – and probably the hamster’s, it survived.
In your book Somebody to Love, the special needs element held a real interest for me. You had obviously done your homework with regards to autism as this was very evident in the book. Has this changed your view at all on people with special needs and their carers and has it affected you in any way?
SHERYL: Definitely. I think many people see special needs as a label and possibly don’t see beneath that ‘label’ that every special needs child is as unique as you and I. They shy away from it because it’s something they don’t come into contact with and therefore can’t understand. They feel sorry for the parents, unable to see the highs, as well as the lows, of parenting a special needs child. The lows being something they might have witnessed, coming across a parent and special needs child while out shopping perhaps. They certainly don’t see the joy when a milestone is reached, an intimate moment is achieved, or an extra-ordinary talent discovered. Nor do they see the added distress that is often the result of having to fight for the initial diagnosis and then to secure services and resources that could vastly improve the quality of life for parent as well as child. The single father featured in Somebody to Love is based on someone I know, someone who lost his wife, sadly, when his little boy was just six years old. The man was dedicated to his son. He died inside a little every time his son went missing, off on mission to do something he’d made up his mind to. He was quite simply dedicated to his son, because he loved him, no complications. He loved his unique child as any parent would love their unique child, special needs or not. He just had to fight that bit harder to make sure his son’s abilities were channelled and his life was as fulfilling and as good as it could be. Oops, I’m off – writing another book almost. I do have experience of special needs myself, but that wasn’t the catalyst for writing this book. This is the way I write. I hope to connect emotionally with people. I strive to convey that, even in what appears to be the most complex or traumatic of situations, there is often the kind of underlying humour that keeps us sane. I hope that when my characters stumble over the obstacles life throws at them, my readers will laugh with them, because they empathise, because they’ve been there, or can at least relate to their situation. And, yes, an awful lot of research is called for, because I also strive to try to get it right.
You have released another book Warrant for Love. Can you tell us a little of what this book is about?
SHERYL: I’d love to! In short, the book looks at the lives and loves of three couples in a twisting story that ends perfectly. Life for the main protagonist, PC Paul Davis (I have bit of fetish for uniforms), is like a typical country song - depressing. He comes from a broken home, his wife is divorcing him, he's got no place to live, he's losing custody of his son, he’s drinking too much and his sergeant, who's sleeping with his wife, is a loud-mouthed bully who won't let up on him – not even at work. Before Leanne Curtis can give her cheating boyfriend what for, she's wrongfully arrested for soliciting – by Paul and his partner. There’s an undeniable attraction though and things could be looking up for Paul, except for Leanne's friends, Nicky and Jade, who have man issues of their own and also have it in for Leanne’s ex. Leanne wants closure, Paul wants a home, Nicky and Jade want revenge. Blackmail, lies, adultery, entrapment. Will it work out in the end or will Paul uphold the law?
I am delighted to have as my first Author interview the wonderful Kathryn Brown.
I would like to thank Kathryn for taking the time out of what is obviously a very busy schedule to complete this interview. I wish Kathryn every success in her next novel and look forward to reading it.
Kathryn’s blog can be found HERE. She also has a paranormal blog called Marvellous Mable which can be found HERE . Both sites are well worth a visit!