Indie Author Spotlight: Cheryl Shireman
Welcome to Indie Author Mondays, where I feature articles and interviews about the exciting field of independent author publishing. This week I feature an author interview with Cheryl Shireman; she’s spunky, she’s independent and she’s full of vim and vigor. I’m inspired just interviewing her. Enjoy!
What can you tell us about Broken Resolutions?
Broken Resolutions is a story about eight friends who meet at an annual New Year’s Eve party. The party is being held, as usual, at Craig and Hannah’s house. Craig and Hannah have always seemed like the perfect couple. But this year, they have a secret. Craig is living across town with another woman and they are going to be getting a divorce. For various reasons, they have decided to play the part of the perfect couple for one last time. It is only one night. Just a few hours of pretense. But they did not count on the snowstorm that will keep all of these party members together for the next three days. Which is plenty of time for all kinds of things to happen! It was a very fun book to write and actually felt more like writing a screenplay to a movie than a novel. I have already received quite a bit of positive feedback from readers, which is always nice.
How do you develop and differentiate your characters?
When I start developing a character, I want to know about the details of their life. What are they afraid of? What was their childhood like? If they could erase one day from their life, what day would it be and why? I actually developed a workbook – Character Profile for Fiction Writing: How to Make Your Characters Come to Life (available on Amazon) with those type of questions for writers to answer about their characters. I may never reveal all of those details to the reader, but I think it is important in understanding the character and making them seem realistic. For my first novel, Life is But a Dream, I had many people ask me if certain things in the novel were true. Those are the kind of moments every writer lives for.
Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?
My ideal reader is probably a woman who enjoys reading about ordinary women in extraordinary situations. She enjoys characters who are realistic and easy to relate to, and she has a sense of humor.
What was your journey as a writer?
I have been writing since I was a teenager. I started writing novels in my twenties – starting a few and never finishing them. Then finishing a couple and beginning to pursue publication. I came close to being published a couple of times, but never made it to the final stage. Through the years, marriage, three babies, divorce, a second marriage, going back to college, and then graduate school wove their way between the pages. Not long after I finished rewriting a novel entitled Life is But a Dream, I came across an article about Independent Publishing through Kindle. It seemed too good to be true to me. I started doing my research. Within 48 hours I had submitted my novel. Within another 24 hours the book was available as an eBook on Amazon. That was the last week of January of 2011. Within a couple more weeks it was available on Barnes and Noble’s Nook and as a paperback on Amazon. On April 28th I woke up to find that Life is But a Dream was #3 on Amazon’s Movers and Shakers. It has been a wild few months!
What is your writing process?
I start with a premise. In Broken Resolutions it was the idea of a group of long-time friends getting snowed in together. As soon as I have an idea, I quickly add that to a document on my computer entitled, Book Ideas. I have found, over the years that these ideas can be very fleeting and if I don’t jot them down, they can fade entirely. As I start putting down some ideas, subplots begin to come to me. What if the main characters were seen as the “perfect couple” but were actually going through a divorce? What if another couple, recently divorced, both show up at the party and bring dates? Once this process starts, I begin thinking about the characters and the overall theme of the book. I don’t start writing until I have a pretty good grasp of the characters and their backgrounds.
What authors most inspire you?
John Steinbeck – for his brilliant writing. Elizabeth Berg – for the way she makes writing look so easy.
How have you marketed and promoted your work?
Both Life is But a Dream and Broken Resolutions were featured on Free Book Fridays – a great site that gives away free books every week. Every week they feature a different book in four different areas – Fiction, Teen, Romance, and Indie. I have also done some interviews at various sites.
Why publish as an indie author?
Why not? For me, it has been a totally positive experience. I highly recommend giving it a try.
What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing?
Take your time and make sure your book is ready. Give copies to friends for proofreading. Create a great cover and a great description. Create a nice website. My husband designs websites, so I have an advantage in this department. Join Kindleboards and hang out at the Writer’s Café. It is a great place to learn about Indie publishing as well as meet other writers. I have also joined a Facebook group called Indie Writers Unite which has really been great.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Cheryl Shireman lives in the Midwest on a lake with her husband. She has three children and one adorable granddaughter. She is very excited about the revolutionary world of Independent Publishing and enjoys encouraging other writers. Her first novel is Life is But a Dream. Her second novel, just released, is entitled Broken Resolutions. She is currently at work on her third novel. Her website is http://cherylshireman.com/
Broken Resolutions links:
- Kindle http://www.amazon.com/Broken-Resolutions-ebook/dp/B004V9FPB0/
- Nook http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Broken-Resolutions/Cheryl-Shireman/e/2940012296535/
- Paperback http://www.amazon.com/Broken-Resolutions-Cheryl-Shireman/dp/1461026504/
If you’d like to be interviewed for the Indie Author series, please email me: Beth AT BethBarany DOT com, or use the contact form. I’m filling out the schedule for early 2012.