Today I’d like to welcome Cher Gorman to The Bodice. First, let’s take a look at this cover… Isn’t it fantastic?
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a wife, mother, housekeeper, cook, laundress, gardener, chauffer and author of six romance novels and one non-fiction collaborative project called Ten Steps to Creating Memorable Characters. Our special-needs daughter is twenty-two and our two furry brown children, Pilot and Rocky are almost three years old. We live in the beautiful state of Colorado and have a view of the mountains from our home.
Do you have a day job?
Yes, my day job consists of cleaning, cooking, doing laundry, walking the dogs and chauffeuring my daughter around. In the spring and summer I add gardening to that list. And while I’m doing all of these things I’m also writing my stories. I’m very good at multi-tasking. I even added laying tile to this list once. J
That is quite a list! How do you balance writing with all of your other obligations? (I ask, because I have yet to find it!)
Since my daughter is grown and very independent, I always find time to write. I make writing a priority and since I have just acquired voice activated software, I hope to be even more productive.
What’s your favorite book of all time, and why? (Because I’m a lit geek, I’ll let you get away with listing more than one)
My favorite book of all time is Jane Eyre because for me it is one of the most passionate love stories ever written and it contains absolutely no sex. At the end of the book there is no doubt in my mind that Jane and Mr. Rochester are forever soul mates who will have a lifetime of happiness.
Who is your favorite movie/TV character and why?
This would be a tie between the mini-series Jane Eyre with Toby Stephens and Ruth Wilson and the movie Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant. I love both of these stories because the characters are so real, so alive that I feel I could go to England and they would be there.
Oh, goodness, I LOVE both of those (though I am fond of the new Jane Eyre with Michael Fassbender… but then, Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books.)
What are your interests outside of writing?
I garden and I play the harp. I also love hanging out with my family, having dinner together and watching movies and television series especially if they are British.
Hey, me too! I love British television. I’m also totally jealous that you can play the harp.
Let’s talk a little bit about your writing. Is there a particular author who may have influenced you?
I can’t say that any one author influenced me. There are two people who have helped me the most. The first is my husband who has encouraged and cheered me on from the very beginning. He never stopped believing in me even when I didn’t believe in myself.
The second is my daughter, Lilly. Every day of her life she is challenged. Some of her challenges are small and some are huge, but she meets those challenges with two things—courage and heart. When she was still a little girl, we put her in a Special Olympics ice skating program. My husband and I watched her skating skills progress through the years, no matter what happened, she kept trying, kept learning and kept moving forward. And she never looked back. She faced competitions and skating in an annual ice show with excitement, heart and above all courage. I know that if she could face a “normal” world uncertain of how she would be accepted with courage and heart, I could do that same thing as a writer. I knew that if she could perform in front of an audience with a smile on her face and courage in her heart, I could do the same thing as a writer. I knew that if each time she fell and got up again with a smile on her face and courage in her heart, I could do it too.
She taught me the meaning of courage and perseverance. And without these two things the world of the working writer is a brutal, cold and unforgiving place. You need stamina and stick-to-it-no-matter-what-comes-down-the-pike perseverance or this business will crush you like a bug. And it nearly crushed me. I can’t tell you how many times I thought about quitting but every time I saw my daughter step on the ice and skate I knew I couldn’t stop. I had to keep going. I had to keep trying. I had to keep looking forward.
If my daughter were on this blog with me today she would say, “Hello, my name is Lilly and I’m an ice skater.”
Finally, my amazing, supportive, loving friend and kick-ass critique partner, Tina Eden. Also my far away but close to my heart, wonderful Aussie friend, Serena Tatti.
That’s a beautiful story of heart and courage, and I agree, this business will crush you if you let it. I can’t tell you how glad I am that you didn’t let it!
Why don’t you tell us a little bit about what inspired this book.
I wanted to write my first western and I wanted my hero to be a rancher and my heroine an event planner. This book went through many stages and transformations. Originally, I had planned to target it to a series for an e-publisher but it couldn’t be over 30K and they changed their standard contract which I didn’t like. So, I began questioning everything about this story and kept having different people take a look at the premise including another publisher. I also took two mentoring courses which lasted for weeks until I felt as though not only myself but my story was being yanked and sliced and molded in a dozen different directions. The new publisher who read this story wanted revisions which I accomplished but once they were done she no longer had the time or interest in the story. At this point my critique partner said, “You can’t write by committee. You have to do what is right for you and your story. You have to trust your gut and go for it.” So I did. I trusted in myself, my characters and my story and I made a liberating decision. I decided to become an independently publisher author. I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful it feels and how excited I am about writing again.
That’s a great story! And it’s true: you can’t write by committee. It takes too much out of you and your story to do what everyone else wants.
Tell me, what is your favorite sentence or quote in your new release?
I don’t have one single favorite but this is one of them. Hope you enjoy it. J
Yearning, encased in a deep, peaceful exhale, spread through Rafe’s chest, a kind of yearning he’d never experienced before with any woman and it scared the bejeezus out of him. Deep inside, in the most secret place in his heart, he knew he should squash these feelings before they had a chance to take root because the last woman he wanted to put at risk to his emotional blunders was Jennifer.
That is a fantastic paragraph! In their hearts of hearts, what would your characters say about themselves?
At night when I’m alone in bed and the demons come, my personal demon is my old man. Josiah McCord is dead now but I still feel his presence. When he was alive we battled constantly about how the ranch should be run. He never made anything easy for me. He watched me struggle and never offered help only criticism. He wanted me to envision the ranch and the family legacy the way he did. He always told me I had a lot to live up to. He pushed me constantly to be better because he loved me, he said. Whenever I did my best or even succeeded he gave little or no praise. He would say,“Don’t let it go to your head. You still could have done better. You succeeded only because of someone else’s mistakes.” All I wanted from the old man was for him to accept me for who I was and to stop trying to mold me into who he thought I should be. I doubted myself and my place in the world so I rebelled by taking risks. I rode bulls in the rodeo. Women like me and I like them back. Everyone I know respects me and that’s important. If only the old man had respected me.
Jennifer “JC” Barrett:
There are no fairy tale endings for you. Rafe never saw you as anything more than a little sister. Forget your silly attraction, your hidden feelings for him because nothing good will ever come of them. How can I ever be the kind of woman Rafe wants and needs? I’m not worthy of real love and family because I’ve never been perfect nor have I done anything perfect like my mother said I should. I already tried to have a marriage and look how that turned out. It was a disaster. My mother was right. You have to do things perfectly the first time. Fairy tales and dreams are just that—fairy tales and dreams. They aren’t real, they don’t exist. Romantic love doesn’t happen for people like me because I am wrong somehow, flawed and unworthy. The best I can do is finish up my community service, go back to Shreveport and my job. Caring for Rafe is a dead end.
Do you have any advice for an aspiring writer?
If you really want to be a writer you must never, never, never, EVER give up on your dream. Surround yourself with supportive people and never let anyone belittle you for wanting to be a writer and this includes family members, friends, minister, doctor, lawyer or Indian chief. Learn to handle criticism—good criticism—and you will learn the good from the bad as you grow as a writer. Because of the head-turning changes happening in the publishing industry today, the opportunities for writers are incredible. You don’t have to go with a traditional publisher, an e-publisher or acquire an agent in order to be published. You can publish independently but the one thing you must do is have your manuscript professionally edited before you publish it. You have only one chance to make a first impression and you want your readers to be wowed.
Where can your readers stalk you?
My website/blog is cherylgorman.wordpress.com
My Facebook page is facebook.com/cherylgormanauthor
My twitter page is @Cherylgorman3
Tell us about your new release:
After taking her eyes off the road for a second, Jennifer “JC” Barrett flattened a mail box, nearly killed a man, a dog and her career. Now she must complete thirty days of community service in her home town of Salvation, Texas helping sexy ranch owner and mayor, Rafe McCord, revitalize the town for a chance at winning The Best Texas Vacation Contest before she can plan the most important event of her career. JC stopped believing in fairy tales and happily ever after a long time ago. But Rafe is a cowboy fantasy in the flesh and romantic feelings she doesn’t believe exist are growing in her heart.
Rafe knows he isn’t good at relationships as he was never able to make his deceased wife happy. Unfortunately, the local judge—his soon-to-be-disowned brother—has saddled him with his best friend’s little sister, Jennifer Barrett, to help the town win the contest, give a much-needed boost to the economy of Salvation and a chance to host the East Texas Rodeo. Only Jennifer has changed from an ugly duckling into a gorgeous swan and resisting her is impossible.
Sounds great! Do you have an excerpt?
WELCOME TO SALVATION, TEXAS. The sign sported a smiley face as an exclamation point and a bullet hole over the “I”…which pretty much summed up Salvation in one image.
“Welcome to hell is what they should say,” JC Barrett said to herself. Thank goodness she was only passing through her home town and not staying. Her brother, Cade still lived in Salvation but she knew he’d understand if she didn’t stop by and see him. He loved this town and she hated it. Always had, always would. Besides, Rafe McCord lived here and she had mixed feelings about seeing him again.
She glanced at the dashboard clock. Another hour and a half and she’d be in Dallas to oversee Senator Grant’s fundraising gala for her Shreveport employer, ‘Affairs to Remember’. She cranked the fan on the air conditioner of her compact car and grabbed another chocolate chip cookie from the bag sitting on the passenger seat.
She bit into the cookie savoring the sweet chocolate, and tried to ignore the fact she’d be wearing the cookies tomorrow on her hips and thighs. True, she’d have to put in some extra time on the treadmill to work off the calories, but right now she needed chocolate—bad. Especially before planning a big event. She zipped down Main Street, passed Duncan’s Hardware, Joe’s Market and Phillip’s Pharmacy. The town had always been on a first name basis with itself. Some people might call that cozy and comforting. JC called it suffocating.
With one hand on the wheel, she dug around inside her purse with the other. Damn it. The cell phone continued to ring. Probably her boss with some last minute instructions.
For a moment, she took her eyes off the road while she groped for her phone. A siren’s wail filled the air with an ear-piercing scream, and her head snapped up. A police car with flashing lights ate up the road behind her. “Holy Christmas monkeys.”
Her gaze jerked back to the road as a small dog darted across the pavement in front of her. A spurt of panic fueled with adrenaline zipped through JC’s body. She wrenched the steering wheel to the right and slammed on the brakes, narrowly missing the ball of white fur. The car skidded in a circle for what seemed an eternity. Breath gusted from her lungs in short, ragged gasps. “OhmyGodOhmyGodOhmyGod!”
That’s so great! I can’t wait to read it!
Thank you so much for joining me here at The Bodice, Cher, and here’s wishing you many, many sales!