An Interview with Cheri Allan

Hey, I’m over at Susana’s Morning Room today with an interview about moi and the LAST CHANCE to enter my book blog tour giveaway–so pop over!

Cheri: Thanks, Susana, for having me as I put the cherry on top of my blog tour for Luck of the Draw! Hmm. That makes it sound all neat and tidy, doesn’t it? But the reality is, writing a book is a slog. Through mud. With flies buzzing around you. (Okay, that’s not a pretty picture AT ALL.) What I mean to say is, I’ve arrived at this lovely place chatting with you with a shiny new book and wonderful friends and family (and, God bless you, people I’ve never even met!) buying my book, and it surprises me that I’m HERE. Phew! It’s been a journey. A lovely, crazy, road. With potholes. And some bush-whacking… But I digress. You were asking…?

Susana: What inspired you to start writing?

Cheri: I fell in love, married my best friend and wanted to retell that journey again and again. Plus, I like working from home in my pj’s.

Susana: How long have you been writing?

Cheri: Eek. Do I have to answer that? Truth is, too long before publishing. In my own defense, I raised and homeschooled two kids, renovated a home, and generally lived life, so it wasn’t as if I was completely idle. But, I did spend too much time waiting on others… waiting for editors and agents to get back to me, and so I’m happy I’m now in a place where I have the confidence and support system to take charge of my own future.

Susana: What advice would I give writers just starting out?

Cheri: 1.) Go buy yourself a copy of Deb Dixon’s Goal, Motivation and Conflict. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and frustration. 2.) Don’t apologize for wanting to be a writer of popular fiction. I spent too long worrying what others would think of my choice, but I’m over that now. Romantic fiction celebrates love, life and community in an unpredictable world. So, what am I apologizing for?

Susana: Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

Cheri: I prefer to think of it as inertia, because it’s generally caused by something slowing the momentum of my story (as in, it has come to a dead stop and built itself a protective firewall.) The best way to move past this is to brainstorm one-on-one with my CP or plotting friends. I find they usually ask me the tough questions I’ve been avoiding (but which need answering) in order to identify the problem and move beyond it. Plus, they follow up with me, so I’m held accountable for using their advice.

Susana: What comes first: the plot or the characters?

Cheri: Snippets of both. I might get a nugget of a plot idea, but usually it’s a character whose story needs to be told. For Luck of the Draw, Jim’s character came from a previous book, and the latent match-making grandmother in me kept saying, “That Jim is such a nice young man. Why isn’t he married?”

Susana: Are you a plotter or a panther?

Cheri: I’m a total pantser. Outlines give me hives. The one time I did an outline for a book, I deviated wildly half way through, tore up the outline and never looked back. That said, I’ve learned that if I don’t identify the key GMC of the characters at the outset, I set myself up for lots of hair-pulling revisions down the road.

Susana: Are you working on something at present that you would like to tell us about?

Cheri: Yes! I’m putting the finishing touches on Stacking the Deck, book #2 in my Betting on Romance series (coming this fall!) It’s a story of first love and second chances and living up to your potential and features a smart-talking bad-boy with a killer smile.

Susana: What are you reading now?

Cheri: I just finished Waiting on You by Kristan Higgins and am still in that post-book euphoria. I think I’ll order Chinese food…

Susana: Is there a writer you idolize?If so, why?

Cheri: There’s no secret I have a girl crush on Kristan Higgins. (See above.) Her books make me laugh and weep and laugh again and that’s good medicine. Plus, she’s a genuinely sweet person. I try not to stammer when I see her at writers’ conferences for fear she’ll block me on Facebook.

Susana: What is your work schedule like when writing?

Cheri: My writing schedule is more like binge eating… I will get a great idea and immerse myself for as long as I can, ignoring household chores, menu planning, and small kitchen fires then, when the draft is complete, I walk away and ignore it. I’ll read again and watch romantic comedies. Then, I’ll feel guilted into revisions and dig in, finally sending it to my CP who will point out all the parts I knew weren’t working but had hoped I’d be able to get away with ignoring. (I can’t.) She’ll send me notes, and I’ll find a lot of cleaning that hasn’t been done (see step #1) as I attempt to avoid the inevitable before remembering why I loved the story to begin with and diving in again. It sounds haphazard, but it has its own cyclic quality.

Susana: What did you want to be when you grew up?

Cheri: A vegetarian. Because I wanted to work with animals. Yes, I was a little confused. Then my vocabulary improved and I learned what vets actually did, and I made adjustments.

Susana: What are your pastimes?

Cheri: Do-it-yourself projects and home renovation, skiing, reading, watching reality dating shows and writing!

Susana: What is the one modern convenience you can’t do without?

Cheri: A coffee maker. Panic ensues whenever we’ve had one die usually resulting in a midnight run for a new one. It’s the first thing we plug into the generator when we lose power, too.

Susana: Do you have a favorite quote or saying?

Cheri: ‘It’s all fun and games until somebody puts an eye out.’ Which is usually our way of reminding each other to wear protective eyewear and go have fun. 🙂

Okay, now my turn! So, who is YOUR favorite author? What is it that makes him/her an auto-buy for you? Share! I’m always looking for a new favorite author to binge-read🙂

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