Name : Cheryl Bradshaw
Where are you from: I was raised in California and currently live in Wyoming.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I come from a family of four. Besides my parents, I have one sister. I lived in California until I graduated high school. At that time, I moved to Utah and attended Dixie State College. I also am a certified Montessori teacher, and at one time I had a real estate license as well. I’m married and have one daughter and two step-daughters.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My latest book release is Hush Now Baby (Sloane Monroe series #6). I’m also in a group called The Twelve. This year we’ve been working on a series called Flight 12. Each of us in the group takes turn publishing a novella in the series each month. Mine came out in August. The concept behind Flight 12 is very unique in that the readers will get to vote on the ending after all twelve books are released.
In addition to that, I have a novella on pre-order called Echoes of Murder. It releases on October 15th, and I just released Hush Now Baby (Sloane Monroe #6) over the summer.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
As a child, I used to make up stories for my sister at bedtime. In high school I wrote poetry and short stories, and entered a few contests. I finished my first full-length novel in 2011 and have published an additional six novels and three novellas since then.
I started writing because I’m as passionate about reading stories as I am writing them. I had all these stories swirling around in my head and decided it was time to finally get them out.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I started writing Black Diamond Death.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My inspiration for the mystery genre came from my love of reading the genre. Authors like Agatha Christie and Robert B. Parker helped me envision a future in writing. I started a blog and asked several traditionally published authors if they’d agree to do a guest post, and most of them did. Their advice really helped me finish my first book.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I’m sure I do, but I don’t really define it. My readers make comments about my writing being unique, and that means a lot. I don’t outline as so many authors do. I allow the characters to tell me what they want to say every day. To me, this make the process as spontaneous and fresh for the reader as it is for me.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I have many titles. I like to keep them short, usually three words. For the Sloane series, I like to tie in words that immediately resonate with the reader for the genre I write in….death, murder, secret, stranger, etc.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There are many, I imagine. “Follow your bliss” is how I sign my books. Believe in yourself, never give up. No matter what the obstacle or challenge is in life, it can be overcome.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
I make the scenarios and the scenes in my books as realistic as possible. I spend a lot of time doing research, especially when it comes to forensics, so I can get everything right.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I don’t every base any one character solely on someone I know, but I take bits and pieces, experiences I have been through myself, and infuse those into the story in a different way that’s singular to the character I create.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
Aside from other novels in the genre I write in, like Murder on the Orient Express or Looking for Rachel Wallace, I am always reading something uplifting like The Pursuit of Happiness or The Secret.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
In the group I’m a part of, The Twelve, all of my fellow authors are mentors in different ways. The founder of the group, Diane Capri, is definitely someone I admire and respect. She’s been in the business a long time and is very talented. I’ve learned a great deal from her.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m always reading one fiction and one non-fiction.
Fiction: Hard Return, J. Carson Black
Non-Fiction: Connecting Happiness and Success, Ray White
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Blake Crouch isn’t really a new author, but I started reading his books about a year ago, and I really enjoy his writing style.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m working on a stand-alone novel currently titled Run Along Home. I also have a Sloane Monroe novella coming out around Christmas called Hickory Dickory Dead.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My fellow authors. A few years ago I created the group Indie Writers Unite on Facebook. It’s a place writers can go to get support from other writers.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Writing is my career, my full-time job, and has been for the past two years. Last year I signed with one of the top agencies in New York City, and am represented by the president of the agency.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Not one thing.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I’ve always enjoyed telling stories.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
The stand-alone I’m writing now, Run Along Home, is about a woman struggling to become herself again after learning her best friend has been murdered. It’s also about lost love and second chances, and the idea that if you don’t have what you want in life right now, you can change it. It’s never too late.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Finding time to work while also being a wife and a mother offers its own unique challenges, but I’ve always been about to juggle it all. Some days better than others! When I get behind, I usually head out of town for a few days.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Agatha Christie. I adore her Poirot character, even though in the end, she couldn’t wait to kill him off because she’d grown tired of him over the years. I’ve always enjoyed the way Christie connects the dots, lining up the clues so it all makes perfect sense in the end.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Depends on what I’m writing and how involved the setting is with regard to the plotline of the story. My current novel is set in Cody, Wyoming, and I plan to travel there before the book is complete.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Depends on the book. I have multiple designers and an entire team that helps me prepare each book for publication.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Again, I’d say time. I publish on average two novels and two novellas a year, and I’m always striving to do more.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
When I was a child, my mother bought me a journal. On the front it said: If you imagine it, you can achieve it. If you dream it, you can become it.
This has always stuck with me. I’ve learned that I can do anything I set my mind to.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Mt advice would be not to put off tomorrow what you can accomplish today. Don’t just dream about finishing your novel, finish it, and then publish it. Don’t wait until you have an agent, don’t wait for a publisher. Be prepared, so that when you do get one, you’re ready. Do what you can now, work hard. The rest will come in time, but you have to keep plugging away.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
More than anything, I always want my readers to know how grateful I am for their support, their kind words about their books, and their passion for the characters I create. It means everything to me.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I remembering reading Judy Blume. It stands out because my teacher at the time called my mother to say she thought I shouldn’t be reading such a mature book at my age. Thankfully my mother always let me read whatever I wanted. Even in high school she signed a consent form for me to take an advanced class where I was able to read controversial books like Go Ask Alice. It was classes like this that paved the way for me today.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Everything makes me laugh—my kids, television, my husband, my yorkie. I rarely cry. When I do it’s usually over something significant like a death or something that has touched me in a profound way.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would
To meet and why?
Abraham Lincoln because he was an amazing man. I quote him at the beginning of all of my books.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I like to travel. I like to visit places I’ve never been to before and see things I’ve never seen.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Right now I like anything on ID Discovery related to forensics. History Channel. I also like The Blacklist, The Big Bang Theory, Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, SNL.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
It’s all relative to what I’m in the mood for when it comes to food and music. I like clean, healthy eating, except for indulging in dark chocolate now and then. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of soundtracks. Sense and Sensibility is one. I like it because it calms and inspires me. I like blues for the same reason.
As for a color, it always has to be pink.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I was going to open a Montessori school for kids age 3-6. I also wanted to be a therapist. And with what I do now, I hope one day to be an ambassador for UNICEF.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?