Today I’m going to introduce you to one of the most organized, planning-ahead..ed authors I’ve ever met, and I decided that before I’d even met her. While stalking Cheryl Douglas for this interview, I saw her entire series—covers, blurbs, and release months—all laid out on her website. It was a beautiful thing, y’all. I feel a little scrappy now myself, but I’m hoping to snare some of her aura before she slips out the back. So you guys give her a big hello, but not too big (we don’t want to scare her off before I bask in her productive mojo).
Welcome, Cheryl! Your writing career was 37 years in the making. ;c) What was the turning point that made you take the plunge and go for it?
Thanks so much for having me, Sarah. I was at a crossroads in my career when the commercial space I leased for my nutrition business came up for renewal. I had to make the decision if it was something I wanted to do for the next five years. I decided it wasn’t. While I enjoyed my job, it had become just that, a job. I lost the passion I once had for building my business, and once the passion is gone, it’s difficult to get it back! I’ve always enjoyed writing. I took several courses over the years, and decided it was the right time to make a change.
How AMAZING you were able to take that step! And what great things from that leap … which brings us right to your book, lol. Congratulations on the release of SHAMELESS! Can you give our readers a brief introduction to the story?
Thank you! I am so excited about the release of this book. The story has been floating around in the back of my mind for years. I can’t tell you what a relief it is to finally get it out there. Shameless is a story about mistakes, regrets, and redemption. The hero, Trey Turner, is a country singer at the top of his game professionally, but his personal life has been a shambles since his divorce. He and his wife suffered a tragedy and eventually grew apart, but Trey hasn’t been able to find peace without her. His ex-wife, Sierra, has tried to move on, but when he walks back into her life after five years, she realizes she has some difficult decisions to make about her future. Because of their past, trust is a huge issue. The road back home is often a long and winding one, as is the case with Shameless.
Oh, that sounds so good! I love when characters have a past. *happy sigh* A quick look at your website reveals a lineup of six releases for the Nashville Nights series, which is kicked off by the March 2012 release of SHAMELESS and continues with a new release every two months. Tell us about the series. How are the books related?
All of the stories in the Nashville Nights series are connected by a common place, Nashville, country music, and a familiar cast of characters. Book two, Fearless, is the story of Sierra’s sister, Lexi, and Trey’s bodyguard, Josh. Book three, Ruthless, follows the journey of Trey’s sister Marisa, and his manager, Luc, whom I love, by the way. That story was so much fun to write. I had no idea Luc would be such a complicated character with a colorful past, until that story started to evolve. Book four, Reckless, features another up and coming country music star, Ty, and Trey’s publicist, Avery. Book Five, which I am currently in the process of writing, stars Ty’s younger brother, J.T. and Luc’s daughter, Nikki. For those of you who like a rough and ready cowboy, this is the book for you! Book five, Heartless, is another story about re-writing history, but with a different twist. The hero in this book is J.T. and Ty’s older brother, Derek. His college sweetheart, Ashley, married Josh, from book two, but they divorced many years ago. Derek never got over her, and when he moves back to town, he wants another chance with his first love, but her teenage sons are vehemently opposed to the relationship! To read all about the series, visit my website at www.cheryldouglasbooks.com.
‘Scuse me . . . my jaw might be on the floor. What a GREAT series! I love all the little plot connections. What might readers be surprised to learn about the plot or characters of Shameless?
Trey, the main, character is a recovering alcoholic who has fallen off the wagon after three years of sobriety.
Another great plot thread! Let’s have some fun with Shameless. What’s the first sentence?
The sexy little waitress stretched to offer her neck as Trey Turner prepared to do another body shot at the urging of his inebriated friends.
Well, that’s one heck of a way to kick things off – I love it! What’s your favorite line in the book?
One would take the edge off; twenty would end it all. This refers to pills. It speaks to Trey’s frame of mind when he’s at his lowest point, suffering from depression, and indulging in to alcohol.
Wow, that’s intense. How about an excerpt … three sentences long! Yep, that’s it. Three!
Two innocent people still lost their lives and he lost what little remained of the life he’d known. If he hadn’t gone to the bar that night, he wouldn’t have been on the road at two a.m., wouldn’t have rushed to the aid of the minivans’ passengers. He wouldn’t have been holding the hand of that little girl as he watched her slip away.
I have to say, I love your writing already. That was incredibly sad, and I’m impressed with your ability to draw that emotion so quickly. (Which is a compliment, LOL.) Which scene of SHAMELESS was most difficult for you to write? Why?
The most difficult scene was Trey and Sierra’s reunion. It had been five years since they saw each other. There was so much pain and resentment, yet shared memories of ten great years together. I needed to capture how each character was feeling, which wasn’t easy because there are so many conflicting emotions involved.
From what I’ve already seen, no doubt you nailed it. ;c) Which scene of SHAMELESS would you most like to experience for yourself? From whose POV?
There is a scene in the book, from Trey’s point of view, where he and Sierra sing together onstage. I’ve always wished I had that kind of gift, to be able to sing to an audience, without fear or reservation, knowing you’re evoking a powerful emotion. This scene was about two people re-connecting through the power of music. I’ve always thought that watching two talented artists perform together onstage, immersed in the music, is an amazing thing to watch.
Oh, yes, I agree. What a beautiful thing for your characters to experience (and your lucky readers!) What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on book five in the Nashville Nights series, Relentless. I am also releasing a novella trilogy under a different pen name, because it is a different sub-genre of romance. The first book in the novella series is almost ready to be released, while the other two books in that series are at various stages of editing.
Wow, you’re busy! And it all starts with SHAMELESS, so here’s a closer look:
SHAMELESS | blurb
Trey Turner may be topping the country music charts, but his life has been going downhill since his wife left him five years ago. He’s desperate to make amends for the mistakes he’s made, and convince Sierra their love deserves a second chance.
Sierra Brooks is happy for the first time since her divorce. She has a career she loves and a fiancé who loves her. Unfortunately, her fiancé isn’t the only man professing his love. He may be able to offer her safety and security, but will she decide to risk everything for another chance with the man who broke her heart?
CHERYL DOUGLAS | bio & linkage
It took me thirty-seven years to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up. I thought I’d found my calling. In fact, I worked as a nutritionist for twelve years before I finally admitted to myself that while I enjoyed my work, I couldn’t imagine doing it for the next thirty years.
My sub-conscious knew that I wanted to be a writer long before the conscious part of my mind decided to get with the program. While my sub-conscious was hard at work creating character profiles, plots and storylines, my conscious mind was telling me it was crazy to give up a successful business on the off-chance one of my manuscripts might rise to the top of someone’s never-ending slush pile. After years of listening to that negative voice, I was finally ready to stop making excuses, face the fear and follow my dream of becoming a full-time writer, no matter the outcome. I’m so thankful I did.
I love bringing my characters to life and I am so grateful to have readers who love those characters as much as I do.
When I take a break from writing it’s to spend time with my husband (a.k.a. my real life hero), my son, and my writing partner, Tia, a spirited Havanese who enjoys tapping her paw on my keyboard whenever I need a little comic relief.
Thank you all so much for joining us today. Readers, I hope you’ll scoot over to Cheryl’s website and check out the rest of her series. It’s pretty amazing! Cheryl, thank you for sharing your story with us. I hope SHAMELESS is the first in a long line of successes for you. ;c)